Posts Tagged ‘ Vacation Rental Help ’
Recently I’ve discovered a somewhat disturbing trend in vacation rentals. I’m seeing a lot more postings from dissatisfied guests. The issues range from infestations of insects to out and out filthy properties. I think many of these issues would have been cleared up with a simple request.
I have talked about “more pictures please” at vacation-rental-info.com and without fail everyone agrees that recent pictures are a great way to help make a decision. I’m in the process of updating The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals for 2010 and I’m considering putting in an entirely new request in the “Before” section: “send me a video.” Thoughts?
I have no idea how this is going to be received by the owner group out there, but I think the request is reasonable and easy to accomplish. Frankly, to walk through a house with a video camera rolling will take all of about four to five minutes; transferring it to a computer another five minutes then posting it to the site only moments. So the entire process, not including commute, is less than 15 minutes.
If the property has internet access and the owner/manager has the necessary equipment, they could get the recording, transferring and posting to the site done with one visit. The additional benefit to them is that they now have a recent video to use to market the property.
Some vacation rental sites already have videos posted. I usually find them helpful, some more than others. I saw one in an area of the world I was familiar with and the video, if I were renting the place, would have sold me.
The owner did a fantastic job of not only walking through the condo but also went to the patio and did a panoramic shot describing everything I was looking at, including restaurants and other businesses she thought would be useful for the potential renter to know about. She even pointed out a few things that were new to me and I thought I knew the area like the back of my hand.
It think videos also add to the “personal touch” I like so much about vacation rentals. Remember, we are dealing, usually, with a mom and pop operation who just want to provide the best accommodation for the best price.
Make some trails!Continue Reading »
Recently I wrote about getting our deposits back from the vacation rentals we stayed in on our “Great American Summer Vacation” as it is now being called. Here is the update.
Bottom line: we got all of our money back, but it did take a little work. Very little actually. Two emails.
Below is what I think you should do when you are in that uneasy time between arriving home and getting the deposit money back. This is based upon a good experience, but the process is almost exactly the same for a bad experience (that is a different post.)
Most vacation rental properties have what I call a “house book.” Among other things, the house book usually has “exit instructions.” Follow those instructions. “The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals,” has a pretty darn good way of documenting that you did what you were instructed to do.
If, for example, the house book instructs you to leave all soiled linens in the master bath bath tub, don’t leave them on the floor in the laundry room. If you are asked to wipe down the counters in the kitchen, then wipe down the counters in the kitchen. Do as you are asked and (assuming there isn’t any damage) it now is a waiting game.
A “trick” is to leave a note for the owner/agent telling them of your experience in the vacation rental. Tell the truth. If it was great, let them know; if it wasn’t great then tell them too.
In that note write out that you did as instructed in the house book. “We left the linens in the master bath bath tub and we wiped down the counter.” If you can, send them the same note via email and send it with a “read receipt” or a “delivery receipt.”
Thankfully, the “Great American Summer Vacation” accommodations were great and the units were left “as instructed.” I did have to send two emails to one of the owners and got a prompt and understandable response. Three days later there was a check in my mail box. The check cleared!
Remember to do as the house book instructs you. Leave a note and send a copy
via email if possible. Wait. Receive vacation rental deposit check from the owner/agent. Deposit check. Make sure it clears! Smile and start planning your next vacation!
Make some trails.
A strange thing happened during our latest trip. I found myself in conversations, both online and offline (that would be in person) talking about with vacation rental owners and agents about what renters are looking for in a vacation rental. I’ve got my opinion, I’ll share it, and would like yours as well.
We are a family of five made up of mom and dad (that would be me) a 13 year old, a 12 year old, and a 10 year old that, among other things, eat us out of house and home. NEED: A minimum of two bedrooms, prefer three; decent kitchen with all basic supplies. Close to decent super market with a liquor section. If you’re wondering why the liquor reference than you don’t have a 13, 12 and 10 year old running around your house!
We prefer to drive to vacation rental destinations but have not eschewed flying when the time budget is short. We live in IL so the idea of driving anywhere in the US and Canada is not that big a deal (our last trip was 5122 miles round trip – driving.) NEED: on-site parking with a garage preferred.
We prefer to travel with our two dogs, Reggie and Marty. NEED: pet friendly.
We’re a pretty active family and that means at the end of the day it is great to jump in to a spa. NEED: spa, a real spa, not one in the bathroom.
I enjoy grilling. NEED: grill, preferably, gas grill. Not that it tastes better, they are just easier to get up and running.
Okay… so there you go, a not so long list of pretty basic family requirements.
What are yours?
Make some trails!
TerryContinue Reading »
What do you think is a reasonable time period to get your deposit back? One day? One week? A month? The reality may come as a surprise.
A few days ago my family and I returned home from a three week vacation which covered seven states. We stayed in no less than three vacation rentals and one guest ranch. I’ll post about the ranch separately (it was great!) To this date I have yet to receive my deposit back from two of the three vacation rentals.
The first rental we left 10 days ago. I emailed yesterday about the deposit and the owner said that they have been busy with their new renters and have yet to “get around” to sending my deposit back. They were nice people and the accommodation was good so I will give them a few more days but when we cross the 14 day barrier I’m gonna put some pressure on.
The second rental was an absolute disaster. I did my research and found what appeared to be a great house near Glacier National Park in Montana. The owner seemed a bit like a fish out of water but nice enough. Too simple I thought but the site was good and the reviews were great. So we sent the deposit and were all set.
As we were leaving, and I mean the front tires of my truck hadn’t even hit the street, I got a call from this owner telling me that the spouse had extended the stay of the current renters and we couldn’t stay in the house we had already reserved.
Not wanting to be a jerk I acquiesed as the owner offered different accommodations which were “just as nice and cheaper.” Well… the “just as nice and cheaper” turned out to be a disaster. I woke in the morning to a stranger standing in the kitchen in a pair of boxer shorts and a wife beater holding a cup of coffee… “morning.”
We left less than 90 minutes later. I thought I was being nice as I told the owner that we would pay for the one night but were not going to stay the full three nights. I was assured I’d get my deposit back but have not as of yet.
The last place, in Cody, Wy, was perfect. Great people, beautiful home, wonderful vistas and NO TV!!!! PERFECT! More on this later too!
So, in the end, I’m still out about $1,000 in deposits and am waiting with baited breath. Vacation rental deposit returns usually are as simple as 1 – 2 – 3 but for some reason we’re still at 1.
Make Some Trails.Continue Reading »
Recently my wife and I began another search for a few vacation rentals. This time, the Rocky mountains. It turned into a long ordeal. One of the main problems facing the vacation rental industry is the lack of a standardized vacation rental reservation calendar utilized by each and every owner or management company. Solve this problem and you’ve got, I think, a multi-million dollar hit!
Part of this issue wouldn’t be a problem if a renter planned ahead; we rarely plan ahead. We decided to make this trip and were off to finding the perfect vacation rental in short order. This trip is going to start in two weeks and is going to last for two weeks.
We began at 11 a.m. and finalized THE FIRST FOUR DAYS at 7:30 p.m. Believe it or not, the first place we looked at is the place we are going to stay at. But we looked at no less than 505 vacation rentals along the way.
This number comes from the history file on my browser, not my wife’s, so the number is probably in the range of 800 plus. But on my computer it’s a real number. I just counted the line items in my history file, and besides a few Johnny Cash videos the number is 500 plus vacation rentals! NUTS ISN’T IT?
The overall lack of uniformity of vacation rental search engine capabilities, vacation rental owners who list their sites individually but have the property managed by an agency, my lack of planning ahead, and vacation rental owners who, for some crazy reason, do not update their calendars were all cause for the large amount of views.
Oh, as an aside, all of you vacation rental management companies that don’t have weekend business hours, you just missed out on anywhere from $300 to $500 in revenue from me. Hope you enjoyed your Saturday! But I digress…
The big problem is there isn’t one vacation rental reservation calendar used in the industry. This lack of planning on the industry’s part actually creates a huge opportunity for the aggressive, thoughtful, creative entrepreneur.
Since I’ve been writing this blog I’ve been approached by an unbelievable amount of people talking (kvetching) about the vacation rental calendar issue. It’s caused enough frustration with me that I just might be that that aggressive, thoughtful, creative entrepreneur that solves the problem.
Join the vacation rental info community and together, we can make it a better, more enjoyable industry.
Make some trails!
p.s. If my search is any indication of how the overall economy is doing, things are much better than what we are being told!Continue Reading »