I recently stumbled upon this discussion on the HomeAway Community Forum, and felt incensed that such ideas were actually accepted practices in the vacation rental community.
The topic at hand was an owner who received negative feedback from a guest, stating:
“The only downside in our eyes was the day of departure procedure. We were asked to strip our beds, start a load of laundry, start the dishwasher, and take out all of the trash. That was in addition to the cleaning fee. It was a bit annoying to end a relaxing vacation doing the chores we had to do once we got home.”
This reminded me of a time I stayed at a vacation rental and the owner had a laundry list (no pun intended) of things for us to do before departure just like the guest above…
To say that I was offended at these requests is an understatement.
I mean seriously: we were paying $450 per night to stay at this bay front home.
He was running a business and we were his paying customers.
And now we were being asked to do favors to make his job easier? To save him some money or time or effort?
This discussion represents a bigger problem in my eyes…
There simply is no in-between.
Let me rephrase that: there is no in-between when it comes to successful rentals in this industry moving forward.
If you want to operate a professional vacation rental, you simply cannot have it both ways:
You either run a business and treat every guest like the most spectacular VIP in the world.
Or you participate in a hobby and worry not about your income or revenue.
In this particular case, the owner should tack on the price of cleaning to the nightly rate. Either that or throw in a “cleaning fee” (which I still find annoying yet consider acceptable in the big scheme). Whichever you choose, if you are running a solid vacation rental business and hosting strangers in your home, a guest should NEVER be required to do ANYTHING other than enjoy his or her vacation experience. If you are simply renting to friends, that may be another story.
One surefire way that vacation rentals will get in hot water with mainstream travelers is these kinds of owners or managers who have not made the “Go Big Or Go Home” distinction. Charging $450/night and then asking guests to do chores is precisely what I’m talking about.
Will you get it right? Or will you pay the price?
Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.
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