Wednesday, July 18, 2012

12 Ways to Delight Your Renters (from Homeaway Community)

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Homeaway run a "Primer for Owners and Property Managers" series that includes some great tips for "delighting" renters of your vacation rental property. The tips are based on comments from renters who are members of the Homeaway community.

Although there is nothing very new or earth shattering in the list of tips, they are a very useful checklist to make sure you are not falling down on any of the basics when it comes to satisfying renters of your vacation property.

In summary, the 12 tips (with sample comments ) are :

1. Great, accurate photos : Take photos of your house when it is nice and bright and not dull. Be sure your house is clean and there is no clutter. Put the toilet seats down when you are taking photos of bathrooms

2. Honest Descriptions : Please make sure that the renters get the home they thought they where renting!

3. Quick and Kind Response to Enquiries : Respond to every inquiry, in a nice and polite way, even if the person clearly did not read your entire listing. Respond with in a day, the faster you respond the faster someone will book. Remember most people are asking 10-20 different home owners about their house. So responding in a fast and kind way is very important. Be sure to include any important things like dates things are due. At the end ask if the person has any questions at all, and tell them you are happy to answer anything!

4. Updated Calendar: It is a waste of everyone's time to be either waiting for e-mail responses or e-mailing back & forth about homes that are booked but don't show as such on the website.  If a renter contacts you because your home shows as available, but you respond days later that it is booked, it takes a toll not only on you but on every vacation rental owner out there.  This process frustrates renters so badly that many of them wind up getting hotels when they don't want to, just because it takes too much effort for them to book a vacation rental while also avoiding the scams & pitfalls

5. Clear Communications: Have enough communication, but not too much. Be sure to keep in touch with your future renters, but at the same time you don’t want to hassle them too much. Make sure things like payments have a time schedule, and make sure the renters are kept in the loop when dates like deposits due are coming up

6. Payments- Make Them Easy : Easy payments online credit card or paypal type - I don't want to go to a post office to pay money order, or send you a check. Be clear and specific how quickly you want me to pay once I accept your terms and conditions

7. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Be sure the house is clean! This is so important. Hire a cleaning service, do not attempt to clean the home on your own

8. A Well Stocked Home : Have a well stocked house. Be sure to have cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins on hand. It’s also nice to have some small toiletries for your guests, so when they first arrive they can relax and not run to the store

9. Special Rules and Instructions: Please leave special notes and instructions about things and whatever you wish me to be careful about - I understand and appreciate that you're sharing your own home with me

10. Easy Assess to your Homeaway: Have an easy check-in procedure. Your renters might be coming in at late hours, or might have kids with them, they don’t want to hassle with complicated check-ins. The easiest check-ins we have found are simply houses with a combination lock right on the door, no need for keys!

11. Honesty is Always the Best Policy:

Please understand I'm as scared or excited as you're not knowing me and me not knowing your place that I pay for - it's my vacation and I would hate to be disappointed so lets be honest with each other whatever it is...
12. Wifi is a Must : Yes, you have to offer broadband Wi-Fi.  The working vacation is here to stay and renters need to be able to stay connected to their business or they will be forced to stay elsewhere whether they want to or not.  This is really non-negotiable, and there shouldn't be any further argument.

Bonus ( unlucky 13 !) .....  provide some little extras! : Have a nice welcome note or basket. We have stayed in places in which this makes such a nice impression. A little note to say welcome, a bottle of wine, a basket of fruit. You want to make a nice first impression!

You can find more details on the community section of the Homeaway site

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