Summer is right around the corner, and for most vacation homeowners, this usually means “high season.” Today, I thought we would look at 8 great tips for getting your vacation home set up for high season. Let me start off by saying that I recommend you do most of these things yourself as compared to having your property manager do them.
There are really only two ways property managers make money: repairs or chores done to a vacation home or through rentals. More often than not, property managers usually way overcharge when they are asked to do simple tasks or chores to a vacation home they are managing.
8 Tasks Vacation Homeowners Should Complete NOW to Prepare For the Summer Rush
Change All the Lightbulbs and Batteries
These two items seem to always go out at the most inopportune time, so I recommend changing every light bulb and the batteries in the remote controls, alarms, and electronic door locks at least twice a year. By doing this, you will not have a guest come in to find that the front door won’t open because the electronic door lock batteries are dead.
Deep Clean the Vacation Home
This means pull out the sofa from the wall and clean up the dust bunnies that have collected under there, and do the same to the refrigerator and all the beds in the house. It is simply amazing what you will find behind these large items. If you have plants, you need to take them outside and shake them pretty well to get the dust off of them.
Shampoo the Carpets
Carpets with large stains on them is the biggest complaint most guests have. I recommend using a professional carpet cleaning company as compared to renting a machine. The key to getting stains out of carpets or upholstery is to make sure you are using really hot water. The machines you rent simply do not heat the water high enough to get the stains out.
Make Sure Signage and Guest Books Are Updated
Walk through the house and make sure all signage is properly displayed and the guest book is updated. One thing we have done is changed all our guest books to be florescent yellow/green this year. It catches the guests’ attention, and it has cut down on our customer service calls by 15%. Almost every question guests call us for is answered in the guest book, so we wanted to bring attention to this book.
Do a Safety Walkthrough
Take your time and walk through your house and make sure you are paying attention to anything guests could hurt themselves on. Here are a few tips on what to look for: bumps in the carpet, hand rails not firmly attached, deck guard rails not firmly attached, loose door knobs, etc. Responsible homeowners take care of their properties and the guest who are staying in them. It does not take much time to walk around and make sure that everything is securely attached and safe for guests.
Review Directions and Check-In Instructions
It is a good idea twice a year to review all the materials you are sending out to your guests to make sure the material is easy to understand and accurate. Most vacation home hot spots around the country are expanding now, and there are a lot of detours and road construction. Make sure your instructions take guests to your house the easiest way possible.
Take a Look at Your Marketing Materials
Twice a year it is a good idea to review all the marketing material you have out there and make changes where necessary. Updated pictures that are time stamped is key for attracting even the toughest of clients to please. Most guests like to know that the information and pictures they are looking at are very recent. Also, always update your copy and highlight all updates you have done to your house.
It is a good idea twice a year to also review the nightly pricing of your vacation home and make adjustments where you need to. Here is a simply model to follow: if occupancy is high for a certain month, raise the nightly prices just a little, and if occupancy is low, then lower the prices just a little. Continue to track the occupancy for the dates where you raised or lowered them. If occupancy is still great for a set period, then continue to raise the prices and if occupancy is low, then continue to lower the prices until bookings come in. This yield management can make vacation homeowners a lot of money at the end of the year.
Have the Pool and AC Annual Services Done
If you have your AC and your pool equipment serviced annually or semiannually, research has showed that the life expectancy will be prolonged. Right before high season is a great time to have these service performed. I hope these tips help you when getting ready for the summer rush.