Bridging The Gap

With the vacation rental industry on a rapid uprising, there has been a more than ever before need for hotel standard service, and quality. 

We have a concept launching soon for owners, and other property managers within the industry that would love to bring their properties to hotel standard. It will certainly be a step in the best direction. Especially with what's projected for the VR industry of the future. 

That being said! Yesterday into last night we found ourselves smack in the middle of the gap that we are currently working on bridging. Which was great as we realized more than ever that our product is needed, and necessary. More on that in a later post...

What do you do when both an owner, and a traveler are your clients.  How do you present a solution that works for both in the best way possible. 

Here are a few tips..

1. Communication - clear, and friendly communication with both the traveler, and the owner. How intense a situation may seem is a matter of perspective. Try to maintain a positivity mindset, and outlook and all parties will most likely mimic your state of being positive. 

2. Timing - most things in this industry comes down to your ability to respond to a situation in a timely manner. With tip 1 being covered, it is now up to you to relay all information as soon as possible. 

3. Scale - based on the circumstances I like to scale the severity of the situation based on the details provided by the traveler, and utilizing that SS (severability scale) to then relay those details using them as driving points so the owner can react to resolve in a timely manner which ties into tip 2.

It's a business of people, and people love being informed, and their requests being heard. As a manager you are the informant, and the ear. 

 

New Property Management Software Woes...

Simplicity, Accessibility, and Seamless Distribution!

At minimum those are the 3 keys to operating at maximum efficiency for me. Recently after several years with a particular management software company we decided to go with a new software, and we have been running blindly in a maze of uncertainty since. 

Needless to say the grass is NOT always greener on the other side. We have lost what I hope is temporary access to our listing sites, and the ability to communicate with our guests, and respond to inquiries. This has brought our systems to a screeching halt in the middle of us accelerating forward. 

Don't get me wrong! I really liked, and wanted to love our new management software. Everything seemed so simple, and easy to use, but evidently too simple for our needs. They just aren't in the stage where our partnership can be fruitful for either party. Sometimes you just have to know when it is best part ways, and maybe you'll meet again someday. 

Knowing where you are as a owner, manager, or management company and what you require of your software to do for you is crucial in the VR world. I recommend to explore options, utilize free trial periods, and really figure out what fits seamlessly in your system before making a concrete commitment. 

 

 

Property Off Boarding...

I know we have shared quite a bit on the on boarding process, and procedures for a property entering your management portfolio, but what about the off boarding process. Today I wanted to share on the subject as we are currently in the off boarding process. This can happen for several different reasons, here are the 3 most commons reasons why a property would be off boarded as a VR home. 

1. The property was sold.

2. The property will become owner occupied 

3. The property is entering in a long term tenancy agreement.

Depending on the type of management agreement you have with the owner there are several steps to be taken. Here are a few tips to save yourself, and the homeowner time and penalties. 

1. As much advance notice as possible to avoid cancellation penalties associations with guest reservations. 

2. If under FULL management be sure to contact your service provides to have all services such as electrical, cable, internet, and landscaping terminated as soon as the property is no longer occupied by your guests. 

3. Immediately seek relocation for incoming guests that may become displaced due to the off boarding.

4. Contact and communicate with the guest, as well as your channel partners throughout relocation processing. 

5. Prepare a final owner statement to include all off boarding costs.

Payment And Agreements = No Argument!

As I release a BIG sigh,  I cannot stress the title of this post enough. As someone who always wants to believe and appeal to the best in people the truth is people don't always appeal to the best in themselves. 

This industry has so many ups, but also has its moments where I have to sit in the downs and make some tough calls. It does not always pay to be nice...LITERALLY! I say this from having taken recent hits by guests who we trusted to show up, and pay up. 

These situations are what makes me become a stickler to policies, and instill an absolutely no flexibility rule to our terms. The frequency of such incidents are fewer now than when we first began in this business, but it is a reminder to always be a student of your own procedures. 

Policy, and guidelines are in place for the protection of your business, your brand, and your clientele. It is important to research rental terms, and agreement documents produce by industry leaders and utilize it as a blueprint for the creation of your own. 

 

Transient Rental TAXES!

I find this time ideal (it being tax season) to bring awareness to the tax liabilities associated with transient rentals. For clarification transient rentals are defined as any sleeping, or living accommodations for which a person has paid that does not exceed 6 months.  These taxes are to be collected and paid on all rental charges. These taxes are known by many names: sales tax, occupancy tax, lodging tax, room tax, accommodations tax, bed tax, hotel tax, etc.) Here are some quick filing tips for the State of Florida...

1. Both filing, and payment are due by 5pm on the 20th of each calendar month in the State Of Florida.

2. Be sure to include your housekeeping, and cleaning fees when calculating your gross income.

3. Register your property with both the Department Of Revenue, and your local county tax office ONLY if you are required to report and pay directly to your county. 

4. Register, and utilize the e-filing system available online to save time, and tons of paper. If you're a paper person filing coupon booklets will be mailed to you once your are registered and ready to begin collecting taxes. 

5. When reporting, and paying separately to the Department Of Revenue, and your respective county. Be sure to carefully read the filing instructions provided for TRANSIENT RENTALS ONLY!

6. Listing on AirBnB only? Then you need not worry, as AirBnB takes care of collecting, and remitting the appropriate taxes for you. This information can usually be found under your gross earnings tab.

 

VR Glitz And GRIND!

A couple days ago I received a DM on instagram from a person stating they wish they were Downtown on a balcony looking at the city lights just like me. That “I’m living the life.” So I wanted to share some of the truths and real life facts of VR Management as it’s what we aim to share with those who follow us for real life industry insight. 

 It isn’t always glamorous. Yes...there are luxurious condos in the city, and lovely homes in the suburbs but that doesn’t mean Management is always as glitzy as it seems.  Here's how to glitz, and grind seamlessly..

1. Possess a forward thinking mindset like the hands on a clock. There is an entire organizational structural operation that makes our properties turn like clock work for check in and outs, but sometimes that clock can get stuck because it's controlled by human beings. A positive forward thinking mindset will always move  the hands of the clock forward much faster. 

2. Be solution driven and focused! We don’t always get it perfect! Stellar service and perfection is our aim but there are days where something minor can be a miss, and being available and quick to take action helps bring about a faster recovery from any blunder.

3. Be of service BUT with discernment! This is a business of people, and being of service to people is our business model. However discernment is key in avoiding the various pitfalls of this industry. 

4. Build the right team. Teamwork is the essence of any successful framework in any business. Hire those who can be an asset and ready to take the lead. Those who can execute without instruction with a keen awareness of what is required. 

5. Don't let the bright lights blind you. What's bright today may not shine tomorrow, the industry is ever changing so always think expansion always, and in all ways. 

 

This Year's VR Trends To Watch

1. Beach rentals will remain top of the list. Beach destinations are typically on top of the list for travelers, although becoming not exclusive.

2. An increase in direct booking.  When a guest books direct, they tend to get a better deal.

3. Despite regulations, vacation rental bookings will increase in large cities. These regulations doesn't have any real effect on VR bookings. With cities such as New York still being most popular.

4. Diversification of offerings. Home bookings are on the rise which is motivating more owners to list their properties as a short-term rental.

5. More instant booking of properties. Guests are becoming more aware that if you snooze you will lose. So more travelers than before are seeking out instant booking properties. 

Linens And Things...

There should never be a shortage of essentials such as bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, sheet sets, and blankets. It can't be stressed enough how important having these items readily available and on hand for your guests can be. We have compiled an extensive recommendation list for properties based on their size. However below you will find a brief quantity rule of thumb... 

1. A minimum of 2 bath towels and wash cloths per guest that will be occupying the property.

2. Have on hand a second sheet set per room, especially for extended stays.

3. Be sure to have extra comforters and/or blankets stocked in the linen closet.

4. Do have pool/beach towels available if the property has these amenities on site.

5. A minimum of 1 foot towel, and 2 hand towels per bathroom. 

Email us at info@vacationrentalmanager.net for a more detailed list based on your property size.

VR Cleanings...

The readiness state of a vacation rental property is quite different from the day to day cleaning of a live in home. The attention to detail, and specifics of preparation for an incoming guests requires a certain and very particular level of meticulous. 

Building the right cleaning team that can execute efficiently, and in a timely fashion is what all VR managers should look for. Especially in a highly technological time of keyless entry systems, and apps such as Properly.

Time is of the essence, and guests pay for time. In addition it is extremely important that a property never sits dirty for an extended period of time. Time makes money in this business, and if a property can be switched immediately, it then leaves it in a ready state, and open to accept a booking at any day, and time.