After so many years of managing vacation rentals, we have learned what keeps guests happy and, unfortunately, what makes them unhappy. Happy vacations are our business and so we’ve compiled a list of nine things not to do in your vacation rental. Some might surprise you and others might make you blush.
Hide damaged items
Guests sometimes break items in vacation rentals despite their best intentions. We encourage the owners we work with not to stock their units with glass decorations. We have had one too many glass turtles, parrots, or fish on the maintenance desk here at Florida Beach Rentals. We understand, it happens. If it happens on your stay, remember that honesty is the best policy. Those items cost money and will always be missed. Reported items are most often forgiven. Missing items create a mystery and usually an investigation of what happened. That’s just not the best way to go.
Use Up items in the rental as though they are disposable
For some reason, guests at hotels and vacation rentals seem to view the towels and linens as disposable items. While the shelf life on those soft goods is shorter than at your home, they’re not actually disposable after a single stay. Smearing makeup on a hand towel or shining your shoes with a rental towel is not good manners. It means an item that might have lasted the rest of the year is no longer usable. Also, cleaners know how many towels are supposed to be in a unit and always know when they’re missing. Misuse of soft goods may even come with a fee, so it’s better just to respect the items you find in your rental.
Fail to report problems
One of the most unfortunate things that can happen on vacation is to have something go wrong that dampens an otherwise happy situation. Whether it be the untimely demise of the coffee maker, a WiFi signal acting up, or someone parked in your assigned spot, things can go wrong. Vacation rentals are located on Earth, and as we all know, crazy things can happen there. What people of good heart fail to understand is that reporting a problem is the right thing to do. Even though the rental company might be disappointed that you’re not pleased, they’re going to want to fix it. That means for the rest of your stay, you get coffee, WiFi, and a parking spot. Failing to report the problem means no help and, often, the continuation of the problem. Always report troubles at the time they occur. It is the fastest way to a solution and to a happier stay.
Wait until checkout to report problems
A variation of the no-report is waiting to report. Guests sometimes have a less than pleasant experience with the vacation rental that doesn’t have to be. As said above, an immediate report can get the issue handled and the rest of your vacation is yours to enjoy. Here at Florida Beach Rentals, we have received two kinds of reviews from people who had troubles with their vacation rental. Those who called in the problem write happy and complimentary reviews because the problem got handled. Those who waited until the end of their stay to report the problem often express a higher level of unhappiness. Don’t wait until checkout. Get it fixed and get back to enjoying your stay. You’ll be glad you did.
Wait until after your stay to write a bad review instead of seeking an immediate solution
A variation of the failing-to-report theme is waiting until days after the vacation is over to write an upset review. This one truly is a pity because it means the guests experienced their entire stay with something that made them unhappy, so much so that they sought relief from their frustration through a review. We track the issues that happen in our rentals and fix them as swiftly as we can, which means we know who let us know and who didn’t. Guests who offered no report and took their upset home almost always express the most unhappiness with their stay. The relief offered by writing a review can’t compare to a happy stay, with your vacation rental put back in good order. Let your rental company know right away and everyone will win.
Enter the owners closet
Sometimes the owners of vacation rentals reserve a closet to store their personal belongings. That closet is often a coat closet, an armoire, or a similar space that allows the owners to keep necessities on site for when they visit to stay or make repairs. Most people respect those spaces. They are always locked against the curious child or guest who truly means no harm. Once in a while, however, a guest on the hunt for something as simple as a broom will break into the owners’ closet. We strongly recommend not doing that. Charges can be incurred for missing or broken items that were in the closet -or even thought to be there. It is a difficult position to defend after having broken through a locked door. In the defense of guests, some do not expect an owners’ closet and imagine the locked door to be a mistake. A word to the wise is to expect such things. If you suspect the door is locked by accident, call your rental company first to find out.
Sneak in pets
Sneaking pets into a rental is nothing new. People have done it since vacation was invented. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Pets can make messes and the stress of being in a strange place can bring on behaviors you might not have expected. Further, they leave two pieces of evidence behind that can rarely be erased; pet hair and pet odor. Even in units that allow pets, a pet cleaning fee is required. If your rental company discovers you had your pet with you, they have the right to charge you that fee, in addition to costs for any pet damages. The worst-case scenario is eviction from the rental, which no one wants, not you and not your rental company. The good news is that in our modern times, dog sitting has become a widespread profession. Ask your rental company if a dog-sitting office exists near your vacation rental. The chances of a nearby pet-sitting center are probably better than you imagined.
Sneak in additional guests
Yes, the old tradition of reporting fewer guests than you actually have; we know it. While the desire to save money or have all your party together is understandable, getting away with it is harder than you might think. If you believe your fellow guests at a complex won’t notice ten people around the pool, we assure you, they will. The goods you use up might also tip off your vacation rental company. Unreported guests are one of the swiftest routes toward additional charges as well as the risk of eviction, depending on the circumstances. You will probably find that a lot of effort is spent covering up the secret you are keeping. It will also mean that if something goes wrong in the rental that requires management attention, you will be reluctant to report it. When that happens, you are headed swiftly for a vacation that’s not as happy as you had hoped. When you keep everything above the boards, your attention is free to enjoy your vacation.
Takeover shared amenities
We have received upset calls from vacation rental guests regarding the takeover or domination of shared rental amenities. To our fortune, it is rare, but it does happen. While it’s not always the larger party’s fault, the guest who is unhappy believes the amenities are unavailable to them. That scenario most often happens at the pool, although it can happen on sundecks, games rooms, or other places too. It’s not a difficult problem to solve. If you reach the pool area first and you are staying in a location that has other units, be sure to leave some seats empty. If you notice someone new arriving, be gracious to them and make sure others in your party haven’t blocked them from sitting, sunning, or swimming. A large family can bring a lot of chaos. Be mindful of that flurry of activity for the sake of other guests. Boisterous children can cause an elderly person concerns about entering a pool, for example. Have them take a break so that others can use the pool. If you’re not sure, ask the other guest. You might make new friends and have a more pleasant stay. Also, loud kids or parties in the pool after hours is a no-no. Other guests are having their vacation too. Be sure to respect them.
Overshoot checkout without a notice
The last item on our list is something many guests aren’t aware of as a problem. Checkout times, we admit, are earlier than most people would like. Who wants to vacate at 10AM? It’s not a new problem but if you look across the whole of the hospitality industry, you will find check out times match up. Why? Because it takes time to prepare a rental for new guests. Imagine coming home from work and having one hour to clean your house before guests arrived -starting from scratch. It’s kind of like that. You can’t prepare a space properly for guests unless you have some time. With check out at 10AM and check ins at 4PM, that’s only a window of six hours. When you have crew cleaning more than one unit, you then have some logistics dropped in your lap. Imagine the cleaning scenario above with you sending each member of your family to a different house. Now imagine one of your family members calling you and saying the guest is checking out two hours late. With proper notice of a late check out, things can run smoothly. Your rental gets cleaned later and a vacated unit gets cleaned sooner. No problem. It only becomes troublesome when guests give no warning. Be polite to your rental company and let them know your plans. It will help them and make you feel good too.
Did we miss items in our list of nine that you want to tell us about? Use the comments below.
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