Vacation rentals are hitting the media big time and owners need to be aware of what our prospective guests are being told in online and print publications. We’ve received a lot of requests for cottage previews recently and finally tracked down an article in a magazine that advised anyone thinking of renting a property for their vacation to check it out thoroughly first because there was a ‘good chance’ it didn’t exist.
The media aren’t generally interested in things going well, so tend to focus on the horror stories. I speak to journalists frequently and they want to know what potential bookers should look out for, and what they should ask, to make sure they get the right property for their needs. Mostly, they want to hear examples of things going wrong – I guess it makes for more exciting reading. The results however, can impact owners in a big way. A recent article in Woman’s Day – 10 Rules for Renting a Vacation Home – is better than most and much of the advice is sound and sensible. It is worth going through the points made and being prepared for the questions they will generate, and to be in the places where readers are encouraged to go for information. Here’s some ideas on how to translate the ‘Rules’ to activities you can take to capture interest and confidence from prospective guests.
1. Use established listing sites and avoid online classified ads
2. Be prepared for more requests for discounts and late availability deals
3. Prepare a Frequently Asked Questions list to cover all possible enquiries
4. Create a Flickr gallery with photos covering every aspect of your property
6. Offer direction to a Google Map and Street View & provide local tourist information
7. Create comprehensive Terms & Conditions covering every eventuality
8. Have a well laid out Rental Agreement
9. Make your cancellation policy clear and offer a link to a source for travel insurance
10. Have an emergency plan & contact list in case guests need assistance