I bought an item yesterday and was eager to open it this morning. With no scissors or knife available, I gave up after fifteen minutes of battling with the packaging, threw the product on the floor and declared it useless. I found it quite a stressful experience and afterwards realised I had a completely different perception of the manufacturer and distributor, blaming them for my inability to access the product. In fact I'm not even sure I want it any more.
So, what on earth has this got to do with vacation rental? Actually, a lot.
This past weekend was our first long weekend of the holiday season, and we had a large number of families in the cottages we look after at CottageLINK Rental Management. Around 6pm on Friday I took a call from a very frustrated rental client. "The code you gave me for the door doesn't work", were her first words. "We've been here for half an hour and tried every combination we can think of and we are not happy!"
I understood the anger she expressed given all the other circumstances – a long drive; cool weather; lots of black fly etc. So, I was mortified to find she was exactly right. We had provided an incorrect code. Ouch! Just like my packaging this morning, it doesn't matter how attractive the product looks like from the outside, if you can't get into it to enjoy it, the anticipation of the experience can be dramatically altered. First impressions count, and it takes a lot of hard work to recover from a bad one.
So the lesson learned here is – make it easy for your guests to get access to the property. If you use a lock box, make sure it's one that is easy to operate; if you change the code at any time, inform all your guests of the change; ensure keyless entry systems have good batteries, and check all your keys fit the locks if you've had new ones made.
Now, with scissors in hand, I'm off to tackle the packaging again!