Owners As part of my day job as an agency owner, I regularly view vacation homes and continue to be surprised by the perceptions of owners as to the rental potential of their properties. To prevent a wasted journey I have a lot of requirements to be met before a viewing, one of which is that the property is ‘rental ready’, so it’s always an interesting moment to arrive and see what that phrase actually means to the owner.Some are amazing – the owners have gone to town on staging and preparation – and I can take photos, get the property up on our website a day later with bookings flowing almost overnight. These owners understand they are entering a business and as providers to the tourism industry, have a huge responsibility to meet high standards and expectations.Others take a very different and out-dated viewpoint on the whole issue of renting out, so when they get my report it lays out what they have to do to bring the place up to a standard to meet guest expectations.@CottageGuru discusses the correct mindset and attitude for a successful #vacationrental ownerI don’t beat around the bush with an evaluation and can be blunt.Your property needs a deep cleaningAll furniture will have to be replacedDryclean the curtainsSteam clean the carpetsPaint the dark panelingInstall WifiRecaulk the bathtub to remove the moldReplace the front doorUpgrade the kitchen cabinet knobs and handlesBuy new pots, pans and kitchen utensilsSupply books, games and DVDs for rainy day entertainmentAnd above all…..Get an attitude of hospitality.Quite frankly, some owners should not be in this business – today. This doesn’t mean they were not successful in the past, and probably had very satisfied guests, but expectations are very different now.When I first rented cottages in England in the 1980’s and 1990’s, they were basic. Pots and pans were old and battered, there were the ubiquitous rusty potato peelers and blunt knives, and there were usually mice. I don’t know what it was about rental places but we expected to find mouse droppings here and there.Those getting into the business now wouldn’t dream of delivering the product we encountered then, but there are some out there who are hanging onto those old perceptions of what guests will tolerate. Let’s weed them out!! 8 Out-Dated Attitudes that Show You Should Not Be a Vacation Rental Owner It’s easy moneyThere is nothing easy about being an owner of a successful vacation rental business. It requires hard work creating a marketing strategy, providing content, communicating with guests, managing cleaning staff, collecting money, dealing with issues, following up and generally being on call 24/7. It’s a job, not a hobby. People will book because you are on the beach/lake/river/close to Disney etc.Yes, a beautiful beach photo never fails to capture attention, but unless you are the only rental property in the area, there will be competition. It takes work and a savvy marketing brain to stand out and be seen above the rest. 10 years ago, there were far less properties on the market to meet the demand and it is far different market today. As in #1 the only way to get the bookings is to create something people will desire. No-one needs Wifi because they are on vacationI think it’s safe to say that the majority of travelers want to be connected and not only via the roaming capability of their cell phone. They want free wifi. Hotels are finally catching onto this and there are few quality chains now that don’t offer a free service. Even if you have to limit bandwidth, as long as guests have the ability to connect, if you can supply the facility do it. Your old tube TV is all they will needDo you know you can’t even give away a tube TV any more. Our local Habitat for Humanity didn’t want a fully working 27” TV with built in DVD, when we wanted to get rid of an old basement model from our home. And guests expect flat screen and the bigger the better, even in bedrooms. I had a discussion with an owner recently that went something like this:Me: ‘Would you consider installing a satellite service and a flat screen TV’Owner: ‘Absolutely not – there is nothing wrong with this TV. You can get three local channels and we’ve got a collection of VHS films’Me: ‘Guests are more interested in HD and DVDs if you are not able to install satellite service’Owner: ‘Well, they are on holiday and should not be allowing their children to sit indoors and watch TV. There is plenty for them to do outside’Me: ‘I really don’t feel that renting your cottage is the best route for you to go’ I can equip the kitchen from yard sales and stuff I have no further use forGulp! Yes, I still hear this from owners entering the business. The goal should be to get the review that says:“This place was better equipped than my own home…and with stylish stuff too!”Forget yard sales, and dumpster stuff – shop in Pottery Barn instead. They will look after themselves if something goes wrongNo they won’t. At the first sign of a problem, the phone will ring. If the blender doesn’t crush the ice, or the toilet shows a sign of blocking, guests will want a maintenance call. People are not self-sufficient as they were a decade ago and most don’t have the knowledge or inclination to fix something themselves. And, after all, why should they? People expect too muchThis attitude still prevails in owners who began renting their homes years before Trip Advisor came on the scene, and reviews became the way to sort through myriad listings.They skimp on facilities, furnishings and still call guests ‘renters’. Their general viewpoint is that their renters should be happy with what they get and have no reason to complain. You don’t trust your ‘renters’ not to trash the placeThis attitude follows from #7 and is driven by a lack of respect for guests in general, and in good part from hearsay delivered by those who have never rented out, but have picked up on various media reports.In general guests value the trust placed in them to look after a holiday home and will be completely respectful.I expect that since you are reading this blog post your attitudes are very different from those above, but if you are considering entering the agency business, know that they still exist.And if you are harbouring one or two of them, really consider whether renting is for you, or if you are willing to do an attitude shift. It really will make a difference to your bottom line.