I clicked through a Google Ad today to a site advertising a cottage rental here in Ontario. I thought I would approach it as a potential renter and see how user friendly the site was and whether I could be encouraged to book.
The home page was fairly good and provided a lot of information at a glance – bedroom configuration, a comprehensive list of facilities and a contact form. The page also had rolling photos of the interior and exterior of the property which was helpful to keep interest going and to make the page stickier. In fact I was encouraged by that to look further.
Sadly, that was when it all went downhill for me because the next page I checked out was titled FAQ. Here I was told I needed to bring sheets, pillows, pillow covers, toilet paper, kitchen towel and tissues. Are they serious?? This cottage rents at $2500 per week in the summer and they expect me to bring my own pillows! And all my drinking water too for the 10 people the cottage will accommodate. I guess I will have to bring a U-Haul trailer.
Then I looked at the photos which were less than inviting. A bed with a mattress cover on it and a blanket folded at the end of the bed. A living room devoid of ambience or any welcoming feel. And yay…..a toilet with the seat up.
This could just be me having a ranty day which happens occasionally when I have my standards ‘hat’ on, but I don’t think I’m being unfair here. I rent out my cottage and have a healthy respect for my rental guests. They pay a good amount of money to spend their vacation in my place and I want to make my cottage inviting and enticing and have my guests feel welcomed and cosseted. Perhaps that is why 60% of them are repeats. They deserve value for money in comfortable accommodation with at least the basics supplied. I choose to provide bed linens because that means I can make the bedrooms look lovely and attract more guests. I take pride in making up the beds with fresh linens knowing my guests will be arriving after a long journey and be totally delighted with the look and feel of the cottage. There is a water cooler with a complimentary jug of water; all paper products are amply provided, and a gift basket of local produce.
My goal is to promote vacation rental as a viable alternative to hotels and resorts and we can only do this by accepting we are in the tourism industry and providing a service to our guests. A 100% committed service. Making a half-hearted attempt just doesn’t cut it.
Photo on Flickr by ES