VRS250 – 7 Lessons Learned From a Hot and Steamy Summer of Vacation Rentals

Welcome to episode 250! That’s quite a milestone, and I hope to deliver the next 250 with as many information packed and insightful interviews as you’ve come to expect. For this one, I’m going solo to share what we learned from this year’s summer of rentals.

So, was this summer different?

Well, the weather always plays a role. Last year it rained a lot, and we had to deal with unhappy guests whose longed-for sunny and hot vacation turned into a washout. So, when we saw the long-range forecast in May talking about sunshine, warmth and a lot of dry weather, we cheered.

Little did we know that would turn into day after day of high humidity, temperatures in the 90’s and a bunch of complaints about the lack of AC.

Let me paint a better picture of what life at an Ontario cottage is like in summer.

Each one has waterfront – on a lake or river – so for the majority of guests, the annual vacation involves a lot of swimming, fishing, boating and general cavorting in the water, followed by campfires, BBQs and ice cream. It’s a 90% outdoor vacation, which is a good job since most cottages don’t come with air conditioning.

The newer ones may have full AC or at least a room unit or two, but the older cabins rely on the ceiling and portable fans. This year that meant having the humid, heavy air recirculated around already hot rooms. Sleeping was uncomfortable and spending any time indoors was going to elicit complaints. And they came.

We also dealt with a lot of bugs – ants, spiders, earwigs, flies, and mosquitoes. Then there were the mice. In my own home, we were catching one or two a day, and I was careful not to leave doors open unattended. In cottages where a door may be held open for half an hour while a car was unloaded, or to get some air circulating, critters had an open invitation.

In this episode, I talk about seven learning points we took from a summer of rental.

We do this review each year because although we’ll have systems and processes in place to deal with the previous season’s issues, there are always new ones up and coming.

Listen in as I talk about:

  • Why it’s important to be clear about what is provided and what is not
  • The toilet paper disaster
  • Being ready for more EHS and MCS issues
  • How to deal with special requests from sufferers or multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome
  • Going fragrance-free
  • Why you should never nickel and dime on insurance.
  • Being served up a lawsuit
  • How using one word in a listing can create major problems
  • Ways in which the media create fear and how to proactively deal with it
  • The reason you need to use multiple forms of communication
  • Why having a guest cell number could save you from a potentially disastrous situation
  • The changes we’ll be making for 2019

Links mentioned in this week’s episode:

Are Wifi Allergies a Real Thing?

Wikipedia beach description