VRS034 – How to Increase Vacation Rental Guest Happiness in 10 Easy Steps

We all know that guest exepectations continue to rise and what was tolerated 10 years ago, would be grounds for a complete refund today, but some areas are slower to catch on than others. There are a lot of reasons for this, not least of which is the traditional nature of vacations in places where families have been doing the same thing for generations. My home turf, Ontario, is like this. Families have been ‘going to the cottage’ for decades, and some are still OK with saggy mattresses, rusty kitchen utensils and with finding mouse poop in the drawers. In fact, we are still asked for ‘rustic’ on occasion.

tweetI love these 10 Steps to #vacationrental guest happiness. @cottageguru again delivers great content in this podcast

Those occasions are becoming rarer. Demand for cleanliness, higher standards in beds and furniture and upgraded entertainment systems are more the norm, and owners that are not prepared to up their game will be left for dust. I said as much in this recent article in Real Estate Management Industry News, so thought I would use this episode to discuss 10 areas where owners can raise the bar and become the hosts that todays market demands.

In this episode I discuss:

  1. Why a cell signal is not enough to attract the majority of guests
  2. How giving Mom a break from cleaning creates happier vacation memories
  3. How to prevent your guests being locked out – and the benefits of a second key
  4. The advantages of having three propane tanks
  5. Reasons why you should pay attention to your garbage policy
  6. The importance of all amenities being as advertised
  7. Why your guests need someone to call in an emergency
  8. The perfect checkout list and what to avoid putting on it
  9. Benefits of being pet-friendly
  10. The value of negative reviews – why it is not so dreadful to get one.

Featured Links:

Ontario’s Cottage Rental Market Evolving – REMI Network

Sea Ranch Abalone Bay – Donna Martinez  

Being Pet Friendly May Bring More Bookings

10 Ways to Prevent Complaints and Negative Reviews

Fraser McEachern

Thanks for another great show Heather, we love listening in from Adelaide, Australia. Our Holiday Home is in a small coastal town 3 hours south of Adelaide, and the speed of the fixed internet is so average and expensive we have not gone down this path. I’m not sure if the market is slightly different here, but i would love to hear if any other Australians tuning in are in the same boat. I look forward to listening to this weeks episode on our Drive down to Villa Malmo tomorrow evening 🙂 Thanks, Fraser

Heather Bayer

Thank you so much for listening Fraser. It’s taken a few years for internet access to become widely available here in rural Ontario, but once the towers starting going up, the speed of take-up has been phenomenal. Demand is driving it of course.


Hi there, just to kick in my opinion… one of my rentals is in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. There is no cell reception within a 5 mile radius around my cottage. Internet is now possible but cost prohibited (they actually put a mini-tower on your house). I’ve marketed it as an un-plugged vacation (we also have no tv, microwave, etc) and it’s been quite successful so far. I attribute it to ‘modern, nice’ furniture (not old shabby cabin furniture) and not taking stays less than one-week. I’ve not had as much success with 2 and 3 night stays. I think it takes at least that long for someone to relax.

Heather Bayer

Maria – it just goes to show that there is a market for everything, as long as it’s clean, has great furniture and beds and is ‘as described’. Thank you for your comment.

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