Long before I bought my first rental, I’d experienced many different vacation rentals in Europe, the UK and Canada, so when the time came to open my own doors, I knew what I wanted it to be like.
It had to reflect my vision of hospitality and include all the little things that had made up the sum of all the best places I’d visited.
Over time, I’ve added things here and there, but it wasn’t until I spoke to my guest on this episode, that I realized I may have stalled somewhere along the way.
Richard Craft is the owner of several condos in Port Aransas, Texas, an area he affectionately terms ‘The Redneck Riviera’. He’s passionate about creating the best experience ever for his guests and was a panelist at the recent Homeaway Summit in Austin, where he shared the stage with Beth Caro Carson, a previous Vacation Rental Success guest., and the founder of Vacation Rental Travels.
Richard’s motto is:
The measure of a guest’s vacation experience is the sum of a million Little Things’.
Drawing from his 30 years of experience traveling the country and staying in hotels and vacation homes, Richard (known to his friends as ‘Crafty’) is clear on what can make or break a vacation experience.
He breaks these into three categories:
- Essential: Those details that have to be a part of every guest experience (and may not make an impact unless they are missing!)
- Nice to have: Not essential, but definitely enhance the experience
- WOW: Amaze your guests with totally unexpected touches
On the Essential category, he says
“ The list of essentials can vary by location and type of accommodation. I’ve stayed in fishing cabins where a coffee maker would have been in the “Awesome” category…where it would be an essential almost anywhere else. And I’ve stayed in resorts where if they didn’t provide a comfy robe…you’d be offended.”
He includes elements of power, lighting, and plumbing in this category as well as those amenities that your guests expect but are often forgotten.
Category 2 is where we can find so many ideas to just step up the experience a bit and Richard includes things like:
- A small coffee machine in your master suites
- Doing away with dressers and replacing with shelves, hooks and luggage stands
- Adding motion sensor lights in dark closets and hallways
The wow factors can be dependent on your location and customer expectations. Like the essentials, what is seen as a wow in a modest cabin will differ widely from that seen in a luxury villa.
What are yours?
In this episode Richard tells us:
- Why he has ‘done away with dimmer switches’
- How a few changes in the little things can save money
- Why there is no Tupperware in his properties
- When it’s OK to use labels and what not to use
- Why you need to replace the clock radio alarms with a simpler model
- Why he chooses wired instead of Bluetooth speakers
- How his chalkboard welcome wows his guests
- The one item that makes a real difference when you have a great view
Where you can find Richard: