VRS282 – Why you always need a Plan B to take the drama out of a crisis

Sometimes things happen out of the blue and you are completely sidelined. In our business, this could be anything from a breakdown in a booking system, a guest complaint, an about-turn by one of the OTAs, and it does more than mess up the day. It’s time-consuming, annoying and frustrating and you just wish you’d been better prepared. That’s why you need a Plan B.

This wasn’t intended to be a solo episode. I had a great interview with Sue Jone of HR4VR about taking on a first employee, what would be in the job description, where to find one, how to set up a training plan etc. I was so pleased with it and knew you would love it.

Then disaster happened, and I didn’t have a Plan B.

When I record a podcast, I have a set routine. I don’t record directly into the editing software just in case there is a glitch. Instead, I have a digital recorder and an SD card. When I’ve finished the interview, I simply take the card and download the audio file into Audacity and my trusty editor (AKA my husband) settles down to interpret my rambles and take out my ums, ahs, and occasional curse word.

This week we scheduled out the editing, writing show notes and accompanying newsletter to happen in a fairly short window as I was heading out to the North West Vacation Rental Professionals Conference in Sunriver, Oregon on Monday. So, when I tried to find the recording I did with Sue, and it wasn’t there, a little panic ensued because I had nothing to take its place.

I was disappointed because it hadn’t gone according to plan, and for Sue, because we’ll have to re-record the episode.

A good plan B would be to have a solo episode pre-recorded to go out just in case of this type of situation. And after this, I will have one.

In fact, when I do get my act together this year, I will be pre-recording and editing episodes several weeks in advance, so won’t be having last minute panic attacks about what I could possibly talk about.

This week I was on the other side of the interview speaking with the host of the new podcast show called This Better Work, Terry Linhart. Terry and his wife will be launching their short-term rental property in the fall so we were talking about the general nature of working in this business and making it successful. Besides the fact that Terry has a great voice and the audio quality is going to be great on his podcast, I was really impressed at his forward planning for his episodes.

This is what I am now striving for!

And then I wouldn’t be in such a panic right now making sure I have something helpful for you to listen to today.

With this in mind, I wanted to talk about the importance of having a backup plan for every part of your business because things do go wrong.

I’ve talked before about emergency planning because it’s a super important part of our preparation for the upcoming season, but it’s a message I need to hammer home with myself!

In our system, every past guest and owner experience is documented with the solution recorded and an evaluation of how it was handled and whether we could have done something different. So, for every problem and issue, we have a standard operating procedure so we know what to do if it occurs again.

In the episode I talk about:

  • When guests arrived to find the previous guests hadn’t departed because they thought they had booked an extra day.
  • The time guests arrived a week early and got all settled in only to find they had got the dates of their vacation wrong. Then the scheduled guests turned up.
  • The dead goose on the lawn that caused guests to refuse to go outside until it had been moved.
  • The guests who locked themselves out of the bedroom on the upper deck with no way out – and they were naked.
  • The dog that got skunked on the guests last day and was so freaked out it ran indoors and jumped all over the furniture – five hours before the next group were due.
  • The deaf and blind dog who went missing 10 minutes before check-out time.
  • Why having a Plan B can save so much time, effort and stress