VRS393 – Getting Ready for Summer – The Laundry List Edition

Finally, the pandemic appears to be receding and we’re ready to go for the summer.  But are we?

We generally know what to expect from a long hot summer of rentals.  A/C units will break down; summer storms will take down power, sometimes for days; construction noise will impact guests' tranquility, and at least 5 sets of guests will report broken refrigerators.

So with this in mind, we’re usually well set for the season.

This year will be different.  As it is for many owners and managers, we will be dealing with a bumper crop of first-time guests, many of whom haven’t got their first choice, and who have paid significantly more than they expected. 

The Facebook groups are awash with posts already talking about people being more demanding, who are less aware of the differences posed by short-term rentals rather than hotels, and are in refund/rebate mode almost before they arrive.

Here’s one such post:

“Every couple of months I get a renter who sends me a laundry list of ridiculous complaints upon arrival. They always refuse the house to be recleaned. And then they say how wonderful the house is once I mention a full refund if they would like to leave. I just don't get these people! So irritating.”

This year will be an eye-opener for those who’ve been used to a wealth of five-star reviews from happy guests.  As my office manager is prone to say, “They are pre-soured”.  After 15 months of shutdowns, work-from-home, homeschooling, indoor dining deprivation, and mask-wearing, they are emerging in fighting mode.

Let’s be prepared.

In this episode, I explore what we should expect and how we can get ahead of some of the issues that are going to come up.

And here’s what we put in our Touch Stay guide to reduce the ‘fridge isn’t working’ complaint:

My Refrigerator is Not Cooling?

Refrigerator Cooling Facts:

  • A large quantity of warm groceries placed in an empty refrigerator takes approximately 12 hours to adequately cool.

  • Keeping the doors closed as much as possible during the first few hours is helpful.

  • Cool perishable items first.  Place canned drinks, watermelon, etc in a cooler with ice and move to the refrigerator in a few hours.

  • Keep the refrigerator control setting on MEDIUM at all times for optimum cooling.

  • If controls are set to maximum a defrost cycle can occur, cause the coil to freeze and the refrigerator will not cool.  It may take 18-24 hours to compensate for the defrost cycle, so, leave the setting on MEDIUM.

Please do not adjust any settings on the fridge/freezer.

This is one of the most common issues reported to us, particularly on a hot, humid summer day, shortly after a guest's arrival and the introduction of large quantities of food and beverages.

Turning the fridge controls down when you arrive will not cool your food and beverages any quicker.  Instead, it may cause a build-up of ice and the fridge may stop working altogether. 

If you experience the fridge not cooling well enough this is likely to be the problem.

The only solution is to completely defrost the unit by switching it off and leaving the door open for 4-6 hours before switching it back on again.

What you'll hear in this episode:

  • Educating guests on why they will have to change their own light bulbs and put out the garbage
  • The importance of setting expectations – on everything
  • Explaining what is provided and dealing with assumptions
  • Why the refrigerator broke down….the 100% reason
  • Managing extra guest expectations…why can’t we have a wedding midweek??
  • The value of pre-stay messaging & using a texting app
  • Being ready for neighbor complaints