As I write this I’m just weeks from heading off to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas for a much needed break from our winter wonderland. Of course, we have rented a villa and since we booked it back in March of 2012, we’ve been excited about this vacation. Being in the business I love seeing it from the other end of the transaction, as a guest rather than an owner, so I’m bringing that perspective to this post.
Unless you have rented a vacation home, you will never know what it feels like to anticipate the experience. A 2010 study conducted in The Netherlands concluded that people are happiest in the 6 – 8 weeks before their vacation as they anticipate the great time they are going to have. That happiness can be short-lived if the destination or accommodation doesn’t live up to expectations or causes stress in any way. In fact, their happiness doesn’t rise any more when they get there – it either stays at the same level, or can drop markedly if something goes wrong.
From where I see it as a rental guest, the more information an owner can supply, the greater the anticipation happiness that will be generated. It should go without saying that the key to keeping the optimum level of contentment lies in making sure the reality matches the hype generated by a listing or website. Here are a few questions that are on my mind as we prepare for our Bahamas odyssey:
Will it be as beautiful as the photos?
The pictures look idyllic – the villa seems to meet all our needs, and we just want it to look like the images we’ve seen on the listing, when we get there. No surprises please. No construction going on next door. I don’t want to find out that the view of the ocean is in fact only visible with binoculars, and out of the bathroom window!
Where can we shop for food on the first night?
We are flying in late in the afternoon and have no idea when the stores shut, where the nearest one is, and if we will have time to get there before it closes. I will have to bother the owner again, with that question.
What is there to do if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
We are planning on lots of kayaking, snorkeling and swimming I’m hoping there is a comprehensive Welcome Book and a lot of tourist information to tell us what we can do if the weather is not on our side.
In fact, most of my questions have been answered by the comprehensive pre-arrival package the owners sent to us, along with a lot of prior research we did before choosing the destination. Our experience demonstrates that addressing any questions or concerns a guest has in those 6 – 8 weeks before their vacation, increases the potential of them being happier when they are in the planning stages.
I’ll be posting a report from Eleuthera next month!