I talked to a rental guest this morning about his upcoming vacation and a few concerns he had about accessing the property and what would happen when he checked out. It struck me during the conversation that what we were talking about was more to do with trust and confidence than the nuts and bolts of his arrival and departure at the villa. Sometimes the hardest part is teaching new renters to trust.
This guest felt his exposure to risk was much greater in renting a vacation home than in say, booking a hotel room, where a receptionist would provide a secure key, and at the end of the stay would assess a final charge. He had never been in a position where such a large amount was payable in advance; where he would arrive to find a key (hidden in a bench seat on the terrace) and would have to leave it on departure, and where no-one would oversee his check in or out. In short, he was very unsettled by the process.
I can understand where he was coming from. There’s a large number of people who have never heard about vacation rentals (62% in the US according to a Phocus Wright survey) and when they do, it’s a new experience. Their previous vacation history has probably included hotel and resorts, and the change has moved them out of that comfort zone into uncharted territory. Our job as owners is to nurture a sense of trust and confidence so their first foray into our special brand of accommodation delivers great memories without uncertainty or doubt in their accommodation decision.
This cuts both ways and when I talked to our client this morning, I discussed the mutual trust that’s involved in a vacation rental home arrangement. Where he felt exposed in not having the reassurance of on-site staff to check him in and out, so too did the owner who had expectations that his property would be treated respectfully, and left in a good condition.
In a time where we are dealing with the potential of fraudulent activity such as phishing, listing scraping and scams, creating a great relationship with our guests from the first contact becomes a priority. For owners there’s a feeling of confidence their incoming guests are who they say they are and will take care of the property; for travelers, there is the surety the property exists and they will arrive to the welcome they expect.
As an owner of several properties, as well as someone who rents vacation homes frequently, I’ve been on both sides of the fence and really appreciate the contact with guests and owners during the reservation and pre-vacation process. The confidence this creates can last long into the holiday and beyond and that is what makes vacation rental so special.
Have you had some weary renters? Have you been a nervous renter? Tell us your story in the comments!