I’ve been musing on the growth in the vacation rental industry over the past few years after coming across an article in an online travel magazine written in 2010. The article addressed an issue known as SNAD that describes rental properties that are ‘significantly not as described’ and says it is a debunked myth, because research shows such occurrences are rare. That is good to know because only two years earlier I wrote a blog post highlighting SNAD as a concerning challenge facing the industry. It seems that the honesty shown by the majority of owners is being rewarded by trust and confidence by the traveling public.
Honesty cuts both ways
You can look at this from both perspectives. Guests want owners to be honest in their listing descriptions and photographs. They anticipate what they will find in reality will match the expectations raised by the advertising and there will be no unpleasant surprises created by non-disclosure. It makes sense that owners won’t misrepresent their property – with so many avenues open for guests to publish reviews, the risk that omissions will create negative feedback is usually enough to ensure open and honest representation.
On the other hand, owners want their guests to reciprocate with upfront information on their rental group; to be truthful about how many people will be there and to respect any restrictions imposed, such as pet or no-party policies. They trust their guests will be who they say they are, look after the property and leave it in an undamaged and presentable condition, which should not be too much to expect.
A relationship of trust and confidence
Renting a vacation home is very different from booking a room in a hotel from a faceless organization. It mostly involves a relationship between owner and guest that depends on sincere and open communication. I’ve rented out seven of my own properties over the past decade and rented scores of vacation homes during that time, and can vouch for the process. Where there’s been discussion with the owner or rental guest, questions asked and answered, and problems resolved, the experience has generally been first class.
The Tourism-Review article suggested several homework activities guests should do prior to parting with money – this was one I liked.
Give the property manager or homeowner a call. Ask a ton of questions. If they do not give you the warm and fuzzies…then keep looking. There are plenty out there who will.
As an owner I like to give my potential guests a good feeling – call it ‘warm and fuzzies’ if you will, and if I get the same buzz back, I’m pretty confident the relationship will work. That’s been successful for me – I hope it is for you too.