If you’ve hired a professional property management company to manage your vacation rental, you expect a lot from them. So do renters. Vacation property renters learn pretty quickly that if they rent directly from an owner on VRBO or Airbnb, the level of direct interaction with that owner — and the level of service they’ll receive during their trip — may be limited. But with a full-service property management company, renters expect the kind of service they’d receive at a quality hotel. Here’s what they expect at every stage of their trip:
First, they expect to know where they are going. The confirmation and check-in information provided by the management company should include detailed directions to the company’s office/check-in location. And even then, if they get lost, they expect a live person to answer the phone and help them. Once they arrive, they expect a clean, professional office with friendly staff to greet them. They expect all needed check-in details, paperwork and damage deposits to be handle quickly and efficiently.
Renters expect any property they stay in to be clean and sanitary. But in an owner-managed property, they might not too upset if there’s a little dust on a bookshelf or the windows aren’t spotless. Not so with a property management company. Renters (particularly in high-end properties) expect management companies to employ professional cleaners that pay attention to every detail. If not, the management company will hear about it.
- Well-stocked Kitchen
A full kitchen is one of the top reasons travelers choose vacation rentals instead of traditional hotels. Again, renters may let an owner slide if the kitchen has a few mismatched dishes, glassware, silverware and the like. But it’s a management company’s job to make sure that all their rentals’ kitchens are a pleasure for guests to cook in. Guests in professionally managed properties expect the appliances and conveniences they enjoy at home: a microwave, toaster, blender, coffeemaker, and plenty of pots, pans and cooking utensils. If the property can accommodate, say, eight guests, then they expect eight matching dinner plates, salad plates, bowels, water glasses, wine glasses, full silverware settings for eight, and more.
- Other Essentials
In addition to a well-stocked kitchen, savvy vacation property renters expect to walk into a “turn-key” home that — other than clothes, personal items and food — has all the practical necessities of a self-contained home. This includes:
• Iron and ironing board
• Trash bags
Again, if the property doesn’t have what renters need, they’ll be calling the property management company and requesting it!(Click here for a list of essential items every vacation property should have.)
Just like a hotel guest, guests at properties with professional management expect 24/7 service. Maybe they just need a restaurant recommendation or some tips on local sights and attractions. Or in some cases — say, in a ski town — guests may need assistance purchasing lift tickets and renting gear. A good management company should be prepared to serve as a concierge service, cheerfully handling inquiries and doing whatever they can to make their guests’ trip easier and more enjoyable. And in the case of an emergency like a broken pipe or a power outage, guests need to know that their management company will answer the phone any time of the day or night and respond with maintenance staff to fix the problem.
Just like check-in, renters expect check-out to be friendly, fast and professional. In most cases, there shouldn’t be any paperwork required — all guests should need to do is hand in their keys. More than anything, it’s a final opportunity for the management company’s staff to show how much they appreciate the guest’s business by (a) inquiring about their stay, (b) wishing them a safe trip and (c) expressing their wish that the guest return soon.
You pay your management company well, so you expect them to be responsive to your needs. But perhaps the best service they can provide for you is to meet or exceed your renters’ expectations in every aspect of their trip, from check-in to departure. That’s the kind of service that will make renters want to return to your property. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what you really pay them to do?