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Dec 11 2012

More Vacation Rental “Silent Killers”

In a previous blog post, I discussed the pitfalls of not offering your vacation rental tenants an option of at least one queen- or king-size bed in your rental home. This is the kind of “silent killer” that may force a vacationer to move on to another listing without even inquiring about yours, and you would be completely unaware. Following are some other pitfalls that might also negatively impact your inquiry and booking numbers without your knowledge.

Is your calendar “stale”?

An out-of-date calendar is a real turn-off to vacationers. On most vacation rental sites, including ours, the availability calendars have a date stamp indicating when the homeowner last updated the information – and this is visible to vacationers. When they see a date stamp that’s over a month old, they often don’t bother inquiring about a home as they figure it may be booked and the homeowner has neglected to enter the booking on their calendar. Again, there will be no indication to the homeowner, who will have missed a booking opportunity. An up-to-date calendar actually improves the rank of your listing in the search results displayed to vacationers.

Do you have any guest reviews posted?

A lack of guest reviews can also qualify as a Silent Killer. One of our biggest challenges lately has been to educate our homeowners about how vital guest reviews are to the success of renting their homes. We often hear responses such as, “I’ve successfully rented my home for years and never needed them before.” But that was then. Nowadays, vacationers have become accustomed to seeing reviews when making other online purchases, and they expect to see them when spending a lot of money on a vacation rental sight unseen. Without them, you may not receive the inquiries you expected, or your inquiries may not convert to bookings, because your having no guest reviews has driven the prospective vacationer to another property that does offer them the assurances from other vacationers.

Do you offer Internet? Air conditioning? Linens?

Although there are certainly good reasons for you NOT to include linens or air conditioning, most of which are financial, we strongly recommend that all of our homeowners offer high speed Internet access. Providing popular amenities such as Internet access and cable TV does add to your utility costs, but it’s SO worthwhile as most vacationers these days require them in order to enjoy their vacations. Vacationers searching for homes on our site are able to select Internet access as part of their search criteria, so without it, your listing will not even appear to them. Read more about the current most popular vacation rental amenities.

You may not be able to increase the number of bedrooms or bathrooms you offer, for example, or move your home to a beachside location. But you can easily keep your calendar up to date, and you might consider investing in a few basic amenities, if you don’t offer them already, in order to significantly improve your booking results.

Can you think of any other “silent killers” that could stand in the way of homeowners getting inquiries and bookings?

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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

2 comments

  1. Don Gratz

    I’d be interested in knowing how people who provide linens handle that. It’s not possible for cleaners to wash sheets in the 2-3 hour cleaning window they often have. Do they provide a linen service?

    1. Shannon Russo

      Hi Don. Great question! I currently don’t supply linens (my renters bring their own) but when I used to provide them, I would always have at least 2 sets of sheets for every bed in the house. That way, during the break between tenants, I could strip the beds, put the second set of clean sheets on, and take the dirty set home for cleaning. The next turnover, I’d bring the now clean sheets back with me and do it all over again! I have never supplied towels, but believe this process would work for them, as well. It is not uncommon for homeowners to refer tenants to one of the linen rental services in our Home Services Directory and let the vacationer take care of the drop-off and pick-up arrangements that work best for them. Take care and thanks for your comment!
      Shannon

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