Managing Your Vacation Rental

Great Expectations

Written by Carrie Hillman
Great Expectations
3 5

Setting expectations with your guests for this summer

For many, a summer trip to the Cape and Islands is an annual journey for fun and relaxation. So, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to set your vacationers’ minds at ease while also setting realistic expectations for this unique and busy summer 2021 on the Cape and Islands.

A feeling of safety

This summer will feel safer for your guests for three reasons: the locals have been great at following the COVID regulations, we have a very strong local vaccination program, and COVID cases have dropped.

According to a recent Becker’s Hospital Review, all of the New England states are among the top 7 highest percentage of residents vaccinated, with MA falling in the top 3. As a result, as of Memorial Day weekend 2021, masks are not required outdoors. However, many businesses will still request that you wear them indoors.

Record-breaking year for travel

There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel this summer as what seems like everyone finally takes the leap to plan their first post-pandemic vacation. In our 23-year WNAV history, this year is seeing an unprecedented demand for vacation rentals.

Many things will be back to normal

Many restaurants are open and offering in-person dining. State and business pandemic restrictions are slowly loosening, but many things may still be a little different than they used to be. Ultimately, it’s up to the businesses (not the state) to decide if masks are required. Vacationers should know to pack masks and to keep them handy because some business owners might require them when entering their establishment.

Some hangovers from the pandemic

There will still be some leftover repercussions. COVID-related restrictions on visas, in addition to lack of housing for temporary summer staff, has left many restaurants and businesses short staffed. Help wanted signs are popping up in stores and restaurants all over. Reduced staff at restaurants, combined with increased demand, means that we’ll all have to be more patient and kinder to the staff.

We urge you to prepare your guests about what this summer will be like. Let them know that they should call ahead to restaurants for specifics about in-person dining and takeout procedures. These could be changing often, and their websites aren’t always up to date.

Share the WNAV “What to Expect” video below with your guests. It’s enjoyable to watch and will help manage their expectations a bit.

Other tips for success

We want to encourage vacationers to try restaurants that are lesser known or brand new. Not only will those restaurants appreciate the business, but there might not be as long a line at them!

We recommend that vacationers spend a little more time planning this summer. Buy tickets for museums, day trips, and performances well in advance. Expect that many things like fireworks displays may be canceled, but stay tuned for fairs and events that will be back on for summer 2021, like the Barnstable County Fair on the Cape and the Agricultural Fair on the Vineyard.

Welcome Letter

To help set expectations for guests, consider leaving a special Welcome Letter for this summer. It could include some tips and tricks for navigating the Cape and Islands this first post-pandemic summer. Or it could be a letter in your welcome book or an email before your guests arrive. You could also consider putting it with your list of local restaurants.

Include in the letter:

  • Advice about dining out in your area
  • List of places where reservations are mandatory
  • List of places that do take out
  • List of places that have online ordering
  • Call ahead for details and or wait times
  • Call to ask when your favorite restaurant is least busy, and plan to go then
  • List of local grocers, fish markets, and wine/liquor shops so they can eat at home

They’re fortunate to be renting a house, allowing them access to a kitchen if restaurants are too busy.

Helpful Resources

WNAV What to Expect video, https://youtu.be/lRnsNhNQS4U 

Link to vacationer FAQ page

Sample Letter:

Welcome!

We are so happy you are here. We hope you have a fun and relaxing time.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, this summer is shaping up to be an unprecedented one for vacations to the Cape and Islands.

As of this writing, in June, many restaurants are open and offering in-person dining. State and business pandemic restrictions are slowly loosening, but many things may still be a little different than they used to be.

There will be some leftover repercussions from last summer. Covid-related restrictions on visas, in addition to lack of housing for temporary summer staff, have left many restaurants and business short staffed. Reduced staff at restaurants, combined with increased demand, means that we’ll all have to be more patient and kinder to the staff.

Call ahead for specifics about in-person dining and takeout procedures. These could be changing often, and the websites aren’t always up to date. Please remember that the staff are working hard to stay safe and serve everyone.

We have many lovely local markets, farmer’s markets and fish markets. So if restaurants are too busy, consider staying home and cooking instead.

Many towns’ ocean beaches will be impacted, too. Parking may be limited or even closed during high tide. Do your best to plan ahead, and arrive early.

If you learn any tricks, please share them with other guests on the back of this page.

We’re all in this together! Take a deep breath of sea air and enjoy!

Best,

Our Family

About the author

Carrie Hillman

Carrie was born and raised in the Northeast. She currently lives on the Cape with her two children and husband. They are a family of four who love to travel, play in the sun, hike and canoe. They enjoy sharing the beauty of the Cape while hosting guests at their home when they are traveling.

Leave a Comment