Rentini provides useful and exciting travel insights. From adventures to marketing tips for vacation rental owners, we want to help you travel as it's meant to be – easy, refreshing, & fun!

Posts tagged ‘vacation rentals’

Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal: HomeAway’s Trademark Infringement Suit Against AirBnB

Homeaway sues AirBnB for trademark infringement

News of HomeAway’s trademark-infringement lawsuit against AirBnB has left many customers of both companies wondering what to think about the whole thing.

“Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal.” This famous saying, most often attributed to Pablo Picasso, pretty much summarizes how the creative process works in any media. And Silicon Valley is no different.

If you’re good enough at making high-quality copies, people will admire you for your skillset. You will earn some respect and even a decent amount of money. Still in all, it doesn’t matter how good the replica is. It will be overshadowed by the original creation.

A creative genius, Picasso was never interested in copying things. His creative process began with ideas from others, which once absorbed, took on a new life in his own image, and on a different scale.

Oftentimes, these ideas came to him via the great masters, and sometimes from his fellow artists. Throughout his career, he mastered his “art of stealing” like no one else.

While a teenager, Picasso became fascinated by the work of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. This resulted in a series of works that made the originals look pretty outdated. One of Picasso’s greatest contributions to the art world, Cubism, was also influenced by Ingres.

Turkish Bath Picasso vs IngresTurkish Bath by Ingres (1862) – left and by Pablo Picasso (1907) – right

This is how things get done in the realm of genius. Ideas inspire great artists to create a new art form that didn’t exist before, and is often regarded as revolutionary.

Whether you borrow or steal in the world of business, the consequences are vastly different.

On December 16, 2013, AirBnB launched a new advertisement campaign, “Home to You.” The Home to You ad campaign centers around a video showing artisans recreating 50 Airbnb vacation rental listings in the form of miniature birdhouses.

Yes, birdhouses. This is what all the fuss is about.

Here’s how AirBnB describes the idea behind the movie on their YouTube channel:

No creatures on earth travel quite like birds do. They soar the skies, then land in new places. They see the world from a different perspective, one to which all real travelers aspire. This film is a celebration of our passion for travel and the kind of hospitality that makes people feel at home anywhere.

How could a story like that not touch the soul of an aspiring traveler?

But, apparently, it can also touch a copyrighted image: the “Birdhouse Mark” which happened to be a protected trademark of AirBnB’s biggest competitor, HomeAway, Inc. HomeAway’s logo prominently features a birdhouse, and the company uses birdhouses as its sort of “mascot.”

According to HomeAway’s argument, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of AirBnB, paid multiple visits to HomeAway’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. This said, it’s probably safe to assume that the giant birdhouse replica in the middle of their headquarters didn’t pass unnoticed.

Birdhouse by HomeAway in their headquarter

We will leave it up to history to determine whether AirBnB’s national campaign is a complete steal or just borrowing. It certainly visualizes an especially poetic perspective on travel.

One thing, though, is crystal clear to Brian Sharples, CEO and Chairman of HomeAway.

“We do believe it is a fairly deliberate attempt to confuse the marketplace,” Sharples has said. Chesky “has been to our downtown offices several times. He has stepped into our giant birdhouse. I don’t think that anyone could argue that this was a mistake on their part.”

So, what now?

Should we consider it as a formal announcement of the war between two competitors? Was HomeAway fed up with AirBnB breaking more and more into the market for traditional vacation rental homes?

Although they are clashing over the same market niche, HomeAway and AirBnB are very different animals when it come to their respective cultures, founders, and backers, and the demographics of their hosts, guests, founders, and even haters.

It’s even safe to say that AirBnB and HomeAway are completely opposites any way you look at them. This is what makes this clash so fascinating.

Let’s look back at the history of two companies and try to understand what may arise from this.

HomeAway, Inc, nowadays a publicly traded company under the AWAY ticker, was founded in 2005 by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd. Within six years,  they managed to bring the company to its IPO, generating a sixfold return on investment (based on the post-IPO figures).

Their runaway success was mainly attributable to a clever way of cherrypicking and acquiring market leaders in the vacation rental industry around the globe, and monetizing their existing customer bases.

Some of HomeAway’s most notable acquisitions included VRBO.com and VacationRentals in the US, Arbitel.fr in France, and about twenty additional websites in different time zones, languages and hemispheres, the most recent being the Australia-based Stayz, for $198M. HomeAway often called themselves a startup, but it’s pretty unusual for a startup to begin operations with $49M on hand, with another $500M deposited by VCs within the first couple of years of operation.

AirBnB was founded in 2008, by two designers,Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and an engineer, Nathan Blecharczyk. For a few months they tested out the idea of renting an airbed in their San Francisco loft to conferencegoers. Packaged with a small meal, the accommodation was dubbed  Airbed and Breakfast (later shortened to AirBnB). They made a few attempts to replicate this model in other cities, but that didn’t help with their flat revenue graph.

Forced to think outside of the box as their fledgling company struggled to become profitable, the founders began to offset their losses by selling repackaged cereal as “Obama O’s” and “Captain McCain’s.” The cereal story, a hit during the 2008 election, later became a trigger point for Paul Graham to take these guys seriously. In the winter 2009, the founders were invited to participate in YCombinator, one of Silicon Valley’s first and most respected startup accelerators. From this very moment, AirBnB’s growth was phenomenal. The amount of funding they attracted over the course of couple of years reflects their rapid market expansion. Starting from the $20K coming from the YCombinator fund, they quickly accumulated $326M in funding from their first tier investors and celebrities. Being pioneers of the shared economy, they inspired a lot of controversy, viral press, and tidal waves of support from all around the globe. It’s fair to mention that over time the website became for some a reliable source of income—and for others, some sort of a travel religion. People started referring to AirBnB’s brand as a foundation of a new phenomena: the shared economy. Inspired by their success, dozens of other startups adopted their business model to different markets: AirBnB for CarsAirBnB for Dogs, you name it! Finally, the AirBnB founders came up with their own new version of AirBNB … for birds.

BirdBnB.com became their first national ad campaign calling for bird houses. Notably, the campaign cost AirBnB no less than $2M.

“We promise you’ll never look at birdhouses the same way — and if you stay in one of these remarkable homes around the world, you may never look at travel the same way again too,” the website states. (At the time of this article, BirdBnB.com is redirecting to the main website AirBnB.com)

This is where their march has been stalled by a lawsuit from HomeAway.

Homeaway Birdhouse logo

“Defendant and HomeAway target and provide services to an overlapping class of Travelers for their respective services, through overlapping channels of trade,” the HomeAway suit states. “On information and belief, Defendant, has long targeted the tenants in landlord owned apartments in major cities (such as New York, Paris, San Francisco, Berlin, etc.) as its major supplier of listings.”

“However, Defendant [Airbnb] has recently increased its efforts to attract business in traditional vacation rental markets (such as the Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountains, Provence and Tuscany), in which HomeAway has long been well-established.”

Embedded in the culture of HomeAway, Sharples said, is the birdhouse logo, designed by downtown Austin advertising firm McGarrah Jessee and chosen “because it symbolizes what we do.”

AirBnB’s creative genius has served them pretty well on many occasions. It will be interesting to see how things will unfold this time.

Shall we expect an open-field battle between competitors, a massive settlement or M&A talk?

What are your thoughts on this?

3 Vacation Rental Scam Scenarios: Detect and Prevent!

Vacation Rental Scam: Detect and Prevent

Scammed in Vacation Rental

Recently, we have been hearing more and more about occurrences of vacation rental scam. This news is not only harmful to owners, but also to the industry as a whole. We want to arm you with essential tools to identify common tactics and take preventative measures before it is too late. We wrote about some of this before and then again but still wanted to keep you in a loop on the latest news and measures.

Let’s face it, emails written in broken English, requesting a wire transfer to Africa, are a thing of the past. Today’s fraudulent schemes have become much more sophisticated, but don’t fret. Whether you are a traveler, homeowner or property manager, the following tips are crucial to consider:

INITIAL RED FLAGS (PERHAPS IT’S AN ONLINE SCAM)

  • If a payment is requested through a wire transfer service such as MoneyGram or Western Union or there is a request for a cashiers check, you should investigate further.
  • If the deal seems too good to be true for the type of accommodation and the area, it should raise a red flag.
  • If the only way to contact the owner is via email and no phone number was provided or no one ever answers the number given, you should immediately question the credibility of the source.
  • If the emails you receive have obvious English grammar errors, you should investigate further.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK TO IDENTIFY VACATION RENTAL SCAM

  • Do your due diligence and complete a background check on the owner and rental.
  • Conduct Google and social media searches.
  • Check reviews from past clients.
  • Become familiar with most common vacation rental scam scenarios and make sure you don’t follow the same trap.

We have outlined a few scenarios below.

Scam scenario #1: 

A Great Deal Not to Miss, But The Property Doesn’t Exist

Craigslist Scam Alert about Waikiki Listings

A snapshot of a Scam Alert published on Craigslist

Vacation rental scams may not all display the most beautiful property photos, but they will typically offer a great discount to tempt potential visitors

If a great property is offered at half price with one condition that money must be sent via wire transfer, watch out. Just because they may be only asking for a deposit, it doesn’t mean it is not a scam.

Scammers accepting reservations many months in advance could collect 10%-50% of the total, multiple times, before anyone raises an alert. And, at the time when would-be travelers discover that the place simply doesn’t exist, it will be too late.

Back in June I received a call from a guy, urgently looked for same day accommodation. Distressed, he claimed he had just arrived to New York from San Diego, and learned he was the victim of a fraudster. He found a craigslist ad showing an amazing loft for rent in the heart of New York’s SoHo district and connected via phone with an advertiser who requested to wire him a one-night deposit of $140. The remainder of the balance was due at check-in. Unfortunately there was neither a check-in point nor anyone who knew the advertiser at the address provided. The traveler had to learn the hard way that even at a rate of $140 a customer, fraudsters exist.

Scam scenario #2:

The Property Is Real But The Rental Is Not

Scammed in Fort Myers Beach Vacation Rental plot

It goes like this:

Traveller: “Hello, we are here! We booked your house!”

Homeowner: “Really?”

Check out this Easter weekend case from Fort Myers Beach

Classified sites like Craigslist provide a plenty of room for misrepresentation. An advertiser could pretend they are someone else by supplying real names and addresses with legit profiles, hoping nobody will double check.

Here’s another incident when scammers poached information from a legitimate real estate website. A property manager had listed the property, but scammers fashioned a phony advertisement with an irresistible price tag:

Scam scenario #3:

Beware of Vacation Rental Phishing

 Vacation Rental - No phishing

Image a courtesy of Ann F Brundige

Those of us who follow the vacation-rental phishing saga are probably aware of this scenario:

  1. Emails exchange via email or a platform similar to VRBO
  2. Money wired via bank transfer
  3. No answer.

Phishing schemes fraudulently extract personal information by e-mail (the e-mail log-in credentials of a property owner). The fraudster then impersonates the owner, requiring customers to wire money.

Ann Schutte, who found a rental villa with a “million-dollar” view in Sedona, Arizona, through the rental web site VRBO.com, became a victim of such phishing plot.

HomeAway, which owns VRBO and other vacation rental web sites, reported 3,000 phishing cases as of last fall.

Still unsure if any of those scenarios applies to you?

Take a rental scam quiz to evaluate your chances of being scammed. This quiz urges you to evaluate possible scenarios and run a reality check.

Rental Scam Detection Quiz

In summary, don’t forget the three simple steps below, great preventative measures against scammers:

  1. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Run away.
  2. If wire transfer payment is the only option, insist on a credit card payment.
  3. Use vacation rental websites that hold guests’ payments in escrow until the check-in date (rentini.com is one of them).

Just put yourself in scammer’s shoes and try to deal with a customer who follows those 3 simple steps. Would you succeed? At Rentini, we promote these simple measures and see scammers run away!

How to Report Scammers

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complain at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C):

http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

In addition, if you’ve been ripped off or scammed, complain to the Federal Trade Commission. It can help put the bad guys out of business. Watch this video to learn how to proceed:

To file a complaint, just go to http://www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Have you heard of any other stories or want to share your own tricks how to detect scam?

Feel free to share in the comment section below.

How Burning Man Can Bring You the Best Customer

Aerial video by Eddie.com

A year ago I had a guest at my lake Tahoe Knotty Pine Cabin who asked me if there was enough room in the house’s driveway to park his RV. The guy was planning to “decompress for a couple of days” after  Burning Man 2012 on his way back from Black Rock Desert. Whatever that means…

A few days later when the guy had left I learned something that made me think he was the best guest ever.

In the beginning I was a bit concerned about this decompression party in my house. One could only guess what this guy had in mind.

About ten years ago I had been to Burning Man a few times and went to decompression parties. It was great experience but it was outdoor and didn’t involve my newly remodeled house. We’ve all heard these AirBnB horror stories about guests who turned very ugly, right?!

After a quick phone conversation with the guy I decided to let him stay at my house as he sounded easy going and very mellow.

Typically I don’t get to meet my guests in person as the front door is equipped with a keyless lock system.  I just generate a code online and send it to my guests.

I hadn’t heard from the guy during the check-in time, so I assumed everything was going smooth upon his arrival. A day later I called my neighbor and asked if she noticed any nuances with the house or its occupants. She said the RV is parked on the driveway but she didn’t see anyone at all. It was very quiet. I was relieved.

A few days later the guy checked out and my housekeeper confirmed everything was in a perfect shape. The damage deposit was refunded automatically 48 hours after check-out and I received a positive review from this guest.  He called me though in order to share one thing privately. Apparently there was no hot water in the house for a few days. He said it was completely fine for him as he took showers in his RV.

What? It would have taken me 5 minutes to solve the problem but my guest never bothered telling me while he was in the house. He just took a shower in his RV… I felt so bad and was about to refund the money he had paid me. He insisted it wasn’t an issue at all and that I shouldn’t  worry about any of that. Whatever happened obviously he and his party had a great time at my cabin!

Every year about fifty thousand participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City.

Who are these people? What is Burning Man all about?

Depending on who you ask one can get a different answer. BM (Burning Man) could mean a community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance, or just getaway from their real life. It lasts one week, then everyone goes home having left no trace whatsoever.

I thought that the best way to show BM is through the Drone’s eye view or instagram images from real people.

Below we selected a dozen of instagram photos from Burning Man 2013!

What do you think about Burning Man after watching a video at the top and looking at these photos?

Burning Man BELIEVE instagram photoinstagram image by Alr75

Burning Man 2013 BM UFO by caseyklein11instagram image by caseykllein11

Burning Man 2013 image of woman by Whimsili instagram image by whimsili

Burning Man sunrise on the playainstagram image by nikolaicornell

nateholme Burning Man Evil Machine from the Spaceinstagram image by nateholme

Burninig Man 2013 The House on Wheelsinstagram image by jackwasarobot

Burning Man 2013 UFO Bad Lnadinginstagram image by ajcurtis78

Burning Man 2013 Battleship in a desert oasisinstagram image by welaughindoors

Burning Man 2013 Mirror faceinstagram image by ondeathbeds

Burning Man 2013 Silly cupcakesinstagram image by whcheath

Burning Man 2013 The door in the desertinstagram image by caitran

Burning MAn 2013 The Crowdinstagram image by sardarovtimur

Burning Man 2013 The Burninstagram image by dubmachine

instagram image by

Benefits Of Booking a Vacation Rental vs a Hotel Room

Vacation rental cottage room in Santa BarbaraWhy Hotel when you can vacation rental?

We have been programmed by the package holiday culture to immediately think of booking a hotel room when they go away for a few days or a holiday.

However, booking a serviced flat, or a vacation rental, in your holiday or business destination can not only prove cheaper – it can also offer more flexibility and also means you are not tied down to a hotel meal plan and can even cater for yourself.

Some vacation rentals are purpose built and managed by managing agents for the landlord or owner, which may be a company or a private individual.

Luxury and Unique

Staying in an executive apartment can mean finding somewhere more luxurious and stylish than a hotel room – and staying in a privately owned vacation rental might mean your holiday is spent in a unique apartment or a house with home comforts, rather than a hotel room which may look like every other hotel room you have ever stayed in.

and There Are More Perks

Here are a few benefits to choosing a vacation rental rather than an hotel when on a city break or holiday:

  • Children – staying in hotels with children can be stressful and inconvenient – especially if your kids have problems sleeping, only like certain foods, or need a special diet or medication. Installing the family in a serviced apartment means you can carry on with your normal routine, while enjoying the excitement of exploring a new city or resort together.
  • Facilities – vacation rentals need to attract visitors and so will usually be fully equipped with Internet connection, TV, kitchen, power shower and comfy beds. You can also look for vacation rentals which meet your specific requirement instead of having to put up with whatever facilities the hotel offers.
  • Peace – hotels can be bustling places and soundproofing is not always very good, especially in older or cheaper hotels. Serviced flats are usually inspected by a managing agent and brought up to certain standards, and peace and privacy will be a major consideration, as well as security.
  • Romance – hotel rooms can be difficult places to kindle a romance in unless you can afford a soundproofed penthouse suite. Choosing a vacation rental means you can look for somewhere a bit more private, a bit more romantic – and without the annoyance of other guests constantly marching up and down the corridor outside, singing in the shower – or nudging each other and winking over the breakfast buffet as you walk past.
  • Standard of accommodation – serviced flats and apartments can often be in the center of cities and resorts, or are conveniently placed for public transport. Look for privately owned vacation rentals if you want a home away from home – or look for an executive apartment in a designated serviced block for transport links into the city center and a location close to an airport.
  • Tariff – hotels in major cities can be really expensive if you want a good standard, but cities like Rome or London or Barcelona will all have flats and apartments for rental long- or short-term. If you regularly travel to a city, finding an apartment you really like can be hugely beneficial and takes the stress out of hotel life – strike a deal and a special rate for regular occupancy and it really can be like having a home away from home.

Keep in mind though when you don’t book a package holiday, your holiday isn’t protected by the Package Travel Regulations therefore you won’t be able to claim back compensation if the accommodation didn’t match the standards you were expecting.

Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays abroad, traveling and sight seeing! I just love holidays and travel but it’s always important to remember things cannot always go to plan… Google+

How to spend less than 30 minutes per day on social media [INFORGRAPHIC]

Social media for vacation rental in 30 minutes a dayA crush course to social media

Whether we want it or not but social media takes more presence in our personal and business lives. How to get it under control and use more effectively?

Our friends at Pardot put together an awesome infographic to help you determine which tasks are most important, and how much time you should ideally be dedicating to each of your social channels. Your strategy will likely differ (and should!) slightly from the infographic below, but the import thing is to identify your key channels, plan for a set number of tasks, and allot yourself a set period of time and stick to it!

Let’s have a look:

Rock Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day [INFOGRAPHIC] - Pardot Infographic

Embedded from the Pardot Blog

What is your strategy in social media? What social channel works better for your business?

2 simple ways to update your vacation rental calendar

Vacation rental availability calendar reservation blocking

Don’t Wait to Update Your Vacation Rental Calendar: Time Blocking and Reservations

Like many of my neighbors and fellow owners in Hawaii and Lake Tahoe, I love surfing, skiing and snowboarding, so why would I own property anywhere else?  It comes as no surprise that, like me, most vacation rental owners buy homes in the places they like to visit themselves.  And they visit a lot.

During my first year of owning a pad in Maui Kamaole, Hawaii, I visited 5 times. I stored my two surfboards in the closet, bought an annual pass on ATA airlines and eventually realized the importance of manually updating my vacation rental calendar.

In my previous post I talked about a very simple way to setup automatic calendar synchronization, once and forever. Here we discuss how to update your calendar manually.

At Rentini we have two options for updating calendar:

1)   Create a blocking – an easy one step process

2)   Create a reservation  –  a two step process which requires you to record payment.

There are multiple ways to add a reservation or time block to your calendar. The most intuitive would be by following navigation tabs:

  • Rentals >> Blocking >> Add Blocking
  • Rentals >> Reservations  >> Add Reservation

Another way of adding a time block or reservation would be by opening the monthly calendar page from the Dashboard or on Edit Listing page.

Select a month and roll your mouse over any date until an Update button appears. Click on the Update button or anywhere in that cell. A new window will pop-up, which will let you choose a type of action. Available options are:

  • Add Blocking
  • Add Reservation
  • Add Rate

We will discuss how to add different types of rates in future posts. For now, let’s just focus on blockings and reservations.

Time Blocking

Rule of thumb: Use blockings to mark dates unavailable.

To block, choose your start and end dates and hit the Update Calendar button. You can also put in a note for future reference, such as “My last minute getaway!!!” or “Uncle Sam promised it’s his last trip this year

The process is a bit more complicated with reservations as there are a few different scenarios worth considering.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the dates on your calendar will not become unavailable until payment is submitted by the guest or the homeowner marks the reservation paid manually.

Reservation on Guest’s behalf: You are Expecting Payment

You may create a reservation on guest’s behalf and assign a custom rate to it (optional).  Let’s say someone calls you and says, “I would like to rent your place. How do I proceed from here?”

All you need is their name and email address.  Just open Rentals >> Reservations and click Add Reservation button. Select the Yes option for email notifications. This way your guests will receive an email invitation to pay the required amount as well as all future reminders. This is convenient, as you do not need to remember important dates to remind your guests about payment dues. The system sends out reminders automatically.

If you do not want them to receive automatic reminders,  just select the No option for email notifications.

Reservation on Friend’s Behalf

If a friend of yours wants to visit and you only want to charge them a cleaning fee, they may leave a check for the housekeeper or pay in advance.

To facilitate the pay in advance option, just click Add Reservation and enter $1 into the Custom Rate field (sorry, the system doesn’t allow to enter $0).  Select the Yes option for Email notifications and then hit Update Calendar. An email invitation will then be sent to your friend so he/she can pay online. Once they complete the payment process, the dates will be marked unavailable.

Reservation Payments

If a guest calls you and wants to submit a payment, you may accept credit card payments over the phone. However, it is important to note the recent PCI compliance standards, which do not allow keeping your guests’ card on file unencrypted.

Protecting cardholder data is also good for your business because PCI security prevents stolen customer data, and:

  • Prevents lawsuits
  • Saves you money

Rentini payment portal becomes handy when you need to accept payments and stay PCI compliant. We incorporate all the latest standards, which could also be another selling point for those guests who are concerned about Internet fraud and unauthorized credit card abuse. Working in IT data security for 13 years taught me to keep my hands away from sensitive information wherever possible. When a vacation rental guest offers me their credit card over the phone, I politely refuse to accept it. Accepting payment via a PCI compliant online system gives you the piece of mind that you won’t be liable for any data breach.

If you have any suggestion on how to make our reservation system better, please leave your feedback in comments!

Happy rentals!

My Adventure as a Guinea Pig at a Vacation Rental

A Guinea Pig Vacation Rental Guinea Pig on a missionat a Vacation Rental

There has been a lot of talk lately regarding the best ways to discover if you are meeting your guests’ expectations by going on your own vacation and analyzing your experiences.  Whether you decide to do this in another vacation rental or in your own, applying all you’ve learned can be invaluable.

I decided to try this experiment myself and see what I discover.   I rented a short term rental for one week.  Booking just like anyone else I found a location, looked at photos, studied the cost, checked reviews and then made my decision.

Taking a different approach in property selection

I took a different approach though.  I decided to “go all out” and book a property I would not normally book.  My philosophy was that if I book a property that meets all my expectations, I would take everything for granted.  On the other hand, if I were to stay in a property that is lacking, the conditions would force me to take notice.  So I found one with the following:

  • Location:         Good – Check – (I did want a nice location)
  • Photos:            Rooms missing in photos (bathroom, second bedroom), completely original, 1980s décor, oh….tube TV – Check!
  • Price:               Same as others in the area; no less, no more – Check
  • Reviews:         Could be better – Check

Yes my vacaiton rental getaway is awesome!Booking was a breeze.  It couldn’t have been easier.  The owners were very pleasant and wonderful to work with.  Entry upon arrival was smooth and all instructions for departure were conveniently placed on the breakfast bar.  The guest information book was a bit dated and could have used a cleaning, but some of the most important numbers (i.e. emergency, dining out) were included.  YES!!!

After such a wonderful reception from the owners and easy entry I was very optimistic about how my experience would unfold, but I quickly went

From this:                                                                                To this:

 Easy cooking at vacation rental kitchen                    Kitchen nightmare at vacation rental

in a matter of two days.

Not wanting commit Hara-Kari while I was there (and I’m also not a Samaria) I made the best of it and jotted down anything that I found hindered my vacation experience hoping that my findings will help others and I didn’t expire in vain.  The result was this table.   These are items that were missing from the rental or items that could have used updating.

Complete your analysis and start your own list

Take from this what you will; create your own – add your own missing items.   I hope it helps you get started on your own analysis should you choose to do one.

Kitchen: Comments
  • Cabinets/Countertop
 Not securely fastened
  • Ceiling
 Water spots or stains
  • Sink
 Leaks, caulking
  • Stove, Fridge, Microwave
 Fridge – poor working order, stains, rust
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Sharp knives
  • Salt and Pepper shakers
  • Grater
LR, DR, Bedrooms, Hallways:
  • Walls/Trim
Cracks, water damage
  • Closets
Poor alignment
  • Stairs
Loose handrails
  • Door
Misaligned
  • DVD player/Blu Ray
  • IPod docking station
  • AM/FM stereo
  • Television
  • Furniture
Rips, stains
  • Sturdy furniture legs
  • Extra batteries/light bulbs
  • Clean remotes and guest info book
  • Linens free of stains
  • Flat sheet
  • Fitted sheet
  • Mattress protector
  • Pillows (not enough)
Miscellaneous:
  • Washer/Dryer
Stains, rust
  • Fire extinguisher
Didn’t really need this personally, but thought I might for a minute and it wasn’t there
  • Floor fans
  • Broom & pan
  • Laundry hamper/basket
  • Fly swatter
  • First aid kit
Didn’t really need this either, but an after thought when I thought I might need an extinguisher
  • Mop/Pail /Cleaners
  • Beach/Pool/Hot tub towels – one per adult person
  • Cooler
  • Overall cleanliness

So, all in all, yes, staying in a vacation rental and analyzing my experience was well worth it and is highly recommended.  Thank you Mike Bayer of Cottage Rental Services for your article Don’t Just Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk. I took your advice, learned quite a bit and came out winning.  We take many things for granted until they are no longer around.  The best way to know if you’re missing something is to miss it. Here’s hoping all your guests smile like this.

Anita Ericksen Author of FF&E

Anita Ericksen is the author of FF&E, Furnish and Equip Your Vacation or Executive Property in 5 Days.  You can find out more about her at www.anitaericksen.com.  Photos are clip art and the guinea pig is not mine though I wish he was.

%d bloggers like this: