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Christine's Vacation Rental Insights

4 Posts tagged with the housekeeping tag

The Long Road Home

Posted by christinekarpinski Jan 10, 2011

Happy New Year! I hop you all had a wonderful holiday.


My holidays were a bit crazy with all the snowfall throughout the  country. I had some major issues with snow on the roads near my Smokey  Mountain cabins. There was so much snow that my guests leaving couldn’t  get down the mountain, my housekeepers couldn’t get up nor could my  arriving guests. I had to order snow removal services and salt truck! My  neighbor’s guests got impatient waiting for the plows to come and  attempted to go down the mountain. Their car slid and thankfully a tree  stopped their car from ending up in my cabin (see the photo). I had to  help them find a tow truck because I didn’t want anyone checking into  that cabin with a vehicle teetering over the top of the cabin. I was  literally on the phone all day long but in the end, it all got worked  out.


So far 2011 has started off with a nice trajectory for inquiries and  bookings. To me it seems like there are a fair amount of window shoppers  out there but I am confident they will end up booking. I chuckle as I  think back 10 years; if I hadn’t been well booked up by the second week  of January, then I would have been really nervous. But things have  changed significantly over the past 10 years. People are booking closer  and closer to their vacation dates. I have confidence that the bookings  will come.


Wishing you many bookings in 2011!




wallet.jpgHi everyone,


This weekend the tables were turned for me again. Instead of receiving  and responding to inquiries on my homes, I was sending some. Going to  the other side always gives me a different perspective on things.


We’re going with our son for his first official college visit in  Daytona Beach. We’re only going to be there for two nights (yep, I know  most people have 3 night minimums) but honestly I would much rather stay  in a condo instead of one hotel room with the three of us.


Owning beach properties myself, I know that November is likely dead for  most people there. So I figured I’d give vacation rentals the old  college try. I went to and found that many 2 bedrooms, 2  bath properties were available for the same price or $25 dollars more  than the Hilton or Marriott hotels nearby. I thought this was very  reasonable. But then I looked at cleaning fees. Many properties were  charging more for the cleaning fee than for the night’s rental rate! I  totally understand because my cleaning fees for my beach properties are  similar. But being on the other side of the coin now gave me a different  perspective.


This really made me think about my rentals during the fall and winter.  Is it reasonable to expect renters to pay a cleaning fee equal (or close  to equal) to one night’s rental rate? It seems a bit exorbitant (now).  Would this be a barrier that might make a renter choose a hotel over a  vacation rental? I bet it would!


So, a cleaning fee of $150 during the summer on a week-long rental of  $1500 might be reasonable. But that same $150 cleaning fee on a 3-night  booking during the winter when your rates are $150/night might be a bit  much. So what are we to do? You have to have the place cleaned right?  You have a couple of options. You can ask your housekeeper to scale her  rates according to the season or length of stay. Or you can split the  cleaning fee with the guests to nab a booking during the otherwise slow  (or completely dead) season. Me personally, I think I’d opt for the  second choice. I’ll try it and see how it goes.


Stay tuned for the results,




deep cleanHi Everyone!

Hope all's well with you and your rentals. It’s been a good month so far with a steady flow of inquiries coming in.

This week I had openings in two of my cabins. So to take advantage of the downtime and keep my housekeeper gainfully employed, I scheduled some deep-cleaning tasks.

Here are some of the things I specifically asked her to take care of:

Deep clean and sanitize all the nook-and-cranny surfaces around the cabins
Take off all the bedding, including mattress pads, pillow protectors, blankets and quilts and wash them all
Have the carpets steam cleaned
Wash all throw rugs or throw them away (if they are getting bad) and replace them
Wash all the windows and window sills, and clean the blinds
Wash the curtains
Take all the sofa cushions off the sofas and thoroughly vacuum the sofas
Take all the light fixtures down and clean the globes
Take an inventory of all the china, silverware and cookware.
Replace any missing items (I have tons of extras in my owner’s closets)
Replace all the shower curtains
Sweep and hose down the decks

So now my cabins will be sparkling clean and my housekeeper is very pleased to have the extra money during this otherwise slow season.

Happy Renting!
Hello all! I cannot believe it's already the last week of January. Where does the time go?

All in all, January was a steady inquiry month for all of my properties. I was a bit concerned because I thought by this same time last year I had more bookings, so I looked up last year's stats and sure enough, I am at just about the same pace as I was the previous year. I suspect February will be less Looky-Lou's ("lookers, not bookers") and more people who will just call and book (or at least I hope).

Every January I try to make improvements in my properties. This year I have decided to change out my queen-sized beds (that were in my cabin when I purchased it) and replace them with kings.

We'll it's just not that easy of a task—you have to first find mattresses. Ok I have a really good vendor that I use for beds~ Velorlo. They have great quality commercial grade mattresses. Just give them a call, order the mattresses, and set up a delivery date.

The next thing I had to do was find a new bed frame. And of course I would prefer log beds because it's a cabin. If you have ever searched for log beds before you'll know my pains. There are about a million different manufacturers from the mass production places to the one-off guy who makes them in his back yard. Then there are the different types of materials—pine, willow, white cedar, red cedar, aspen, oak, cherry and the list goes on. And then you have to choose a finish, with the bark or without, rustic peeled, rough cut, smooth finish, unfinished, oiled, stained, Aaaaahhhhhhhh too many decisions! I get very overwhelmed with decisions. In the end what I did was called another owner that I know who has log beds. I asked her what she bought and then I just got the same ones. Yes it's lame, but I would have never made a decision on my own.

Now it's time to buy new sheets, new quilts, pillow shams, dust ruffles, and I'll probably have to change the curtains because the old ones won't match.

And lastly, try to coordinate it so everything is delivered around the same time.

I thought I was just going to switch the size of the beds—not so easy I guess!

Happy Renting by Owner!