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Christine's Vacation Rental Insights

4 Posts tagged with the smoky_mountains tag
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Down a Slippery Road

Posted by christinekarpinski Jan 19, 2011

Hi everyone,

 

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The Gulf Coast Claims Facility came out with definitions for the final claims process for anyone affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (also known as the BP oil spill). While going through the various options for claims, I came to the conclusion that since I am a multiple property owner, it is probably best if I retain an attorney. 

 

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of attorneys who are litigating these cases. Thankfully I didn’t have to search too far for an attorney I trust; I went with Buzbee Law firm, the same firm that has been contributing information to HomeAway's oil spill response site

 

With my other than Gulf Coast rentals, life has been nuts. The snow on the East Coast has made renting cabins in the Smokey Mountains all but impossible. I had a guest who waivered on whether or not to rent. I told her it’s highly unlikely that she will be able to get into our cabins (I basically refused to rent it). 

 

The night before the renter was scheduled to arrive she called me and said she was coming—go ahead and charge her credit card. I told her that housekeeper said the roads were only okay during the day; After dark everything turns to ice.  So the deal was I would rent but only if she would arrive during the day. But if she arrived at night, all bets were off; I could not guarantee that she would be able to access my cabin. 

 

I got a call the next evening and guess what? They didn’t make it there during daylight. Sure enough, the roads were all icy.  At that point, there was not much I could do. I told her I could help her find a hotel or if she was feeling adventurous, she could walk up the road to my cabin. She didn’t like either of those options. She said she would call me back. About an hour later I got a call from her saying she was in the cabin. I asked her if she walked and she said no, they went to the store and bought 20 bags of salt and salted the road! The salt on the road coupled with the extra weight of the unused bags in her car and she made it up the mountain. 

 

This is NOT how I like to run my vacation rental business! I should have stuck to my “no” but in the end the guests really enjoyed the cabin and their time there. I, of course, refunded her the money she spent on salt as well as some extra for her trouble. 

 

Christine

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The Long Road Home

Posted by christinekarpinski Jan 10, 2011

Happy New Year! I hophttp://www.homeaway.com/webdav/site/ha/shared/OC%20Images/Blog/ckhouse.bmpe 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!

 

Christine

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hourglass_sm.jpgHi Everyone!

 

This past week was a good week for inquiries and bookings for my cabins  in the Smoky Mountains. I have been successful in filling a couple of  gaps in my calendars with a few last-minute travelers.

 

It's kinda funny, the last-minute guests seem to be more appreciative  than any ol' guest who books a few months in advance. I'm not sure why  that is. Perhaps it is because they have looked and looked and  everything else was booked, but I like to believe they're happy to find  my diamond in the rough.

 

This month is a big sales tax month for most vacation rental owners.  For most of us who file quarterly, sales taxes for the summer months are  due in October. Reminder, if you own along the Gulf Coast and received  claims money from either BP or GCCF, you do not have to remit sales tax  on the monies received from your claim (the state and counties will be  filing their own claims). You only have to pay sales taxes on actual  rentals.

 

Christine

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Hi Everyone!

This past week was a good week for inquiries and bookings for my cabins in the Smoky Mountains. I have been successful in filling a couple of gaps in my calendars with a few last-minute travelers.

It's kinda funny, the last-minute guests seem to be more appreciative than any ol' guest who books a few months in advance. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps it is because they have looked and looked and everything else was booked, but I like to believe they're happy to find my diamond in the rough.

This month is a big sales tax month for most vacation rental owners. For most of us who file quarterly, sales taxes for the summer months are due in October. Reminder, if you own along the Gulf Coast and received claims money from either BP or GCCF, you do not have to remit sales tax on the monies received from your claim (the state and counties will be filing their own claims). You only have to pay sales taxes on actual rentals.

Christine