Sorry for the delay everyone, I’ve been “off.” This is the time of year that Angela, the kids and I make the 1,350 mile drive to California for a getaway. This time we invited another family along with us to really see things from our guests’ perspective.
If you aren’t spending time “off”, as a guest, in the home you own or manage, you should be.
In this post I’ll share some of the things that we’ve uncovered during this trip. We hope that you will:
- ) Benefit from some of our learnings, and
- ) Realize the value you can create by making it a priority to spend time as a guest in your home.
We try to “get away” to our homes at least once a year. Often we even block peak calendar time for ourselves because it always proves to be a great return on our investment (not to mention the write-off that the expenses from the “business trip” can provide).
I’m not talking about staying at your home for regular maintenance or while you remodel the bathroom. Although maintenance and remodels are important, this time in your home is different. This time “off” is meant to allow you to experience first-hand the joys and frustrations that your guests feel when they stay at your place.
I’ll readily admit that it’s very difficult for us to stay in a guest’s frame of mind when there are so many things to be done as the owner. But each time we’ve stayed it’s gotten a little easier to get away for partial and full days at the home and the insight has proven valuable.
3 Useful Tips We’ve Learned:
- It’s easier to switch from owner-mode to guest-mode when you have Loved ones with you.
- While at the home, only “work” on tasks that you personally add value to and try to plan your stay with a dedicated day or two for projects then the rest for making memories with Loved ones. If something can be handled after you checkout or by someone else in the coming weeks, just make note of it and resist the temptation to knock it out during your stay.
- On your last day, sit in a comfy spot and ask yourself from a guest’s perspective, “What does this place really need to give me an experience to tell others about?” (Read Creating Delightful Memories)
The Fruits from Our Stay:
- Backyard sound system – In theory the surround sound in the family room was intended to easily provide sound in the backyard, but in practice we found that we really needed a dedicated music source outside.
- Broken water guns are a bummer – After a two-day drive we all hopped in the pool. A water gun fight quickly ensued only to find out that three of the four super soakers were completely non-functioning. Went ahead and took care of this one myself…for the kids of course.
- Fan made a slight knocking noise – This isn’t bothersome until you are trying to fall asleep under a clicking fan. I cringe at the thought that this has kept our guests awake like it did me.
- Alarm clocks are clumsy and behind the curve – I wanted to play music from my Android but our alarm clocks were not equipped. Most hotels offer this now; we probably should have them for $20 each.
- Gate to the backyard was stuck – This only matters to whoever takes out the trash, but it’s an unnecessary nuisance that will be easy (for someone else!) to fix now that we know about it.
- Half bath needs a “noisy vent fan” – Noises from a half bath downstairs make all who are within earshot uncomfortable.
- Window glare on TV from setting sun – For about 45 minutes per day the big screen has a giant glare across it from a high window. We found residual tape from one of our guest’s attempts to correct the same issue.
- Additional finds:
- Needs more towel/closet hooks
- Keys need a keychain/lanyard
- Linen closet needs labels
- Nail in the floor popped up – Ouch!
- Toilet seats are loose
- Several doors squeak
- iPod cord is “lost”
- Pack n Play is clumsy
The Bottom Line: By becoming your own guest for a few days you will see your business from your guests’ perspective. That perspective will help you make informed decisions about your business + smart investments into your business. The output should lead to increased guest satisfaction = increased occupancy = increased revenues = increased ROI.
Now quit “working” and go enjoy some time “off” in your favorite vacation home!