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 HomeAway.com 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.