2011

Hi Everyone!

 

I’m down in Destin for my “mid-summer’s dash in and refresh” time for my properties. This is the time of the year when I check up on housekeeping and maintenance issues, and I also restock my cleaning products, cleaning supplies, etc. In my cards this week I see some trips to the Wal-Mart (cleaning supplies), the furniture store (to replace a damaged chair), the linen store (to replace a comforter) and what trip would not be complete without a trip to my local Home Depot! And of course, I’ll sneak in a bit of beach time too.

 

It’s so refreshing to see all the tourists back in Destin this year. Remember these blog posts from last year? http://community.homeaway.com/blogs/christine/2010/05/07/gulf-coast-oil-spill-update It’s hard to believe that this same time last year Destin was a bit of a ghost town. The BP oil spill was a devastating disaster with no end in sight.  How quickly we all forget. Let’s just say I am so happy that the worst of this is behind us. It seems that our loyal tourists are back this year.

 

With the amount of tourists in town, I would venture to guess that most owners here are having a pretty good rental year. But I know, at what price? Though the tourists are back, it seems that the oil spill created or should I say has exacerbated a monster—bargain hunters!

I did an inquiry analysis for my properties and from what I can tell; it’s getting harder and harder to get quality bookings. In the past it used to take me 6-10 inquiries to get one booking. This year for my Destin properties, it seems to have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled. The one common denominator is people are shopping around for bargains. Do you think if we all double our rates next year and then run specials, “50% off” the renters would go for it? Ha! Probably not; but it’s nice to dream about it.

 

Christine Karpinski

www.howtorentbyowner.com

Hi Everyone!

 

homeaway IPO Exposure.jpg

Congrats to HomeAway for a successful IPO (Initial Public Offering) last week! As a former employee (one of the first employees), I was watching the IPO very closely. While you may not think the IPO has an impact on you if you didn’t purchase any shares, but as owners/advertisers on their sites, I beg to differ. When a company goes public, it garners a lot of national and international press, which in turn should help gain more exposure for the vacation rental industry. I think the IPO is great for everyone.

 

Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend. I was on vacation last week staying in a property in the Finger Lakes in NY that I found on vacationrentals.com. It was a great property that was very well equipped. The weather was perfect for us, it was in the low 70’s all week. I thought it was funny that everyone kept apologizing for the cool temperatures but for us it welcomed reprieve from the Texas +100 degree heat.

 

As for my rentals, bookings are doing very well this year. I had another first happen to me—my guests who were staying in one of my condos got robbed. What happened was they left the door unlocked and they were sitting on the balcony with the sliding door closed (a hurricane door).  They had their wallets sitting on the nightstand in the bedroom which is just inside the front door. Apparently someone came in while they were on the balcony and stole the cash out of their wallets. The robber didn’t take anything else, no credit cards, not their Mac Book or iPads or iPods which were also sitting out in plain view. It sounds like it was a petty thief but nonetheless, I still took all the necessary steps that we would with any type of crime. I had the guests file a police report; we reported it to the on-site security and notified the HOA. And even though it was not a forced entry, I had a locksmith come over and re-key all the locks. I figure for $60 it’s worth the peace of mind for both the guests and me.

 

Don’t forget to check out this week’s podcast, I think it’ll be of interest to you, it’s about competing with property managers on VRBO.com. You can listen to it here.

 

Happy Renting by Owner,

Christine Karpinski

www.howtorentbyowner.com

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