Guest Management for Your Vacation Rental Home

Today’s vacationers expect full service even while renting a private home.  While some guests are self-sufficient, many others require and/or desire a great deal of attention from wanting to know what brand of coffee maker is in the home to assistance with booking activities and specific restaurant recommendations.  Some guests have never sat in a hot tub, have never experienced high altitude, and are intimidated by lockboxes or door keypads.  Local personnel are essential for dealing quickly and efficiently with any problems the guests may experience with the home such as the modem needing to be re-booted, technical issues with the TV, or a flipped breaker. 

As the homeowner, you are responsible for ensuring your guests have the information required by the Summit County Short Term Rental Regulations ordinances. These include a copy of the Good Neighbor Guidelines and instructions about trash, noise, parking, and pets.

While it may not seem life or death, it’s important to keep in mind that for many families their vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some families have saved for years or might have spent many months coordinating how to get the entire family together from different parts of the country.  Understandably, they want everything to be perfect!  A broken-down hot tub or wobbly bed frame can “ruin” the vision of their perfect vacation.  They want their issues addressed immediately and to their satisfaction.

Knowledge of the area is also essential for guest satisfaction.  Anyone can stop by a brochure stand and read about area activities, but personal tips and suggestions from a local host is always best. Our Summit Spy staff loves sharing insider tips with our guests including our favorite trails, easiest parking spots, and best times of day to partake in a particular activity. Answering these questions alone requires a great deal of time, research, and partaking in the activity ourselves to provide first-hand experience.  How can a guest be expected to get detailed information on current weather conditions (fires or snowstorms in particular) while talking to someone who does not even live in the area? The simple answer is, they cannot.

Who are your guests? Why are they coming to Breckenridge and why are they choosing a vacation rental versus a hotel or resort? Breckenridge is an extremely popular destination for weddings, family reunions, and corporate events.  Even if your guests say they are a family of 6, how can you be sure they aren’t planning on hosting a gathering for a larger group while in your home?  While you can place cameras on the exterior of your property, do you want to spend your time watching security feed?  If your guests do break maximum occupancy rules, would you know how to legally and ethically handle the situation?

Vacation Brain:  A “syndrome” we jokingly blame for the cause of innocent guest mishaps. Some of the adverse effects caused by Vacation Brain include but are not limited to leaving town with house keys, garage door openers, and maybe even an appliance (yes, this has actually happened); leaving combustibles against a baseboard heater, and carelessness with all liquids, especially the red ones that stain.  Most often a security deposit is required to protect against damages of these types, but do you know that you cannot legally withhold the deposit after the guest checks out? What will be your recourse if a guest causes hundreds of dollars in damage and is savvy enough to contact their credit card company regarding the deposit that you are illegally withholding?

Homeowners must accept a certain amount of wear and tear when renting their homes to vacationers, but outright damage caused by guests can most often be handled by a good management company through damage protection insurance carried by reputable companies and not available to individual homeowners without exorbitant cost.

Lastly, guests expect a minimum start up supply of bath tissue, shampoo, and other sundries.  High quality linens, towels, and body products are also part of a great guest experience.

Summit Spy has the answers and assistance you might need for every issue mentioned above. We can consult with you if you want to be a full service, do-it-yourself homeowner, or we can do the work for you.

This is the second in a 5-part series on homeowner tips. For more helpful information see Tips for Choosing a Property Manager, Marketing Your Vacation Rental, and Your Breckenridge Vacation Home.

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