Maintenance v Repairs - Lodging Newsletter May 31, 2021
By Wm, May
Published: 05/31/21 Topics: AirBnB, Branding, Channel Management, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
The vacation rental industry is really a fun business to be in. It really is.
Of course, it is also a lot of work. A lotta lotta work. First, we need desirable vacation homes to rent out. They come in all sizes and shapes. There is a market for most any kind of property.
Rustic cabin in the woods? Yes, people love to get away.
Modern condo in the city? Yes, a place to center urban sightseeing.
Chalets in the mountains? Yes, where ski bums lay their sleepy heads each night.
Bungalows by the sea? Yes, so visitors can get to the beach easily.
A tiny home just about anywhere? Yes, but who would have predicted that?
Since our first operation opened in 1964, bit by bit, more and more of the public suddenly realize the advantages of staying in a nice multi-room place, complete with kitchen, bedrooms, bath and living areas. And, it's even better if the home has a great location, TV and internet. Or better still if there is a pool, a hot tub or other amenities.
But even though it’s a fun industry, and even though 99% of our job leaves smiles on the faces of guests and owners alike, the remaining 1% of our job is dealing with an unavoidable conclusion.
Properties need maintenance unavoidably.
No matter how careful guests are, damages happen.
So this month, your handy newsletter discusses the where, why, how to deal with maintenance and how it differs from repairs.
There is good news. The incidence of guest damages at vacation rentals is very low. But the need for maintenance (not related to guest use) is persistent and necessary.
Maintenance - In our personal homes it is very easy to forget, or maybe not notice, water heaters fail, TV's lose life, and sofas become saggy, appliances quit, and blinds don't last forever. Neither do carpets. Linen's become see-through. Towels become scratchy. Plumbing needs plumbing. Electrical circuit breakers need replacement. It is a long list.
So here is a list of things owner should expect to replace, update or repair regularly:
Linens - Keep in good condition to avoid negative guest reviews.
Towels- Last longer than you might think, but not forever.
Blinds & Drapes - Keep them fixed. Keep them clean.
Water Heaters - They give no warning when they fail. But are easy and cheap to replace.
HVAC - Change the filters. Get regular inspections.
Electrical Panel - If your house is older than you are, expect breakers to break.
Plumbing - Clean your faucet heads to learn why they are running slow. Cheap fix.
Windows - Cracks in glass can appear when weather fluctuates significantly.
Appliances - No stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher or anything else lasts forever.
Electronics - TV's radios, phones and internet modems don't last forever, either.
Screens - Easy to replace and they keep your house clean, too.
Toilets - Why can't they make a handle that doesn't wear out every few years?
Keeping every little thing working well is simply essential. Do it yourself or have your manager take care of every little thing. But do take care of it. Inexpensive preventative maintenance can avoid the cost of expensive booking cancellations and negative online reviews.
Damages - It truly is good news, that guests are mostly careful and considerate and willful damages are very few. No matter the reason, guests are responsible for any damages they cause. Years ago managers charged guests a refundable "Damage Deposit", much like that used when a tenant leases a house or apartment long term.
Unfortunately, now days, every guest pays by credit or debit card. In recent years, Visa and MasterCard's policies have often refused to accept damage charges to a credit card, even if the cost is taken from a pre-paid damage deposit.
For that reason, professional managers switched to charging guests a smaller non-refundable fee for "Accidental Damage Protection." That method is then used to pay for damages up to a pre-determined amount, actually larger than what damage deposits previously covered.
Some costs may not be covered and the manager will pursue collection from the guest. Some advertising websites offer coverage, although that has proven to be unpredictable.
Responsibility - It is tempting to blame guests for anything that goes wrong while they are staying. But the difference between maintenance and damages must be determined before doing so. Guests are not responsible for inoperable appliances, faulty locks, or aging linens. But otherwise, if they break it, they need to pay for it.
Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0820 – 05/31/21
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com
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