The Little Things Can Make a BIG Difference!
“The drain in the bathtub was clogged. And the toilet made noise all night. And three light bulbs were out. And we could have used some Scotch tape. But other than that, it was a great NY apartment.”
That is my feedback about the trip Angela and I recently took to New York where we stayed in an apartment we found on VRBO. As a vacation home owner, maybe I’m more critical. But nonetheless, that’s my honest response about the $625/night (peak) apartment we stayed in. We didn’t pay near that, but will we stay there again? Maybe. Or maybe we’ll explore other options first.
How many “maybes” are your guests telling everyone but you because of neglected little things that require more thoughtfulness to fix than time or money? What is your system for making sure the little things don’t give your guests the wrong memories (as in, not DELIGHTFUL).
Below are some easy ways to manage the little things:
1. Stay a While – We make it a point to stay in each of our homes at least once a year for at least three days, more often when we can manage. There are little things that our guests simply won’t take the time to point out. A good way to identify that the guest bathroom has a slow drip or the master bedroom door is difficult to shut is to experience those things yourself.
*Best Practice – Invite friends to stay with you and ask them to be on the lookout for anything that might need attention. This is a great way to spend quality time with Loved ones, enjoy your vacation home, and get a fresh set of eyes and expectations that will make your home better.
2. Check It Off the List – We have checklists for our PM’s that break out the little things.
Some items on our lists include:
- Tubs, Toilets, Sinks Drain Properly
- Welcome Basket Snacks & Drinks
- Billiard Chalk, Ping-Pong Balls, Dart Tips
- All Light Bulbs, Spares Available
- All Spa Jets are Working
- Outdoor Stereo is Working
- Electronics Remotes in Place
Check Regularly and Replace As Needed
- Flower Beds Refreshed
- Dead Palm Leaves Removed
- Central Air Filters Changed
- Pool Toys, Rafts, Arm Floaties
- Board Game Pieces, 52 Cards in Decks
- Pens, Batteries, Tape, Notepads
- Dishes, Tableware, Placemats
*Best Practice – For a FREE copy of our PM checklist, email Michael@USCVH.com.
3. Help Them Help You – Make it as easy for your guests to communicate little things that need attention. We call them “Uh Ohs” and “Oh Wells.” If they say “Uh Oh…” about something during their stay we ask them to let us know about it right away so we can try to fix it for them during their stay. If they say “Oh Well” then we ask them to let us know at check-out so we can fix it for their next stay.
*Best Practice – Three easy ways to gather feedback:
- At check-in encourage them to reach out for any little thing - email and text messaging work great for this.
- Hang a little dry erase board on the fridge with a note asking for the “Oh Wells.”
- In your follow-up Thank You email/card ask them if there was anything that could have been improved upon for their next stay in your home (See my blog post on Soliciting Referrals).
The Bottom Line: Minding the little things is a great way to maximize revenue through repeat business and referrals, and most little things are inexpensive and easy to manage.
We all spend a great deal of time providing outstanding accommodations to our guests so they will rave about us to anyone who will listen. If we don’t manage the little things that can detract from their stay we undermine our efforts and hurt our future business. Standing in shin high water during showers or having to go out and buy a new light bulbs can be the difference between “It was AWESOME!” and “It was alright but…”
So here’s to doing the little things that make a big difference!
Michael and his wife Angela happened into vacation home ownership in April 2007 when a relocation nudged them toward the idea of short-term renting. Within months of establishing Ultimate SoCal Vacation Homes, they began making plans to expand their business. Having combined backgrounds in sales, marketing, business development and hospitality helps them to create guest experiences that exceed expectations. Today, more than 3,500 guests later, Michael and Angela are operating three profitable vacation homes in Anaheim.