A very important part of your cottage rental business is determining your tenant process. This is where the physical guest experience begins and it is important that it begins the right way. It can be very hands on, with you greeting guests personally, providing a tour with information and instructions, and then later cleaning the property prior to the arrival of the next guest. Or it can very removed, where you never actually meet your guests, having a third party provide access to the property with written instructions, or a user manual to answer questions and the cleaning contracted out.
There are a number of factors that will affect how this process will be established from the physical location of your property, the cleaning requirements, property security, guest instructions, and support and assistance should an issue arise. The process should reflect the level of service and standards that you have created as part of your cottage rental business, delivering on the promises and expectations of your guests. Ultimately there’s no right or wrong way but it’s important that you are using a process that fits with your business needs.
Do you have the time required to welcome each guest personally and to do the cleaning on your own? It may be the ideal situation, but for most of us either the location of the property, or time constraints, limit the feasibility of such a personal approach. That’s not to say that this may be the best way to first enter the cottage rental market allowing you to scale to permanent solutions as your business grows. Let’s face it nothing reduces your expenses more, or ensures the tenant process is occurring correctly than simply doing all of it yourself.
The reality is that in order to make your vacation property rental a viable source of income, you need a consistent tenant process that is not reliant on your own availability. The least time sensitive aspect of the tenant process is the cleaning and property preparation. Although you may be restricted to a single day or portion of a day should you have back-to-back tenants, you do have some flexibility as to exactly when cleaning will occur. As mentioned you can elect to tackle this mission on your own allowing you to personally ensure that your property is cleaned and set up to your standards. Alternatively you may be able to locate a neighbour or nearby resident who is interested in earning some additional income.
Ultimately you may need to contract a professional cleaning company to ensure that your cleaning and preparation needs can be handled consistently and most importantly when you need them. This can become a significant expense which could easily erode your rental profits. Obtain a number of quotations, or as many as possible before contracting with a specific company. Be specific in writing exactly what you expect be cleaned as well as any special instructions such as refilling needed supplies or whether blinds are to be left open or closed. This will ensure less frustration between yourself and the cleaning company as well as a consistent experience for your guests.
Providing access to the property for your guests has become extremely easy with the use of technology by means of a coded entry, combination key box or even Bluetooth entry codes. You should never take the hidden key under the rock or mat approach as over time these great hiding spots become very obvious to anyone. An arrangement can often be made with a nearby gas station or store to provide key pick up and drop off. Security system pass-codes can be easily updated with your provider and should be changed after each guest as they may have inadvertently been less than private with these codes during their stay at your property.
A vacation property can be a little more complicated than a hotel room and as a result you will need to make sure that you have provided the necessary instructions for you guests. This can include the use of heating or cooling systems, water systems, fireplace, lighting, appliances and even internet access. Not only are you ensuring that your property will be treated correctly but also that your guests will be able to fully enjoy everything that you have to offer.
At a minimum you will need a user manual where you can provide all the necessary information in an easy to locate and access format. A great approach taken by many vacation property owners is to provide a video tour that can be emailed prior to your guests arrival or available as a DVD or USB stick. The better information and instructions you can provide the less frustration your guests will experience and the better treatment your property will receive.
Despite your efforts problems can arise and it is very important that your guests can reach you with last-minute questions or at the very least in the case of emergency or serious situation. It is always a good idea to provide a back-up contact so that your guests are not left to feel on their own should than need assistance.
Whether your tenant process is hands on or contracted out it is a very important aspect of the guest experience you provide and will directly affect repeat bookings. Your tenant process is a very strong reflection of how you view and care for your property. Your guests will react in kind, which could have a direct effect on general wear and tear or even minor damages due to lack of instruction or direction. Be sure to give your tenant process the time and detail it deserves to make your vacation property rental experience the best if can be.