Ten Things I Learned from Owning Vacation Rentals

The Get Out of Dodge Lodge will soon be on the rental market!
The Get Out of Dodge Lodge will soon be on the rental market!

Oh my!  This is a topic that is likely to be more of a musing than an actual educational post.  Boy, the last three years have been an eye-opener!

My Ok-La-Home was my first cabin.  Before I decided to build it, I stayed up all night one night running the numbers to see if it was a good investment.  After I decided to go for it, I stayed up night after night for weeks pricing the items needed to stock the house.  So I feel an emotional investment in this property.

I did not want my cabin to look like a sad second hand store. I wanted pretty decorations, nice textiles, welcoming furniture.  I wanted a place that I would enjoy living.

After three years of being in the vacation rental business, I no longer ponder such weighty decisions or scour the earth for the best items.  If it is shatter-proof, does the job, and won’t put your eye out, then it is perfect for the house.  Well, I am not that bad yet, but I feel it coming!

My first heartbreak came via a fraternity from Louisiana.  It took the cleaning staff 10 hours to undo what the guys had done.  Apparently they did not listen when their mommas taught them to use a trash can, not to smoke dope in a non-smoking house, or act like humans.  Thank goodness for concrete floors!

So, here we go.  This is the list of sad, but true knowledge I have gained:

A simple, easy to use can-opener.
A simple, easy to use can-opener.

1.  People do not know how to use an electric can-opener.  You know, the kind we all have on our kitchen counters.  The kind that has a little blade that pierces the top of the can, then a wheel runs it around the can, thus opening it.  Went through two, then decided to just put out a hand-held kind.  If that gets confusing, I may resort to banning cans from the house!

The poor barstool took a beating!
The poor barstool took a beating!

2.  The foot rest on a barstool is, for many people, the equivalent to a ladder.  What is meant to rest one’s feet with a moderate amount of weight, has been mistreated by having full grown people put their entire body weight on them.  I am not sure why anyone needs to elevate themselves at my cabin.  There is no requirement to change the lightbulbs before leaving.  Even if there were such a requirement, the ladder in the closet would be the tool of levitation that I would choose.

3.  People can’t keep up with their things.  The management company called one day to tell me my waffle maker had broken.  I said thanks, but it wasn’t mine.  Someone had left it there.  People have also left throw pillows, comforters, bed pillows, blankets, puzzle pieces, drinking glasses, etc.  Many of these, I think, may come from neighboring cabins due to groups who rent several cabins and then congregate in one.  I think that we all need to have a swap meet once a year to let cabin owners get their belongings back.

4.  Notes of instruction make the owners/managers feel good, but are not going to be read by most renters.  There are those few people who read every note.  And even those fewer angelic people who follow the instructions read in said notes.  But for the masses, pull, push, gauge, turn, flip and toss till it breaks.  Then call the management company and complain because it is broken.  Because I am OCD (probably not a good mix for a luxury vacation rental), I labeled all the light switches.  One sweet soul wrote a note saying they appreciated the labels.  God bless this person!

5.  That I don’t know a card game from copulation.  While reading the guest register I saw how much one group had enjoyed what I thought was a card game.  Come to find out, it was a group activity, but did not involve cards!  So maybe the lesson here is that people share way more than they should.  I guess they never care to think about other guests who may have their children with them.  Yes, that page was ripped out.

A mound of laundry waiting to be washed.
A mound of laundry waiting to be washed.

6.  Vacationers love to do laundry.  I may be in the minority here, but when I go on vacation I don’t want to cook, clean or do laundry.  But, for some reason, guests at my cabin love to do their laundry.  Maybe its a twofer.  You know, vacation cabin and free laundromat all in one!

7.  Guests enjoy rearranging the furniture.  Weird, but true.  Every time I go to the cabin, I spend a bit of time putting things back where they belong.  It is a mini-workout for me, so I shouldn’t complain.

8.  Rubber lamps exist for a reason.  When they fall, because in a vacation rental all lamps WILL fall at some point, they just bounce.  All you need to do is straighten the shade and put it back on the table.  You are good to go!

Benzoyl Peroxide takes a toll on a colored washed cloth.
Benzoyl Peroxide takes a toll on a colored washed cloth.

9. Facial care products that contain Benzoyl Peroxide (like Proactive) will bleach the color out of towels, pillowcases, wash clothes, duvet covers and any other fiber the face with product touches.  I have a large collection of what used to be nice caramel colored towels and wash clothes.  Now they have orange splotches all over them due to the bleach.  One washcloth has a perfect set of hand prints from when the guest scrubbed their face clean.

10.  My final new tidbit of knowledge:  If people drink excessive amounts of alcohol and get in the hot tub, the next day the hot tub will have a rank odor.  Seriously!

Wary traveler, if you find your way into a vacation rental only to be disappointed by a missing puzzle piece or splotched towel, know that the rental owner is as disappointed as you.  The best thing to do is to let the management company know right away about the issues so that you don’t get charged/blamed for it.  And, then drink wine.

 

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