Washers and dryers at vacation rental homes sure take a beating! It’s not uncommon for the use of these two appliances in a vacation rental home to be 2-3 times that of a washer and dryer in a regular residential dwelling, especially if guests have access to the laundry room. The increased usage of the vacation homes washer and dryer should be met with more frequent maintenance and cleaning to keep them performing their best – and avoid pricey repairs and replacements.
With the cost of a professional appliance repair person ranging from $45-$100 an hour and parts marked up at least 100%, it’s in your best interest as a vacation rental homeowner to regularly clean and maintains these appliances – and even be able to do a little troubleshooting on your own!
Check Your Connections
When performing maintenance on your washer and dryer, be sure to check all the connections for water and power. Cords, hoses, connections should all be in good repair – no kinks, frays, tears, or holes. If you do notice anything amiss here – and you’re not confident in your repair knowledge or skills in this area – it may be best to call in a pro, just due to safety concerns.
Abusive practices, such as overloading the washer and not cleaning out the dryer lint trap after each use, will cause problems sooner or later. Especially if your vacation rental home guests have access, be sure to post instructions for proper use!
Hard Water Blues
The need for a stepped-up maintenance and cleaning schedule for your washer and dryer is even more important if your vacation rental property has “hard” water – that is, water with high mineral content. While it’s safe to drink, the dissolved calcium and magnesium in hard water can leave behind a film in your washer, and this film can attract and hold dirt from the laundry. Ewww.
Washing Your Washer
Cleaning your washer is really pretty easy, and doesn’t require any fancy supplies. In fact, baking soda and vinegar are the only two things you’ll need besides a spray bottle and a cleaning cloth! We found a great set of instructions for both front loading and top loading washers that walks you through the cleaning process, step-by-step. Check it out here!
Your Dryer Needs to Vent!
Seriously. A clogged dryer vent causes inefficiency and undue stress on your dryer leading to higher utility costs and machine breakdown – but a clogged vent could also cause a fire! In a typical residence, dryer vents should be cleaned annually, but since the dryer in a vacation rental home is generally used more frequently (think of all those towels!) you may want to check your dryer vent 2-3 times a year.
In the Phoenix area, you can find a professional to clean your dryer vent starting around $69. If you’re into the DIY lifestyle, we found this very informative video that not only shows you how you can tell if your dryer vent needs cleaning, but leads you through the actual process!
Even with regular maintenance and cleaning, there’s always a chance that one day, they just won’t work. Rather than rushing to call in the repair person, there are some basic troubleshooting tasks you should do first, if possible, such as checking the power to the laundry area. You certainly don’t want to pay an appliance repair person to tell you your electrical outlet is bad, or you’ve thrown a breaker. Checking all connections to the appliance itself should be at the top of your list.
If your problem does truly seem to be the appliance itself, your owners manual should include a troubleshooting guide – and many manuals can now be found online for your convenience. Even if your appliance is under warranty, the warranty company will want to walk you through these steps before a repair is scheduled.
Don’t forget the outer surfaces of your washer and dryer – these appliances should look as fantastic as the rest of your vacation rental home. Wipe them down regularly (Moxie Girl recommends Truce All-Purpose!) for a clean shine and fresh scent!
Moxie Girl is Here to Help!
Moxie Girl brings years of experience to caring for your vacation rental home and we are here to help. Whether you’re looking for professional between-guest turns, or just need some helpful tips, Moxie Girl has what you need. Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION, and check out our blogs, past, and future!
Is anyone starting to feel that cabin fever kick in after being inside for so long? With CDC( Centers for Disease Control) basically restricting any travel for everyone throughout the US. All governors have started closing unessential business and putting restrictions on staying at home and going out only when needed. With all the guidelines and restrictions in place, people are scared to travel or even leave their houses. This pandemic has caused everyone to go into a panic and has everyone worried about doing any sort of travel causing the travel lines to reduce air travel and take extra precautions.
The Effects of Covid-19
So you may be asking, what has the Covid-19 pandemic caused in the Vacation Rental Industry. Well for starters, the decrease in travel has caused multiple properties to lose travelers and causing most property managers to lose future travelers as well as seeing their current travelers canceling or departing earlier than intended. Even with travel violations, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your staycations whether they are at home or at a local Vacation rental. There are tons of pros of staying at a vacation rental, especially when you’re keeping it local.
Traveling During a Pandemic
Vacation rental properties are places to travel during this pandemic while staying close to home and getting out of your house, but still maintaining social distancing. They provide quick getaways while being stuck at home without having to worry about being in close quarters with others like you would be staying in a hotel room. Some vacation rental homes provide private pools which is a huge advantage during this time, especially living in the Arizona heat when all public pools are being shut down for precautionary reasons due to Covid-19
Clean & Sanitary Staycations
Vacation Rentals also provide a clean and comfortable environment for your family during your stay. Moxie Girl is one of the vacation rental cleaning businesses located in Arizona. Moxie girl employees use disinfectant every time we clean a vacation rental to ensure that you and your family are well taken care of during your stay, focusing on those high-touch areas like Remotes, light plate switches, door handles, etc. Moxie girl’s first priority is the safety of all guests and the cleanliness of every vacation rental property we service. Short term rental properties are great for all types of families no matter how big or small they are. They can accommodate your families needs to sleep pretty much as many people as you want or need. So if you want to support Vacation Rentals, there are multiple ways to book your staycations. To get directly what you are looking for in a vacation home with certain amenities you can contact Moxie Girl or STRM about booking directly instead of booking through a third-party booking website, avoiding those third party booking fees.
If you currently own a vacation rental home here in the Phoenix metropolitan area and are looking to take some things off your plate, Moxie Girl can help you relieve some of the stress of running your rental property.
Worrying about the unknown won’t get us very far, and these days there is a lot of unknowns.
The Rental industry is no different than the rest of the world right now with all of the uncertainty and unknowns we are all experiencing. Nobody really knows where we will be a month from now or even a week from now at this point.
Amanda Thomas, owner of Moxie Girl decided now would be a great time to team up with Ben Ellis, broker, and owner of E&G Real Estate and Property Management, and Brent McDonald, a lender with All Western Mortgage to discuss not only the trends they are seeing in the Phoenix rental industry but also going from short term rentals to long term rentals, selling your home, refinancing, and mortgage forbearance.
Short Term Rental Industry Trends
Homes are renting out still!
Get seen on all booking sights without lowering your prices.
Long Term Rental Industry Trends & Home Buying Trends
Ben Ellis, broker, and owner of E&G Real Estate and Property Management
Securing tenants for your long term rental property
Ensuring you get your home back in the condition which you rented it out
The ups and downs of running a long term rental property
The ups and downs of doing long term rentals during a global pandemic
What has changed and how to adjust your long term rental property in the midst of COVID-19
liabilities and owner responsibilities of managing a long term rental property
Brent McDonald, a lender with All Western Mortgage discuss the trends they are seeing in the rental and home buying industry.
What does it mean to go into forbearance and is now a good time?
The pros and cons of going into forbearance and what that will mean for your credit.
Rates in the market and where they are currently at, is it a good time to buy or sell your home?
Refinancing your home, what that could mean for you, your credit, and your mortgage rate.
Click HERE for more information on these topics from experts in these fields!
If you’re a fan of the Netflix series, “Stay Here,” you’ve definitely heard the term “heads in beds” before. That’s where your income as a vacation rental homeowner comes from, so putting “heads in beds” is definitely your goal!
It stands to reason that the more “beds” your vacation rental home has, the more “heads” you can put in them. Even though your vacation rental may have only one or two traditional bedrooms, there are creative ways to increase the “sleeps” number, making it easy to increase your nightly rental rates!
Be reasonable, of course – you don’t want 10 people jamming themselves into your 2/2 condo. Many cities also have occupancy limits on residential dwellings, so always be sure to check out the specifics on your vacation rental location.
Depending on the layout and square footage, a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom vacation rental home that normally “sleeps 4 adults” could easily sleep 6 with the addition of a convertible sofa or murphy bed – and easily increase your rental rate by 15-20%.
The living room areas in vacation rental homes tend to be the least used room by most guests, so they are often a great place for “extra sleeps” by way of a sofa bed that folds out when it’s time for bed. Decorative portable privacy screens are a great option if the room feels a little too “open” for sleeping.
While you certainly may need a den/library/business office in your personal residence, unless you are specifically marketing your vacation rental home as a corporate short-term rental, these rooms are largely unnecessary by most people booking a vacation rental. Sure, that room can still function as an office – and be marketed as such – but add a set of bunk beds and you’ve just increased your heads-in-beds potential by 2!
While you’re busy figuring out how to maximize the heads-in-beds potential of your vacation rental home, you’ll also need to make sure the rest of your rental home is adequately stocked for your new “sleeps” number. An increase in heads-in-beds in your vacation rental home means you will need an additional bed and bath linens, dishes, glasses and silverware – even pool towels and personal amenities, if applicable.
Moxie Girl has extensive experience in the care of vacation rental homes throughout the greater Phoenix area – from set-up/stocking of new vacation rentals, to full, between-guest turns! Find out how Moxie Girl can help you reach your goals and secure the success of your vacation rental home – click here for a FREE CONSULTATION!
With the vacation rental industry booming all over the U.S. – and the world – you may be wondering which vacation rental sites offer the most ‘bang for the buck’ for you, the vacation rental homeowner. New short-term rental platforms are popping up frequently nowadays, with many marketing to “niche” demographics such as the LGBTQ community, guests traveling with pets, and family vacationers.
But since you may be just starting out as a vacation rental homeowner, we’ll take a look at what is considered to be three of the most popular vacation rental home listing platforms and what they have to offer in relation to their fees.
Airbnb has become synonymous with vacation rental bookings – kind of like the “Kleenex” of facial tissues. (No one says, “I need a facial tissue,” do they?) Founded in 2008, Airbnb currently has over 100 million users and over 640,000 hosts! According to data from SimliarWeb.com, Airbnb is ranked second only to travel giant Booking.com.
Airbnb has no fee to join or list entire properties, private and shared rooms. Guests booking on Airbnb pay 6-20% of the total booking fee, which keeps the AirBnB site up and running. Hosts (that’s you, vacation rental homeowner) pays 3-5% of the total booking fee to cover transaction costs (credit card fees).
HomeAway and its umbrella of companies (which includes VRBO and vacationrentals.com) boasts over 1 million listings in over 190 countries, giving vacation rental homeowners and managers the opportunity to expose their properties to over 44 million travelers each month!
Guests booking vacation rentals through HomeAway can expect to pay a service fee of 6-12% of the total booking. As host of a HomeAway vacation rental, you have the option of paying a fee of 8% per booking total or you can become a subscriber for an annual fee of $499 and enjoy fee-free bookings all year! A subscription makes loads of sense if you expect your vacation rental to gross over $10k in bookings annually!
While this website ranks #1 as an overall online travel agency, Booking.com doesn’t specialize in vacation rental homes, but this portion of their business is rapidly growing making it an exciting option for listing your vacation rental. Booking.com is already hugely international, with 5 million+ short-term lodging rentals in over 225 countries!
Hosting fees are definitely higher than Airbnb or HomeAway – expect to pay in the range of 10-25% per booking, depending on the location of your vacation rental. However, there are no sign-up or subscription fees for hosts. Also, guests booking through this site pay NO booking fees for your vacation rental, making this platform very popular with travelers!
Multiple Platforms = Maximum Exposure
Yes, you can use more than one platform to list your vacation rental property. There are even some services you can join that make it possible to have your listing(s) posted simultaneously on multiple sites of your choosing, decreasing your “admin” time and increasing your exposure to potential guests.
Many vacation rental homeowners will initially list the properties on multiple sites and “pare them down” later if they start seeing the majority of their bookings consistently coming through only one or two sites.
Do Your Due Diligence!
Of course, there is much to consider beyond the fees when deciding on a vacation rental listing website. It’s up to you, the vacation rental homeowner, to read the details provided on any rental platform to make sure you understand everything you are agreeing to when listing your property.
Let Moxie Girl Help!
With everything you have to accomplish in running a successful vacation rental property, wouldn’t it be nice to have a between-guest cleaning team you can count on? Moxie Girl is a leader in the care of vacation rental properties of all sizes throughout the Phoenix area. Click HERE to find out how Moxie Girl can help you reclaim your time by letting us handle your turns!
Even if you’ve never considered operating a vacation rental home, if you plan on selling your existing home this year, it may interest you now – at least temporarily. Phoenix is currently enjoying a robust housing market, but even “robust” can have its highs and lows. Historically, more homes in the Phoenix area are sold in the spring and summer months than in the fall or winter. Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, believes that if your home has been on the market for a while, but hasn’t sold by October, temporarily converting it to a vacation rental home while it remains on the market may make a lot of sense.
The idea of temporarily operating the home as a vacation rental makes even more sense if the home you have on the market is considered “luxury.” Instead of sitting vacant while still requiring regular maintenance to keep the home tour-ready, your home could be bringing you income instead of just expense allowing you a bump in cash flow!
“Fall and winter months here in Phoenix are booming in terms of vacation rental home bookings, but sales of luxury homes are less during those months than the rest of the year,” says Amanda, “so it may be much more profitable to put off your sales listing for a few months and let the income from temporarily operating the home as a vacation rental cover the expenses you’d be incurring anyway, even if the home sat empty.” Bonus: Having regular guest activity on your property can also help deter break-ins, as well as help you keep an eye on home systems that could malfunction and go unnoticed on a vacant property.
Moxie Girl has previously explained the benefits of continuing to operate your vacation rental home through our brutal summer months, vs. “shutting it down.” You can easily apply some of this information to the subject of temporarily operating your for-sale home as a vacation rental vs. leaving it vacant while it sits on a slower market. Pay special attention to Myth #3 in our blog “Summer Vacation Rental- Moxie Girl Debunks the Myths.”
We’ve also got some useful information about setting up a vacation rental home in the best and most efficient way! Check out these blogs:
In an attempt to crack down on short term rental properties acting as “party houses” Governor Doug Ducey recently signed HB2672 into law which affects the licensing and reporting requirements necessary to operate a vacation rental anywhere in the State of Arizona. Get the details HERE!
From vacation rental home conversions to regular, between-guest care of established vacation rental, Moxie Girl has vast experience in the Phoenix area vacation rental home industry! CLICK HERE to see how Moxie Girl can become your vacation rental specialist!
We are always looking to add the newest member to our Moxie Girl team, too! Moxie Girls (and Boys!) enjoy flexible scheduling and physically active work in a fun, supportive environment, with plenty of opportunity for growth! CLICK HERE to introduce yourself and learn more about becoming a Moxie!
Own a vacation rental home in the Phoenix area? If so, there are definitely things you should do in preparation for our monsoon season! This period of exceptionally wacky weather can start as early as June and not calm down entirely until October. Moxie Girl has a few tips to keep your guests in loop and help limit the potential for summer storm-related damages to your vacation rental home.
Professional tree-trimming done prior to monsoon season is an important step in reducing the chances of branches breaking, and possibly causing other damage to your vacation rental home during high winds.
If your vacation rental property has young trees, be sure they are properly staked. Swaying in the wind is actually helpful in growing strong trees, but if not properly staked young trees are easily uprooted!
As temperatures rise, we often think we should be giving our trees and other landscaping extra watering time, but did you know that over-watering can cause root-rot and top-heavy growth in your trees? Decaying roots, especially in combination with top-heavy growth, leave trees exceptionally vulnerable to damage from high winds.
So, water “deeply” (think of it as a nice leisurely bath, vs. a quick shower) but less frequently to keep those beautiful trees on your vacation rental property growing healthy and strong!
Patio umbrellas are a versatile source of shade, and can even make a colorful fashion statement at your vacation rental property. Even in our extreme Phoenix summer sunshine, quality patio umbrellas are capable of seeing your vacation rental property through more than a few seasons. Quality patio umbrellas can also be quite pricey, so it’s definitely in your best interest to take proper care of them.
It should be standard to keep umbrellas closed when not in use to prolong their lives and good looks – their labels even say so. Leaving patio umbrellas open during a monsoon storm can be a death sentence for your patio umbrella, especially in areas experiencing “micro-bursts.” Open umbrellas can also be easily picked up and carried by high winds, causing further damage to your vacation rental property.
Pools and Spas
Increasing the frequency of your regular professional pool service, if possible, is a great idea! But even with increased service, unexpected storms can leave the pool at your vacation rental home looking a mess. Have basic tools on hand for guests to do a little DYI cleaning, if necessary – a skimmer, at the very least! (Also, the umbrella rule should also apply to spa covers – keep it down when not in use!)
For more excellent tips on maintaining your vacation rental home pools and spas, and preparing for summer guests, check out these great Moxie Blogs:
Our Valley summers – especially the crazy monsoon storms – may come as quite a surprise to vacation rental guests new to the Phoenix area! It’s definitely a good idea to warn your guests – as well as ask for their help in preventing weather-related damages during their stay. Your guests may also need to be reminded that you have no control over the weather (sorry, but if a 500ft wall of dust just blew through, the pool may be dirty when you arrive!)
Need Help With Your Phoenix Area Vacation Rental Home?
Moxie Girl is a leader in the care of Phoenix-are vacation rental homes, servicing nearly 200 vacation rental properties Valley-wide! See if Moxie Girl is right for your vacation rental – a FREE CONSULTATION is just a click away!
Moxie Girl is always looking for great people to join our team of vacation rental assistants, too! If working a flexible schedule in a supportive environment with opportunity for growth sounds good to you, we’d love to hear from you – APPLY HERE
As a vacation rental home owner, you know there are a lot of things that need attention in order to make your vacation rental business a success. One of most important things on your list is being certain your vacation rental home is made guest-ready between bookings. Many vacation rental home owners depend on an outside service to attend to those “turns” on their behalf, and guests definitely pay attention to cleanliness – as well as presentation ( or “staging” as we like to call it.)
Now, if you’re working with an established team of vacation rental specialists (such as Moxie Girl) chances are you are completely satisfied with your service and feel you’re getting the most bang for your buck. But what if the team or individual you’ve hired to take care of this crucial task just isn’t performing to your standards?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of continuing to use a service we’re not completely satisfied with, for many reasons. We tend to be discomforted by “being the boss” – or we haven’t gotten around to finding a replacement. Lots of people don’t even like the thought of confrontation, much less having to fire someone. So we “live with it” – and grow resentful.
Moxie Girl is here to tell you that you shouldn’t “settle” when it comes to the care of your vacation rental home. Business is business and your rental home IS your business, so that makes you the boss, whether you like it or not. Rather than let your resentment build, here’s a cut-and-dried method to rectifying the situation in a professional manner.
Step 1 – Communicate
We assume you did, at the beginning of your relationship with your vacation rental cleaner, agree on the services that the cleaner would provide and how things should look and feel in your vacation rental when they’ve done their job. Perhaps your needs changed somewhere along the way and the info didn’t reach the cleaner? Or maybe your vacation rental cleaner is just “missing” some things that are turning up via bad reviews on your AirBnB or other vacation rental platform.
You must clearly communicate your requirements and be sure to highlight those things that are particular “sticking points” to you. If you’re one of the many people who would prefer to avoid a face-to-face confrontation, email works! (And you’ll have documentation for future reference – either in letting your current vacation rental home cleaner go and/or in hiring a new one – BONUS!)
With all of your needs clearly communicated, asks your vacation rental home cleaner the big question: Going forward, will you meet these requirements? If the answer is “yes” – great! But do make it clear that these things are “musts” and that you’ll be keeping an eye on the situation and if the agreement isn’t kept, you’ll be forced to hire a different vacation rental home cleaner.
Now, it IS possible that your vacation rental cleaner can’t or won’t agree they can come through for you, so you really should have a back-up plan ready. We won’t lie, Moxie Girl has turned away a few clients with VERY detailed and specifically-detailed needs. (Hey, we’re a team currently responsible for well over 150 vacation rental homes Valley-wide AND we offer same-day turns. We just can’t GUARANTEE that the throw pillows on your sofa are going to be exactly 1.5” apart, with the smaller points of the triangle print facing north, dude.)
So, if your vacation rental cleaner says “no,” they’ve basically just fired themselves and now you don’t have to. You do, however, need to get your back-up plan into action. If you have a vacation rental in the Phoenix metro area, Moxie Girl would love to talk to you! Just click for a FREE CONSULTATION.)
Step 2 – Set an Agreement (They Said Yes)
So the answer was “yes, we will do that.” Great! Now you’ve both got a renewed understanding as to how things will be done at your vacation rental home and everything should be smooth sailing from here on out.
As part of this agreement, you might require that pics of the vacation rental home be sent to you, showing that everything has been completed according to your requirements. This is not uncommon, especially in cases where the vacation rental home owner resides out of state.
If going forward you find that vacation rental cleaner isn’t keeping their end of the agreement, all you need is present them with the documentation and again, they’ve just fired themselves. Next!
Well THAT Was Easy!
Easier, anyway. We repeat: It’s crucial to have a Plan B when it comes to firing your vacation rental cleaner – you definitely don’t want to interrupt your booking calendar simply because there’s no one to turn it for you in between guests. Chances are that if you were unhappy, you probably did at least a little bit of searching for alternatives.
When interviewing a new vacation rental cleaner, you can pull out that list of requirements from Step 1 and let it be Step 1 in your interviewing process as well. It may also be helpful to think back to when you hired that last vacation rental cleaner – the one that just fired themselves. In retrospect, was there anything you feel you should’ve asked (or handled differently) during that process? Here’s your chance to improve your communication and make sure your NEW vacation rental cleaning company is on the same page.
Moxie Girl leads the way in the care of vacation rental homes throughout the Phoenix area. Not only have we made vacation rental home care our priority, we guarantee our work and we guarantee same-day turns for our valued clients! CLICK here to see how we can help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your vacation rental home.
P.S. We are always looking for the next Moxie Girl (or boy!) to join our team. If making money while staying active and fit on a flexible schedule sounds good to you, we’d love to meet you – CLICK HERE to apply!
Moxie Girl is always thrilled that you love our services and recommend us to your family, friends, and associates!
We received a call recently from a friend telling us she had recommended Moxie to a friend of hers who was converting his Paradise Valley home to a vacation rental and may need our help stocking the home for guests. As it turned out, he REALLY needed help!
We got a call at 11 am from the property owner and found out that the “cart” was actually well ahead of the “horses.” The owner had already booked the home for the holiday weekend and there were five guys on their way – TODAY!
Moxie to the Rescue!
Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, rose to the challenge and went to the home immediately for a walk-through. Although the homeowner had pillaged a few scant items from his other properties, the house still needed, oh…just about EVERYTHING!
Making her long list of “must-haves” based on her vast experience in the vacation rental industry, Amanda told the owner she’d be back in a few hours with everything he’d need. Have you ever really thought about the things you might need to use in the course of even a weekend? Here’s a partial list of what was purchased that day:
Basic Necessities – Hand soap, paper towels, tissues, trash bags, CORKSCREW (Gasp! Imagine settling in and not being able to open the wine!)
Done and Done!
Like a pink tornado, Amanda was off, scooping up all the items on her list and was back to the home, unpacked and made the vacation rental guest-ready by 4 pm! Just in time for the guys to start enjoying the holiday weekend!
While we don’t encourage waiting until the very last minute to stock your vacation rental home, you can be confident that with our extensive vacation rental know-how, Moxie Girl is always the best choice, no matter when you call! Click for a FREE CONSULTATION!
As a vacation rental home owner, you know that bad reviews of your property can be expensive. Seeing anything less than a positive review (especially if it’s recent) will cause many potential guests to keep on scrolling! No matter how fantastic your vacation rental is there will always be complaints, but here are some common ones that can quite easily be avoided.
“Property Not as Described”
No one likes unpleasant surprises! When listing (and photographing) your vacation rental, be honest about all aspects of your property. Of course you’ll want to showcase the fabulous – whether it’s the view, the pool, a grand garden bathtub…even nearby attractions! But you’ll also want to be sure your guests are prepared for other, not-so-great realities, if they do indeed exist.
Be thoughtful with your descriptions. Even some flaws may be turned into selling points for the right crowd. For example…let’s say you have a gorgeous vacation rental with loads of amenities…but it’s down the street from an outdoor motorcycle testing facility that “revs up” at the crack of dawn five days a week.
You can play up every single amazing feature on your property, but neglect to mention the fact that the motorcycle testing facility WILL be your alarm clock on the weekdays, and you’re definitely going to garner some guest complaints – and many of those WILL turn into bad reviews on your rental platform. But, if accurately described…
“Early rising thrill-seekers – this is for you! A stunning 2Bed/2Bath condo, beautifully decorated and upgraded to absolute luxury, in a gorgeous Arizona desert setting! Monday through Friday, start your day with the thrilling sounds of the world’s most technologically advanced motorcycles being tested at the nearby Xtreme Wheels facility. (The facility also offers free public tours and test rides, 7 days a week!) Evenings are quiet and minimal light in the area makes it perfect for sunsets and stargazing from the relaxing hot tub overlooking the Valley!”
When you are charging people to stay overnight, they will absolutely expect a comfortable sleep! Don’t go cheap on beds and bedding. In fact, if you’re going to “splurge” on anything in your vacation rental home, make it the mattresses and linens!
Quality bedding will not only leave your guests feeling pampered, but it also makes financial sense. Higher-end linens tend to be more durable. Linens used in vacation rentals are going to be laundered considerably more often than in your average household. Do you really want to be replacing sheets every two months?
“Amenities/Expected Provisions Lacking”
Competitiveness in the vacation rental home market (especially in the Phoenix area) has led to increased expectations. Many guests may just assume they’ll find the same type of amenities they’d find in a hotel – body-care products, tissues, etc.- PLUS the basics they’d find at home, such as dishes, cookware…you know, “the basics”.
Your vacation rental listing should clearly state what is provided for guests and make sure the property is adequately stocked for the duration of your guests’ stay. Especially important: toilet paper and trash bags! Moxie Girl has published some great tips for stocking your vacation rental home in our blogs “How to Set Up A Vacation Rental Home Kitchen” and “Laundry 101 for Vacation Rental Homes” too!
Imagine arriving for your stay at a vacation rental home having eagerly anticipated a nice visit to the hot tub with a nice pinot noir, only to find that the hot tub “with the relaxing, spectacular view” OBVIOUSLY hasn’t been maintained or tested any time in recent history. Sad face. Then ANGRY face. Then, aggressive dialing of the phone. You really don’t want THAT phone call on a Friday night, do you?
Regular testing and maintenance of all home systems and appliances is a must if you expect your vacation rental property to be a success. Issues you might just ignore or “work around” in your own home aren’t acceptable for a paying guest to deal with. A great way to stay in touch with the condition of your vacation rental property is to actually stay there yourself. Use our blog “Visiting Your Own Vacation Rental Home?” as a guide!
One of the most frustrating things a guest can experience is difficulty accessing the vacation rental home and associated amenities. After each guest departure, all keypad and lock boxes should be checked for function, and any keys accounted for. Be sure your guests have current codes to access anything they’ve been made to understand is available to them – including WiFi, community pools and laundry rooms!
“Tired and Worn-Looking”
Many things contribute to the overall appearance of your vacation rental home, including everything from like linens and cookware, to larger items such as furniture and window coverings. Replacing items costs less in the long run than bad reviews. Consider updating and replacing items BEFORE they start to look shabby. (Use our blog, “Refresh Your Vacation Rental Home for Spring” for some quick tips – they can be applied to any time of year!)
Cleanliness in a vacation rental should never be an option. Your guests should feel as though they are entering a space which has been prepared with them in mind. NO ONE is expecting any “ewwwww” moments – especially when they should’ve been easily caught by the cleaning crew well before check-in time. Our blog “Review Killers” points out some common cleaning “misses” you should definitely be aware of!
There’s a lot you, as the vacation rental home owner, can do to not only avoid complaints but garner great reviews! Being proactive in maintenance, seasonal “refreshes” and cleanings keeps your property continually looking and feeling its most appealing to your guests.
If you’re a vacation rental home owner in the Phoenix Metro area and interested to know how Moxie Girl can help your property shine, click for a FREE CONSULTATION!
Think you might want to BE a Moxie? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to APPLY!
Phoenix vacation rental home owners often think it’s a good idea to just shutter their property and wait out the summer season – who wants to come to Phoenix in the summer, anyway? Actually lots of people DO come to Phoenix in the summer, even if they are just passing through on their way to cooler temps than we have to offer.
With our vast experience in the Phoenix area vacation rental home market, Moxie Girl can always be counted on for excellent tips for vacation rental home owners. We recently received an email from one of our valued clients, asking for tips to help her boost the summer bookings for her Valley vacation rental home – and we are happy to share our advice with you, too!
Here are a few things we’ve heard from our clients (vacation rental homeowners and professional property managers) whose properties in the Valley stay busy during the summer:
Use Multiple Rental Platforms
List your vacation rental home on multiple sites! Summer tends to have more road tripping guests and they use AirBNB a bit more than VRBO, so using at least both of these platforms to list your property “widens your net” for potential bookings.
Implement Active Tweaking
Rental platform sites all have algorithms that keep a secret eye on your listing activity and will boost more active properties to the top of relevant search results. Simply tweaking your prices on a weekly basis will help show the sites that you want your vacation rental to be listed higher than those of your competition!
Speaking of competition, keep an eye on prices of your competitors – both vacation rental homes AND hotels/resorts in your area. One of the biggest mistakes we see vacation rental home owners make is to refuse to drop their prices in the summer.
Yes, offering your $199-a-night-during-peak-season vacation rental home for $89/night during the summer sounds painful, but if the nearby five-star resort with an amazing water park is offering $99/night, and a competitor’s vacation rental home down the street is listed at $89/night, then your home, listed at $199/night will most likely sit vacant.
It’s also important to think about what a potential guest sees when they look at a vacation rental home listing with a WIDE OPEN calendar – they may second guess if they should book with you based on that empty calendar alone (trust us, it’s a whole social validity/psychology thing.) Consider taking a couple reservations each month at deep discounts to get SOMETHING on your calendar. Having at least a couple bookings a bit in advance should help you attract more bookings, at regular summer prices.
Another thing you may consider doing is to take “last minute” reservations – anything is better than nothing! If your vacation rental home calendar for an upcoming week is empty, drop the price and you may snag the budget road trippers!
Guests Are Guests
In our experience, lower prices do NOT equal lesser quality guests. The interactions that vacation rental homeowners or managers have with guests prior to arrival have far more impact than the nightly amount the guest will pay. Moxie Girl actually sees the most damage to homes when guests stay over 30 days because they really start to LIVE in the home.
Something is Definitely Better than Nothing!
To illustrate what busy vacation rental homes in the Phoenix area CAN do in the summer, let’s look at the 2018 summer season stats for three properties belonging to Moxie Girl clients. Please note that all three properties are professionally managed by local property managers – it really helps to specifically “tuned-in” to Phoenix summer vacation rental market.
Remember, NO bookings equals ZERO income for your vacation rental property. So, even if your rental home is only booked for close to half of the days in each summer month – and even at summer rental rates – that income will go a long way in covering the regular, monthly expenses that come with rental ownership. (Mortgage payments, HOA fees and utilities don’t go away, even if you do “close” your rental for the summer!)
Check out the number of nights BOOKED for each of these vacation rentals:
Be sure to check out our other blogs filled with even more helpful tips for a successful summer rental season!
If you own and operate a vacation rental home, Moxie Girl knows you already have plenty to think about – and that can lead to important details falling through the cracks. Heaven forbid something unfortunate happens on your property during a guest’s stay, but accidents do happen. Moxie Girl has a few tips – don’t we always? – to help protect yourself and your vacation rental home.
Proper Insurance is Essential!
Make an appointment with your insurance agent to discuss what the appropriate coverage is for your vacation rental property. Be sure to accurately disclose all details of your property and provide historical data if it is available regarding guest activity – such as the number of days rented per month, the average number of guests per stay, etc. – as all of this may affect coverage and rates.
Have an Air-tight Rental Agreement
All details regarding the terms of rental of your vacation home – check-in and check-out times, deposit requirements, late stay and extended-stay procedures, fees for damages and so forth – should all be stated clearly and concisely in your rental agreement.
Unless you are willing and prepared to deal with the aftermath, you should also make it clear that parties or events during guest stay(s), beyond reasonable and size-appropriate get-togethers with in- town friends or family, are prohibited, as well as any illegal activity.
By ensuring your guests understand what’s expected of them and what to expect of you, should there be an incident, you greatly increase the probability of your guests being more respectful of the rules and of your vacation rental home in general. If they aren’t, or just happen to have an accident, at least you’ll have some legal recourse or protection against liability.
What’s Your Sign?
We know you don’t want to overload guests with written instructions once they arrive – they are there on vacation after all, not for a reading assignment. But as we discussed in our fireside chat with Chad from Aquaman Pools, we strongly recommend posting a “pool rules” sign as close to the pool as possible. You can read our chat with Chad here
“No Diving, No Unattended Children or Pets, No Running on Pool Deck and NO GLASS in Pool Area” should always be included on your pool rules sign. Our blog, “Five Sizzling Tips for Vacation Rental Homes with Pools” has some suggestions for encouraging your guests to adhere to the No glass rule in particular! Posting pool rules may not only get you a break in premiums but may even be required by your insurance company or local statutes regarding vacation rental homes. At minimum, you will have peace of mind knowing you did your part to promote a safe experience for your guests.
While not required of course, posting simple, easy-to-follow instructions near any appliances that aren’t particularly user-friendly may be helpful to both you and your guests. A guest who can figure out how to start your fancy dishwasher, probably will – saving you time and effort in preparing for your next guests.
Many vacation rental homeowners keep a professional-looking binder prominently displayed in the home, which contains house rules, emergency numbers, Wi-Fi passwords and other pertinent info, and direct their guests in advance to check the binder for anything they may need to know. The binder is also a great place to keep any keys required for pool gates or laundry rooms. See our Moxie blog “That’s a Nice Touch!” for more ways to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable.
Technology: Good and Good for You!
From keyless entry systems to lockable thermostats, technology is at the ready to help protect your vacation rental home investment. Old-fashioned lockboxes can be tricky and if the code isn’t scrambled after opening or closing, the keys inside are vulnerable and may be used to gain an authorized entry by anyone. You also give your guests one less thing to keep track of by installing a keyless entry system on your property.
Many keyless systems can have multiple entry codes (for example one for your guests, and one for your cleaning crew or other service crews) and can be accessed, monitored and controlled from your smartphone.
Many of us work around “issues” in our personal residences for a variety of reasons. We know to step over that loose tile at the top of the stairs, or maybe we’ve just been too busy to take a hammer to that carpet tack that has made its way to the surface of the bedroom threshold. However, those little issues should not go unattended when it comes to your vacation rental home!
Conduct a thorough walk-through of your property on a regular basis and take care of any issues that may have come up. Those walk-throughs are also a great time to do monthly maintenance like changing AC or water filters in the home. By keeping your vacation rental home meticulously maintained, you lower the chances of any incidents or injuries on your property – and increase the probability of a great guest review!
Need help with your vacation rental home? From expert set-up to professional cleaning, Moxie Girl leads the way in quality, reliable care for your vacation rental property. Contact us for a free consultation and see what Moxie Girl can do for you!
Everyone knows there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip a cool, sparkling pool in the Phoenix summer! If your vacation rental home boasts one, no doubt your property will be in higher demand during the summer months than those that without a pool. Moxie Girl is ready with some tips to help prepare your vacation rental home for summer swimming fun!
1. First Things First
With your pool being a highlight of your summer vacation rental, you MUST make certain it’s properly maintained. To keep your pool looking its best, Moxie Girl recommends regularly scheduled professional service. Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, recently sat down with Chad Nikkel , owner of Aquaman Pools, to discuss caring for your vacation rental home pool. Chad shared some important points to remember:
A vacation rental home pool should be treated more like a public pool, both chemically and with regard to safety and liability issues.
Pool chemicals should be always be safely stored out of the sight of guests, and an automatic tab feeder is a much better and safer choice than floating chlorinator for a vacation rental home pool.
Reduce your liability by posting pool safety signs – No Diving, No Glass, No Running on Pool Deck! Sure, your guests may not always heed the warnings, but at least you (and your insurance company) will know you’ve done your part as a responsible vacation rental home owner to discourage mishaps!
Watch our fireside chat with Chad in its entirety,Aquaman fireside chat. Moxie Girl also recommends letting your guests know the days and times of regularly scheduled pool maintenance to avoid any awkward situations!
2. About that Glass…
Broken glass in the pool will definitely ruin everyone’s day. Not only will the pool be unsafe for use, but glass shard removal from pools is time-consuming and costly!
Encourage your guests to follow the “No Glass” rule by hitting up your nearest dollar store and stocking your vacation rental home with pool-safe, colorful plastic drink ware! Shatter-proof tumblers, wine, beer and even margarita drink-ware is usually available in a rainbow of colors, and designs can range from solid colors to patterns and tiki and cactus themes. So have some fun and while you’re at it, a plastic pitcher for poolside pours is a great idea, as well as a supply of can koozies! Most of these plastics are completely dishwasher-safe, but always be sure to check the labels before purchasing.
3. Throwing in the Towel
Nothing will prematurely age your bath towels like using them out at the pool. Moxie Girl recommends stocking your vacation rental home with at least one beach towel per potential guest, plus a few extras – and make sure they’re placed in an obvious location so your guests see and use them. An appropriately-sized basket by the main door leading to the pool makes a tidy container for neatly rolled and attractively arranged pool towels.
If your towels (beach OR bath) have fallen victim to mildew, an unpleasant odor is usually the first clue…and that odor actually the smell of breeding bacteria – ewwwww! Take the steps below as soon as possible and chances are you can kill the bacteria and save your towels.
Place mildewed towels in washer, set water temperature to HOT, and add a cup of white vinegar (no detergent for this step). Manually stop the washer once it’s filled and let the towels soak for an hour. At the end of the hour, restart the washer and allow the cycle to complete.
Now, repeat the complete wash cycle, adding your regular laundry detergent and another cup of white vinegar. If the mildew odor is gone at the end of the cycle – hooray! High-five yourself and transfer those towels to the dryer and dry thoroughly. If you’ve read Moxie Girl’s “Laundry 101”, you already know to skip the dryer sheets as they reduce the absorbency of your towels!
4. Drip Dry
It doesn’t take long for mold and mildew to lay down roots in wet laundry! By providing a place for your guests to hang items wet from the pool, you’ll discourage mildew and prolong the life of your pool towels. Hooks or a retractable clothesline outside will discourage pool towels and other items from being brought into the house sopping wet.
Do be aware that prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can quickly fade colorful towels, so keep that in mind when considering locations for your outdoor drip-dry area! Moxie Girl also recommends an absorbent floor mat outside all doors leading to the pool to help keep your interior floors safe and dry.
5. That’s a Nice Touch – Summer Update
If you’ve smartly stocked your vacation rental home with a basic first-aid kit, consider updating it for the summer season to include high spf sunscreen, aloe vera gel and a topical spray for bug bites, in “trial” sizes. You may even consider bundling up these summer items in a vinyl mini tote bag to make a sweet little welcome gift for arriving guests.
Summer humidity tends to bring the mosquitoes, so consider some citronella candles in the pool area. Look for candles in non-glass containers only, of course – we’ve seen some cute metal and terra cotta versions for sale.
“Pool noodles” are colorful, inexpensive and give your guests a little something to float around with in the pool. You can pick them at the dollar store while you’re buying your fun plastic drink-ware. Be sure to check out Moxie Girls tips for adding a first-aid kit as well as other thoughtful touches your guests will appreciate, “That’s a Nice Touch”
Moxie Girl is your vacation rental specialist, all year round! We’re always sharing helpful hints to make your life easier and keep your guests happy, so check back often for more from Moxie!
With the Phoenix summer upon us, a sparkling clean swimming pool is at the top of “must-have” list for many vacation home rental guests. As a vacation rental home owner, you’ll want to be sure your pool is maintained with excellence. You’ll also want protect yourself against potential liabilities!
Amanda Thomas of Moxie Girl recently had opportunity to chat with Chad Nikkel, owner of Aquaman Pools about some simple steps you can take to ensure a great vacation rental experience for your guests – and yourself – this summer.
AT: Hi there – this is Amanda Thomas with Moxie Girl, your vacation rental cleaning specialists! I’m here with Chad Nikkel, the owner of Aquaman Pools. He’s here today to give us some tips on caring for your vacation rental pools. Thanks for joining us today.
CN: You bet! Good to be here.
AT: Yeah! Thank you! So, when we were talking earlier, you had mentioned that vacation rental pools are more like commercial pools than residential pools. What did you mean by that?
CN: Yeah, in a residential pool you might have, you know, two or three people in the pool during the week. At a vacation rental pool, people are paying for use of the property for a vacation, so quite often there may be 10 people in the house. Since they are paying for the use of the pool, they are using that pool much more. In this situation there might be 5, 6, 8, 10 people – maybe more – in the pool every day. Pools run and consume chemicals based on how many people are in them and how much organic matter is in the pool. So you might have 10 or 15 times the amount of people in that pool than you would normally have in a residential pool. And that’s why we treat it like a commercial pool, much like an HOA for condo complex or a hotel.
AT: So, it would need more chemicals? Or just different chemicals, or…?
CN: Yeah, so it would a chemical feeder on the pool, like a tab feeder that’s back at the equipment, essentially so that it is continually feeding chlorine to that pool. So it is staying in front of those issues so that it doesn’t get murky, etc.
But then also maybe some other chemicals like enzymes and that type of thing that we wouldn’t always use in a residential setting. So for instance, with sunscreen and things like that on the body, chlorine is fighting to get rid of that and it’s consuming a lot of chlorine to do that, so if there’s more and more people in the pool, things like enzymes and other types of algaecides can help get rid of those things so that the chlorine can actually do its job correctly and keep the water clear.
AT: OK, so that’s why one time we stayed in a vacation rental and there were eight of us in a hot tub. The next morning it was like a scummy soup. Right, so you don’t want that happening with your vacation rental guests. That’s not good reviews!
Cool! So any other tips you would give vacation rental owners to make sure they are protected, they are safe and that they are getting good reviews?
CN: Yes! One of the things is to make sure it’s not just a chlorine floater in the pool. In a residential situation there’s a little pop-up feeder that has chlorine in it that’s floating around the pool. In a vacation rental pool, it’s better to have that back at the equipment because somebody’s kid could take that chlorine tablet out of that floater and it could hurt them. That’s a potential liability and something that could be easily solved with a simple tablet feeder that’s located back at the pool equipment, so that it is away from the environment that the guests are swimming in.
All commercial pools have that as a requirement – it’s code. So, even though it’s not an “inspected” pool, that’s the best way to do it. And from a liability perspective, that eliminates some concerns so it may be a situation where you could reduce some insurance costs if you can do some of these things, like putting “No Diving” signs around, and doing your part as a vacation rental home owner in saying, hey, the signs were there, you know if somebody – god forbid – hurts themselves diving in your pool.
AT: Yeah, try to protect yourself from the silly decisions your guests could make. Sounds good! So, it sounds like it’s important to have signs posted and also make sure that your pool guy knows that this is a vacation rental so he can have the chemicals set up correctly for that.
CN: Exactly! Yep!
AT: Perfect! And if any of you owners out there don’t have pool service yet or are looking to change, Aquaman Pools services the Valley, and they are fantastic! This is Chad, he’s the owner. If you have any questions please reach out to them. They would be happy to help you with your pool. Thanks so much and we’ll see you next time!
With our vast experience, Moxie Girl can help with all your vacation rental home needs – and we’ve found some of the best local products and services in The Valley. Watch for more Moxie Girl fireside chats coming soon!