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  • Writer's pictureJulie Fergus

Decisions, decisions.

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Is critical thinking a lost skill? It is my opinion that many people may have never learned how to think critically. This opinion is based on the questions I see posted in Facebook Groups for STRs, vacation rentals, and RV rentals. It seems that some owners take to FB groups to get advice for what I think are basic situations or scenarios without doing any due diligence.

I don’t have a specific example, just the notion that once an owner is challenged by a situation, stumped on how to respond to a guest / potential guest, or takes to social media to complain, I get the sense that they haven’t thought things through.

First of all, remember that this business is in the hospitality industry serving people. Stumped owners seem to keep forgetting this. People are literally different in every way possible. Neat freaks to slobs, always late to punctual, early risers to night-owls, couch potatoes to outdoorsy types, book readers to TV watchers, likes to cook to likes to dine-out, takes care of “things” to not really taking care of “things” I can go on and on. Just because you live a certain way, don’t think that your guests value what you do.

The valuable lesson is that when “doing business” (a.k.a. accepting reservations from strangers) with people you better be good at vetting guests, presenting your property and amenities accurately, thinking quick, and responding professionally. Successful DIY owners are prepared, good communicators, organized, and are pro-active. These are the traits needed to get to consistent five-star reviews.

Owners must think about how the property is going to be used by all types of people. When you think about scenarios and usage you can avoid problems.

The vacation and short-term rental industry is rewarding and challenging. It is much more than decorating and furnishing, that is the easy part. The real work happens when guests start arriving and using your property. You must be prepared and think things through before your first guest arrives and have a plan in place to deal with challenges as they arise.

Here are some tips from my personal experience to avoid guest problems:

  • Have your property 100% ready to receive guests.

  • Set expectations before the guest arrives. Read about that here. This allows guests to know what to expect and hopefully mitigate any issues. The less interaction with the guest the better.

  • Under-promise and over-deliver.

  • Don’t over-sell a property. Don’t make your property sound better than it is.

  • Have a network of repair people, or be a good handy-man that can fix things fast.

  • Never answer a call from a guest when they are at the property. Force them to leave a voicemail or text so that you can find out why they are calling. My reasoning is that this gives me the chance to digest what the “problem” is so that I can have a solution or plan of attack ready to offer and present to the guest.

Learn about critical thinking here:

Resources to learn more about the industry:

A reservation system I personally use:

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