Archive for April 11th, 2013

Vacation Rental Policies

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Sonoma County Vacations understands — There are hundreds of vacation rental homes to choose from, just in Sonoma County! How do you choose? Randomly pick one from an online sight? Call a reputable company? Why do they charge cleaning and tax on cleaning? “I’ll just pick one from an individual property owner who doesn’t charge all that, and I can save money” you might think. But what are the risks?

Reviews will tell the story? Not always, in fact, not nearly enough. Review sites are filled with extremes, both ways, negative and positive, and somewhere the truth lies in between. We’ve been reviewed negatively for not leaving spices out (which we never have in twenty years for liability reasons) as well as representing a property that was located on a busy street, even though we have a map, and ask for what the guests needs.

Suggestions? We have a 24/7 emergency/after hours phone and we live within ten minutes of most homes, and never more than 30 minutes whatever the case.

Would you like a walk through on arrival? We’re happy to oblige.
Policies? Payment in full 30 days prior to arrival, with 1/2 down upon reserving. Security deposit needs to be paid by check, secured funds, and returned within 30 days of departure.

Why so long? A security deposit is put down so the property owner has some security regarding utility usage as well as damage, and they need time to get the bills. We never want to keep a security deposit and I’ve personally paid a property owner many times over for small items to keep our guests returning. But that instance where hundreds of dollars of propane is used — I can’t cover that and a guest needs to be charged.

A property management company’s commission is a very small part of the total, and we typically do not have dollars to play with.

I can promise guests we go through every home prior to arrival and do a mechanical inspection to make sure everything is working, and is cleaned.
Coming in summer 2013?
Docusign for guest ease with the contract.
App for smart phones to download and have the house manual, directions, codes, etc.

We’re always looking to give our guests an easier way to reserve, and we have online 24/7 reservation service.

We hope this helps in your choices for reservation considerations.