By Candyce H. Stapen
Way before online descriptions of properties existed, my husband and I booked a condominium for a romantic getaway at a Delaware beach. The unit featured ocean views, a balcony and a king-bed master suite as described in the ad. But the owner’s definition of clean and ours differed substantially. We arrived to find dirty dishes in the sink, a streak of sand in the living room, no soap in the bathroom and hair on the bedroom sheets.
I was five months pregnant and this was to be our “babymoon.” Instead of a restful, feet-up-on-the-balcony weekend, we began our mini-retreat by purchasing cleaning supplies, including a broom; washing dishes (the dishwasher was broken); and doing laundry. The owner didn’t return our phone calls, the building lacked a front desk and the place we picked up the keys was just that—a place to get keys, not a management service. Because we pre-paid, we couldn’t negotiate a price reduction.
Nevertheless, we strolled the beach, discovered a new seafood restaurant and sat on our balcony in the evening, listening to the waves. We returned home with a new broom and a not-to-be-forgotten lesson in why renting from a professionally managed vacation rental company matters.
Some benefits of using a professional manager:
Pre-inspected properties. Many peer-to-peer rental sites function like digital bulletin boards, enabling owners to advertise and renters to discover available properties. As a rental marketplace, those companies do not inspect units before guests arrive. A professional manager would have made sure our condo was clean, the dishwasher working and the sheets fresh before our arrival.
Vacationer Kimberly R. was glad she used a management company when she booked her vacation condo in Camelot by the Sea in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “I have lost thousands of dollars by not being able to see what the actual place looked like before staying there,” she says. “But with this stay, the guest services were professional, helpful, and nice. The entire place was clean: rooms, pools, decks, balconies, elevators, and garage.”
Ability to fix problems. Our do-it-ourselves booking left us with no one to call except the disinterested landlord. Even if he did speak with us, as a single-unit owner, he could not switch us to another condo, and he had no special contract with a repair company that would arrive that day to fix the dishwasher. Since a professional management company can offer access to 24/7 assistance and might also oversee many units in a given community, the company’s local team could have either had the dishwasher serviced or moved us into another condo in the same or a nearby building.
Housekeeping. Cleaning up someone else’s mess upon arrival tired us. We wished we could have requested daily maid service to tidy up for the remainder of the weekend but with our rental that was not a possibility. In certain resort areas, you can find professionally managed rental properties that offer housekeeping as well as access to other hotel-like benefits such as a front desk, concierge or shuttle services.
For your next vacation, enjoy added peace of mind by booking a professionally managed vacation rental home.
Long-time family travel guru Candyce H. Stapen writes for many publications and outlets. She has written 30 travel guidebooks, including two for National Geographic. See gfvac.com for more information.