Vacationers will have plenty of questions to ask you about your property and rental procedures, you can bet. Well, it’s a two way street. It’s every bit as important that the prospective rental guest answer the following questions so you know you’ve found a good fit for your property and the vacation experience you know that it delivers.
- Obviously, you’ll ask how many guests in their party, but you need to know more than that!
Make sure they count all the kids, including toddlers and infants. We’ve had parties tell us they are a group of eight, then on arrival day, we count eight adults and six kids! So be sure they are giving you an accurate body count, no matter what the size or age of those bodies!
Here’s a key related question: Do they expect any visitors during their stay? Any who will be staying overnight? Exceeding the occupancy defined in the rental agreement, even for one night, is in violation of the agreement.
Also beware of the “gathering.” Especially if your guest group is part of a larger group of friends or family all staying in the area, as in the case of weddings, for example. Maybe only eight of them are staying at your place, but you’ve got the sweet location on or near the beach, so guess where all 34 of them will choose to congregate most of the time?
Yet another aspect of group size is the number of vehicles they plan to have parked at the house at any one time. Your rental agreement can and should stipulate what the normal sized vehicle count cannot exceed. No campers or 18-wheelers, please! All you need is a call from an irate neighbor, complaining that your rental guests are blocking his driveway with their 45-foot long coach!
- Are there any pets in their party?
Most vacationers who want to bring their pets are very good about being up front with the proposition, and equally good about managing the pet behavior while in residence. They’ll even OK with paying more for the privilege. Generally speaking, we encourage owners to consider pets, since there are so many families today that want Fido on the family vacation, and that means a much larger universe of prospective guests.
But some owners flat out don’t allow pets, which is certainly their prerogative. Maybe they have family members allergic to dog or cat hair. Whatever the reason, if you don’t want pets, it’s good to probe this question a bit deeper. For example, do you plan to have any visitors who might bring a dog? Or two? You won’t know if you don’t ask.
- What is the profile of the group and what is their vacation vision?
Are they a multi-generational family? Or maybe two young families with a couple of kids each? A bunch of 40-something golf or fishing buddies on a guys-only escape? Or six or eight 60-something women in a book club or knitting group? (Based on our experience with those last two, we suggest you go with the knitting group.) Or a group of 20-something college kids looking to “unwind” after a challenging academic year? (Watch for inquiries for May or June with email addresses ending in “.edu.”)
What do they expect to do on vacation? Sit on the beach all day? Play golf, go fishing or antiquing? Stage a volleyball tournament in your back yard? Do their plans match the experience your property delivers and you want to allow?
In general, the best advice is: do everything you can to make sure the rental is the right match for the group that is inquiring about it. Don’t be so eager to fill weeks that you create unhappy situations. When the rental works for the guests, and the guests play by the rules, everyone wins.