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Russian Roulette - Lodging Newsletter April 30, 2021

By Wm, May
Published: 04/30/21 Topics: AirBnB, Branding, Channel Management, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

It was in the national news a few weeks back, maybe you read about it.

The deck of a home, on the Malibu coastline of California, overloaded with people, collapsed and sent a dozen or more occupants, crashing onto the rocks below. Emergency crews rushed to the scene, people were sent to the hospital, police reports were taken, and the media warned of overloading decks. But that was not the entire story.

Later reports revealed that the owner had rented the home for the weekend for a maximum of 6 people. When neighbors complained of too many people, the owner, living far away, telephoned the guests, "Pleading with them to leave."

For over 3 hours, she recorded the phone calls, eventually calling the police, but too late. A dozen people were hurt, some severely. She is lucky no one died, but there will undoubtedly be a lawsuit.

It seems the owner fell victim to the trap laid by AirBnB, VRBO and other websites, promising how easy managing your own home is. These websites promise owners can "Get Rich Quick" by simply listing online, finding a cheap housekeeper, and raking in the money.

The websites hide that the average home requires 500 hours a year of owner time, demands 24/7/365 monitoring, late night phone calls, and constant worries about experiences like the deck owner's.

When dealing with the public, no one can guarantee that every customer will behave. Troublesome customers are rare, but smart managers know how to train guests, before they arrive, on how to follow rules. Professional managers also know how to control guests during occupancy. Should a guest violate the rules, they know how to legally get rid of them in minutes. And the right manager will produce more income than they cost.

Amateur owners reflect poorly on the vacation rental industry, like the deck house owner who was trying to "beat a system" by failing to hire a reliable manager. These amateur owners put their homes and guests at greater risk.

This month's newsletter explains how owners can make maximum income with minimum fuss. Flip the page to read all about it.

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In recent years, cities, counties and even home owner associations, have ramped up to regulate or prohibit vacation rentals, and all for a mathematically insignificant number of issues that nosey neighbors try to push on officials.

Bad Medicine: Governments hold hearings, listen to days of testimony, and dream up bandaid rules that seldom quiet critics, while stripping away rights that American property owners hold dear. Officials fail to grasp that, when issues do arise, they are almost exclusively caused by out-of-town, rent-by-owners who don't have the experience, skills, tools or proximity to responsibly manage their homes.

Hiring a kid down the street or a freelance housekeeper to "Keep an eye on the place" fails, because they lack management skills. They disappear when difficult work arises, like managing guest behavior.

Know the Ropes: Professional managers control the marketing and booking process, enabling them to qualify guests, put rules in writing, require signed contracts, and setup homes properly to educate and warn guests how to behave. This eliminates problems before they start.

The steps of establishing legally binding listings, contracts, rules and other documents are almost always skipped by rent-by-owners. Those same owners never even think about it and never commit to providing services 24/7/365, but that is the foundation of lodging management.

Full Service or A-La-Carte: The cost of hiring a manager will be easily offset by the additional income the manager will produce by securing higher occupancy and higher rates.

Companies like ours provide services a-la-carte and full service. Owners can pick and choose, so long as they setup their property to be safe and secure. Services are not free, but all pay off for owners.

Managers are not all created equal. A client switched to us recently because, when he called his current management company to report too many people at his home, the big corporate out-of-town management firm said, "Hey what do you expect me to do about it?"

"I know no one can guarantee every guest will behave," said the client, "but I expect management firms to know what they can do, how to do it, and then to do it."

Do-It-Yourself: The dream of doing things yourself runs deep. Those who would never do their own tax returns, never repair their own cars, or never fix their own plumbing, will try to manage one of their most expensive assets - their vacation home - even though they have absolutely no experience.

It is difficult to find a doctor, attorney, accountant who would consider managing their own rental home. They have done the math and find that hiring a professional manager is much cheaper than distracting from their own billable time. With us they make maximum income with minimum fuss.

Self-managing fills a need in some people to believe (incorrectly) that they are in absolute control, to be their own boss, and to own their own business. But with lack of training, sufficient staff members, and quick access to the property, do-it-yourself management is Russian Roulette. Just ask the owner of the Malibu deck home.

So if your home needs higher income, attentive management, and lower risk, call us today.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0813 – 04/30/21

Be Picky - Lodging Newsletter March 31, 2021

By Wm, May
Published: 03/31/21 Topics: AirBnB, Branding, Channel Management, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Vacation rentals have been around forever. Did you know that many delegates to the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 rented private homes during the meetings? Of course, they weren't called "Vacation Rentals", but they do mostly fit today's definition.

Why would the founding fathers prefer staying in private accommodations instead of a hotel? Believe it or not, there were no such things then as we know them today. But there were inns that had rooms and usually served food, too.

Maybe the delegates liked the idea of coming and going without being seen? Without disturbing anyone. Or maybe they liked the privacy while debating what were certainly earth-shaking questions.

Our first office open in 1964 and the world of vacation rentals has changed greatly, frequently and, sometimes, unexpectedly. The events of 9/11, the 2008 real estate depression, and now this dang thang called COVID have wrenched the industry, forcing managers to adjust and adapt. Not all have.

Although most of us were not around, or at least were not working (!), we know that past vacation rental management customer service pretty much included "Here's they keys, good luck." But those days are long gone.

Today, vacation rental professionals must provide 24/7/365 service, instant guest assistance, and careful property management. The internet changed the world and, very greatly, the world of vacation rentals.

Now guests can find, compare, quote, and rent homes all over the world. Photos, 3D tours, floor plans, online booking and reviews enable for careful shopping. Guests demand all of that and owners, who want to make maximum income with minimum fuss, deserve that.

But some property owners fail to get all they deserve because they choose managers for one reason instead of insisting on them all. Today's newsletter is a short-list of questions to ask possible managers. Don't settle for less.

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Local vacation rental managers, often fail to embrace every method available to serve property owner clients. Mammoth out-of-town managers focus on one aspect and ignore others. Each type of manager will promote one aspect of renting or another.

On the other hand, our goal is to provide every service every home, every owner and every guest deserves. That is a big order and no one is perfect, but as the old cliché goes, "It you ain't trying, you ain't doing."

Some questions to ask of a prospective vacation rental manager are obvious: How long have you been in business? What education do you have? What are your frees.? But indirect questions will reveal whether the manager can deliver what they say - or not.

PROFITABLE - Is your business profitable? (If not, they won't invest in technology and staffing.) We are and have remained so during ups and downs, while others borrowed millions and fired staff to stay in business.

TENURE - How many years have staff leaders been doing rentals? (Nothing trains managers like years in the field.) Partners here have invested decades studying and advancing their craft. We have seen everything and figured how to handle it all. No surprises for property owners.

YIELD - Do they employ Dynamic Rates? (If not, you get lower rates and, surprisingly, fewer bookings - all of which take money out of your pocket.)

ADVERTISING - Where will the property be advertised? (If they say just a few websites like AirBnB and VRBO, your property will get less visibility, fewer inquiries and fewer bookings.) We post listings on hundreds of websites, including every major media you can name.

HOURS: Are they open every day of the year and with instant 24/7/365 support? (If not, one slipped gear results in cancelled bookings, refunds and losses for owners.) We provide instant service because guests, owners and homes deserve it.

TECHNOLOGY: Which software do they use? (The wrong tech slows bookings and prohibits pricing strategy, taking money away from managing your home.). We created all our own software to stay 3 steps ahead of the competition.

PERFECT: Does they provide perfect management in all cases? (This is a trick question.) Properties are like snowflakes - no two are alike. No one can guarantee your home will be hassle free, but we can promise to provide maximum income with minimum fuss to you. It is our job to do the work and your job to profit.

- - -

SCORE CARD: It is our goal to provide all the services and programs of those giant vacation rentals, but with all the benefits of being locally owned and operated. We call it locally managed, globally advertised and technically superior. (Any manager without all of those is losing money for clients.)

If you would like to compare our services to other managers, please ask for our "How to Score Vacation Rental Managers". A long worksheet that will show how much we do for you and how little the other guys do. The form is free.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0812 – 03/31/21

Why Tip? - Lodging Newsletter February 28, 2021

By Wm, May
Published: 02/28/21 Topics: AirBnB, Branding, Channel Management, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

A new vacation rental landlord was appalled to find that the management firm put "Housekeeper Tip Envelopes" into homes. She incorrectly concluded that the housekeepers were not paid sufficiently.

Seems she has no idea how to be in the hospitality industry. Certainly housekeepers appreciate tips, but tips are not really there for the money.

Tips show appreciation.

Tips show recognition of the hard work.

Tips show respect for undesirable work.

Tips are the price you pay to avoid the job.

Tips show you are a kind person.

Maybe if she scrubbed floors, unclogged toilets, and pushed a vacuum until her hands grew callouses, and did it for years on end, just maybe she would begin to feel what it's like to be disrespected.

During the Covid crisis, it has been reported that customers are tipping restaurant servers, delivery drivers, and other service people, less than ever before. Of course, some consumers have less money available to leave tips, but for everyone else - shame on us.

Millions have lost jobs. Some have taken positions at lower wages. Some have been forced into part-time work. So now is the time to show more respect for people, not less.

Without much forethought our family has been trying to tip higher than usual nowadays. But this ungrateful client gave us a brand new idea. Not only is it time to tip everyone well, maybe it's time to start a movement - it's time to double tip everyone.

Tonight we stopped for fast-food take-out and tipped $20 on a $25 order, plus a big heartfelt THANK YOU to people willing to work in a steamy hot restaurant kitchen so we could have an easy meal.

The wonderful young clerk said, "Oh, that’s too much." To which we had to say, "Oh no, that’s just right." And the best part of tipping double is that you will get more out of it than the recipient. Generosity always benefits the giver.

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Do we brag too much in these newsletter? Or maybe we promote too little, because it is our duty to help clients make a good decision when choosing to become vacation rental landlords.

There are signficant differences in how to run a vacation rental, how to hire a thoroughly competent managers, how to deal with guests, what to think about all the advertising websites and their usurious fees. And even bigger issues confront someone cavalierly deciding to become a "Do It Yourself" owner.

Why would anyone want to DIY vacation rental management? There are those who need a hobby. Some feel it would be a joy to "talk" with guests. Some love the idea of sharing a home they are so proud of.

Those reasons are fine, of course, but the hidden factor in lodging managemement is that guests don't care about what owners want. It's not about the owner, it's about the guest.

Any owner can feel some success because, with today's online websites, most anyone, for most any kind of property can secure some bookings. But getting some bookings and getting all bookings at the highest possible rates is just not possible for most owners.

As the old saying goes, "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then."

So the question is how much are owners losing by going Do it Yourself?

Without the kind of completely comprehensive marketing, advertising, distribution, cross selling, hospitality grade cleaning, quick maintenance, and reservation experts like ours, most owners are earning half what they should be earning. And working twice as hard.

A HomeAway.com study revealed that owners spend an average of 9.2 hours per week dealing with rental issues. And some of those are in the middle of the night.

Self managing may give owners a sense of control, but unfortunately many such owners are overly selfish and fail at the good hospitality test. Some think they are "cutting out the middle man" (manager's fee), but most are actually cutting their income and increasing their work greatly.

By speaking with hundreds of guests on the phone each week, we hear them scream complaints about dealing with owners directly. They talk about owners who are non-responsive, not clean enough, rude and demanding. Not everyone is cut out to be in the hospitality industry.

If you don’t love people, even when they are difficult, you can't succeed fully in this business.

During Covid we have received calls from DIY owners everyday whose housekeepers failed to show up to clean. These owners lived hundreds or thousands of miles from their rental homes. They thought all they needed was someone to come over immediately to clean their homes,

They begged, "Hey can you help me out just this one time?"

We helped where we could, but our time and allegiance must be to home owners who value the stabilty, reliablity and quality of what we do and realize the value of having a trusted management firm ready to handle every little thing.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0811 – 02/28/21

It Is Time for Double Tips

By William May
Published: 02/26/21 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Gratitude, Health, Kindness Comments: 0

A new vacation rental landlord was appalled to find out that the management firm put "Housekeeper Tip Envelopes" into homes. She presumptuously concluded that the housekeepers were not paid sufficiently.

That reveals she hasn't the slightest idea of how to be in the hospitality industry. Certainly housekeepers appreciate tips, but tips are not really there for the money.

  • Tips show appreciation.
  • Tips show recognition of the hard work.
  • Tips show respect for undesirable work.
  • Tips are the price you pay to avoid the job.
  • Tips show you are a kind person.

Housekeeping is the kind of work that this privileged snotty rental owner can simply not imagine. Maybe if such owners went out, scrubbed floors, unclogged toilets, and pushed a vacuum until their hands grew callouses, maybe then they would see, or at least begin to feel what it's like to be disrespected.

During the Covid crisis, it has been reported that customers are tipping service personnel, like restaurant servers, delivery drivers, and dry cleaners, far lower than ever before. Of course, some consumers have less money available to leave tips, but for everyone else - shame on you.

People have lost jobs. Some have taken positions at lower wages. Some work part-time when full-time is what they need. That means now is the time to show more respect for service people, not less.

Double Tip

Without much forethought our family has been tipping higher than usual nowadays. But this ungrateful client gave us a brand new idea. Not only is it time to tip everyone well, maybe it's time to start a movement - it's time to tip everyone double.

Maybe it was always time to double tip everyone. Tip double! At minimum. Always!

The Best Reward

On the way home tonight we stopped for take-out at a drive-through fast food restaurant and tipped $20 on a $25 order. We also handed over giant smiles and a very big THANK YOUS.

The wonderful young clerk said, "Oh, that’s too much." To which we had to say, "Oh no, that’s just right."

But the best part of tipping double is that you will get more out of it than the recipient. Generosity always benefits the giver.

And now it can and should benefit us all double! Maybe next time we should make it triple. How about you?

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Author: William May
Blog #: 0809 – 02/26/21

Not What It Seems - Lodging Newsletter January 31, 2021

By Wm, May
Published: 01/31/21 Topics: AirBnB, Branding, Channel Management, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

If you are one of our lovely and gratefully appreciated property owner clients, you may not need to read this letter. You have hired us so you can sit back, make maximum income and let us handle all the details, interruptions, unexpected events and, even, political disruptions. Geez.

But, if you are not a client or if you just want to know what is going on in the vacation rental industry, then this month we rant on a bit about Online Travel Agents (OTAs), how we work to maximize their effectiveness and minimize their negativ es.

For example, you may be aware that the formerly "couch surfing" website AirBnB, now focused greatly on vacation rental advertising, continues to dominate the gossip. They are just one of the hundreds of websites on which we list lodging properties and from which we get a steady stream of guest bookings.

In December, AirBnB "went public", offering to sell its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. It was baffling. How does an investor value a company that had 2.25 billion dollars in revenue and a negative profit of 697 million dollars! Wow.

We want to let our clients know we have never operated like that. Service businesses - like vacation rental and lodging management - are not wildly profitable. We don't bleed money. And we are not counting on a big stock market score to survive.

Unlike AirBnB, we don't grow for the sake of becoming world famous. Maybe it's old fashioned, but our goal is to take care of owners, guests and staff members. Your property's future is safe and secure with us.

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All About Channels - Accepting bookings from AirBnB, VRBO, Booking.com, Expedia and many others (the industry calls them Online Travel Agents "OTAs" or "Channels") is expensive. Most charge the property and the guest a commission. So, long ago we adapted and created software that marks ups rates so that guests pay those.

Expensive - Some five years ago, we were hired to launch rentals at a new resort, and it was a huge success. Thousands of nights were booked at a property still under construction. Each time a guest checked-in at the front desk, who had booked through an OTA, they were told or given a form that explained that they paid 15 to 20% too much by booking through a channel.

Repeat Visitors - A funny thing happened the following year. Of all the OTA guests who returned, 75% booked through an OTA again and paid too much. Foolish yes, but those customers fell for the OTA hype and that just reveals the power of marketing.

Complications - Channels increase costs in other ways. Their guests are not self sufficient - such as they may not answer phone calls, don't read driving directions, can't turn on TV's and generally expect instant service, even at 3 am. That may be reasonable, if the "host" of the couch you are surfing is sleeping in the room next door, but more difficult when homes can be spread out many miles from staff.

Book Direct- For years, there has been a campaign asking managers to avoid advertising on channels, or at least to decrease the portion of business they accept from them. Unfortunately, that is just foolish.

Branding - OTA's have convinced people that they have all available properties in their catalogue (so to speak), that they have the lower rate (which is clearly untrue), and that they get special perks like Points (that can be used for more travel - after you earn a few billion of them).

Performance - Channels do offer one compelling advantage, By demanding the hated percentage, at least they only get paid when they send us rental income. In decades past, conventional media, such as newspapers, radio and TV, took the ad dollars without so much as a wink of a guarantee.

Newbies - It must be admitted that OTA's have another advantage. They can bring in new guests who have never rented a vacation rental home before. This expands the market for everyone. The steady growth of the industry over the past two decades is a direct result of travelers discovering the joys of renting a private home.

Conversion - So, it becomes our job to convert those channel guests into direct booking guests. It's better for them, better for properties, better for owners and, certainly, better for us to. We do that with printed "Table Tents" in the homes, including Book-Direct reminders on all emails, and even by reminding guests in phone conversations.

We won't stop the tsunami of OTA growth, but we can improve the situation for every home we serve.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0810 – 01/31/21

2020 Hindsight of 2020 - Lodging Newsletter December 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 12/31/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Do It Yourself Rentals, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals, Venture Capital, Yield Management Comments: 0

Did you think 2020 would never end? Did it feel like it would last more than the usual 12 months? Or was it so wonderful for you, that you really wanted to extend the year longer?

Nah, let's admit surely no one can feel that way. But we can all agree that 2021 will be the first year in history that looking back will truly allow for 2020 hindsight.

For two decades, everything in Vacation Rentals and specialty lodging has grown and changed constantly and at an ever-increasing pace. Then Covid sped up changes even faster. Even owner income went up almost everywhere.

I am proud as punch to give credit to all our wonderful team members who rose to the occasion last year and are charging forward in this one. There are more people here than meet the eye.

Many work onsite cleaning and maintaining houses, providing guest and owner services. The onsite management partners and others all outpaced the competition.

Behind the scenes, accountants, software engineers, the reservation team, graphic artists and photographers, client representatives and even our board members - every person has pulled double duty this year. So, hugs and kisses.

And now, attached are our predictions for the new year.

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They say that predictions are a fool's errand. But, for our lodging industry at least, we are going to foolishly take a stab at what to expect.

Vacation Rentals - We predict that the industry, which has grown steadily for decades, will continue to generate healthy returns for second home owners, especially for those who use our services. Nothing has slowed it down, including 9-11, the 2008 recession and not even Covid.

Covid - We predict that even more families will discover that vacation rentals offer a great respite to work-at-home, study-at-home and be-together-at-home. They can socially distance at the beach, in the mountains, at the lake, and on the ski slopes.

Drive To - We predict that even more guests will realize they can easily to drive to our locations, without jumping on a tiny narrow aluminum tube - also called an airplane. This year, folks may start flying more, but drive-to destinations will continue to prosper.

Rent By Owner - We predict that even more do-it-yourself rental owners will hire us when their amateur cleaners mess up or fail to show up, and when piddling maintenance needs require long drives, or when they realize they are making half as much money at twice as much work compared to what we can do for them.

Complexes - We predict that Condo Associations, Inns and Resorts will join us as they see how our marketing and sales services can make running their properties easier and more profitable.

Dynamic Rates - We predict that the science of Yield Management will continue to become so intricate that property owners will continue flock us, as they realize how much their technology-challenged managers are losing for them.

Venture Capital - We predict that investors in those over-leveraged, corporate vacation rental management companies will stop dumping money into their unprofitable business. Wise property owners will jump ship and into our program for stability and income.

Corporate Downfall - We predict that the corporate, out-of-town vacation rental companies will stop their come-on practice of promising profits to owners that they have failed to deliver.

Regulations - We predict that xenophobic governments officials, who were determined to kill the Golden Goose of tourism, will admit that vacation rentals are the cleanest, safest, quietest industry their cities and counties could ever hope for and can offset the devastating effects that Covid has wrought.

Partnerships - We predict that only service companies made up of partners, like ours, will continue to the kind of commitment to quality that every home needs and deserves

Rock Stars - We predict that Penny, Jackie, Salman, Trina, Evelyn, Brandon, Ozair, Kate, Barbara, Kylee, Fahim, Samael, Stephen, Jerry, Hisham, Simon, Jan, Chris, Nichole, Nichole and Nichol and all our team members will continue the commitment, dedication and expertise that make us so proud.

Invitation - We predict that property owners, who want maximum income with minimum fuss, will jump ship and join us soon. 2020 hindsight shows them that now is the time.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0807 – 12/31/20

Covid Changed Nothing

By William May
Published: 12/31/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Family, Gratitude, Health Comments: 0

Let us not be irreverent. Surely Covid changed things but it seldom changed them wholly, no matter how abrupt that may sound. Some parts of life always have been, are now, and always will be. Now is a good time to make a list so we not forget when next a life altering event takes place. Read more Leave comments

Covid Changed Nothing - Lodging Newsletter November 30, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 11/30/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Lodging Newsletter, Sports, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Let us not be irreverent.

Surely, Covid changed things, but it has seldom changed them wholly and unequivocally, no matter how abrupt that may sound.

During wars, life continues.

After a hurricane, the population digs out.

During the flu pandemic of 1919, folks wore masks for a time, many died, and the rest carried on - as rude as that sounds.

Some parts of life always have been, are now, and always will be, difficult. Luckily, some never change.

Now is a good time to make a list, so we do not forget when the next life-altering event takes place.

Attached are just a few.

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No matter the weather, no matter the time of year, or the time of day, in the wonderful park that sits across the street from our offices, if the field lights are on, those crazy soccer players are out there running in circles. Maybe, there are even more of them now.

Growing up we did not have soccer. Football, basketball and baseball were king. If anyone had called soccer "Foooooooooootball", we would have been very confused. I find it humorous that their game involved kicking the ball with the foot, while ours had almost nothing to do with feet. Somehow in the United States, "sports football" became soccer here and it took decades to become popular.

Covid forced many to stay home and watch television. The majority of Americans love their TV and spend an average of 21 hours a week glued to the telly. Now, none of us can avoid admitting that we were watching TV and, yes we further must admit we really love our screen drug of choice. Unless, of course, we compare it to computer screens, at which we spend twice the time on average.

The idea that everyone in the country or the world agree on everything ignores history. Never happened. Never will, I fear. Politicians still scream about who is the most right and the most wrong.

Protestors will continue to bring grievances, justified, very justified, or not. Their desire to be heard mirrors other times over centuries when groups felt compelled to forward causes, sometimes regardless the needs of other people. This time they have been ignoring the disaster of global sickness.

Away from websites, radio, television and newspapers, more momentous events are taking place that show how nothing has changed. People are so in love that they find ways to get married. As, now, so can men and men, women and women. That changed before the virus.

Parishioners still attend church to find the guidance that they have always required. Jews need the Sabbath. Muslims need daily prayers. Hindus pray in their homes. Atheists and agnostics feel none of those leanings and embrace their unchanged opinions.

Students still yearn to learn, even though the classroom is now in their homes, the teachers appear on screens, instead of in front of blackboards, and recess means running around your own yard, instead of the school yard.

People who were rude, remain that way. Those who were addicted to working, never missed a beat. Those who worship money, attended that church religiously. Some figured out how to prosper during times that were financially devastating for others.

But best of all, people who were kind, remain kind. Sometimes their kindness became more visible. Humble people quietly stepped forward and served the universe - retail clerks, transit workers, caregivers, medical staff and, even, those unfairly maligned who work at rest home facilities.

Unfortunately, people have died and in larger numbers, and far more frequently than is fair. Many others suffered grievously at the hands of a devious, invisible devil, which causes death and destruction when its only goal is to live and grow.

Those kinds of germs have not changed. They have been around forever and will be around again in the future. We were better prepared this time than last, and will be even better prepared next time.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0806 – 11/30/20

Big Business Falters - Lodging Newsletter October 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 10/31/20 Topics: Lodging Newsletter, Newspaper, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 1

Defining success in any business should be judged in more ways than just by whether a company makes a profit.

Vacation rentals have been around by forever. Delegates rented private homes when they traveled to Philadelphia to meet and draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Although our first vacation rental operation started in 1964, many of us here today began about 20 years ago.

But, boy, have we noticed fast moving changes in those two quick decades. Houses are better and often bigger. There are far more of them. Rental rates have gone steadily upward. The number of people renting homes has climbed up steadily every year, including during the 2008 recession. But, guests are demanding more amenities and instant service.

After a huge drop during the pandemic, even more travelers discovered private home rentals and that will surely expand the industry, even after that deadly virus is dead and gone. (Yes, it will happen.)

But the growth has converted our little 'cottage industry' into one assaulted by corporate behemoths. They bring greater visibility, but fail to judge their success by the things that count most - quality, personal satisfaction and integrity.

In dealing with the Seattle Times newspaper decades ago, we learned what it was like to deal with powerful bullies who get too big for their britches. They charged top dollar, had embarrassing journalism, provided low-ball quality, and were smug and difficult to deal with.

Today, they beg people to advertise and plead with the world to give them another chance.

Now, the same is happening with all the large vacation rental lodging advertising websites. They promise too much, deliver too little, brag in never-ending PR releases, and reveal their quest for profit at the expense of doing 'great work.'

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Just a decades ago, a little known "Couch Surfing" business figured out that horning in on vacation rental advertising was more profitable than selling room stays on the cheap. Now, AirBnB is a giant.

Five years ago Expedia purchased the HomeAway company, operator of VRBO website, for 4 billion dollars. Then, within 60 days began tacking on a "guest service fee" that produced $400 million in bottom line profitability with the wave of a software wand.

In recent years, several management corporations raked in hundreds of millions in capital to buy up local vacation rental management companies in their quest to consolidate a fragmented industry. Their greedy system pays corporate officers and bankers big bucks, while short changing housekeepers and other workers. That resulted in thousands of disparaging on-line reviews. And all because they put profit ahead of performance.

AirBnB laid off 5,000 people and stopped answering phones, but saw fit to unilaterally change cancellation policies for managers based on hidden terms in their online small print.

VRBO fired thousands of people, stopped answering phones making it impossible for managers to get help. Just today it took 12 phone calls for them to admit that the assigned representative was canned long ago and no one knew who replaced them.

Booking.com has faltered. TripAdvisor is flailing with ever-changing tactics and policies.

Just a month after the pandemic ramped up, one of those corporate management firms simply closed its doors and disappeared. Another laid off 90% of their staff and had to borrow $100 million to stay afloat.

This summer, we received dozens of calls from guests of the corporate managers, asking us how to reach them, after being kept on hold for hours. They knew we were not part of those goofballs, but were desperate for help. We did what we could, but had to say, "Rent from our local stable management company to avoid those problems."

HUMBLE & KIND

This report is not to praise ourselves. Everyone has been affected by the Pandemic. But we never stopped answering phones. Our always smiling team members cleaned homes rigorously. Our software engineers quickly created responsive tools. And everyone worked overtime, while other companies cowered.

We must admit that less important questions take longer, while we work to serve guests, manage homes and maximize income for owners.

We are happy that our team members continued to make a living, but at the end of the day, we get our satisfaction by knowing everyone here performed above and beyond.

We appreciate the kind words from clients and guests who see our added burden. And, if you self-manage your own home, call us to earn more. If you use another manager, call us to get the kind of service they fail to deliver.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0795 – 10/31/20

Adapting to Change - Lodging Newsletter September 30, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 09/30/20 Topics: Behavior, Housekeeping, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

A funny thing happened on the way to the Covid mess..

Ok, there is nothing funny about Covid, but there have been numerous changes to the world in general and to lodging in particular which are unexpected or even bizarre. This letters explain what they mean to property owners and how we have adapted to the upheaval.

After the March deluge of cancellations, bookings surged greater than ever before. There are many factors, but the biggest one is people just wanted to "get out of town" and driving-to destinations won out.

Staying in a private home or small lodging facility allowed guests to remain socially distant and yet allowed them to get into the out of doors.

With shopping, restaurants, movies, and other past activities prohibited, "discretionary income" actually increases for folks still employed.

For these and other reasons, rental income grew for most homes but management had to recognize and adjust many other factors. Some of these alterations had been inching into existence before Covid, but it escalated the changes.

Some changes require property owners to recognize and adapt to them fast in order to accommodate the many new guests anxious to rent their homes. Owners who accept change will prosper. Those who don't will lose out.

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TREND - Vacation Rental popularity has grown steadily for two decades, right through the world shaking events of 9-11 and the economic travails of the 2007-2008 real estate depression. Once guests try a vacation rental, they stay at hotels less, and our industry grows.

NEWBIES - This summer, additional guests who had never rented a vacation home before were booking. Those "Samplers" will permanently embrace rentals just as those did before.

But first-timers are always sensitive to every little thing. They make incorrect presumptions about what a rental is and is not. They expect 24-7 service, they complain if the weather is bad, and if there is not a 100 quart baking pan in the home. As before, the solution is to provide ever increasing amenities, more service, and higher hospitality for those traveling to relieve stress and strain in their lives.

SENSITIVITY - Every lodging manager strives to keep guests happy. A decade ago, the arrival of online guest reviews made that mandatory. Covid sensitivity increased illegitimate comments

HOUSEKEEPING - Our cleaning has always exceeded guidelines, but we increased training reminders and rewarded staff. Newbies ask lots of questions, so we answer them over and over again.

MAINTENANCE - Our staff always seek to fix every little thing very fast. But if something larger breaks - such as a water heater - now it must be replaced same day. Notifying owners in advance takes a backseat to taking care of maintenance wiki wiki (quick) as they say in Hawaii.

AMENITIES - Owners got to decide what amenities they offer in their homes including Internet, Cable TV, and local phones. Now they have no choice. With work-at-home and study-at-home, an owner who omits any required amenities loses tens of thousands of dollars per year. For some it is time to join the current world.

LATE BOOKINGS - Decades ago guests booked far in advance, often six months to a year. Although the "booking window" has decreased over the years, Covid bookings are made a few days or a few weeks prior to arrival.

RATES - In March our Robust S2D2 Yield Management software said, "Hey where did demand go?" but we held rates and waited. Early May it said, "Demand is skyrocketing. I am raising rates." Each morning we followed the Las Vegas idiom to "let it ride" watching rates go ever upward.

EARLY - LATE - With Covid cleanliness concerns, it is odd that many more demand early arrivals and late departures. Our methods of managing requests proved even more valuable during this time.

INSTANTEOUS - Guests have always expected quick service, but Covid demands instantaneous. Forgot the code? Answer the phone and give it to them (again.) Power goes out? Determine if it's wide spread. Need local restaurants? Provide the answer cheerfully of course. Forgot driving directions/? Stay on the phone and direct them step by step.

GROWTH - Projecting income was impossible but beginning in April, dates booked up last minute and owners made more money than ever before. Covid has turned the world and specialty lodging on its ear yet again. Managers who adapt fast will see owner income soar.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0790 – 09/30/20

AirBnB's 11 Star Rating Grates on Vacation Rental Managers

By Ron Lee
Published: 09/01/20 Topics: Comments: 0

AirBnB Hubris

It doesn’t happen to all of the technology titans, but it does infect most of them.

Brian Chesky, one of the founders of AirBnB, is the latest patient to be stricken.

The disease is called Hubris and it can knock down a person at any age, but younger business people are more prone to allow themselves to get sick. It starts when young kids have a good idea, and grow it fast with the new opportunity of world domination that the Internet often allows them to believe, as we used to say in high school, that "Their XyMTX don't stink."

AirBnB has always had a major problem lurking below the surface. Started as a couch-surfing business, they quickly learned that vacation rental homes rent for much higher rates and there are millions of them. That enables big growth.

Guests, who are looking to share a room and meet a new host friend in faraway places, can make good renters of vacation rental homes, but not when a website like AirBnB intentionally confuse them.

In a 2018 article titled "The 11-Star Rating", Chesky inadvertently revealed that he still completely misunderstands the "whole house" vacation rental business.

Although it is impossible to get any higher than a 5-star rating on AirBnB, Chesky admonishes "hosts" who don't do things to get his impossible 11-star experience rating. But here are his dictates that don't fit vacation rental guests.

ARRIVAL - He expects hosts to meet every guest at the front door and greet them upon arrival. Never be late it admonishes.

The problem is that guests who rent homes want to arrive whenever they want, even late at night, and not to be bothered by people they don't know. They often fly or drive long distances and simply want to arrive, plunk down their gear and relax.

Oddly, AirBnB is now requesting that all listings offer "self-check-in" due to the Covid virus. So why would Chesky contradict that and violate the privacy that whole house guests expect? Seems he isn't even aware of what his company is doing. (More hubris.) Proof he loves guest rooms, but not vacation rentals.

ACTIVITES - Then he says a host should go ahead and make activity reservations for guests even before they ask. "I know you like surfing. There's a surfboard waiting for you. I've booked lessons for you."

This is more nonsense in a private vacation home. Clearly, Chesky hasn't tried this tactic himself. What day are the lessons? Can they be cancelled? Are they for all 12 people staying at the house? Who pays (guest, homeowner, manager)? Having a well-crafted welcome book that lists local activities is what visitors want. But to think you, the host, knows what a vacation rental guest family wants is presumptuous at least and hubris at best. There is that word again.

STUPIDITY - Chesky's delusional thoughts are amplified by his request that hosts do things like this: "By the way, you can use my car." No insurance agent in their right mind would allow a home owner to give their car keys to people without signing massive disclosure agreements. In fact, your insurance carrier won't let you do it at all.

In most jurisdictions, it would be illegal to do so without a business license specific to car rentals, and those rightfully come with many requirements and stipulations. Leaving out bikes, surfboards, jet skis and other equipment for guests is also verboten.

Sure, maybe Chesky was trying to make a point, but this is from a guy out of touch with Vacation Rental owners and managers.

THE BEATLES - Then he proposes that "There'd be 5,000 high school kids cheering my name with cars welcoming me to the country" (kinda like the Beatles arrival in America in 1964).

Boy, I am sure your neighbors would like that one. After the hundreds of legal challenges that AirBnB faces worldwide, how can he not recognize the problems he is giving the Vacation Rental Industry?

Or how about, he says to property owners, "You'd be there with Elon Musk and you're saying, 'You're going to space.'" I'm sure your insurance agent would love that one.

IMMATURITY - Lastly, Chesky resorts to vulgar profanity to emphasize how great he thinks all his ideas are. Clearly, the sign of a young man who has not had to become an adult at all, because he got lucky with a good idea and lots of venture capital.

Everyone understands that Chesky is trying to emphasize giving customers more than they pay for. And everyone agrees. A nicely designed whole-home, hospitality clean, with a good welcome book are all appreciated.

But at vacation rentals, guests want to make their own plans. They don't want to be interrupted and they certainly don't want some punk telling them what they will be doing. Maybe it works for single room rentals, but the anticipation of in-your-face hosts sets expectations in inexperienced guests that vacation rentals do not offer.

VRBO guests are savvy to how whole-home rentals work and are considerate and easy to work with. AirBnB guests, especially those having seldom stayed in a vacation rental home, arrive with unreasonable thoughts that AirBnB is planting in their heads, without clarifying how homes are different.

How about "We won't be arriving until 1am, can you still meet us when we arrive?" Or "I like your host photo, can you take us out to the best restaurant in town?"

Vacation Rental owners know that Chesky's diatribe is hyperbole to the highest degree. We can understand he wants to sell the AirBnB experience as something more than it is. But he is over-promising what cannot be delivered and which must be called out for what it is - dangerous for the Vacation Rental Industry.

Chesky's hubris has accelerated the growth of vacation rentals on top of the increases that VRBO and other websites have done. But his methods have also peeved property owners, neighbors, cities, counties and even countries across the globe. Can someone talk to the kid and rein him in, before he kills rental rights in so many communities?

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Author: Ron Lee – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0785 – 09/01/20

Smell the Roses - Lodging Newsletter August 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 08/31/20 Topics: Education, Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Is it time yet to take a long look at 2020? Does it seem like everything has changed? That things are upside down?

Nah. I would like to suggest that nothing has really changed. Yes, there have been some bad things, but the world is still advancing, improving and getting better.

Sure, we can always focus on things that need to be done, and often because their effects are negative. And, yes indeed, we must do that.

But getting lost in frowns and worry causes us to ignore that truly fabulous things are happening every day.

When one vocal expert proclaimed that the world was "going to hell", noted columnist P.J. O'Rourke said he could prove him wrong with one word - DENTISTRY. He said 100 years ago 8% of the population died from impacted teeth, which are now a thing of the past.

It's been said that more people have died in the history of the world from tuberculosis than are currently alive on the planet. Let's be thankful we don't live in an era when TB, dysentery and typhus were everywhere. No matter what television, newspapers and the internet want you to believe - it’s a great time to be alive.

So for our clients, staff, family and friends we would like to remind everyone that "this too shall pass" (the bad things), but that good things -- including medical wonders, scientific breakthroughs, instant communications, and access to knowledge -- will be here forever.

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It may be difficult to believe, but every day things are getting better and better. Here are some good ones to remember.

Video Calls - As a kid, many of us dreamed of the day when we would have video telephones. Never did we think it would happen like it has, or be as widely adopted. But happen it did and now you can talk to lost long friends and relatives, or make new friends, anywhere in the world.

On a skype call to promote her new book "Bunheads", Prima Ballerina, Misty Copeland, shrieked with laughter, when a dozen tiny dancers joined her, all with their hair tied up in buns. Neither she nor the kids could dampen their joy. They to meet their hero and she to feel their love. Never have there been so many smiles on one small screen.

Togetherness - Everyone misses dining out, but families are spending more time together. More books are being read. More movies watched. And discussions are being held on race, prejudice and faith like never before.

Business - While certain industries have been turned on their heads by COVID, others have prospered. Unfair of course, but it is simply the outcome. As always, customers make the decisions and they change what they want fast.

Location - The system of workers sitting together in the same physical location didn't happen by accident. Collaboration, comradery and communications have always advanced business and, certainly, society. Now leaders have been forced to recognize that many tasks can be done at home, eliminating the cost and inefficiency of commuting. It was a good idea before, now it's brilliant.

Schooling - Children need other children for social reasons, and distance learning won't fill the gap entirely, but instantly parents realized it could be done. Except for the added burden on parents, spending more time with their offspring can be enlightening.

Getting Away - In our little niche of vacation rentals and specialty lodging, guests realize they can work and study from rustic, rural and recreational areas just as easily as being in a city. They need not go to jam-packed hotels and theme parks. There is a big wide world to explore and the jump in lodging proves guests are enjoying themselves.

Consumption - With COVID, auto and airline travel has decreased, lowering consumption of fossil fuels. The demand for consumer goods has plummeted, indicating some of us realize we didn't need quite as much of everything as we once thought.

Alone Time - Sitting on the couch, reading a book or playing board game with family distracted us until many folks realized that going a bit slower, and avoiding crowds has its own charm.

Change - Interruptions to our busy bee world reveal what made mankind flourish - the ability to change. Our ancestors came down from the trees, wandered the plains, climbed the mountains and sailed the oceans, sometimes because they yearned to see new things. But more often to get away from bad and move toward good. We will do the same and for the same reason - because we must.

Do yourself a favor today. Make a list of the good and great things in our world today. By comparison, today's interruptions are nothing.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0786 – 08/31/20

No More Hand Me Downs - Lodging Newsletter July 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 07/31/20 Topics: Lodging Newsletter, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Our hearts continue to go out to those made ill by Covid-19 and especially those who have lost their lives. We also feel for those who have lost their jobs and are suffering financial loss.

We are lucky indeed that consumers continue to patronize vacation rentals. The move from conventional lodging to vacation rentals and specialty lodging has been growing for several decades.

But as Covid hit, even more people decided the best and safest place to get away was a clean, isolated vacation rental home in our wonderful destinations.

Dolly Parton said, "Storms make trees take deeper roots."

So we are inviting all of our clients to seize on this opportunity to grow their rentals even further. The opportunity is now.

Attached are ideas. Some cost money, but all will return far more income than they cost. With the extra income generated this summer, now is the time to double-down and grow further.

Join us. Call and ask how.

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Decades ago, vacation rental guest services pretty much consisted of "Here are the keys. Good luck." Over time, guests started paying more and demanding more. Now Covid has quickly raised expectations much higher.

There is no longer a market for properties that have missing amenities and upgrades. If a guest unknowingly books a home without good amenities, they will demand refunds. The giant online travel agencies like Airbnb will side with them.

Hand Me Downs - Sending used towels, linens, furniture, pots and pans from your primary residence to your second home will lose more money than it saves. Invest in the basics and replace them as needed.

Textiles - If you can see through your sheets, towels, or other textiles, they are far too old. Keep twice as many fluffy, thick white textiles on hand. (Only one set will be left out for each guest, but extras are stored away to handle quick arrivals.)

Internet - If you don't have fast internet, guests will avoid your property like the plague. With work-at-home and home schooling, investing in high-speed internet prints money for home owners. Avoid internet at your own peril.

Cable TV - Yes, some guests will stream Netflix and other channels, but without basic TV channels, including local network affiliates, many guests say no to your house. Even a budget Cable TV package will work. If you can't get Cable, using Satellite TV is OK, but a sad replacement for many guests who seem unable to operate it.

Mattresses - The biggest complaint from guests worldwide is of "well-used" mattresses. If your mattress sags, or is too hard, it's time to replace it. Doing so will cost less than losing bookings.

Furniture - It takes many years to "wear out" couches. You may not notice, but if your bum hits the floor when you sit, guests will be livid. Don't make guests feel like they are sitting on Great Aunt Alice's living room sofa. (Please, no doilies.)

Decorating - Yes, you can have too many knick knacks in the home. Most people are not designers, but homes nicely decorated with paint, throw pillows, vases and the like, show great in photos and rent more often. Here is one idea - homes that have replaced deck railings with glass look brand new and preserve the view.

Windows - It takes decades, but even window frames, glass, and sliders begin to age. If you have a window with a broken seal, it's gotta get fixed to save you energy costs and avoid guest complaints.

See the new show "Vacation House Rules" on HGTV to see how upgrading homes greatly increases income. One of its rules is "Put yourself in the guests shoes." In other words, if you were paying good money to stay in a vacation home, wouldn't you want the home to be attractive?

The show does not reveal how to increase income with great marketing, photos, automated pricing and reservations sales pros, but we already do that for you. Every home is unique and has an audience, but each home can make more money, if owners doll up their place.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0782 – 07/31/20

Something Fishy at Diamond Belle Ranch Walker Lake

By Ron Lee
Published: 07/23/20 Topics: Comments: 1

Walker Lake

Like all private fly-fishing lakes, for years every spring Diamond Belle Ranch has planted new trout stock into our 44 acre Walker Laker, to supplement the big linkers that have often wintered over. And for years we corralled those new plants from a company called Trout Lodge due to their superior quality.

Some years Trout Lodge focused on egg production and they were unable to provided enough fish for all the very fish connoisseurs like us who wanted them. But this year we are jumping for joy to announce that the Trout Lodge plants are back this year and they are stellar rainbow trout.

Even though we were closed to fishing for a while in early spring due to the dang COVID restrictions, as we opened late spring, the fishing has been robust. The fish had lots of time to acclimate, and were ready to go!

In summer we close fishing to let those pesky trout thrive and grow. So we expect fall fishing to be HOT HOT HOT!!!

With the amount of natural feed in the lake, the new trout are growing like crazy and will be monsters come mid September when we open back up for fishing.

Visitors can choose to stay in our majestic Wauconda Lodge then pay a small half or full day fee to cast their lines. Or they can purchase a day pass if available depending on lodge occupancy.

Fishing is limited to 10 anglers per day, fly fishing catch and release, electric motor boats. We are open year round, with fishing in Spring and Fall. Call today to reserve your spot, space is limited.

You can learn more about Trout Lodge and their beautiful rainbow trout at TroutLodge.com

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0768 – 07/23/20

Peace during chaos

By Ron Lee
Published: 06/30/20 Topics: Comments: 0

As the period of stay home stay safe starts to ease a bit, it’s a good time to reflect on what it’s been like here at Diamond Belle Ranch.

For the most part, since we live fairly remotely, we generally only go to town once a week during normal times. So this really didn’t change much.

I guess the biggest difference was that we appreciated that we live in a place where we are extremely happy to stay home for longer periods of time without leaving the property.

Taking a walk around the lake or just sitting and watching the wildlife breathing deeply of the tranquility, these are the things that bring peace in a world of chaos.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0765 – 06/30/20

Vacation Rental Guest Psychology - Lodging Newsletter June 30, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 06/30/20 Topics: Lodging Newsletter, Marketing Comments: 0

Well, where do I start? It has been a wild ride since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

First, it was the massive economic slow down. But then, slowly, lodging guests realized they could "Get outta Dodge" and stay in a nice clean private vacation home, with contact-less entry, quarantined with their families, but still get out and about in nature.

Vacation rental bookings have rebounded in all our areas, and jumped hugely in some areas. As mentioned in last month's update letter, our super secret S2D2 Yield Management software prompted us when demand plummeted, but also alerted us to pump up rates when demand then jumped.

The result has been higher income for June and July. August is strong, too. And, with schools not re-opening, we think summer demand and, even, rates can continue into September.

Forgive us for gloating yet again, but we giggled as the local competitors were asleep and snickered as carpet bagging out-of-town managers missed the trend, because they are not in touch with every local market. Some panicked early and dropped rates by half.

We did the opposite and our clients are profiting.

The first office in our network opened in 1964 and we have been watching and learning as consumer behavior and habits change. Never have they changed as greatly and as rapidly as with the virus.

Here is the story.

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The Advertising Industry has always been greatly misunderstood. It is not all commercials with beautiful celebrities and cavemen selling insurance on TV. On the Internet, advertising is not all about search engine optimization, pay-per-click Google ads or Facebook's spying on its members.

Having started in the ad agency business, I have spent decades watching, studying and anticipating what customers want to buy. Ad pros never try to sell things to people who don't want them or don't need them. And not just because they want to be ethical, but because they know it's not sustainable.

Famous advertising professor, Ed Bannister, startled his class when he said, "Good advertising just makes a poor product fail quicker." (People try it, hate it, and forget it.)

An agency partner one said, "Advertising is easy. You ask people what they want and then you give it to them." Never has this been more true than during the last four months of a pandemic.

With the advent of vacation rental websites just 20 years ago, travelers figured out that staying with their family in a private vacation home is simply a better deal than staying in a cramped hotel room, with no kitchen, no living room, long walks to the parking lot, and outrageous rates - on a per-guest basis.

The 9/11 tragedy frightened the world, of course, but slowly travel returned. The 2008 recession took away discretionary income, some of which would have been for travel. Slowly it rebounded.

Some guests fall for the pitch from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, because they buy the pitch that all bookings are cancellable, that the OTAs list all lodgings, and that they can earn "points" that may have some value.

VRBO.com implied that guests were booking with the "Owner" when, in fact, the majority of properties --especially the well maintained, properly cleaned ones -- are from professional managers. But some guests fell for it.

AirBnB sold guests the option of renting a couch or room in someone's house, until they figured out that guests really want private vacation rental homes. AirBnB produces lots of bookings, but guests can be -- shall we say -- weird. Such as expecting the host to meet them for a drink when checking in, even if it's late at night.

At first Covid pushed people into panic, but then travelers ran out of patience and figured out that the safest lodging option is to rent a professionally-managed private vacation home.

We soared because we always ask customers what they wanted. Yes -- our cleaning exceeds high hospitality standards. Yes -- you can check in without "touching" anyone. Yes -- you can bring your family. Yes -- the homes have solid internet so guests can work while vacationing. And oddly, no -- there are no early check-ins to assure the home has been sufficiently empty prior to arrival. (That is the answer the guest actually wants to hear.)

Our ability to adapt to the changing market place has given even more visitors wonderful vacations and our property clients even more money. If your vacation rental home income has not soared, please give us a call. We'll fix it.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0772 – 06/30/20

Managing a business from within the CHOP

By Wm. May
Published: 06/29/20 Topics: Government Comments: 0

I wanted to be a musician but one day learned there were people I could never compare to. I saw concerts by Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat and tears, Chicago, and yes the Beatles. But the most intimidation was William Awihilima Kahaiali'I. Read more Leave comments

Precious Gift of Nature

By Ron Lee
Published: 06/19/20 Topics: Guest Ranch, Wildlife Comments: 0

Our early morning visitors.

This lovely doe has twins almost yearly and generally brings them by for us to see. This year she brought them by as BRAND NEW babies! They were still wet even.

What a precious gift!

The Diamond Belle Guest Ranch sits in what might be called a shallow bowl. The hills of the Okanogan Highland isolate us from the South and North. To the West Mount Bonaparte towers above..

Pastures on the east, roll up gently so we are completely alone. No neighbors. No prying eyes. No one close.

National Forest public lands surround the ranch on all sides which means we are a haven for wildlife. Deer of course, but also an occasional Moose. Canadian Geeze and birds galore..

Guests come here for many reasons, peace and solitude, the crisp clean air, stunning sunlight and our warm majestic Wauconda Lodge.

But it is the critters they see that surprise them, the many and the types. You are likely to see some you have never seen before. But you must visit.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0762 – 06/19/20

HelpBookMe Implements Version 3.0 or S2D2 Pricing System

By William May
Published: 06/03/20 Topics: Software, Sunspots Vacation Rentals, Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

The Vortex Organization announced that version 3.0 of the S2D2 yield management tools in its HelpBookMe software is officially controlling rates as of today. Read more Leave comments

If Jimi Hendricks, Prince, and Pavarotti Were Hawaiian

By Wm. May
Published: 05/18/20 Topics: Hawaii, Music, Self Improvement Comments: 0

I wanted to be a musician but one day learned there were people I could never compare to. I saw concerts by Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat and tears, Chicago, and yes the Beatles. But the most intimidation was William Awihilima Kahaiali'I. Read more Leave comments

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DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.