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vacation rentals avila beach

Vacation Rentals: Don’t Take the Towels!

Vacation rentals have become a white-hot trend in travel. The proliferation of online services like Airbnb and their customer-generated rating systems help ensure a wonderful experience away. The ability to stay a few steps away from a much-anticipated beach or your favorite vineyard makes a well-placed vacation rental a no brainer!

Netflix recently debuted a reality show called Instant Hotel. The show pits Airbnb owners against one another to see whose home provided the best vacation rental experience. The contestants stay in one another’s rentals in order to rate them in several categories. One surprising twist to the contest, though, has the owners also rating the guests! In fact, the first season’s winners came about partly as a result of the guest rating.

Wait–that’s just on the show, right?

Actually, Airbnb and other vacation rental owners also rate their guests. Just as guests don’t want to be surprised by an awful experience, neither do the vacation rental owners. No one wants their home trashed and left with unnecessary repairs/costs. In the rental world, your reputation is everything whether you’re the owner or renter.

How do you maintain a five star guest rating?

Here are some simple rules to rent by:

  1. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat someone else’s home the way you would want them to treat yours.
  2. Communicate your expectations about the stay to your host. And make sure you understand their expectations in return.
  3. Don’t take anything you didn’t bring, unless you’ve lucked into a vacation rental with a welcome package for you. (Hint: those are rare!) Leave the corkscrew, the cute throw pillow, the flowers, and even the hand sanitizer.
  4. Put the place back in order. Return kitchen items to the kitchen. Don’t throw sopping wet towels on the duvet cover or use the pristine white towels to mop up the red wine you spilled on the carpet.

While there are no hard and fast rules about guests socializing with the owners, you should consider it as a possibility. A little friendly interaction helps both parties feel more satisfied with the exchange. As a guest, you may also appreciate having a resident give you some tips about the area like great restaurants, beautiful sights, or even problematic traffic areas. The owners may likewise enjoy hearing about your hometown and why you love it!  

In the end, as a guest you should practice basic decency and consideration for the owners while making sure you enjoy the beautiful space they’ve created.

What’s the Difference?

Airbnb rentals are far different from chain hotels, particularly when it comes to the economy of scale. While a big hotel might be able to quickly recoup the loss from a guest who trashed a room, vacation rental owners will take a far bigger hit because the cost to clean up after a thoughtless guest takes a much larger percentage of their profits. Of course, as a guest you will also want to maintain your ability to book rooms in the future, so keeping a stellar guest rating gives you continued access to the wealth of beautiful homes and vacation rentals around the world.

Do you have what it takes to be a great guest in a vacation rental?

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