Durk Johnson, Executive Director of Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP) and Founder of Housekeeping Solutions Team, is a vacation rental industry veteran. With over 20 years of experience, Durk’s expertise lies in all things housekeeping and property management operations. Breezeway’s Head of Marketing, Ben Firn, had the opportunity to sit down with Durk and discuss the interplay between guest & owner expectations, brand standards, and performing quality property care for vacation rentals. You can read their full conversation here, or catch a glimpse below:
Ben: We’ve seen quality property care become a focal point for more and more vacation rental property managers. Why do you think there is such a growing emphasis on providing better property management in this industry?
Durk: Property care is critical to the short-term rental business. A maintenance or housekeeping issue can ruin the guest experience. Managers can provide an excellent booking and pre-arrival experience, but if the guest checks-in to a property that hasn’t been properly cleaned, any positives about the rental are immediately negated. Guest expectations are at an all-time high. If a guest’s first impression is less than ideal, the manager is at risk to receive complaints and negative reviews.
Ben: Have you noticed increased expectations from property owners as well?
Durk: Owner expectations are definitely on the rise as well, so property managers should be focused on educating owners on all the guest services and property care they provide. This is where data driven platforms are beneficial, and managers can effortlessly share reports that detail all the attention they’ve given to each property.
Ben: Will this also lead to managers changing how they handle their property operations?
Durk: It already has. These days, vacation rental managers are trying very hard to operate with more efficiency. Managers only get one opportunity to make a stellar first impression with their guests, so its paramount for them to be on their A game in regard to staffing, housekeeping, maintenance, and much more.
Ben: Do you think guests pay closer attention to condition or cleanliness?
Durk: Property condition is not a high priority for some guests. These folks are looking for a less expensive option but in a desirable location. That said, cleanliness always matters. Guests are unwilling to look the other way when it comes to a property that has not been properly cleaned.
Ben: A vacation rental manager’s brand isn’t only determined by the rental itself. Guests are looking for a full experience, which includes dependability and service.
Durk: Absolutely. A company’s brand is a direct reflection of how a property manager does his or her job. Managers exist to work through problems and to ensure that the guest and the property are taken care of. Some industry professionals may think branding is slowly becoming less important, but I couldn’t disagree more. Companies that make an effort to connect with guests will see their brands thrive. For companies that rely on OTAs for reservations and never connect with guests, their brands will slowly deteriorate.
Want to learn more about how you can improve the quality of your property care? Our ‘Push for Quality’ whitepaper outlines all you need to know.