5 Tips to Prepare Your STR for Inclement Weather

Ashtyn Zussy
Ashtyn Zussy

September 29, 2022

Weather can be unpredictable, but staying ahead of the game doesn't have to be! As we arrive at the peak season for hurricanes and other natural disasters, inclement weather has created an additional layer of challenges for operators; including, property care, preparation, recovery, client safety, and communication. To help establish and communicate the proper arrangements and procedures, Breezeway has compiled the top 5 tips for preparing your properties and guests for callous weather.

1) Keep your guest (over)informed:

Communication is key when it comes to keeping your guests informed, especially during a time of uncertainty. While inclement weather can range in severity, it's important to communicate the appropriate arrangements with guests to help them feel as prepared as possible and keep them safe. It comes as no surprise that 50% of managers that text their guests see a reduction in guest complaints and questions, with 57% seeing faster resolution times. You’ll want to have your guest communications planned in advance so that in an emergency situation you and your team can communicate a plan of action quickly and clearly. Check out Breezeway's Urgent Guest Communication Guide for templates to fit within your disaster communication plan.

2) Initiate a Pre-Hurricane Inspection Checklist:

Operators in high-risk markets should take proactive steps to ensure guest safety and secure owners' assets by implementing pre-hurricane inspections. Managers can lean on smart tech to help implement these operational programs and protocols to safeguard against damage and keep in-house guests feeling at ease. It’s important to customize these checklists to each property based on your area’s level of risk, property type, amenities, and more to ensure that each home is secured Pre-hurricane checklists can vary in length due to a number of variables but using data from thousands of inspection checklists from leading vacation rental managers and hospitality providers, Breezeway has compiled a Pre-Hurricane Inspection Guide with resources from the Environmental Protection Agency to help.

3) Develop a Post Hurricane Inspection Checklist:

After the storm has passed, it's important to inspect your properties with a fine tooth comb for any damages they could have incured. This helps you not only prepare for the next guest, but generate reports for anything that could be broken or unsafe and may need maintenance.  To get ahead of this, standardize the implementation and execution of a post hurricane inspection checklist to fully prepare your teams for the unexpected. Our team has created a Hurricane Recovery Inspection Guide to ensure your teams are prepared to seamlessly report any damages incurred by inclement weather.  

4) Have the right insurance:

It's important to have a robust insurance policy in the event a natural disaster damages your vacation rental. Prior to disastrous weather being on the radar take the initiative to review your insurance policy to get a clear scope of what's covered and understand your exclusions as well.  Find a trust-worthy agent who will provide you with the coverage you will need in the event of a natural disaster. It's very common for a standard insurance policy to not cover specific weather outcomes, so be sure you have a natural disaster specific insurance policy, especially if you are in a high risk category.

5) Update your inclement weather policy:

It's important to ensure your inclement weather policies are up to date In the event of a mandatory evacuation or state of emergency. It's crucial to keep in mind your guests expectations and overall experience while updating your policies. Be sure to clearly spell out each policy to avoid negative reviews and most importantly an unhappy guest. In the unfortunate event of an evacuation, operators can choose to issue a refund in advance, or if the stay is in progress, partially refund for the unused days, or credit guests for a future stay. While you might not be able to predict when severe weather will strike you can always have the appropriate policies and safeguards in place to best protect the guest experience and your brand.

Breezeway is thinking of all of those affected by Hurricane Ian right now. The destruction and devastation this hurricane has caused is heartbreaking. We know in the wake of this tragedy many are still worrying about their friends, family, pets, coworkers, businesses, livelihoods, and how to rebuild and recover. Please do not hesitate to reach out for any additional support during this time and let us know how we can help. We hope folks across the entire East Coast are staying safe amongst continued Hurricane Warnings as the storm travels out of Florida.