Creative Ways to Boost Team Morale During Peak Season

Koryn Okey
Koryn Okey

July 16, 2021

It’s hard to believe just 14 months ago many VR companies were questioning how their business would survive the pandemic - facing ever-changing travel restrictions, new recommendations on cleaning protocols, and a depleting workforce. Now, in the heat of summer for many destinations, managers are cheering for a vacancy to give their team a break. With this increased workload, companies are getting creative in how they show appreciation for their field staff. 

In the Vacation Rental Housekeeper Facebook group (recently taken over by Breezeway), we asked this question and got some great responses on what property managers are doing to boost morale across their teams. Take a look at these 4 creative ways property managers are celebrating their teams this summer to avoid employee burnout.

 We’re all in this together.

“I like you, you like me” a mantra which came out of the 2019 Women’s Summit hosted by VRM intel reminds us that we’re all in the same boat and that sometimes that extra personal touch we extend to our guests can make all the difference when applied to our teams.

 Brittany Blackman, Founder of Breathe Easy Rentals in Florida’s Panhandle, makes an effort to pick up small personalized gifts (think insulated cups, new bags, fun supplies or cleaning products) that her team might enjoy to show her appreciation for all they do to make sure their guests are happy on check-in day. 

The days are long and the work is hard, celebrate it.

Many companies reported providing brown bag lunches or snacks to their cleaning crews to help get them through the daily grind. But Bennington Properties in Sunriver, Oregon shared that they regularly celebrate their team with appreciation barbecues and ice cream socials, which allow employees to hang out with one another. 

Tiffany Smith, Bennington’s Housekeeping Manager says, “I love the after-work gatherings. We end up discussing the day, frustrations, and have tons of laughs. It’s great to get the team together. We all need to be reminded we aren't alone. We are supported and we ALL face the same struggle. The best part of my job by far!!”

 Money talks.

Sometimes the best way to motivate your team and let them know you appreciate them is with cold hard cash, which is exactly what the team at Brindley Beach did this summer. James Skinner, Director of Housekeeping, Laundry, and Inspection, at Brindley Beach Vacations & Sales in North Carolina’s Outer Banks regularly holds raffles at the cleaner’s meeting each Saturday morning. This brings a fun dynamic to the meeting (and ensures everyone is on time). However, given the hecticness of this summer, the Brindley team wanted to do more so they gifted every full-time and part time employee a cash bonus.

 "It was important to us to thank our teams with something that would allow them to have some fun. Whether they want to buy something for themselves or go out to a nice meal, this gift allows them to do that." Skinner says. 

 A heartfelt thank you is less common than you might think.

On a recent webinar I conducted for VRHP, we were talking about how the panelists motivated their teams and Audrey Leeds Miller from Cottage Connection in Maine shared that in addition to the lunches she gives to her team to get them through their Saturday turnovers, she writes hand-written thank you notes so they know how impactful their work is to the business. 

No matter what you do and how you do it --whether it’s a pat on the back, a heartfelt thank you or one of the creative solutions above-- it’s worth remembering that your operations team is keeping the business running. Without their hard (often manual) work and attention to detail, your properties wouldn’t be ready to welcome that next guest.

So we’re wondering, how are you motivating your team or demonstrating how much their hard work means to your business?