Tag Archives: vacation rental owner

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Hints of a project infused with graffiti, a Corvette, Jimmy Fallon inspiration, and photography...

...and now I can reveal it to you. Yeah!

It's big.
My head is still spinning.
I am simply amazed at how God moves little puzzle pieces, and when you finally have the opportunity to see more of the picture, it can be overwhelming.

So here it is:

Vacation Rental World Summit 2014

I am one of 12 speakers for the Vacation Rental World Summit 2014.

A few questions you might have:

What is the Vacation Rental World Summit?
It's awesome, really. An online conference you can participate in while lounging on your comfy couch  in your favorite jammies. But more than that, it is leading experts, masters of vacation rentals, sharing their valuable knowledge and secrets of the vacation rental business.

What in the world will you teach?
Photography - the tools, settings, post processing, and more.

What part is Jimmy Fallon inspired?
#youwillhavetowatch

Do you really have graffiti and a Corvette in your photography training video?
Yep.

Are you giving away anything in conjunction with this major event?
Absolutely!

What are you giving away???
Everyone who signs up for my Vacation Rental Photography Tips love notes will receive Chapter 8 in my eBook Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos, show notes on equipment, software, and techniques, a BONUS eBook, and be entered into a drawing to win a one hour buy provigil mentoring session with me,

Mentoring???
Yes. More info on mentoring is here.

When can I sign up for the free stuff and enter to win the mentoring session?
Hang tight. Not yet. I'll let you know when.

Is the summit something that would benefit me even if I am not a vacation rental owner?
Actually...yes. There will also be training from other speakers on marketing and other business aspects that you can apply to whatever field you are in.

How do I sign up for the FREE event?
Click here.

I can't make the event! Can I get access to the video for when I have time?
Yes! You will have the opportunity to purchase the entire set of training from the World Summit. (And I would love for you to use my link when you purchase - I'll let you know when it is available.)

Who are the other 11 presenters?
Awesome people. I'll update you when the list has been officially released.

The best way to stay on top of all the good stuff is to get on my vacation rental marketing email list.

You can sign up right here:


Feel free to comment below with any questions. This event will be beyond fantastic!

Tyann Marcink
Marcink Designs
Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos - eBook now available

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Major update numero uno, in case you haven't heard:
HomeAway acquired the Glad to Have You™ app.

What does this mean?

First, that means calendar syncing and integration with Reservation Manager are in the very near future. I feel like I rubbed the magic lamp, and the genie has granted me a wish.

My wish wasn't for HomeAway to purchase the app, but for the calendar syncing. You can read more about what the app was lacking, in my opinion, over in my original review of the Glad app.

Since my first review, the Glad guys have been working hard, and there have been some cool features added to the app. I'll also go over a bit more documentation as to what your guest sees.

Here we go:

Reviews

Glad to Have You review updateReviews are important to me as an owner, and I know reviews are important to my future guests as they decide if my property is the right fit for their vacation.

So I was a little bummed that the Glad app couldn't handle hyperlinked text in their auto thank you message to my guests. Having the review request already in the thank you email would save me the time of having to send an additional thank you email requesting the review.

So their very next update to the app in January, the Glad guys added my feature. Woot!

So to activate it, you need to go into your "rental info" on your Glad dashboard and follow these steps:

  1. Checkmark the option to "Disable Guest Book"
  2. Enter the direct link to leave a review on a listing site in the appropriate field.
  3. Hit save.

Not painful at all! Here is what it looks like on my dashboard:

Glad to Have You review set up in owner dashboard.
Glad to Have You review set up in owner dashboard.

And here is what the email looks like to the guest:

Glad thank you sample email with review links
Glad thank you sample email with review links.

This feature is still being tweaked, so look for updates as owners give feedback on the review links. I have a couple tweak requests of my own that I have submitted. 😉

Documentation

I have seen many owners mention that there is not a whole lot of documentation available for the Glad app. Meaning, nowhere does anyone walk you through what you see as an owner and what you see as a guest. Or, how does it even all exactly work?

My first review covered a few things, like when a guest receives an email, the types of info blocks available, how to duplicate the info blocks to all of your properties if you have more than one property, and more.

So here is a little bit more, starting with the owner dashboard side...

Activity Log

One question I hear a lot is:
"Are your guests actually using the app?"

Thanks to the activity log, I can say:
"Why, yes, they are!"

If I wanted to, I could even scroll through and see exactly who is using it and figure out what percentage of guests use it, and even how they use it, not to mention who else in their group they invited to use the app.

Here is a screenshot of my activity log from this morning (guest names removed for privacy), pointing out all of the cool info that you have right in front of you:

Glad activity log
Glad activity log

Note that it doesn't tell you exactly what the guest is doing...that would be a little creepy, don't you think? It just shows you that your guests are using the app. Very cool!

I did filter my activity log...

Glad activity log filters
Glad activity log filters

So if you wanted to see even more activity, you most certainly can.

Guest access

The next question owners have:
"How does a guest actually get the app onto their smartphone or tablet?"

After you add the guest reservation in your dashboard, the guest receives a welcome email about 10 minutes later. This email contains a link to download the Glad to Have You™ app, as well as the password to access pharmacy-no-rx.net/viagra_generic.html your property.

The link sends the guest straight to the appropriate app store, and the guest will need to click the download button. After it is downloaded, they can now use the app!

"But how do they actually access the information???"

It's a two step process to make sure all of the details are correct:

Glad sign in screens
Glad sign in screens

If the guest mistakenly deleted the email with the password, then they can hit the "resend email" button to retrieve it.

Info blocks

Wondering what you can put in those brightly colored info blocks? Here are a few examples from my properties:

Glad info blocks - Whats Provided and Map
Glad info blocks - What's Provided and Map

The What's Provided info block gives an area where you can list everything the guest should expect at the house. I also add at the bottom to please contact me immediately if they find one of these items missing so it can be replaced.

The Map info block only shows if three criteria are met in your dashboard:

  1. rental agreement has been marked "signed"
  2. balance has been marked "paid in full"
  3. the arrival date is 14 days or fewer from the current date

If the guest hits the "Open In Maps" button, the app automatically inputs the coordinates into the Google Maps app (or the default map app, I assume) and begins the directions. Pretty sweet!

Glad info blocks - Emergency and Boating
Glad info blocks - Emergency and Boating

The Emergency info block is a good spot to put the important instructions in case of the electric going out, a fire, or other emergencies that could happen in your area. Don't shy away from putting in the basic, common sense instructions.

For the Boating block, and a few others, you can also add a website link for a particular web address. Ideally, I would like to be able to have these links as hyperlinked text within the block of information, so hopefully that will be a later tweak.

Also, the phone numbers or email addresses in the text area of the info blocks are not "tappable" to directly call or email the owner. Currently, the guest can tap the phone icon at the bottom to call the owner. Hopefully the "tap" features will be a later tweak as well.

Glad info blocks - Grocery Stores and Restaurants
Glad info blocks - Grocery Stores and Restaurants

One of the top questions from guests are:
"Where is the nearest grocery store?"
"What restaurants do you recommend?"

With the Grocery Stores and Restaurants info blocks (as well as other distance based recommendations like nearest coffee shops, hospitals, etc.), a Google algorithm automatically populates the blocks. However, you as the owner can put your favorites on top and add your tips to particular spots if you would like.

Glad info blocks - TV and Coffee Maker
Glad info blocks - TV and Coffee Maker

Two other info blocks that have been extremely useful for my guests are the Coffee Maker and TV/Cable. Simple troubleshooting steps for the Keurig machine has saved a few tears, and the list of cable channels in hand has helped if the guest misplaces the channel guide that we provide in each room.

One other update...if you list your property on HomeAway or VRBO, you get this cool app for FREE. (Sign up here if you are on HA/VRBO.)

And if you don't have a property listing on HA or VRBO? No worries! You can still use the app, and it's well worth the $99/year.  Click here to sign up and get a FREE 90 day trial.

Do you already have the Glad to Have You™ app?

How do you use the app for your guests?
Is there a particular feature that has been a life saver for you or your guests?
Please tell me about it in the comments below!

Tyann Marcink
Marcink Designs
Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos - eBook now available

P.S. I send out a vacation rental marketing tips email a few times each month. You should sign up for it right here:


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As he swung the front door open, a blast of blistering heat hit him full force.

How my Trane thermostat made my vacation rental as hot as hell.Expecting cool relief from the sweltering late summer heat in Missouri, instead he was greeted with an intense heat that was hotter than the outdoors.

Bubbling out of the dispensers, the liquid hand soap was slowly creeping across the bathroom counters.

Pillar candles were gradually melting into a droopy pile of wax.

And the “old-time” tin finish was beginning to peel off the oversized wall clock in the family room.

Guests were not scheduled to arrive for several more days, but my housekeeper Paul* (not his real name) decided to stop by the house for a moment to drop off some cleaning supplies.

Paul usually times these types of things to when he comes to clean, so it was by chance that he decided to go into the house after it was cleaned and prepped for the next guests.

Otherwise, it would have been our guests who walked into a vacation rental that felt as hot as hell.

Trane Thermostat
Our Trane thermostat - image courtesy of Amazon.

When Paul called me to say that the house was an oppressive 112 degrees, I immediately pulled up my Nexia dashboard to check the temperature in the house.

No way could this be correct.

But he was correct. The temperature inside the house was well over 100 degrees and felt even hotter. On top of that, the temperature would continue to go up…the furnace was running!

How could this be possible? The air conditioning should be running, not the furnace.

Paul shut off the furnace and the thermostat, opened all of the windows, and turned on all of the ceiling fans.

I called the HVAC guy.

The issue: when our handyman had installed the new Trane thermostat a few days earlier, he did not follow the instructions exactly and mixed up two wires, putting the furnace wire in the air conditioning spot.

So when the thermostat thought it was telling the air conditioner to run and cool the hot house buy proscar down, it was the furnace that ran…and ran…and ran…

The lesson: follow instructions very, very carefully…or hire a professional.

Some things are Do-It-Yourself. Installing a high tech wireless Z-Wave thermostat without following every detail of the instructions is not a DIY. Don’t make this mistake yourself.

Review of Trane Remote Energy Management ThermostatDo I still use the Trane Z-Wave thermostat at our vacation rental? Yes, I do. And I love it.

I have the thermostat connected to our Nexia system so that I can view and change the temperature remotely on my iPhone, iPad, or computer (they support Android OS, too). I also have the ability to monitor energy usage and receive alerts when the temperature inside the house reaches a set minimum or maximum, as well as several other features.

The thermostat itself is easy to use with large up and down buttons for guests to adjust the temperature inside the house. It doesn't look like anything super fancy, but it does some amazing things remotely on the backend.

The newest version of the Trane Remote Energy Management Thermostat is available on Amazon here for around $100.

Would I recommend the Trane thermostat to other vacation rental owners? Yes, I would…but only if you promise to have it installed correctly.

You can’t do everything yourself, and there is no possible way to be an expert in everything.

It’s okay, perfectly acceptable, and a wise decision to ask for help from an expert or a professional.

You may be just getting started as a vacation rental owner, or maybe you have been doing what you can but are still floundering.

Find an expert and ask for help.

I just happen to know a few…see the 7 Vacation Rental Experts to Follow in 2014.

And if you have a question about photography for your vacation rental, feel free to contact me. I’ll help you out.

Tyann Marcink
Marcink Designs
Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos - eBook now available

P.S. I send out a vacation rental marketing tips email a few times each month. You should sign up for it right here: