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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff (News item #14 published: 03/05/07)
It could definitely ruin a vacation if a rental house was terribly unacceptable. How are we supposed to know which ones are which?"
That concerned post on a Yahoo group for vacation home owners followed another renter’s horror story: dirty sheets, bugs, flooding toilets. More often, the problem lies in different expectations. The place is not as upscale as you thought. The “ocean view” is the size of a postage stamp. The odd layout in one home we rented required my parents to walk through the bedroom my husband and I slept in to get downstairs!
You can complain. You can ask for your money back. Poof - there goes your vacation experience.
Vacation rentals are growing in number and popularity and nobody could be happier about it than a vacation rental evangelist like me. But it amazes me there’s no star system, no apples-for-apples comparison, no "best of" guidebooks (ahem, aside from my own Renting Paradise series, that is).
Part of the problem is that the beauty of vacation rentals tha t each one is so unique can be a bear when it comes to establishing quality standards.
"We get a lot calls from people asking, ‘How do I know I’ll be getting what I’ think I’m getting?" says Bill May, executive director of Vacation Rental Owners Association. Thanks to the Vacation Rental Industry Association (VRIA), there’s finally a blip on the horizon: Blue Ribbon Inspections.
VRIA’s process will involve an on-site physical inspection (which is so crucial!) and a series of questions as to the home's outfitting, construction, amenities, cleanliness and owner policies.
May says the inspection process will focus on disclosure and accuracy. Inspectors must clearly differentiate between cabins, homes, lodges and villas. Because each one is as unique as a thumbprint, owners need to have a lot of information in their advertising and on their web sites. That means detailed descriptions, quality photos, floor plans and even 360-degree panoramas.
Even then it can get dicey. At million-dollar rental homes on the Carolina coast, guests are expected to bring their own linens, May says. Guests are welcome to provide feedback on homes they feel are undeserving of the designation. Which may, in turn, lead to adjudication between renters and owners.
Something to keep on eye on. But in the meantime, here’s a list of Renting Tips you can use to evaluate vacation rentals.
Sunspots Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rentals - Finito Services LLC PO Box 23039 Seattle, WA 98102-0339 USA - - Sunspot Vacation Rentals Network Member
Voice: 206-628-8989 Fax: 888-628-0839 Business Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun Noon-5pm PST
Website: SunspotResorts.com Email: Member of VRMA.org; VRIA.org; VRMLS.org