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The Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast with Sarah and T
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The Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast with Sarah and T

Author: Sarah Bradford/Tim Cafferty

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This is The Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast with Sarah and T.. The first podcast dedicated to the professional vacation rental manager. Join Sarah Bradford and Tim Cafferty on their journey through day to day issues affecting the professional vacation rental manager. From the Coast to the Mountains, Sarah and T have been covering all things vacation rental for over 7 years and counting. 

158 Episodes
In this episode our two fearless rental managers talk about the subject of bed bugs.  Don't pretend you don't think about this or haven't had this happen to you.   What do you do when you get them?  How do you handle them?  Will I catch them just thinking about the subject?   The answer to these and many more questions will be revealed in this episode.  In the News segment Tim talks about the wildly successful ExploreFest 23 conference that VRBO and Expedia Group just hosted in Las Vegas.  Another can't miss episode with lots of takeaways to help your business!  Detailed show notes below:  Bed Bug education - all from the great Durk Johnson who explains it better than anyone.  - First, a fun fact - we are seeing a rise in bed bugs the past 10-15 years because DDT is outlawed. That's a good thing, but DDT used to kill bed bugs and they were going down in numbers of outbreaks.   FACTS about BB's - size of a tick- nocturnal- attracted to our CO2 we breathe- they can live for 365 days without food! - They like to live in wooden footboards, headboards, wall (check baseboard)- Often the way to find them is to check for poop and blood stains on mattress or mattress pad. How are they transported? they are hitchhikers- luggage (in other words guests bring them.  Guests don’t want to believe it, but it is true!  It is not a commentary on the cleanliness of a rental property)- clothes (eggs are sticky) HOW TO IDENTIFY: Teach your housekeepers to do the following BEFORE start cleaning every single time not just when reported: - Take flat sheet off & look at fitted sheet (look for long line of blood spots) - Then get down to the mattress - BTW, you need to have tight fitting mattress pad b/c they will live in the folds if loose. Yes, ALL beds should have mattress pads and even better, full encasements. - Blacklights will show them up or flashlight on phone - looking for poop & blood stains & exoskeletons! - then check box spring (between cover & spring) - check under the nightstand- check behind the bed This training also goes to your maintenance staff, inspections team, and of course you need at least one manager who can verify before you get to treatment because the treatment is EXPENSIVE.  HOW TO TREAT- Pest control. - With Heat thru entire house- generator, wires thru house - 120 degrees - Sprinklers need to be covered so they don't go off. (there are also bed bug sniffing dogs?)   Yes, there is.  And How to Treat Your Laundry you bring out of the property AFTER treatment complete:  -Bagging up all of the impacted linen in an airtight bag, keeping those items separated from your normal laundry, and the process of laundering those items, then getting the appropriate items back to the property after sanitization – bedspreads, mattress pads, etc.).  - Trash the pillows- Consider trashing the mattress if there is a sizable infestation. 2) Have a Process Documented and Explained to all before it ever happens (this should also be part of new hire training!) - So, Tim is perfect as we all know, so he actually has a flow chart for this. I'm talking decision points - diamond shape - YES/NO and path to take like those choose your own adventure books.  TIM:  explain the flow chart & get into ways to handle the laundry, & staff clothingThere a
Have you been feeling a bit disconnected with your property owners?   Concerned about what feedback you may get if you ask them how you are doing?  Well, fear not fellow Vacation Rental Management Professional.  In this week's episode Sarah and T take you through three fail safe ways to re-connect and energize your relationship with your property owners.   
A few episodes go (I've Had It!), more than one vacation rental company owner said they have "had it" with being threatened by guests with bad reviews if they don't give a refund, an increase in chargebacks and fraudulent transactions (aka. stolen credit cards).  In this episode,  Sarah and Tim welcome 3 experts on to talk about how to tackle these frustrating events. This fresh perspective gives tips on new ways you may want to consider accepting funds, how to effectively approach chargebacks and win, as well as how to deal with those quasi hostage taking guests who seem to make a profession out of saying something was wrong at the end of their stay. Many thanks to Terry Whyte, Chris Savino, and Matt Gurley for joining us and sharing proven tactics against these shady actors. 
This is a master class in getting direct bookings and not relying on On Line Travel Agencies (Vrbo & Airbnb) to get your bookings.  Listen carefully to up your game on getting direct bookings to your website from two of the true experts in the business.
In this episode The professional vacation rental manager's podcast with Sarah and T has fun with our listeners by letting them sound off on what they have had it with.   Taking the lead from a popular podcast we let our professional vacation rental manager friends give it some thought and record what they "have had it with."  Quasi Hostage Taking Crisis with Reviews, Software frustrations, Scammers, rude owners, rude guests, rude guests that write bad reviews, Owners not respecting boundaries, 3rd party websites, bad customer service are among the subjects covered by 13 of our avid listeners.  Get ready for some VRM therapy in this episode.
Vacation Rental Decor topics are a favorite for Sarah and T.  Today our hosts have a true V.R. Decor expert on the show to discuss the BIG 3 things (The Decor Trinity) to think about when you consider decorating a property.   Cara Shimizu bring of great content and takeaways in this episode.  In the Not So Hot Off The Press, But Definitely Happening segment Sarah and T talk about Expedia Groups new rollout of a loyalty program that could have a huge impact on Vacation Rental Managers.
In this episode Sarah and T take a deep dive into what makes a 3rd party listing of your property great.  We predict you will listen to this episode again and again as our two pros give some great tips about how to make your property stand out on VRBO, Airbnb, or any 3rd party listing site.   Great episode!
In this episode of Sarah and T - The Professional Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast our hosts cover a subject everyone in the Vacation Rental business can do better on.   It is the subject of employees verses hiring contractors.   There are a lot of moments in this episode that will make you squirm with discomfort as the hosts identify many common mistakes in the employment world.  Our hosts bring your invaluable information on this subject where you can learn from their experience.   The tips and tricks of decades of experience is revealed in this episode and will make you a lot of money.  In the Not So Hot Off The Press segment Sarah and T interview Marcus Rader the CEO and Founder of Hostaway software.   Marcus just got $175,000,000 in funding to grow his company - the most money ever raised in the vacation rental industry.   Hear how he did it!
Do you have insurance?   Of course, everyone who runs a vacation rental business knows you need insurance.   Do you have enough insurance?   Do you have the right insurance?  Are you SURE you are covered in the event of anything that might happen?    Maybe the answers to the last 3 questions are not as convincing as the first question's answer.   In this episode Sarah and T are out to save your backside.   We assure you that you will learn some things in this episode that could save your business!  So listen up and get ready for our hosts to drop some knowledge on you!Key Points: Disclaimer: we are not insurance agents nor do we play one on TV. Everything we say here should be verified with your insurance agent and not hold us liable for anything we say that turns out to be incorrect.  Many thanks to Tim's insurance agent, Larry Barker of Towne Insurance Agency in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for giving us the 411 on insurance of all types in the vacation rental business.   In this episode, we cover: - Liability Insurance- Workman's Comp Insurance- Errors & Omissions - Vehicle insurance for employees driving company vehicles & their own vehiclesVacation rental managers small or large are ultimately responsible for finding and keeping tenants (aka "guests") on someone else's property.  To be successful at this, they must do the following five things: 1) Negotiate, sign and enforce leases (aka Guest Agreement or Contract)2) Collect rents 3) Make repairs4) Conduct routine maintenance 5) Ensure the safety of guestsEach one of these five comes with its own set of risks and that's why there's property and liability insurance designed to protect. Let's talk about the protection you need to cover these five activities: 1) Professional Liability insurance aka "errors and omissions"  coverage.  This coverage protects you when you forget to purchase appropriate property insurance, resulting in a loss for the homeowner, wrongful or negligent evictions, discrimination claims, and other failure to perform professional duties according to your contract.**big reason to get this - commercial general liability may not provide coverage for any expenses related to professional liability claims or suits.  It does need to be said that errors & omissions does NOT usually include criminal, fraudulent, or malicious acts, bodily injury and property damage, workers compensation claims, and punitive damages.2) Property & Liability Insurance - two biggest risks in our line of work relates to property maintenance and contract negligence. There are often questions about who - the manager or the property owner - has the "insurable interest" on the building. a) Commercial property insurance - this protects the VRM's assets after a physical loss due to smoke, fire, wind, hailstorm, vandalism, and other events. It all depends on the wording in your contract as to whether you are responsible for keeping this coverage on buildings you manage. b) Business income insurance aka "business interruption insurance" - this is typically included in a commercial property policy.  It protects your earnings if you can't collect b/c of storm, fire, etc. c) Commercial General Liability - (read from Larry's doc - I have it printed and ready to go)If you want to get everything we have discussed to date, ask your agent about a BOP - business owner's policy which includes property coverage, liability coverage, AND business income insurance. ADDITIONAL insurance coverage to consider: 1) Non-owned auto liability coverage - should be purchased if you or your employees drive personal vehicles for busines
Sarah and T have big news in this episode.   Not only do they bring you great content in this edition to help you grow your business, but they have a big announcement to make.    Listen in to hear the great news and then get a pad and paper ready to pick up on tips that will make you money!   Like always, Sarah and T deliver for you.
Are you doing everything from washing sheets to payroll for your company?   Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you hired capable help so you can work on your business instead of in your business?   In this week's episode, Sarah and Tim welcome Brian Harris and Alan Kemper who will discuss Brian's process of self analysis Brian did with Alan as his coach    Topics covered  (in addition to the best collection of quotes ever on our podcast):  - identifying what you are good at and what you enjoy doing (as well as what is an "energy drain") - how to give up control of those areas you are not meant to be leading- the long term benefits of having managers - especially a GM - handling the day to day as you grow (hint:  you make MORE money, not less, and enjoy the process)As you listen consider if you are the captain of your space ship or are you the rocket booster powering the flight.Many thanks to Brian Harris for being open and candid about his struggle to make this happen, as well as Alan Kemper of LeadAdvisors for his insight.  So many good quotes and analogies for our listeners in here! 
How many guests are too many?   The question begs you to think of over population of our resort areas.  Today's podcast is a webinar that Sarah and T did for Rent Responsibly's People, Places & Planet Summit.  Check out Rent Responsibly's 2023 STR Sustainability Report for more on all of the topics discussed.  Sarah and Tim cover what we all can do to be better citizens as Vacation Rental Managers. The session covers staff housing efforts, as well as the issue of having "naysayers" in the local population of your destination, plus what the future of tourism looks like in your community. Key Takeaways covered: Get involved with your local government bodies and join the conversation about how much workforce housing is needed, what types, and work on creative ways to fill the gap now while getting building efforts off the ground that will serve the community and make sense for filling the needMarketing Education to Visitors - recycling, reducing plastic (stop with the throw away plastic bottles!!), responsible behavior, etcBe sure that you aren’t just sending a text “take out the trash and be sure to put the lid on!” but put action and money behind your efforts - talk with guests, create signage, create a culture at your office with a mission to help guests be great visitorsVolutourismWork with City/Town on long range tourism - you may have to do the heavy lifting here. Elected officials LOVE someone to do the dirty work for them and then take credit.
John DiJulius was so good in episode 146, our hosts had to have him back for a 2nd episode.    Show Notes: - Chat GPT - how it may be used in the vacation rental industry- Subrogration- Ryan Reynolds trying ChatGPT- Every generation is relationship disadvantaged now - there has been a significant decline in relationship-building skills. Here's 5 skills to teach (well, one is not teachable)Be Authentic Insatiable CuriosityIncredible EmpathyBe a Great Listeners ("Listen Like You're Wrong")Love People - filter for this since it cannot be taught- Day in the Life (refer to Ep. 33) - FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation & Dreams) - in personal life, narcism barometer- Always & Never List's remove personal interpretation from customer service expectations- John DiJulius's Secret Service Summit - Oct 11 & 12, 2023- Scott Galloway - don't give yourself as much credit when you succeed or fail - it's probably not your fault 
John DiJulius is well known as the customer service experience champion.   His fresh approach and no nonsense analogies will open your mind about how you can deliver service better.   With clients like Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, The Cheesecake Factory, Marriott, The Ritz Carlton, Lexus, and other top of the market customer service brands you can see John knows his stuff.   He was on the show in 2018 for episode 33, and today he makes a triumphant return to give you more great ideas about how to be better every day! Highlights:- 4 Guidelines for customer experience moments- how to offer personal experiences even at scale (hint: use their name and yours)- customer experience action statement- Eliminate “employee roulette”- why “hustle” got cancelled- how to connect with employees at a distance (allow for “rabbit holes” and use Big Talk) Skip Small Talk
Our listeners take center stage again this week as we continue the theme of "who is your favorite vendor?"    There were a lot of great comments on the last episode, and we are sure you will learn even more from this episode.Thank you to our friends that contributed to this great edition of Sarah and T.
Do you have a favorite company you work with?   We posed that question to our listeners and boy did we get a response!    In this episode, we cover just half of the favorite vendors that were mentioned by our listeners.   Next episode will have the rest! There are some great discussions on this episode about whom we hire to help us and what they do to make our lives easier.
In this episode Sarah and T talk about the benefits of being involved in your industry, and your community.   Stepping up to help does have benefits, and that is the subject for this week.   Sarah and T also pay tribute to two important people that recently passed away.
There's something tantalizing about talking about things you shouldn't right?  Well, if that is the case you are going to be super excited to listen to today's episode.  Sarah and T cover some very seldom talked about topics in the V.R. Industry.  Our dirty little secrets we don't want people to know!  From sex toys in the hot tub to employees hooking up in the properties this is a non-stop episode.In not so hot off the press our hosts roast Airbnb, Vacasa and Airlines!
In this episode Sarah and T give you rich content to make your company better in 2023!   Get a pen and paper ready and listen closely as our hosts give us 6 ways to beat your competition by doing what they are NOT doing.   This episode can move your company to the top of the heap in 23!   Listen closely.
In this episode, the first of Season #7, Sarah and T review the top 10 most listened to podcasts from the last year.    Our two hosts review some of the top takeaways from each episode and revisit some of the best ideas and heartiest laughs from this past year.   Listen to this episode to get a feel for which shows you need to go back and listen to yet again.
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