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Renting VRBO...

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jc tenn
posts: 381
reviews: 1
Renting VRBO...

I emailed a lot of homeowners over a month ago. I heard back from about half of them. It surprises me how many people list their homes for rent, but don't respond to inquiries!


Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
posts: 1,528
reviews: 21
11. Re: Renting VRBO...

I'm in agreement with the above statement. If an owner claims there is a mountain view, an outline of the mountains needs to be visible from some vantage point at the cabin, whether that be a picture window, balcony, deck, or somewhere that you will be spending time relaxing. Walking to one corner of the property to stand and look at the mountains is not my idea of a rental with a mountain view. Neither is one that has been almost totally obscured by growth.

However, I do agree that the steepness of roads is a subjective question. Most of that would of course depend on one's experience.

I do expect a response within a 48 hour period. I understand that there are circumstances in which this cannot happen, like travel and family emergencies. And people are free to conduct their businesses any way they please. But as a business owner myself, I don't want my potential customers to think that my lack of response would indicate the habit of negligence.

In my inquiries, I simply ask for "your best price", and leave it in their hands. Some might call this haggling, but you cannot receive a discounted rate below anything that is advertised without asking. We've rented for as many as ten days, so it could be that filling up the calender is of benefit to someone. If it's just the two of us, we will be using less energy and water, which might provide an added incentive since we usually rent 3 bedrooms simply for the additional living space in the great room and kitchen. Traveling without children might bring a better rate, since children are rambunctious and can do damage.

I've never made some low-ball offer. To me, that is just setting things up for a bad relationship and a poor experience. And yes, it is insulting for someone who expends a lot of time, effort, and money to provide a good service or product. The low ball offer implies that I'm trying to get more than my product or services are worth. I find this can be the case from the wealthy as well as the middle and lower classes of income. Frustrating.

Oneonta, Alabama
posts: 958
reviews: 3
12. Re: Renting VRBO...

Thanks luv and dawg. Your definitions are helpful. I don't advertise either of my cabins as having a mountain view, but I always wonder what people are exactly looking for when they ask if there is a mountain view.

Every rental situation is unique and sometimes I am able to offer a lower rate without anyone asking due to openings on my calendar. Guests asking for longer stays have a much better chance of lower rates. If I can save a cleaning fee of $75 for a 6 or 7 night stay instead of having two different guests staying shorter time periods during that same time, then that allows for a cheaper nightly rate.

Also, I can sometimes offer a cheaper rate if the dates requested work out on my calendar so there isn't a night left open between stays. Those are all things I consider when answering an inquiry.

If someone is asking for dates that I can rent at a prime rate due to the popularity of the time period (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years, etc.) then I am not usually going to offer any type of discount because those rental periods are what help pay the bills in January and February when the rates are very low and there aren't as many people visiting the area.

An owner finds out quickly that rates are dependant on supply and demand. With so many properties in the area and more being listed on VRBO every day, the rental market in Smokies is very competitive.

Anyone who is willing to wait until the last minute to book a property has the best chance of getting the best deal. That is when owners make the decision of how low they can go trying to sell dates that are about to expire. That decision weighs heavily on an owner's mind. Most potential guests always think that "some money is better than no money" for those dates, but there is a point where an owner can go in the hole. For instance, if you rent out a property for 3 nights for $99 per night, and guests use $50 in propane using the gas logs, $25 in electricity, etc. then an owner could possibly lose money. That is not even taking into account the possibility of something getting broken or damaged during the stay. That is why some owners (me included) have a bottom line and won't rent just to take in some money instead of the cabin sitting empty.

I also take into consideration the size of the group, like dawg mentioned. Mostly, I have found the Golden Rule to be my best guideline. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. It is a good standard for me and works.

Pigeon Forge...
posts: 1,810
reviews: 19
13. Re: Renting VRBO...

dodgeball...as for the 'mountain view'....this is always a must for me as I love to sit out on the deck in the mornings and see the mountains. One of the cabins that I rented had listed a mountain view, yet there was only one pic of the view on the site, and it was taken when there wasn't a lot of tree growth...needless to say, once there it was a 'slim' mountain view. Still nice, but not my preferred view. I have learned since then to look and study the pics posted and have on occassion asked for another pic from the deck area if possible.

I am not opposed to a wooded view with a stream adjacent to the cabin, but still prefer the mountain view. One place I rented was just slightly above the Gatlinburg Welcome Center and had an phenomenal view without having to go far up the mountain, which was a nice surprise.

I just booked my vrbo cabin for April and did have to send an extra e-mail to see if the internet was WiFi as it was just listed as having 'Internet'...I require WiFi due to a bad experience in a cabin before where the only Internet access was a 4 ft cord in one of the bedrooms, which made it hard for 4 women to get any work or other things done on their laptops.

I have been lucky with regards to vrbo owners responding quickly. I have used vrbo cabins for my last 4 stays and will no longer use a 'company managed' cabin unless the deal is too great to pass up. After years of paying high fees and sometimes dealing with poor customer service, I have found the vrbo's to be great so far!

14. Re: Renting VRBO...

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Removed on: 3:47 pm, June 25, 2013
posts: 5
15. Re: Renting VRBO...

Hi! Reading through the forums trying to decide between a cabin and a hotel. Having never rented from VRBO or a cabin in general, any chance you would want to share your spreadsheet? I just want to make sure I am not missing anything. Thanks!

posts: 5
16. Re: Renting VRBO...

Hi again, my previous post was to luvourtwo from Missouri. I thought if I clicked reply on their post it would go directly to them. Sorry! I'm new to this!

posts: 106
reviews: 55
17. Re: Renting VRBO...

I'm sorry that I don't know how to get the spreadsheet to you, but I just open an excel document, then down the side I type categories for things I find important. These include: location (PF, Gat, WV), # Beds, #Baths, Games, View, Furniture (Leather? New? Yuck!), TVs (flat screen? Old? Qty?), Hot tub, Swim Pool, BBQ grill, Local management?, response time, and of course... Price. I record the VRBO numbers across the top, then fill in the column underneath with details for each category. You can also cut and paste the columns in the order you rank from those you like the best to least. Happy Hunting!

Edited: 1:10 pm, June 25, 2013
18. Re: Renting VRBO...

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