As businesses go The Boshoff is relatively brand-spanking new to the holiday rental industry. Prior to opening, friends with seasoned experience warned us about challenges and pitfalls that would cross our path. To date we can’t complain. It’s still early days but we have been blessed with great guests thus far!
Early Days Going Well
We are incredibly busy and it has been the most unexpected yet welcome surprise. We anticipated a slow start but we were definitely mistaken! Our first guests arrived a day after opening and we have been busy since then. No complaints here.
Despite our positive start we remain vigilant and cognisant of the warnings about challenges and pitfalls. Some of those are already becoming a reality but none of which we can’t handle with ease. Getting the systems in place, learning the ropes of new software programs and billing systems and dealing with special requests from guest are a few of the challenges we have had to deal with. Late check-in and check-out requests are a bit of a tricky one at this point and it seems that most hosts choose to deal with them in their own way.
When is it time to play hard ball?
Starting a new business in the hospitality industry certainly propels you onto a slippery slope. Detailed and precise terms and conditions appear to be absolutely vital to have in place. However, getting potential guests to read them seems to be even more challenging than putting them together in the first place!
It is fast becoming more and more apparent that many people fail to read the fine print – or even the “not-so-fine-print” – before clicking that “book now” button. A simple example includes the check-in and check-out time frames and policies related to them.
For example: A potential guest makes a booking. Policies clearly indicate the time frame for check in and check out as well as the consequences related to late or early arrivals or departures. These include the fee chargeable for check ins after a certain time. The guest confirms their booking and provides an estimated time of arrival – significantly later than the time frame stipulated. The challenge comes into play when the guest is informed that it is not permitted or that there is a late check in fee.
Bottomline – There is no hard ball
At first, I thought it was about playing hard ball, sticking to rules and terms and conditions. I was wrong. The terms and conditions are clear guidelines that allow owners to run a business, like any other, according to a set of norms and structures that are appropriate for their particular set of circumstances and lives. If those guidelines are challenged it is up to the owner to negotiate or to enforce them. It’s not personal at all, definitely not just about playing hardball or about being difficult. If, for example, it doesn’t suit my particular set of circumstances to allow a guest to check in at 22h00 at night – which, in my situation is the case – we will all be more comfortable if they seek alternative accommodation where it will be allowed. it is not personal or vindictive, just practical facts of business and of my life.
Time – the great teacher
It’s very early days in our holiday rental business and time undoubtedly will be the greatest teacher. Wisdom in the industry will be born from experience, mistakes, feedback and much more, but the journey ahead promises to be an adventurous one indeed!
Let us know what you want hosts to remember or to ensure when you book your holiday rental.