Join Debi Hertert and Michele Fitzgerald as they talk about Michele’s vacation rental in Sedona (that is not on Airbnb). Debi and Rob traveled to Sedona, Arizona in early 2017 to find some sun, and stayed in Michele’s wonderful vacation rental home. She teaches intuitive methods, leads tours in Ireland, operates on-line businesses and manages her beautiful and successful vacation rental. And, as you will hear in the podcast, she has big plans for next year! Michele doesn’t use Airbnb – and explains why.
(9:00) How did she get started? She’d owned this property for a long time and it was her first home in Sedona. She bought another house, and turned this house into a metaphysical center. In 2005 she began an on-line training program instead of the classes in the house – she was paying the mortgage and in 2007 she converted it to a full-time vacation rental. She had very relevant prior work experience training managers of long-term rentals.
Michele has a 1-week minimum, Saturday to Saturday, and an 80-85% occupancy rate. She has a good closing percentage, which she attributes to her sales background and that she has the opportunity to make relationships with potential guests. She explains her process in some detail.
(14:00) As soon as the inquiry comes in, she emails people directly. She doesn’t use an auto-responder. All the bookings and payment goes through Michele. Guests are told by Home Away or VRBO that they will receive a PayPal invoice from Michele. Debi and Michele discussed the upcoming change to Home Away that had been announced that would prevent hosts from communicating with guests [ed note: as of July, 2017 this still seems imminent but has not yet been implemented]. Michele includes a rental contract as an attachment to her PayPal invoice, and it’s part of the Home Away contract that guests sign. She dispensed with security deposits to simplify things, as she rarely had any issues.
(22:30) Michele is moving! Far away! She will sell her main home in Sedona, but keep the rental and manage it from afar.
(26:00) Tips for owners of vacation rentals: Michele strongly believes that her intentional clearing of space between sets of guests is responsible for much of her success in having pleasant stays. She plans on training her housekeepers to do this for her when she moves. (and maybe a webinar for listeners of HostingYourHome on how to do this 🙂
We wish Michele great fortune in her move into the next phase of her life, and appreciated our time with her.