Possible scenarios of Grandma slipping and falling or just simply fainting while reaching for a package of Swiss cheese ran through my mind as I speed walked down the main walkway.

cheeseGlancing into each grocery aisle, my eyes quickly scanned the heads of the shoppers, searching for the bright teal crocheted headband Grandma wore that day.

She was nowhere to be found.

I had only left her a few minutes ago in the pasta aisle so I could run to the other side of the store to pick up a new crockpot. I told her that I would be right back and meet her at the end of the aisles.

How fast can an 80-something year old granny food shop? Apparently much faster than her granddaughter speed walking to the other side of the store and back.

After walking the aisles and checkout lanes about 10 times, I finally found her – she had already checked out and was waiting by the front door.

After sorting out how our communication wires got mixed up, I realized that it came down to following our normal shopping routines. And, her routine was different than my routine. She heard my parting words as she chose her spaghetti noodles, but she followed her normal routine of meeting at the front door when she was finished.

Ideally, I should have discussed with her before entering the store what we each needed to pick up and where to meet if we were separated.

This story and post was originally written March 2014. Gma passed away March 2020, but the lesson learned from that day with her still holds true.

Each person has his own routine, and when that routine or their set expectations are not followed, things can get a little messy.

The whole idea of staying at a vacation rental property while on vacation is still a fairly new concept to many people. Their routine may still be to sleep at a hotel when they do their traveling, or maybe they normally park their RV at a campground when they get away from the daily routines.

The number of travelers choosing a vacation rental property is steadily increasing, so there are many travelers unfamiliar with the routine of booking and staying at a vacation rental property.

A few of the routines that vacation rental owners have that a traveler may not be aware of are:

  • There is no standard way to book a vacation rental. Some owners use online methods, and other owners only take reservations by phone
  • The listed price may or may not include taxes, cleaning, or other fees
  • Access to the property may be a code or a key or both
  • The checkout instructions may be basic, common sense duties like locking doors and windows, or they could be an entire page of items to complete and check off

Vacation rentals are not like hotels, though.

We are the star shape in a toddler’s shape sorting toy.

Each vacation rental property has its own personality. Each one has its own routine.

And to best serve your guests, all you need to do is make sure that your routine and expectations are communicated clearly and up front, not on the fly while Grandma is checking the nutrition label on the noodles.

What routine do you have that you are clear and upfront about with your guests? Booking fees? Check out instructions? No wi-if or linens?

Surprise fees or getting lost at night on arrival are not ways to make guests happy. Communicating clearly before booking and throughout the guest journey from the point they book to the point they depart, as well as after departure, will make for happier guests and 5 star reviews.

Want to know what I use for guest communication? See all my current workflow tools.