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Indentured Servitude Comes to Vacation Rentals

By Ron Lee
Published: 10/01/17 Topics: Housekeeping, Vacation Rental Management Comments: -

There is a hidden under belly about how Venture Capitalists are entering the Vacation Rental industry in hopes of dominating it to cash out for big bucks.

It appears some pursue growth at all costs, by over working staff, and even evading labor laws that call for overtime wages. Jobs are hard to come by, and they take advantage of well meaning employees who have no other option but to work far harder for far less.

Her real name is being withheld for fear of retaliation, so we'll call her Susie. She worked for some years for one of those VC backed firms hoping to amalgamate the industry by buying up local vacation rental managers and taking over their listings.

Nothing wrong with that, if you like the corporate approach to what has previously been a very personalized service business. In fact, at the rate that some of these venture capital backed companies are hemorrhaging money, it is no wonder they survive by taking advantage of workers.

Susie was hired to clean homes and provide property services but the job quickly turned into 80 hours weeks, for a set salary appropriate for 40 hours. She was not paid for the extra hours and did not receive payment for overtime, not the time-and-a-half hourly rate required by law.

Those companies skirt the law, by trying to claim employees as contractors, or managers making them exempt from overtime compensation. It is a ruse that sometimes works, but is never considerate to people who work so hard.

Susie said she never received a day off in several years, nor the promised paid vacation time and when she begged to hire additional housekeepers was told, if you don't like it you can leave.

Susie fell for the "We are new, and smart and bigger and better than all those local podunk managers. We are going to take over the world with technology" and you are going to be part of something great. Working hard will have its rewards.

For Susie that meant constant fatigue, dawn to dusk duties seven days a week, a rude supervisor, corporate officers who could care less, and the constant threat of job loss - if she was to raise a complaint about off-the-clock hours.

Was Susie really just a disgruntled employee? Not really. For years she drank the "upward mobility" poison that corporate workers have been swallowing for years. That working long and hard will benefit them in the long run.

Pursuing career growth and personal achievement is a requirement in many industries. But in Susie's case it was all led by a few corporate officers who constantly praised themselves but fail to honor the most sacred of business ethics - to provide proper compensation from line staff who do all the heavy lifting.

Eventually Susie just could not take the grind any longer. She quit with no prospects for a job elsewhere, "I didn't plan it" she said, "But I just could not do 80 hours a week anymore."

As a service business, vacation rental staff are what guests and owners come to appreciate. There is no sense in doubling listings if complaints triple.

Smart owners realize that people like Susie are, and have always been, the backbone of vacation rental management. Without the Susies of the world, renting out a home is a risky investment.

Since she left, Susie's prior employer has hired and lost additional workers just like she. They struggle to find new employees and can’t keep good people. They advertise jobs constantly because the word is out about their employment practices.

Reputable companies don't build their business by over working staff, or promising more than can be delivered. "Its no wonder quality lacks and they have so many online complaints" Susie notes, "Everyone works so much, that we just don't have enough to give. I tried, I really did. But 80 hours a week is too much."

Worst of all, property owners are no longer getting the care and consideration they deserve. They see a revolving door of housekeepers and maintenance workers and that causes quality to suffer and commitment to wane.

Smart property owners are learning to evaluate management firms by their staff and not by misleading promises that bigger is better. In vacation rental management, local is what makes it work.

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Author: Ron Lee, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0565 – 10/01/17

Vacation Rental Picante Sauce

By Wm. May
Published: 06/01/17 Topics: Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

What do Picante Sauce and Vacation Rentals have in common? Well they gotta be fresh and tended to. Can managers from hundreds and thousands of miles away provide adequate service to discerning property owners. Not hardly. Read more

Extortion and Anti-Dispargement Defense

By Ron Lee
Published: 01/17/17 Topics: Vacation Rentals Comments: -

Christopher Elliott, self admitted one-sided advocate, writes that businesses should lose their right to prohibit defamation and thereby extortion. Trained journalists rely on freedom of the press but employ the kind of fair-minded journalists standards reporting that Elliott ignores. Read more

Autumn is Industry Conference Season for Lodging

By Wm. May
Published: 11/16/16 Topics: AirBnB, Hotels, Inns Comments: -

Read more

Westport Central Reservations Kick-Off

By Trina Flanagan
Published: 10/27/16 Topics: Advertising, Westport WA Comments: -

As part of the Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours (BAH) events, everyone was invited to the luxurious Sanderling Beach House for food, drink and camaraderie. It was an absolutely stunning day for an absolutely stunning kick-off. The new Westport Central Reservation service opened its doors with a party for local businesses and lodging providers on Thursday January 26, 2018. Read more

Grading Vacation Rentals on the Curve

By Wm. May
Published: 10/01/16 Topics: AirBnB, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

Research has showed that average ratings on AirBnB are a full one start higher than the number of stars for homes on HomeAway.com.Could this mean that only the better homes are listed on AirBnB? Nah,. Just the opposite. Read more

AirBnB Racism Faciliated by Social Media

By Wm. May
Published: 06/01/16 Topics: Comments: -

Surely, building familiarity with guests and hosts is a good thing. The world needs more communication and personal interaction. But the very act of showing a photograph of every host gives racists the key to shunning people they don’t like. Read more

Assumptions Make Everyone Equally Unhappy

By William May
Published: 02/27/16 Topics: Self Improvement Comments: -

This age old cliché succinctly explains the problem with assuming things without stopping to check the facts and why it makes others so unhappy. Read more

San Clemente CA Moton for Vacation Rental Moratorium

By Jeff Bosson
Published: 01/02/16 Topics: Comments: -

Contrary to advice from tourism officials and the vacation rental industry, January 5, 2016 San Clement City Council will vote on a moratorium on vacation rentals in the city.. Read more

Vacation Rental Restoration

By William May
Published: 12/28/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

Vacation rental homes are susceptible to the same problems as full-time residences. Sometimes pipes break, basements flood and even smoke or fire damage can happen. Read more

The Genius Truck Mechanic

By William May
Published: 11/11/15 Topics: Boats, Self Improvement Comments: -

Wisdom can come from a professor, a teacher a mentor and sometimes from a truck mechanic. Learn how to focus and concentrate. And maybe how not to collaborate. Read more

Expedia to buy Homeaway

By Ronald Lee
Published: 11/05/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

There’s always a bigger fish. Serial purchaser Homeaway has itself been acquired by Seattle based Expedia. Read more

Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.

By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: -

Many experts will rattle your brain with every kind of advertising and marketing. But the restaurant - Two Doors Down - exceeds them all with their latest Halloween advertising idea. It may not be what you expect. Boo. Read more

Most Professional Photographers Are Not

By William May
Published: 10/22/15 Topics: Comments: -

New technology has created three photography skill levels - Amateur, Professional and HDR Pro. Nothing but the top level of High Dynamic Range photos are good enough for business that want to stand out on the web, in print and achieve the greatest possible sales. Is your photographer at the top level? Read more

Leisure Link Says Bad Photos a Deadly Sin

By Noel Poage
Published: 09/25/15 Topics: Channel Managers, Photography Comments: -

A long time technology provider to lodging properties recently published the seven sins of distribution> Perhaps the most striking is how dramatically bad photo produce bad booking results. Here is how to avoid the problem. Read more

How Much Vacation Rental Insurance Do You Need?

By April Klazema
Published: 09/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

When you are looking to buy vacation rental insurance coverage for the first time, you will likely have a laundry list of different questions that you want answered. Here are the answers. Read more

What Goes Around Comes Around for AirBnB

By Ron Lee
Published: 08/22/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB Comments: -

Perhaps today's lodging usurpers like Expedia, Priceline, Homeaway and AirBnB could learn a thing or two from the advertising history of major newspapers. Being big and successful does not portend continued success when advertisers are treated poorly. Read more

Do I Need to Get Special Insurance for My Condo or Vacation Home?

By April Klazema
Published: 08/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

If you rent out your property to vacationers or other tenants when you are not using it, then it cannot be protected under a homeowner's policy. If you are accepting money to allow someone to stay at your vacation home, learn heard about the insurance you must have. Read more

Special Insurance for My Condo or Vacation Home?

By April Klazema
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: -

If the purpose of the vacation home is for personal use only, then a homeowner's insurance policy will be sufficient to cover the property. But if you rent your home to guests on a nightly, or week basis that insurance is insufficient. Read more

BookingSync.com is right about photography

By Noel Poage
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Comments: -

We have to hand a prize to Sébastien Grosjean, CEO of BookingSync a vacation rental software and channel management company. In his recent video posts he covers the basics of shooting photography. But how about HDR? Read more

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