Monday, April 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home on Sanibel Island

Owning vacation rental properties is always a bit of a challenge.

There are the initial challenges of where do you buy, what do you buy, when do you buy?

Sanibel Island made those three questions easy for us. We loved the Island on first sight. We were so enchanted we bought both a condo and a private home. We did it at the moment it was financially feasible.

The next set of questions is how to decorate, how to market, how to price the vacation rental.

But none of those questions is as difficult as is the one that arises when you have a booking in hand for multiple months that gets cancelled. This just happened with our Toucan House for December 2009 through February 2010. The booking was cancelled 3 months out from the booking date, though 8 months in advance of the available months.

In this case, the cancellation was because our renters bought something themselves on the Island. They are very nice people who have stayed in our properties before and we are happy for them. In fact, this makes the 6th couple who rented from us and ended up buying on their own. So we feel that our properties have provided such good experiences with Sanibel that our renters strike out to replicate it for themselves, creating their own sweet home for whenever they might want to visit.

But that still leaves the vacation rental owner with the question as to how to make up for those months considered "in the bank".

Well, you contact everyone who inquired of the house for that period of time in the last few months. But, quite honestly, that is usually futile.
People who are determined to come to Sanibel don't cool their heels.If one house is not available, they will persevere and find another. Missing a winter on the island is not an option for those who find that it has gotten into their blood and under their skin.

The next step is contacting everyone you know on the Island making sure that they know of your unexpected availability. That may yield some results but it's too soon to tell.

Of course you use the various rental sites where the home is advertised and make sure that you mention the home's new status.

And then you blog. Some one, some where may read your blog post and pass it on. You never know for sure where a blog post will land.

So let's see what happens with this post. Surprise me!

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