Bill's Bountiful Blog

May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.

But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist

A Map, a Map, My Kingdom for a Map

By William May
Published: 07/20/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Long ago we had these very nice travel aids called maps.

They were printed on paper, folded like origami but you could unfold them to see towns, roads, rivers and other landmarks. Because they showed lots of land -- often a full state - it was always possible to get a general idea of where things were.

From there you could find your way to where you were going, or to find your way to the next state. You could even drive all the way across the US if you wanted. Hey, you could even drive into Canada.

They had these darn Maps in other countries too. Other than a few very remote places, you could unfold the origami and practically drive around the world (if you wanted to swim much of it.)


First it was GPS devices that allowed you to know the latitude-longitude coordinates of wherever you were in the world based on signals they received from Global Positioning Satellites. All very high tech stuff. Over time the devices improved and you could find where you were and where you are headed to see a detailed route.

Although GPS was great party conversation, only a small percentage of the popular had one. That increased as car dealers started to install them in vehicles and as the devices improved.


Today, many people have adopted to use of Smart Phones - such as the ubiquitous iPhones, Androids - and are delighted to find that those phones have what they call GPS, but is actually based on the triangulation between multiple mobile phone towers and not on satellites.

They work well except in distant locations where only one tower exists and then they are dead meat.


With innovation comes complexity and then comes reliance on technology. Unfortunately some folks take this to mean they can quit thinking smart.

Many lodging operators send out detailed instructions on how to get to their properties, even including Lat-Long coordinates. So with a phone or a GPS devices you can type in the coordinates and your car will practically drive you directly to your destination.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets how this works and they find themselves out in the boondocks with a non-helpful smart phone and without a tightly folded up map for backup.

For help they call the property staff who must always be friendly and helpful, even at 3AM in the morning.


GUEST: Can you help me find the house?

STAFF: Yes. Do you have the written instructions we sent?


STAFF: Do you have a map, or GPS or Smart phone?

GUEST: A Smart Phone but the map is not working out here.

STAFF: May I ask where you are?

GUEST: I don't know.

STAFF: Do you see any recognizable landmarks, a house, a river, a store or anything?


STAFF: Have you passed any landmarks recently?

GUEST: Not that I can remember.

STAFF: Is the land flat or hill?

GUEST: Kind of both.

STAFF: Do you have anyone else with you?

GUEST: Just my 2 year old? And I have my dog.

STAFF: Does the dog have a map?

GUEST: I don't think so. Could you just come find us?

STAFF: Yes, I guess so . . . . may I ask where you are?

You get the idea. Good. Get a map please.

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Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0373 – 07/20/14

Outdoors-For-All, the Heroes Among Us

By William May
Published: 06/09/14 Topics: Comments: 0

It was over 10 years ago that we first came in contact with the Ski-For-All Foundation.

In the Northwest United States, snow skiing is a rite of winter. Not everyone in the area participates, but the mountains beckon to most of us. In fact, many people are zealous about spending time in the great outdoors and especially in winter.

It is no wonder that some of the most fervent fans got together to share their joy with those least likely to get out.


Using committed volunteers, generous donors and specialized equipment, Ski-For-All helps disabled children and adults to ski and snowboard.

Even the blind can be lead down the mountain at speeds that able bodied non-skiers find frightening, but that finds the sightless skier whooping and laughing at the top of their lungs.

By holding onto a short leash with a sighted skier, and sensing the tension between the two it makes your heart flutter so see how fearless they are.

Who could imagine that even quadriplegics can ski?

It is done by putting the client into a toboggan with four skiers hold tethers affixed to the four corners, the client can speed downhill at an astonishing rate, and everywhere others skiers stop and watch and often cheer.

It takes lots of preparation and time for just one run. But one run is seldom enough for the client. So the volunteers load the toboggan and the client back onto a chair lift to go back to the top. They repeat the journey for as long as the client wants or until the ski area closes (usually the later.)


Knowing of this wonderful organization, we thought it grand to donate use of our vacation rental homes to Ski-For-All and were delighted when they could bring clients to the mountains for over-night trips.

After the first stay, however we received a disappointing phone call. It was the housekeeper who said, "something is wrong, no one slept in the beds."

Embarrassed, I called Ski-For-All and apologized saying "of course it would be absolutely fine for them to sleep in the homes we provided."

The director laughed out loud on the phone. "You don't understand," she said, "these kids spend much of their lives in bed. So sleeping in a sleeping bag, in a cabin on the floor was a thrilling time for them"

"Oh," I said, "I had no idea."

I would like to invite you to donate use of your vacation rental home to charitable groups too. It would be great if you wanted to call Ski-for-All, but in fact your generous donation will be appreciated by any not-for-profit group you can think of.

You'll receive nice thank you of course, but the warm glow of satisfaction will come the minute they book your place. You will be using the riches you possess to help those who need it most.


To recognize the generosity of the wonderful vacation home owners who donate to worthy charities, the Vacation Rental Association ( has formed a "Vacation Rental Angels" program on which their properties can be advertised. Its all for free and our small way of saying thank you. (

- - - - - - - - - - - - - ---

Over time the Foundation has increased its programs to include hiking, biking kayaking, canoeing, yoga and even rock climbing. The newly christened "Outdoors-For-All" is the same great bunch of people now spreading its love of the outdoors to an ever wider circle of people who long to get out and enjoy the environment. (

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Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0377 – 06/09/14

Crowing About Our New Mobile Website

By William May
Published: 05/01/14 Topics: Comments: 0

We are just going to go out and say it, "Our new mobile website, for smart phones, is by far the most comprehensive, beautiful and functional mobile website ever."

Yes, other lodging managers have built mobile websites, but no one has built anything like this" Said, Salman Arshad of Redstone Systems.

Redstone Systems, creator of software for the Inn, Resort & Vacation Rental industries just added this new mobile website capability. While that may not sound earth-shaking it is actually evolutionary - the first efficient, effect and persuasive mobile websites for smart phones.

Redstone started by studying hundreds of mobile websites for Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rental management.

Joseph Romain, Creative Director said "The variety was astounding, as was the lack of features. None of the websites had all the design and foresight necessary to book unique properties on a smart phone."

Some websites had nice graphics, some had adequate photos, showed property amenities or maybe a map. But none of them made properties shine. And none made it easy to envision what the guest was getting if they rented that particular property.

"Let's face it, smart phones are a 'very small piece of paper' on which to write a graphic novel so to speak, "Said William May, project manager. "The other websites look like someone just jumbled things together from scratch without enough forethought."

"So we started from scratch. To figure out how mobiles should work and then do it, rather than copy what others had done"

The Redstone Advisor Board includes many experts in graphics, video and other commercial creative arts. Their input commanded the staff to start with a clear goal, and have every aspect of the website support the mission. mobile websites are, first and foremost, places to advertise and promote properties. To show their beauty and benefits. So HelpBook mobiles use full size photos, logos and graphics.

But they must also streamline the ability to select and book properties online. Other websites often taken the viewer back to a properties primary website - but those are impossible to se or use on a smart phone.

So HelpBook mobiles are fully featured and allow guests to book homes online, with full security using the payment system from

Best of all, HelpBook mobiles are fully deployable from a back-end database driven system. Once necessary data - such as photos, descriptions and amenity lists are secured - regular websites can be created in hours.

Then, that same data is used to create HelpBook mobiles sites in very little extra time. The fundamentals of good graphic and website design are followed, making the websites easy to use - but also impressive and persuasive.

Booking hotels and other lodging is said to be growing at a fast pace, and now all Redstone properties have the ability to persuade, facilities and complete bookings for Inns, Resorts & Vacation Rentals online.

"No other company can do it as fully, as impressively and as fast as our software," notes Arshad.

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Author: William May – Manager, Redstone Systems
Blog #: 0366 – 05/01/14

What I do for a living

By William May
Published: 04/08/14 Topics: Comments: 0

On a Saturday, March 22, 2014, the small community of Oso, Washington State was covered 8 to 20 feet deep with dirt and debris after a massive hillside above the area cut lose and thundered down upon houses, cars and residents.

Reports were daunting for rescue personnel first on the scene. The viscous nature of the earth turned it to black oozing mud making it almost impassible on foot.

Highway 530 which ran along the river at the bottom of the hill was lost in the muck which actually flowed across the Stillaguamish River blocking its flow. The Corp of Engineers are working diligently to re-open the channel and prevent down river flooding.

Shortly after the catastrophe a number of people were rescued and sent to area hospitals with varying degrees of injuries. Since, then the search has escalated to as many as 800 rescuers and volunteers.

As news of the slide began appearing, there were many news reports of un-authorized volunteers sneaking into the dangerous and muddy slide areas attempting to find and rescue survivors.

Due to the extreme danger in the area, at first authorities were intercepting these volunteers, threatening them with arrest and even, in a few cases, detaining determined volunteers.

Then in a Seattle Times Newspaper article on March 26, 2014 the authorities made a surprising about-face. After reconsidering the situation they decided to authorize many of those same unofficial volunteers when they learned how capable those unofficial volunteers were.

"Right off the bat they should have had every one of the loggers here in there," said Forrest Thompson 18 years of age who works for logging companies in town. "Climbing across logs and mud all day is what I do for a living."

Crisis situations crystalize the thinking of those involved. Survivors will never forget the experience and first-responders may suffer delayed stress. It is safe to say that no one who lives in the area will drive the road again without reliving where they were a the time.

Watching the rescuer's work 24/7 and without pay and sometimes without acknowledgment should make us all wonder what we are capable of. And maybe, just like Forrest Thompson, it’s a good time to ask just exactly what it is we do for a living.

If you are not familiar with what a logger does in the woods, Thompson's quote of "Climbing across logs and mud all day is what I do for a living" pretty much sums a very difficult job.

The areas they work in are not the nicely treed backyards or parks most of us think of. They are steep and dangerous mountain terrain that has often never been cut before. Danger is everywhere.

Can you imagine the physical and mental strength it takes to arise at 4 AM in the dark every morning, ride in a bus 2 hours, arrive at the work site where it is unbearably cold in winter and torturously hot in summer?

Could you trudge through mud all day jumping over logs sometime taller than yourself all while dragging heavy metal cables behind you? And after 8-10 hours of brutal work, you get to ride 2 hours home, collapse into bed only to get up the next morning at 4 AM to start again.

While silicone valley gets the press, and corporate workers get the perks it is loggers and hundreds of professions like them who actually make America work. It is refreshing to see even that small quote in the Seattle Times acknowledge that at least these people know exactly what it is they do for a living.

If you are a lawyer sitting at a desk are you an attorney, or do you help people right wrongs?

If you serve food in a restaurant are you a waiter or are you trying to make people happy?

If you work in a bank, are you counting money or protecting it for your customers?

To what extent would you go to perform you job? Could you call it - as young Thompson - "just what I do for a living?"

Luckily, most of us will never come face to face with situations as dire as those in Oso. But now is a good time to think ahead, decide what you would do in such situations and realize that in your own world, in your own job there is more you can do and people you can serve.

Thompson said that he has already marked several dead bodies and dug out at least one that authorities had extracted from the scene. He had also recovered family photo albums, jewelry and sentimental possessions from the debris.

A State Patrol spokesman acknowledged Tuesday that these area residents were well-equipped to aid in the effort because of their work in the local logging industry. Several used their dump trucks, tractors, trailers and other equipment to get through wreckage. "Frankly, their experience is highly valued."

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Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0361 – 04/08/14

Top Reasons to Do-It-Yourself Vacation Rental

By William May
Published: 03/15/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Ron and Cheryl are successful. He a physician. She a professor. They found their dream second home, spent money outfitting it perfectly, and looked forward to fun and profit.

Cut Out the Middle Man

Renting the house seemed like a good idea. It was only three hours from home and they found a book explaining how easy it would be. Find a reliable housekeeper, throw up a website, buy some ads, and renters will be pushing money at you! Ron and Cheryl decided to cut out the middle man to show everyone how smart they were.

#1 Websites are Easy

Cheryl used a do-it-yourself website company to build a website. It didn’t have maps, rates or online booking but it was cheap. Cheryl spent every night for a week getting it to work.

#2 Digital Photos Are Easy

Being a camera buff, Ron thought his photos looked good; until his grade school grandson asked, "Why are they so dark?" So he hired a professional photographer for hundreds more.

#3 Advertising is Easy

Cheryl placed ads on a big vacation rental listing website for just $329; but no one inquired. She bought others, spending hours every night posting new ads. After spending $1,500 in advertising she got her first inquiry - for a $500 booking.

#4 Guests Will Come Flocking In

In time, Cheryl started getting a few inquiries; but each wanted an hour of her time. She tired of recommending restaurants; and getting low-ball rental offers. People were rude. In the end, she figured she was earning $4 an hour.

#4 People Will Prefer My Place

Ron and Cheryl's house is gorgeous. Unfortunately three bigger houses in the neighborhood siphoned off their best leads. Ron cut his rates to compete. The competition cut theirs.

He pleaded "my place was better", but guests wanted it for half-price. He lost order after order.

#5 Friends Will Rent It

Ron posted flyers around the hospital and handed out cards at his club. Friends were happy to come but could not understand why good old Ron would charge them for staying.

#6 Housekeepers Are Everywhere

Cheryl figured she could find someone cheap to clean her place. But the first cleaners left the place dirty. She had to hire a cleaning company - at high prices. But whoops they don’t work weekends!

On the third reservation, the housekeepers didn’t show up at all. So Cheryl jumped in the car, drove three hours, and worked her fingers to the bone, only to have the guests scream because the place wasn’t ready on time.

The Guests demanded a big refund. It happened twice in the first six months.

Cheryl was embarrassed. She and Ron were losing money.

#7 Get a Cheap Handyman.

Everybody "knows somebody who knows somebody" who is a retired carpenter just dying to earn your $10 per hour, handle late night calls, and always shows up on time.

Ron found one who took the job but never answered his phone again. Ron realized this on a Saturday night and had to drive a six hour round trip to flip a fuse.

#8 Staff to handle problems.

Ron figured a well maintained home won’t have any problems. However it seemed that every other guest found a sink dripping or a lock sticking. The first year, Cheryl refunded $1,700 to guests when Ron couldn’t fix things fast.

#9 Guests will follow the rules

Ron was on site the day the first visitors arrived - but with two dogs. Ron demanded they leave.

The guests demanded their $2,000 back - in cash. He paid. It was too late to find replacement guests. Chalk it up to another loss for the "sure-thing" vacation rental.

#10 Nothing Will Go Wrong

The last guests drank and sang till the wee hours. Neighbors called demanding quiet. Ron apologized. The neighbor called the cops.

The next morning, the guests departed early and demanded a full refund because the neighbors harassed them.

Vacation Rental Math

For part-time amateurs, self-managing a Vacation Rental is a recipe for disaster. Ron thought the profit would be higher by doing the work themselves.

Cheryl would cut corners and cut out the middle man. What they forgot was there is no way to cut out the work.

Only a few mistakes caused their income to plummet. Adding their own time to the equation meant they were running in the red.

Cheryl began to hate the house. Ron began to hate guests. Being absentee landlords was creating a money pit. They were in over their heads.

Finding a Professional

A friend recommended a local vacation rental manager who agreed to provide a turn-key service for a reasonable commission.

He knew where to advertise and where not to. He pumped money into the marketing, answered the phone 24 hours a day, had reliable housekeepers, and was on call 24/7. Bookings rose, problems disappeared.

More Smiles

Ron and Cheryl are vocal advocates for owning a second home, but not of being hobby landlords.

They make more money, have no hassles, and enjoy the house when they use it. Best of all Ron and Cheryl are proud of their home and the customer service guests receive.

Now they can smile when thinking of their dream home.

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Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0359 – 03/15/14

Varoom Vacation Rental Cooperative Springs to Life

By William May
Published: 02/23/14 Topics: Comments: 0

After two years of work the world's first Cooperative for By Owner Vacation Rentals has just launched online at - and -

We hope you will like what we've done because its sole purpose is to help guests and rental owners find each other in ways that might not otherwise be able. This is a novel approach to helping Rent by Owners fills unoccupied dates by coordinating guest requests between managers, who have too many requests and owners who would like to fill them.

For Guests

Even with the thousands of advertising websites catering to vacation rental owners, guests often search in vain to find the perfect accommodations. On our guest website at we list each and every rental in the Varoom program.

There are cabins, condos, houses and villas to choose from. Booking online is easy, or guests can inquire, email or telephone for quick service. The website is easy to navigate and make online bookings.

For Property Owners

Booking through Varoom is cheaper, easier and more flexible than expensive paid listings. And this blog is here just to keep Guests, Owners, Managers and others up to date on everything we are doing to help grow the industry.

For owners, the system is collaborative in nature. Varoom works on a non-exclusive basis meaning owners are free to accept bookings from any other party with no fee to the Co-op. Owners only insure a commission to Varoom when they accept bookings and make money.

We'll be the first to tell you that no single marketing will fill a property with a never ending list of prospective guests. But Varoom can fill in the gaps and match inquisitive guests with helpful owners.

Penny Taylor, Varoom Sales Manager said, "There is no up front fee, a long-term contract is not required and property owners can pick and choose when to accept bookings. This is completely flexible for owners."

Varoom attracts visitors with extensive advertising, newsletters, email campaigns and a robust easy to use website. Varoom does the upfront work of posting homes into its system and offers an easy to use interface for coordinating dates, rates and bookings.

But Varoom also cooperates with local managers who often have excess inquiries and insufficient inventory to satisfy every guest. Even owners listed with managers are allowed to submit to Varoom because it does not compete with managers, but cooperates with them.

Steve Fletcher is a long-time property owner, renowned business consultant and member of the Varoom Board of Advisors. "By sharing in a mutually profitable way, guests, owners and managers all benefit, This kind of collaboration has always been a hallmark to a successful business."

The Future

Please join us today. And check back regularly to see more developments. We'll keep you posted on everything Vacation Rental. Feel free to send us your comments and suggestions.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Varoom was built and is operated by experience vacation rental professionals to meet the still unfulfilled opportunity of the Internet to divert traveler's into comfortable, convenient cost effective vacation homes as an alternative to costly hotels.

To list your property just fill out the inquiry form or contact us:

Penny Taylor
PO Box 22987 Seattle, WA 98122
Voice: 866-674-6652
Fax: 888-628-0839
For Owners:
For Guests:

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Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0352 – 02/23/14

Like Happy Lemmings to the Seahawk

By William May
Published: 02/06/14 Topics: Seattle, Sports Comments: 0

As I drove my wife and son to downtown Seattle from our home just 20 blocks to the East, the traffic, usually light, was oppressive. On every side street thousands of people were streaming down the hill like lemmings to the sea. Sidewalks were so full, entire families walked down the middle of the auto jammed streets.

On the gigantic ferries that bring vehicles into Seattle, many walk-on passengers arrived before dawn to get a seat among the other thousands sailing, but many had to wait up to three crossings just to get a standing room only ticket. They worried they would be too late.

From North and South, state patrol troopers said automobile traffic on the 8 lane Interstate freeways were in grid lock for ten miles on each side of the city. Drives and passengers stood outside their cars unable to continue to what was then the center of the universe

As my car inched across an overpass, a roar erupted from the thousands of nearby people as they screamed, shook their fists, and waved flags at several buses that were then inching along the freeway below they headed for Seattle. Emergency lights were blinking on the buses, while they were accompanied by a police escort. Every pedestrian stopped to stare and scream. Cars stopped, occupants jumped out to join in the screaming, leaving their cars running with doors wide open.

The city seems to have succeeded from the United States, all visible American flags were gone and replaced with odd new flags. All in green and blue sporting a giant number 12 emblazoned on them.

The day before the Seattle School Superintendent had announced that no student absences would be tolerated today but quickly changed his mind after getting thousands of angry messages - including a tweet from the Mayor.

Later it was reported that 25% of the students in the region called in sick with a mysterious form of hysteria . As did workers from major corporations, big companies and small. In all, over 750,000 people converged on a short street in the middle of a town bathed in cold temperatures but brilliantly blue skies.

Getting anywhere near the city center was impossible, so I dropped by family off close to downtown and headed back up the hill to my office. It was eerie. I felt like the only car driving East away from town. Stopping at a large coffee shop I was delighted to find the place empty, no line.

The barista asked if I was a football fan. "No," I said, "Is that what's going on?"

"Are you kidding me?" he asked with disbelief. All that hub bub out there are the fans happily going to attend a parade that will feature their Seahawks football team. A group made up of long suffering veterans, players selected low in the draft when other teams felt them unworthy, and numerous draft choices that were ridiculed by pundits.

It seemed that the Seahawks last Sunday had just won the biggest sporting event in the United States - the Super Bowl. Hopes were high all year, but the Seahawks dominated games and unexpectedly overpowered a team who promised to dispatch Seattle with ease. Nothing motivates like disrespect, and Seattle dispatched the Denver Bronco team 43 to 8, coming close to shutting out a team favored to trounce them.

Their coach took an unusual approach by preparing a team who never allowed themselves to say that winning the top title was their goal. They decided it far simpler and far more direct to purely set a record of One win and no loss in every game. Each game would take care of the next.

In the title game, they made it just another game and one in which they were completely prepared to simply go One win and no loss.

In fact, the annual celebration that in other sports would be called a world championship, is only a Super Bowl for American football because it has been unique to North America.

In recent years teams have traveled to England for games and plans are afield to let other destinations experience what America has known for so long - American football exhibits much of what is great about America.

Thus being that working together works best. That persevering is always worth the pain. That no one should ever let anyone else define them, or limit them, or disrespect them. Every child who watched today's parade in person or saw it on the televisions that were on in every home and every business, learned something important.

It was voiced by the team leader quarterback, in the words of his recently deceased father. When this player was told he was too small, too slow and didn't fit in anywhere, he remembered the words of his father who said, "Why not you Russell? Why not?"

Sports are an opportunity for every citizen in the region to smile, remember and share. It makes people lively while appreciating others. Lastly, it makes people happy and what could be better than that?

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Author: William May
Blog #: 0345 – 02/06/14

How to Hire & Retain Happy Housekeepers (10 rules)

By Wm. May
Published: 01/28/14 Topics: Lodging Management, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rentals, WAVRMA Comments: 0

How to Hire and Retain Happy Housekeepers - 10 Tips

Servers at restaurants, both fancy and plain, demand tips. The valet who parks your car puts his hand out. Even your neighborhood Starbucks barista wants money for making up your fancy café mocha, skinny, double cup, with foam.

In Lodging many guests simply do not know they need to tip those hard working housekeepers who slip in and out of their rooms while they sit comfortably in the dining room, paying too much for dinner, and giving the smiling cheerful waiter a big tip for being so attentive.

Recent anecdotal responses indicate that tipping in Vacation Rentals occurs less often in hotels. That is a disrespectful situation that must change.

Industry research consistently points to lack of cleanliness as the most common complaint of travelers. Everyone wants a good clean place to stay. But some guests are even reluctant to stay in a vacation rental for fear it is not sparkling clean.

It is time to prove them wrong.

Heavy Work

Those who clean bathrooms, scrub kitchens and scour barbecues deserve the highest respect not the lowest. It is hard work and under appreciated.

By comparison, being a corporate executive is a piece of cake. Those big wigs must even "Carve out" time everyday to go to the gym for the workout they do not get at work.

Housekeepers don't need a trip to the gym. They get down on hands and knees scrubbing floors, they climb ladders to clean or change light bulbs and they tote tons of trash out of homes.

Rent By Owners

Vacation rental rent-by-owners complain they can not find housekeepers, or good ones, can't keep them, or lose them often with little notice. That is because amateur owners base their hiring and retention methods on personal observations instead of empirical knowledge.

There are secrets to finding and keeping most any kind of employee, but they are especially clear and unavoidable for housekeepers and other workers who do societies dirty work.

Rental Managers:

Some vacation rental managers make the same complaints, but often they are new to the industry or have an over-blown sense of their own importance, while avoiding the hard work of personally cleaning homes.

Walking a mile in a housekeepers shoes is the only way to understand how difficult and deadline driven the work can be, and why those housekeeper shoes are often worn and tattered.

Luckily, most vacation rental managers eventually discover the secrets to finding and keeping the kind of loyal, industrious and committed workers who are willing to clean toilets and do other unglamorous work.

10 Iron Clad Rules

To find and keep top-quality people, who serve your guests well and do so with a smile on their faces it is necessary to follow some iron-clad rules.

PAY - Stop scrimping and pay people well. Pay them based on the hours cleans take and not on your budget, which is often far too little, and seldom accounts for differences in how guests leave a home.

SCHEDULING - Arrange cleaning dates as far in advance as possible. Provide online tools so workers can see where they are to be and when. Adjust schedules to accommodate second jobs, day-care, etc.

FULL TIME - Don't hire more people than you need. There will be employees who prefer part-time work but most want to get a full week's pay or close to it.

WEEKLY PAY - Pay your staff weekly, do it direct-deposit and never miss a payroll deadline, even by a few minutes. Everyone needs to get paid. They have bills to pay.

TIPS - Put out cute and subtle time envelopes, signed by the cleaner that just so happen to mention tipping. Guest actually like to reward those who serve them. Unlike restaurants, lodging guests need a reminder. This can increase pay 24 to 30% making housekeepers beam.

STANDARDS - Write clear concise cleaning "Hospitality" standards. Do not demand "Hospital" standards because they are not necessary or economically feasible. If you don't know the difference, someone else in your organization needs to be the inspector.

TRAINING - Require even experienced housekeepers to work along side current staff to learn the ropes of each home. Use checklists. Train, re-train and train again. Inspect work. Provide pleasant feedback.

HONESTY - Only hold housekeepers to a standard you could attain. To prove it - clean multiple houses in one day, and invite the housekeepers to inspect your work. Then do it for a week.

BE KIND - Cleaning small simple hotel rooms is far easier than scrubbing large personal homes that can have owner possessions, far more furniture and utensils and even peculiar outfitting.

RESPECT - Every housekeeper must be treated with the utmost respect. Never raise your voice. Never complain, Never insinuate.

This is the most often violated rule, but the most important one. Never fall victim to your feeling of superiority.

BONUS TIP - Believe every word housekeepers tell you. If a home needs deep cleaning - believe them, If a house needs extra cleaning after an owner says they cleaned it - believe them. If the vacuum cleaner needs to be replaced - believe them

Anything less disrespects the challenging labor to they do for you so reliably.

The Result

Not all new hires will be good housekeepers. Not all will achieve hospitality standards. Not all will remain employees for years to come. But converting your thinking to these iron clad rules will insure you achieve the following:

  • High Quality Hospitality Cleaning.
  • Happy guests and property owners.
  • Respect from wonderful housekeepers
  • Personal satisfaction in knowing you treated people well.

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Author: Wm. May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0338 – 01/28/14

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