OBR Owner Services Team – Looking forward to the new decade!

obr owner services team

Another new year and we look forward to working with you, our Homeowners, as the upcoming rental season is quickly upon us. There are many Owners in the process of some major updates and others who are painting and adding new flooring to keep their home in top-notch shape for their Guests.

As the window begins to close on the time remaining before the spring Guests arrive, there are also lots of smaller projects that can be done to brighten up your home and give it a new look. New bedding, new throw pillows, new lamps, and a few new pieces of larger artwork can make a huge impact, both on the website as Guests are making their buying decision as to where they will spend their vacation dollars and as a great first impression when they walk in your door. For many homes, larger flat-screen TV’s have made a huge difference. Replacing a queen bed with a king or a double with a queen can mean picking up additional reservations. It’s not too late! Please ask how we can help.

Introducing our OBR Owner Services Team…

obr owner services team
Owner Services Team – from left to right
Linda Blackwell, Sherri Gerepka, Vicki Langhel, Roxanne Staylor

Linda Blackwell continues to be our Property Manager for homes served by our Waves Office. She moved to Hatteras Island 15 years ago and has been a valued member of the OBR Family since 2008.

Sherri Gerepka is our new Luxury Homes Manager and is responsible for all our Platinum and Elite homes. Sherri began her career at OBR as the Property Manager in our Hatteras Office and has gotten to know many of you during her time there. Sherri’s home base in her new role will be the Avon Office.

Vicki Langhel is a new addition to our Team and is our Property Manager for homes served by our Hatteras Office. Vicki has been in Property Management for 13 years, over 8 years with OBR. If you have not already done so, please stop in to say hello and get acquainted with Vicki. We’re excited to have Vicki as part of our Owner Services Team!

I am the Owner Services Manager and Sr. Property Manager for our Avon Homes. I have been with OBR for many years, first joining the OBR Family in 2000. There have been many changes over the years, but one thing has stayed constant…our dedication to our Homeowners. Our Team is here to serve you, whether you have been here for decades or you just recently entered the world of vacation rentals. OBR Owner Services Team represents 40 years of experience with OBR. Your success is our success. Please stop in our respective offices on your next visit. We love to rekindle old friendships and meet our new Homeowners so we can put a face with a name the next time we hear from you. Looking forward to a great 2020…we can make it happen together!

– Roxanne Staylor

Share this post

Pros & Cons To Making Your Vacation Home Pet Friendly

Pet Friendly, What are the Pro’s & Cons?

A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association found that 68% of all US households have at least one pet. Pets are part of the family, too! It’s stressful – and expensive – to leave Fido at home with a sitter or in a kennel. Instead, bringing their beloved pet along on vacation for is the perfect solution! But what does that mean for you, the Homeowner?

The Pro’s of a pet-friendly home

While the percentage of families with pets has risen over the years, finding a pet-friendly vacation rental home can still be a challenge for visitors who want to bring their four-legged friends to the beach.

Choosing to market your home as pet friendly will always give your vacation rental home a competitive advantage.

Allowing pets in your vacation rental home will attract a larger pool of renters and, in turn, increase your rental potential, particularly in the shoulder and off seasons. During those times, young couples, empty nesters, and retirees are more likely to travel than families with children who are restricted by school calendars. These Guests like to bring their fur babies along.

Things To Consider

Now don’t get me wrong – There are legitimate concerns when considering whether to be pet-friendly or not.

What kinds of pets should I allow, and how many?

Let’s be clear; by pet-friendly, we primarily mean dogs. You can specify that with your Property Manager. Maybe you wouldn’t mind a cat, a bird, or an occasional pot belly pig, but for most vacation rental Homeowners, when they open their homes to pets, they mean dogs. The number of pets is up to you as well. Usually, the preferred number is one, maybe two. You certainly don’t want a pack. As a vacationing animal lover, no offense, Fido, but I would not want to spend my vacation with more than two dogs.

You can even be specific as to the size you of pet you allow. Insist that your Property Manager ask a lot of specific questions when booking your Guests regarding the pets they are bringing. Just don’t go too crazy with rules or you could turn off potential renters.

What extra expenses will I incur?

You will have extra expenses for cleaning, maintenance, pest control, etc., but those could be easily recouped with one or two additional bookings. The risk of damage to your property is slightly higher, but we have found that most people who travel with their pets are confident in their pets’ behavior. (If they weren’t, do you think they would want to take them on vacation?) In fact, pets are often less trouble and cause less damage or cleaning than most adults and certainly less than most children. If only we could kennel our children for a week? (Just kidding!)

Will being pet friendly turn away potential bookings from people with allergies?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 15% of the population is allergic to dogs or cats. Even so, some may still be willing to rent your home. However, this is very important: If you as an Owner bring pets to your vacation rental home, it’s strongly recommended that you list your home as pet-friendly so as not to cause any potential conflicts with visitors who are allergic to pets. If you advertise your home as a non-pet home but bring your pets when you visit, you subject yourself to possibly losing rentals if Guests complain about dander, allergies, etc. and need to be moved to another home.

In the end, whether to allow pets or not in your vacation rental home is a personal decision. Consider your home’s location, your property management company’s policies and procedures for pets, their resources for cleaning and maintenance, and, most importantly, your comfort level with pets in your home. Here on Hatteras Island, making your home pet-friendly will help you maximize your owner income and improve your Guests’ treasured vacation experience by allowing them to include the four-legged friend they love so much!

Share this post

3 Reasons Your Rentals Should Include Linens

by Vicki Langhel

In a competitive vacation rental market like Hatteras Island’s, it’s important to do all you can to set your home apart and give your guests an excellent vacation experience. That starts with delighting them with the creature comforts they expect at home and in other accommodations, primarily; linens. Including fresh linen service in your amenity offerings will help you welcome guests and keep them coming back.

Today’s vacationer wants to walk through the door of their vacation home and, well, start vacationing! There is nothing worse than being greeted at the door by a giant plastic container full of assorted bed linens and towels. That definitely does not say “Welcome to the beach!” Full linen service means quality sheets with the beds made each week (and towels placed appropriately as well). It’s best to employ professional services to provide these needs, a company that will ensure your guests’ linens are laundered in a professional environment, delivered to your home, and put on the beds prior to their arrival. For RBO owners, this means a professional laundry service that caters to vacation rental properties. For owners who list their home with a property management company, this means partnering with one that always makes the beds, has their own local laundry facility, provides high quality linens and towels, and encourages or requires pillow and mattress protectors. Here’s why:

1. Guest expect linens

It used to be that guests who rented only the larger, more expensive homes would and could expect to have full linen service, but more and more guests of all types of properties look for this amenity with each new season. In fact, 79% of Outer Beaches guests surveyed rated linens as “important” to “extremely important” to their vacation experience.

2. You’ll make their vacation relaxing, easy and convenient

Another very important reason to provide your guests with linens, especially sheets, is that many people will not have the appropriate sheet sets to bring from home for the bedding configurations in the vacation home they are renting. By making their stay easier, more relaxing, and more convenient through including linens and made beds, they will love you!

3. Guests new to vacation rentals may not know they need to bring linens

As vacation rentals enter the accommodations mainstream, many guests are new to the experience and may not know that linens aren’t a guarantee. What better way than to start their vacations – and their first experience in a vacation rental – off on the wrong note with the unpleasant surprise of finding out their beds don’t have linens on arrival? Head this problem off from the start with a freshly made bed they can’t wait to enjoy.

Your kitchen doesn’t come without pots, pans and silverware, so why would your home not provide linens? Linens should be a standard amenity in today’s market, and guests expect it to be. Delight your guests and keep them coming back with clean, cozy sheets and professionally made beds!

7 Simple Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Guests and Keep Them Coming Back

7 Simple Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Guests and Keep Them Coming Back

by Sally Scarborough and Alexa Nota

Surprise and delight. As tech and digital platforms have in many ways eroded the personal connection between hosts and guests, these two words have become more important in hospitality than ever before. When we give more than our guests were expecting, we not only add a little extra sparkle to a memorable vacation, we give them a reason to come back – and recommend our homes to others. Both the personal connection to your home and the power of word of mouth are critical to rental success, so surprising and delighting guests isn’t optional. It’s a must. Thankfully, for vacation rental owners and managers, it is also easy! Here are 7 strategies to help you get started:

1. Give your guests a sanctuary

After a long drive, is there anything better than belly floppinglounging gracefully on a plush bed with crisp linens and fluffy pillows? We don’t think so. Just because your beach house isn’t a luxury hotel doesn’t mean you don’t need to give your guests this luxury moment. Make sure your bedrooms are sanctuaries that invite your guests to get a cozy, restful night’s sleep with comfortable mattresses and bedding.

2. Add touches of home

It’s true a vacation is supposed to be a departure from the day-to-day grind, but that doesn’t mean guests shouldn’t feel at home away from home. Make sure they’ll find their normal creature comforts and then some. Think Netflix, cozy throw blankets, or some locally roasted coffee. For rent-by-owner properties, you could even have fresh flowers.

3. Give your house a theme

“Beach house” is not a theme. Set your house apart from the rest by creating a unique personality in at least the main living areas, if not the bedrooms, too. For example, a home named Oh, Whelk! could carry the whelk shell theme throughout with a decorative centerpiece, side table lamps, accent pillows, wall art, and – of course – actual whelks! Hatteras Island Interior Design is the place to go for help with design ideas and products designed for the vacation rental industry.

4. Keep your inventory fresh

Don’t let your guests discover there’s no spatula when they go to make their first scrambled egg breakfast, or create a kids’ meltdown when the game of Life has only two pawns. Do the opposite and surprise them with more than they will expect, such as new games and books, more than enough kitchen and dining ware, specialty appliances or cookware, or pool noodles for the whole group.

5. Make everything easy

While there will always be a learning curve in getting used to a new home, make the settling in process as simple as possible for your guests. Consider labeling your cabinets and drawers (bonus: this will also reduce wear and tear by reducing touch points!); providing instructions for hot tubs, TVs and stereo systems; giving helpful tips for navigating any unique quirks to your home; or creating a list of important places nearby, like vets, hospitals, and attractions. Our Area Directory can help.

6. Leave a personalized touch

Even if you don’t meet your guests face-to-face, you can still deliver a personalized experience with easy things like hand-written welcome notes, personal recommendations to your favorite spots on Hatteras Island, or insider tips on how to experience the OBX like a local (check out our Hatteras Island travel blog for local guides!)

7. Celebrate with them

Similar to personalized touches, make sure you acknowledge special occasions and help your guests celebrate them. Leave a bottle of champagne for honeymooners, flowers for Mother’s Day, or cupcakes for a birthday. At Outer Beaches, doing these things for our special occasion guests is one of our favorite parts of working in the vacation rental industry.

Want more ideas or some help getting started with these? Give us a call at 866-900-6638