• Vacation Rental Tip of the Day : A Locked Closet with Emergency Supplies!

    Just recently, I spent two weeks visiting my vacation rental in Kauai, Hawaii. It was another great time spent hanging on the beach with my kiddos…and, of course, spending nearly every other moment working to make my VR better than ever.

    A VR owner’s work is never done, right? Even when you’re on vacation yourself!

    I’m sure you can relate to the worries that keep me up at night: What happens if the coffee pot breaks mid-stay? (For some guests this is a Level 5 disaster, not to mention a pain in the butt for us to coordinate its replacement.) What if the guest misplaces my garage key or remote? Will the guests drink the emergency water supply before there’s an actual emergency (yep, this has happened to us!)?

    The longer I’m in the vacation rental industry, the more I understand that many of the things that keep me awake with worry can be easily solved with a little foresight. The key is having that foresight!

    Actually, this is one of the reasons I advocate for spending some time staying in your own vacation rental (if you can swing it). It’s enlightening to actually inhabit your space as a guest would, spending time the rooms, using the appliances, and sleeping in the beds. It’s much easier to think about what needs to be done when you’re living there, even if just for a couple of nights.

    I’ve lost count of the “a-ha!” moments I’ve had while staying at my Kauai condo.

    Last time I visited – and was greeted by several small-yet-worrisome maintenance issues – I realized that I couldn’t go another day without paying a maintenance person to check in on my rental for me while we’re away.  

    This, as I lay in bed cataloguing all the things that could go wrong, I realized that at least one simple solution had been staring me in the face:

    I needed to create another locked owners’ closet, like the one I use for cleaning supplies, linens, and other miscellaneous things. But this one would serve a different purpose: I’d call it the “Keep My Guests Happy (and Safe)” closet.

    Ah ha!

    Here we’d keep “what-if” backup supplies ready and waiting (but not easily accessible, so guests won’t use them unless they really need them). Things like my emergency radio, bottled water, First Aid Kit, a replacement coffee pot, toaster and blender, a second garage door key and opener, and other as-needed extras. 

    It’s a simple solution to the problem of where to keep back-up supplies.

    If you don’t have a second closet available, you can install a latch and digital lock on a kitchen cabinet or other space – as I asked my maintenance person to do for me.


    Here is how I envision it working.  

    Guest calls, disappointed to find they woke up to a broken coffeemaker. I feel for the guests here – no one likes to start their day wondering where and when they are going to get their first cup of coffee!

    But me? I’m smiling, because I have anticipated this call. It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for! I simply let my guest know the location of my little gem of a closet, provide them the 3 digit code, and the coffee-making (and the morning) are back on track. Best part is I didn’t have to pay anyone to get that coffee pot (with hourly rates of up to $35 for that kind of labor plus the cost of a new coffeemaker, it gets pricey!). And the guest was not inconvenienced in the slightest.

    After guests depart, I have the cleaner check the closet to make sure everything else is still in place and that the guest only removed the coffee pot.

    Voila! Instant guest satisfaction and safety, and fewer worries to keep me up at night!

    What's your favorite problem-solving strategy at your rental? What issues did you anticipate and nip in the bud? Share in comments!