Thursday, January 30, 2014

The 5 Best Reasons Vacation Rental Owners should use a Property Manager


Owners of second homes have a financial and often an emotional investment in their vacation getaway.  This is why it is important to insure the home receives the best care, maintenance and oversight possible when deciding to rent the home to other families for their vacations.  There are many reasons for a homeowner to use a vacation rental manager; the following are the top 5 reasons why partnering with a property manager makes sense for a vacation rental homeowner.
 
Marketing: Who knows better how to market your vacation home than a professional manager? Property managers live in and participate in the community where your vacation home is located; they are involved in tourism efforts to promote the region and the vacation rental industry.  Property managers maintain and market to an established customer base of thousands of guests who often return year after year as repeat customers as well as referring their friends and family.  They are specialists in Internet marketing including Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Management. Their websites are attractive, easy to navigate and up-to-date using real-time web-based technology on reservation availability and booking calendars. Property managers know how to help guests find your vacation home online easily when they are planning a vacation in the area. Property managers manage email marketing to past guests and potential new guests, utilize social media marketing and multiple listing sites, and in a much more cost-effective fashion than a private owner can do.
 
Guest Services: From reservation inquiries to secure, online booking; from check-in to repair calls; from concierge services to housekeeping, home and grounds maintenance and inspections; professional property managers take care of guests and vacation homes 24 hours a day.  Additional housekeeping services, discounted lift tickets, activity reservations, equipment rentals, crib and highchair rentals and much more…property managers offer guests everything they need for a great vacation. Property managers are a available 24/7/365 to assist guests in case of lock-outs, problems with heating, water or other utilities or any other concerns that arise.
 
Reservations Made Easy: In person, over the phone, via email or online – whether paying by check or credit card – property managers make it easy for guests to book a vacation rental in a secure, professional environment. Rental and refund policies are clear and professional. Guests receive detailed confirmation emails upon booking the vacation rental. Travel insurance and damage insurance along with other additional services are easily offered by property managers.
Local Connections:   Professional property managers maintain relationships with local officials and agencies – from tourism boards to the Chamber of Commerce, from lodging and hospitality trade associations and advocacy groups and the state’s tourism department. It is important to local property managers to ensure they are constantly ensuring that vacation rental homeowners and guests are top of mind in the community. Property managers keep homeowners’ best interests in mind at all times.  They advocate for clean, attractive rivers, lakes and trails to insure the best possible visitor experiences.  They sponsor and volunteer for local events and initiatives that have a positive impact on tourism.  Vacation rental managers also advocate on your behalf for the vacation rental industry to insure guests, tourism partners and the general public understand and respect the vacation rental lodging category.
 
24/7:   Vacation rental managers are available 24/7/365 – they respond quickly and professionally to guest inquiries, vacationing guests and homeowners. And they respond to emergencies 24 hours a day via after-hours emergency phone numbers and the posting of relevant information in the vacation home.   These proactive steps save homeowners time and money. Vacation rental homeowners who do not use a property manager spend on average 8.6 hours a week managing their property! Property managers do it all so you will not have to worry when you are not at your vacation home and so you can enjoy your vacation home when you do visit!
 
There are many more reasons why a vacation rental homeowner should use a professional property manager.  If you would like to know more, contact Mt Hood Vacation Rentals:
 
Betsy LaBarge
866.794.6813

Monday, January 6, 2014

DEMYSTIFYING LIGHT BULBS


Incandescent (INC) VS. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) VS.  Light Emitting Diodelamps (LED)

At Mt Hood Vacation Rentals, as property managers, we purchase and replace dozens of light bulbs every year on behalf of our homeowners (just a few years ago, that number was in the 100's). The average 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home uses around 30 60-watt INC light bulbs in various fixtures throughout the interior of the home. We needed a base point to do our comparisons, so we are not including the multitude of less conventional light bulbs in the homes, the floods and spots which will all be converted to halogen or the exterior bulbs which are mostly floods, but could be path lights or other unusual styles. We have seen them all; our largest inventory supply list for our vacation rentals is for light bulbs with about 100 varieties, types, sizes, etc.

As most of you are likely aware by now, the federal government has banned the manufacture, import and sale of incandescent light bulbs beginning in January 2012 with 100-watt & 75-watt bulbs and in 2014, for 40-watt & 60-watt bulbs. Retailers can sell off incandescent inventory that is still on the shelves, but will not be replacing them. Many other South American and European countries banned incandescents several years ago. Of course, there are politics swirling around this move, but we won't get into that. Do a Google search and you will learn more than you want to know of the good, bad and ugly of the light bulb regulations.

The reality is that we will need to get used to CFL, LED and halogen light bulbs in our homes and businesses. For the past several years, Mt Hood Vacation Rentals has been using CFLs as replacement bulbs in our vacation rentals, so most of our homes likely have very few if any INCs left in use. We have been installing all CFLs and LEDs in our office building here in Welches, Oregon. We anticipate transitioning to LEDs in most vacation rentals over the next few years.


We researched several sources to create the graph below to compare the differences between INC, CFL & LED. Our base bulb is the most popular 60 watt INC. We sourced most of our information from Popular Mechanics (read this article if you are science nut) and Consumer Reports. We also added to the comparison the best LED (price, life, lumens, Kelvins & CRI) we have found. The most interesting criteria are the subjective opinions of the Popular Mechanics testers regarding the light emitted by INCs, CFLs and LEDs; they are all over the place from very positive to very negative and with a variety of color perceptions for each type of bulb.

Criteria 
INC 
CFL 
LED 
MHVR LED 
Price 
$.32 - $2.09
$.87 - $9.99
$17.97 - $49.53
$17.49
Watts 
60
13
8
10
Life span (hrs) 
1,000 - 2,000
6,000 -12,000
10,000 - 50,000
25,000
Brightness (lumens*) 
 630 - 860
635 - 900
360 - 900
800
Color of light (Kelvins*)
2700 - 2800
2700 - 5500
2700 - 3000
2700
CRI* (1-100) 
79.7 - 99.7
83.9 - 88.8
79-93
82
Energy cost (1000 hrs) 
 $6.60
$1.43
$.94
$.94
Cost to use bulb 1460 hrs (365x4)
$.32 - $3.05
$.21 - $1.22
$1.45 - $2.62
$1.02
Energy cost to use bulb 1460 hrs 
$9.64
$2.09
$1.37
$1.37
Total cost to use bulb 1460 hrs 
$9.96 - $12.69
$2.30 - $3.31
$2.82 - $3.99
$2.39
Annual cost for 30 light bulbs 
$298.80 - $380.70
$69.00 - $99.30
$84.60 - $119.70
$71.70
Years to replace one bulb 
.67 - 1.33
4.1 - 8.2
6.8 - 34.2
17.1
Comments rich color, warm, soft, dull, yellow, greenish skin hue, white, pleasing, good intensity, clean, rich, good for reading, slightly dirty, slightly orange, pinkish yellowish, harsh, warms nicely, cold, perfect white, awesome color, a bit dim, natural color, soft shadows, colors pop, purple, not great on skin, soft green, accurate colors, pleasing intensitynice color, too dim, dingy, pinkish, queasy, good brightness, bad skin tone, familiar, warm, harsh shadows, relaxing hue, pleasant, true blues, balanced, good diffusion, good on skinNA

Lumens - The measurement of the total amount of light emitted by a source, usually around 800 for a standard 60-watt INC light bulb.

Kelvins - A unit of measurement for temperature. For lighting, it defines the color of the light with 2700 being the most standard and often defined as "warm white"; 5000+ is bright white or similar to natural daylight - often too harsh for most people.

CRI - Color Rendering Index is the measurement of the ability of a light source to reproduce the color of objects in comparison to "ideal" natural light. A minimum of 80 is suggested for indoor light bulbs.

If you do an Internet search you will find lots to read on this topic. The two main sources we used were Popular Mechanics and Consumer Reports (you need to be a member to sign in).

Sunday, December 29, 2013


How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams


Staying in a vacation rental is becoming increasing popular for families, couples taking romantic getaways and adult groups traveling together.  Some of the benefits of staying in a vacation rental include a fully-equipped kitchen, privacy and space not found in a hotel, gorgeous settings and unique character and ambiance.

However, with the increased popularity of vacation rentals there are a few unscrupulous individuals who have devised schemes to rip off customers.

Here are some tips to keep you safe from vacation rental scammers:
  • Avoid using websites like Craig’s List or other distribution sites that do not have clear and easy navigation or name recognition.  There have been a number of scams reported specifically from users of Craig’s List.  The most common fraud is the scammer will poach photos and vacation rental descriptions from a legitimate website and post them on Craig’s List with their own temporary email address and a “throw-away” cell phone number.  They will ask you to wire the money or a cashier’s check for the rent.  Once they receive the money, they close out the email address and the cell phone number and you do not have a place to stay.
  • You should be able to track the vacation rental information in multiple locations on the Internet.  Someone running a reputable business will have a good, easy-to-navigate website and list the vacation rental and/or their business in multiple locations.
  • Get complete contact information for the person or company you are doing business with and verify their existence using an Internet search engine.  You should not expect an employee of a company to give you their personal contact info including last name, but they should be able to give you enough identifying info about the company to let you know it is for real.
  • Use caution if the home is listed for sale.  Another common scam is for someone to fraudulently list a home that is for sale, stealing photos and descriptions from the MLS listing.  Again, after collecting cash from the customer, the “rental agent” disappears and there is no place to stay.
  • Never wire money or use your debit card to pay for a rental. Use a credit card first or PayPal if the renter doesn’t accept credit cards. If they don’t accept either, find a different vacation rental. Also, do not pay via check, certified checks, as the money is gone once it is cashed.  Your personal credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) provide the best protection against fraud.
  • Speak with someone prior to paying for the vacation rental. Many scams are run from other countries using prepaid cell phones with local area codes to look legitimate. Ask specific questions about the area and questions about the property. Be wary if no one picks up the phone and you always have to leave a message. When they call you back ask if you can call them back in a minute.  A toll free number is also a stronger indication that you are working with a professional business.
  • If the person you are renting from is not charging you for local and state transient occupancy taxes, they are likely operating under the radar.  They are breaking the law and may also choose to not follow other rules and regulations including safety and building code requirements, parking, garbage and noise ordinances and rental regulations for the area.  You could be rousted out of your vacation home by local authorities for one or more of these violations before your trip is over.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.  You should expect to pay a fair price for the value and quality of the home you will be staying in based on the size, number of bedrooms, location, amenities and features, time of year, comparable vacation rentals nearby and other important considerations.
  • Rent from a reputable, professional vacation rental manager who is a member of the VRMA (Vacation Rental Managers Association).  A VRMA member has taken the time to develop professionally within the industry and will demonstrate a professional demeanor regarding your vacation.  You can find VRMA members at their sister website, Discover Vacation Homes.
  • Every aspect of the transaction should feel professional from how the ad or website appears online, to how the owner or manager of the vacation rental answers the phone and interacts during the entire conversation, to email correspondence before during and after the financial transactions, at check-in, during your visit and upon departure, as well as after you get home.
Remember, if it's too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

If you would like to visit Mt Hood, please visit Mt Hood Vacation Rentals at www.mthoodrentals.com.

 

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last Minute Reservations for Christmas Vacation in Mt Hood Vacation Rentals

Christmas Vacation is almost here and one of the most popular ways to spend time with your family and friends is in a Mt Hood vacation cabin.  Whether you head out all day for fun in the snow, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, or downhill skiing and snowboarding or you stay inside all day by the fire, playing board games, reading good books, cooking great meals or just relaxing (napping is ok on vacation), you are sure to have a wonderful experience while you are creating memories that matter.

Mt Hood Vacation Rentals has a few reservations available during Christmas Vacation.  If enjoying the snow is on the agenda, check out our Winter Recreation Guide (includes discounted lift ticket pricing and ski shuttle information).

Available December 20-26

Salmon River Retreat is our best vacation home for a quiet, relaxing holiday celebration. The open great room flows nicely into the large kitchen, all with Salmon River views. The 2-level floor plan creates private spaces for 2 families or 3 couples on vacation together. 3+ bedrooms sleep 10 guests. Woodstove, private, outdoor hot tub, free wifi. Dogs welcome.

Island Park Retreat is the perfect holiday retreat for a family or group of friends who likes to cook and enjoy great conversation around the dinner table. The gourmet kitchen is ready for anything you can prepare and the spacious dining table has plenty of room for everyone. 4 bedrooms sleep 10 guests. Fireplace, private, outdoor hot tub, free wifi.

Whispering Woods is the perfect base camp for active visitors to Mt Hood. This condo has all of the amenities of our other vacation rentals at a great value. Go ahead and play all day in the snow, then come back to the full kitchen, cable TV, free wifi and heated outdoor pool and hot tub. 2+ bedrooms sleep 6 guests. Woodstove, dogs welcome.

Available December 23-26

ShadowHawk #5 is the perfect retreat for a couple of small family on a budget. This 1-bedroom condo includes all of the amenities you want in a vacation rental: fireplace, full kitchen, cable TV, free wifi and outdoor hot tub at a great price. Easy access to all Mt Hood recreation. 1+ bedroom sleeps 5 guests. Outdoor hot tub. Dogs welcome.

Available December 20-23

Riverwood Hideaway is our most popular cabin for romantic rendezvous at Mt Hood. This cabin is on a secluded acre along the Sandy River with a hot tub looking over the water. Relax in the great room in front of the gas fireplace while watching your favorite holiday specials.  bedroom sleeps 2 guests. Free wifi, private, outdoor hot tub. Dogs welcome.

Mystical River Retreat is on one private acre along the Sandy River providing a comfortable mountain retreat. Lots of natural light and Sandy River views stream into the vaulted great room with woodstove. The upstairs master suite includes a private river viewing balcony and large soaking tub for romantic evenings. 2 bedrooms sleep 4 guests. Private, outdoor hot tub. Dogs welcome. Free wifi.

River Dance Retreat is a long-time favorite vacation home for large groups of family and friends with dogs. The spacious backyard along the Sandy River is a perfect place for your dog to play. The hot tub just off the back deck is sure to be a hit with the humans. You will find plenty of room for several cooks to prepare a fabulous meal in the spacious country kitchen. 3+ bedrooms sleep 14 guests. Private, outdoor hot tub. Dogs welcome. Free wifi.

Edelweiss #4 in the heart of Government Camp is our most popular gathering place for active people who enjoy playing in the snow all day and heading back to a comfortable vacation home at an awesome value! Walk to cross country ski trails and the tubing hill or drive across the highway to Mt Hood Skibowl for downhill runs or Cosmic Tubing at night. 3 bedrooms sleep 10 guests. Dogs welcome. Free wifi.

Sandy River Cabin is where you want to be with your best friends after a day of playing in the snow. Imagine watching your favorite movies while enjoying the fire in the massive rock fireplace or watching the big game upstairs in the loft while playing a game of pool. The spacious kitchen is just around the corner in the downstairs great room for fixing hunger-stomping meals.  2+ bedrooms sleep 10 guests. Dogs welcome. Free wifi.

Mossy Rock Cabin is a comfortable vacation home for 2 families at a great price. The great room downstairs includes all the amenities you want, large newly remodeled kitchen with all appliances, woodstove, cable TV and free wifi.  Head out the sliding glass doors to the hot tub and firepit. 3 bedrooms sleep 8 guests. Private, outdoor hot tub. Dogs welcome. Free wifi.

866.761.8029  or Book Online

 

 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 5 Most Popular Cabin Vacation Rentals at Mt Hood, Oregon

Visitors to Mt Hood know that the best way to relax and reconnect with nature is by staying in a mountain cabin.  Fortunately, Mt Hood Vacation Rentals cabins include the amenities and features of home that everyone appreciates while also providing quiet, serene and scenic settings for that perfect relaxation vacation.

Riverwood Hideaway has been a favorite romantic retreat for over a decade. This cozy 1 bedroom cabin is nestled on over an acre of secluded riverfront, under towering trees, at the end of a long driveway. You will be close to Sandy Ridge Trails and snow play areas, too.  This cabin includes a private, outdoor hot tub and dogs are welcome to join you on your vacation here.

Moondance Cabin is the perfect log cabin for one or two couples or a small family in search of a classic mountain getaway.  With 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, there is plenty of room for everyone. The private, outdoor hot tub is right next to Clear Creek.  This cabin is close to mountain recreation including hiking trails and snow play areas.  Free wifi and wood-burning fireplace, too.

Sandy River Cabin is a classic mountain cabin along the Sandy River.  Up to 10 guests will enjoy relaxing in front of the large rock fireplace or cooking up a fabulous feast in the spacious kitchen or on the outside gas grill. After dinner, watch a favorite TV show or enjoy a pool tournament in the upstairs family room.  Your dogs are welcome to join you at this cabin, too.

Riverwoods Lodge is the log cabin guests return to year after year for a quiet, secluded retreat at Mt Hood.  This 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom log cabin is on 4 private acres along the Sandy River. Relax in the private, outdoor hot tub or tell ghost stories around the campfire. The riverside gazebo is ideal for a picnic lunch or reading a good book. Bring your dogs with when you stay in this cabin.

Cedarwood Lodge has been our most popular winter cabin for over a dozen years. On the quiet south side of Government Camp, this 3-level, 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom log home is ideal for a large gathering of friends and family on a ski or snowboard vacation to Mt Hood.  Walk to restaurants, bars and shops in Govy; short drive to ski areas. Private, outdoor hot tub.  Dogs welcome.

Discounted lift tickets are available to all of our guests.  Check out our Midweek Ski/Snowboard Lodging Special, too.
  • Stay in a Mt Hood Vacation Rental, Sunday - Thursday nights
  • The 3rd night is 1/2 price, the 4th night is FREE
  • Ski or ride 3 out of 5 consecutive days for $99 per person at Mt Hood Meadows
  • Available exclusively to guests of Mt Hood Vacation Rentals
  • Not available during holiday periods or spring break
For Reservations, call us at 866.761.8029or Book Online