Rentals 101: Words of Wisdom & Tricks of the Trade
In vacation rentals we trust... and we want you to trust them too. When it comes to opening up your home to holiday makers, we know you’re bound to have questions about trust and security. Who wouldn’t? As such, we’ve built out our Rentals 101 section to provide you with the information and tools you need to replace concerns with confidence.
Listing and Site Features
As Canada’s largest rental network, CottageCountry.com provides travelers with a virtual tour of the vacation rental marketplace. Our site is a one stop shop for finding the perfect home away from home for your holiday
Property Listings: think of our site as the middle man between property owners and renters. With sleek and secure listing pages, searching the site is akin to an online open house for holiday makers. Each listing page includes hi-res photos, rates, and all the other fine details so nothing is left to the imagination.
On Site Messaging
As Canada’s great matchmaker of rental relationships, we are mavens of clear communication (with an onsite messaging system to boot). Transparent communication is critical to the rental process and our site is a steward of secure and smooth-running conversation.
Further, the onsite messaging system acts as a personal assistant, sorting and saving incoming and outgoing correspondence so you can easily look up, refer to and manage received and sent inquiries. Maintaining a paper trail is an important part of planning and when you use the onsite messaging service we do all the record keeping for you. Hooray!
Book It is our custom-built booking and payment system, which allows travelers to make reservations in real time. We’ve made booking a holiday rental as easy as booking a hotel room. Forget sending security deposits to strangers via snail mail! Book It allows guests to book and pay for their stay right through any property’s listing page, thereby accelerating and automating the booking process and eradicating common risks. Book It was designed to protect both renters and owners: the system takes care of key parts of the reservation process ensuring that all bases are covered and everything goes as expected.
Ratings & Reviews
Travelers can (and are encouraged to) rate and reviews properties they have rented. This user-sourced system builds rapport, reinforces trust and promotes transparency within the rental community. Reviews are also a form of free feedback to property owners, providing insight on what they can do better to secure more bookings and repeat renters.
In addition to ratings and reviews, our site acknowledges loyalty and level of experience. Every listing includes a “Member Since” badge as a means of building reputation and demonstrating reliability.
Most of what we do at HQ is top-secret. But, what we can tell you is that we’re a dedicated team of internet geeks and travel junkies that are diligently working behind-the-scenes to build the best possible rental resource. Part of this team is a customer service crew that is always only a phone call away (and by always, we mean regular business hours). From HQ to you, happy bookings.
Look for complete listings with proper photos and a thorough description along with the owner’s contact information.
Ratings and reviews from previous renters will give you honest insight into each aspect of a certain property rental. Read a few to get a better idea of the area, the owners and the condition of the property.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Feel free to contact an owner with any further questions about the property, dates, available amenities, previous experience or any other questions you might have.
First Time Renter?
No problem! There is a first time for everything. Check out our Guide for First Time Renters.
What to Know Before You Go
Directions & Instructions for Property Use
Make sure you double check the directions so you don’t get lost and figure out instructions for getting into the property eg. Where the key will be, etc...
Basic Items to be Provided
Ask for an inventory of supplies including linens, appliances, food basics and emergency kits so you can bring what is not provided.
Property Maintenance & Special Instructions
Is there a septic tank? Can you drink the water? Are the neighbours going to be around? Is there a designated swimming area? Ask questions like these to avoid the need to get in contact with the owners during your stay.
Expectations for Stay
Go over the owner’s expectations for your stay from whether pets are allowed to the condition they want the property to be left upon departure. This can eliminate confusion and will manage everyone’s expectations.
Contact Information of Owner
Know the best way to get in contact with the owner and reasons they would want to be called eg. Damaged item, where to find things or how to use things, etc...
Book & Pay On Our Site
Use Book It, our online booking engine, to both book and pay securely for simplicity and peace of mind.
Get in touch with property owners using our on site messaging system and, with your personal inbox, keep a record of your conversation for future reference.
Build the Perfect Listing
Listings offer renters critical information on the logistics of your property but it can offer so much more - a sense of the neighbourhood, landscape, atmosphere, available activities, the quality of the home and the value they will receive for what they are paying.
Be as clear and concise as possible but still include all the necessary details; the more transparent you are the better your guests can manage their expectations and come out with the best experience!
Play Up your Best Features
Add features that will put you above the rest. Renters want an authentic experience and will look for a place that has amenities that will provide ways to have fun and relax. Anything can increase value from internet access, a satellite TV, a hottub/sauna to fun water activities like a canoe, a paddle boat or water skis.
Do you allow pets? Do you have eco-friendly appliances? Are you close to a local waterfall or attraction? List anything that could attract a renter and adds value to your rental.
The #1 Golden Rule: Make your listing picture perfect. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Capture your property as clean, fresh, bright and clutter-free so potential renters can imagine living there themselves.
Keep it Current
Make sure all the information on your listing is up to date. For example, if you recently renovated or added a new bed or appliance you must let your guests know!
Rules of Thumb
Get in Touch
Talk to your guests before they arrive. Give them a call or send them an e-mail well in advance to answer any of their questions, go over directions/instructions or discuss expectations.
Preparation is Key
Give your guests an inventory of appliances, food basics, kitchen and cleaning supplies that you will leave for them to use. Then, make sure you clearly communicate what is not available and what essentials they should bring!
Hop on the Welcome Wagon
Welcome your guests when they arrive, either in person or with a welcome letter or basket. In addition, make sure you create a good atmosphere for your guests upon their arrival. For example, if they are set to get there at night, make sure exterior and interior lights are on so they can find their way.
A Promise is a Promise
Make sure you live up to your promises. If you told your guests there would be certain amenities or appliances ensure they are available and functioning before they arrive. For example, if you offered a hottub, turn it on, turn it up and leave directions for its use!
Check out our Rental Handbook for more guidance!
Follow-up with your guests after their departure. You can figure out if there is any damage that needs to be repaired, what supplies need to be restocked and most importantly how their stay was! A thank you note is always a nice touch to go the extra mile and secure future business!