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By William May
Published: 07/04/19 Topics: Communications, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
A man was very proud of his teenage son who consistently earned straight A's in school, played all the major sports, attended church with the family, was an Eagle Scout, volunteered for every worthy cause, was president of the student body, and treated everyone, young and old, with smiling respect.
So, it was surprising when one day the father proclaimed that he was kicking his son out of the house and never wanted to see him again. The reason - the son had forgotten to close the front door on his way to school.
The mother challenged her husband saying that the penalty was far too much for the crime. Friends counseled the father against such a rude determination. And everyone agreed that surely all the good attributes of the young man outshone such a minor infraction.
The father was like some customers who frequent lodging establishments, restaurants and retail stores. And just like most of those people, once the father pronounced the sentence, he was unwilling to reverse his decision. Out the young man went and the father never forgave him again.
The story reminds us of how Comedian Steve Martin once proclaimed that all crime could be eliminated in the world, simply by imposing the death penalty for parking tickets.
While both of these examples are overly strong, judging others too harshly has become a favorite method for people who feel themselves perfect and everyone else inferior. We could go so far as to say some of those people want to be the master and feel they can judge others as servants (or even slaves).
Striving for success, working diligently and expecting others to do the same is necessary in businesses, sport teams and pretty much every other organization. But applying over zealous penalties actually sets back progress.
Lodging managers succeed by recruiting and employing staff members who actually love to serve, to help people, and often to take on the jobs that the masters would avoid at all costs. Like housekeeping, plumbing repairs and late night guest requests.
So why is it that seemingly intelligent people feel they can treat restaurant servers, housekeepers and even retail clerks with disdain when they make the smallest of errors?
Psychologists tell us that people mistreat others because of their own inadequacies, their feelings of inferiority, or because they simply have a low Emotional Quotient
Everyone has heard of IQ scores for Intelligence Quotient. But everyone also has an EQ, and berating or overly penalizing those who serve discloses the person's immature emotions.
Lodging is a business that defies 100% perfection. Properties differ in size, age and location. Some guests stay long, others short. There may be insufficient capital for constant upgrades, while every employee works at a fast pace just to keep properties in good condition, guests happy and owners satisfied.
Of course, managers must treat every employee with respect, provide advice, training and assistance and, most importantly, to admit that none of us are perfect. And to never make overly harsh decisions about staff members. A key to success is to allow for minor mistakes and to follow the age old adage - "No shame, no blame, just fix it."
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0634 – 07/04/19
By William May
Published: 12/01/17 Topics: Employment, Housekeeping, Vacation Rental Management Comments: 0
There is a hidden under belly about how Venture Capitalists are entering the Vacation Rental industry in hopes of dominating it to cash out for big bucks.
It appears some pursue growth at all costs, by over working staff, and even evading labor laws that call for overtime wages. Jobs are hard to come by, and they take advantage of well meaning employees who have no other option but to work far harder for far less.
Her real name is being withheld for fear of retaliation, so we'll call her Susie. She worked for some years for one of those VC backed firms hoping to amalgamate the industry by buying up local vacation rental managers and taking over their listings.
Nothing wrong with that, if you like the corporate approach to what has previously been a very personalized service business. In fact, at the rate that some of these venture capital backed companies are hemorrhaging money, it is no wonder they survive by taking advantage of workers.
Susie was hired to clean homes and provide property services but the job quickly turned into 80 hours weeks, for a set salary appropriate for 40 hours. She was not paid for the extra hours and did not receive payment for overtime, nor the time-and-a-half hourly rate required by law.
Those companies skirt the law, by trying to claim employees as contractors, or managers making them exempt from overtime compensation. It is a ruse that sometimes works, but is never considerate to people who work so hard.
Susie said she never received a day off in several years, nor the promised paid vacation time and when she begged to hire additional housekeepers was told, if you don't like it you can leave.
Susie fell for the "We are newer, and smarter, and bigger and better than all those local Podunk managers. We are going to take over the world with technology" and you are going to be part of something great. Working hard will have its rewards.
For Susie that meant constant fatigue, dawn to dusk duties seven days a week, a rude supervisor, corporate officers who could care less, and the constant threat of job loss - if she was to raise a complaint about off-the-clock hours.
Was Susie really just a disgruntled employee? Not really. For years she drank the "upward mobility" poison that corporate workers have been swallowing for years. That working long and hard will benefit them in the long run.
Pursuing career growth and personal achievement is a requirement in many industries. But in Susie's case it was all led by a few corporate officers who constantly praised themselves but fail to honor the most sacred of business ethics - to provide proper compensation from line staff who do all the heavy lifting.
Eventually Susie just could not take the grind any longer. She quit with no prospects for a job elsewhere, "I didn't plan it" she said, "But I just could not do 80 hours a week anymore."
As a service business, vacation rental staff are what guests and owners come to appreciate. There is no sense in doubling listings if complaints triple.
Smart owners realize that people like Susie are, and have always been, the backbone of vacation rental management. Without the Susies of the world, renting out a home is a risky investment.
Since she left, Susie's prior employer has hired and lost additional workers just like she. They struggle to find new employees and can’t keep good people. They advertise jobs constantly because the word is out about their employment practices.
Reputable companies don't build their business by over working staff, or promising more than can be delivered. "Its no wonder quality lacks and they have so many online complaints" Susie notes, "Everyone works so much, that we just don't have enough to give. I tried, I really did. But 80 hours a week is too much."
Worst of all, property owners are no longer getting the care and consideration they deserve. They see a revolving door of housekeepers and maintenance workers and that causes quality to suffer and commitment to wane.
Smart property owners are learning to evaluate management firms by their staff and not by misleading promises that bigger is better. In vacation rental management, local is what makes it work.
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0565 – 12/01/17
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