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Frequently Asked Questions
We manage every aspect of keeping your vacation rental booked and ready for guests and owners to enjoy. Our goal is to enable you to make the most revenue from your rental without having to do any of the busy work involved with managing it. That means we do everything from taking photos, writing descriptions, and marketing it to potential guests as well as managing logistics like reservations, payments, check-in and check- out, housekeeping, light upkeep, and dispatching emergency maintenance. We can also manage handymen for regular maintenance, improvements, and emergencies. We make sure home owners can sleep well at night knowing their rental is being taken care of and generating the most revenue possible.
Getting started is easy and risk-free. We can activate homes that are existing vacation rentals as quickly as in a few weeks if everything is ready to go. Our contract has no minimum term or volume commitments, or start-up fees. Normal activation includes shooting new photos, putting together detailed listings, setting pricing, activating advertising on the main internet channels and beginning to take reservations - all in as little as a few weeks! This can take longer given a home owner's schedule, or if a home is in the process of being converted from a residence or long-term rental. If you do not like the service at any point you can terminate without penalty.
Yes, we will help in any way we can. Whether it is helping you to meeting movers, the cable company, etc… We can have a Great North Vacations rep help you quickly and smoothly get through the process.
Our contract is an open-book and we believe it should not have any onerous clauses. It is straight-forward and always posted online to view. It includes a 30 day out clause for any reason - if you are not happy with the service you can leave with a month's notice. Please contact us and we will be happy to send you our agreement for your review.
No. There is no problem with an owner, friends or family using a rental for weeks or even months at a time, however if you plan to only make it available occasionally then your home probably is not right for our program. We also reserve the right to cancel a homeowner agreement if the home is predominantly unavailable for bookings.
To some degree yes. While Great North Vacations does not work only with luxury properties, we do focus on all types of rentals in desirable locations that provide various recreational outdoor activities. This could be a high-end log home, a great home like most of us live in located in a vacation destination, or a very rustic cabin. We will look at every home and let you know if we feel it will make a good rental. Contact us to see if your home qualifies.
Yes there is! Guests expect a fully-functioning home when they arrive complete with furniture, appliances, cookware, glasses, silverware, internet, TV, etc. as well as a standard supply of bed linens, bath and hand towels and typical consumables like light-bulbs and batteries. We will work with you to make sure that you have everything in place. Nicely decorated homes tend to command higher rentals and we always encourage owners to have a home that shows well. A good test of whether or not you need to have something in your rental is to put yourself in a guest’s shoes… If you were staying somewhere for a week long period of time, what would you expect to have in that rental home… that is what we aim to provide to guests for their stay.
No, a landline is not necessary unless you wish to have one for your own personal stays. Typically most guests come equipped with mobile phones. Sothe expense of maintaining a landline just for guest use is not needed.
Owners often ask how pricing is set for each rental, and why the "Total Rent" amount on booking notification emails sometimes looks a little strange. First, we set an initial price for each unit for each day of week, and time of the year. Midweek days might get set at one price, weekends at another, holidays and peak periods may be set higher, and off-season prices could be set lower. We set these initial prices based on several factors like input from each owner, characteristics of the home (size, amenities, location, recent remodels, etc.), comparable home prices in the area.
Once we agree on the initial prices with you the owner, we ask you if you want to be included in our dynamic pricing program. Over 90% of all owners decide to participate. Once in the program, we watch the performance of your unit and make frequent pricing adjustments. No pricing is ever set perfectly the first time - the key is to monitor and adjust pricing up or down based on actual market demand. This is where Great North Vacations excels - we monitor conversion rates of your rental at initial pricing and adjust up or down according to how well the rental is booking. It is an ongoing process that is always a top priority. The more money our owners make, the more we make - so we try and do everything we can to maximize the revenue.
Here are just a few examples of the many ways we adjust your pricing to make you more rental income:
- If your home is booking more quickly for comparable times of year than other homes in your area - this may be an indicator we set your price too low, and we may adjust the price up.
- If your unit has last minute availability, and has openings within the next two weeks, we may apply different levels of discounts to try and get that last-minute traveler who is used to getting a last minute discount deal.
- If we notice large periods of time that are farther in advance that have lower than expected occupancy, we may adjust the price down. As occupancy fills in, we may adjust the price back up.
There are several other ways we make changes, and a lot of different places we look for data. At Great North Vacations we monitor the market availability calendars on sites like VRBO and similar sites, we use pricing reports, we receive hotel pricing reporting and benchmark every home's inquiry and reservation volumes against historical numbers and comparable homes. All of these changes can result in the "Total Rent" number being different than the initial pricing set for your rental.
We list your home everywhere we think guests are looking for rentals! We start by putting you on the Great North Vacations Vacation Rentals website, but we know that most consumers shop on the big consumer travel sites. In addition to our own site, we will do our very best to get your property onto the other major Vacations rental sites (i.e. VRBO and Vacationrentals.com ), and we will do our best to list your property on other optional sites like Tripadvisor, Flipkey, Airbnb.com, and soon Booking.com. We believe no other property manager markets more than Great North Vacations - after all if we do not book up your home we do not make any money on it either! Each site has a slightly different business model, but in general most have a combination of a small commission to the owner and a fee that gets charged to the guest. Of course all bookings on the Great North Vacations website have no additional cost associated with them.