The Big Reason (DR. Phil Says) Owners and Managers Don’t Get Along – How It Affects Travelers

vacation rental business advice dr phil

Dear Vacation Rental Owners,

Don’t have unrealistic expectations about your property manager!

No, I am not a property manager, but I know how hard it can be for a good property manager to satisfy all the demands that come along with the job of managing a vacation rental property.

Property managers often wear numerous hats and perform many jobs like – guest check ins and check outs, regular property maintenance, paying bills, collecting payments, refunding security deposits, cleanings, guest issues, marketing and the list goes on…

You should understand that being a good property manager is hard work and you should allow room for a little disappointment.

Something eventually will happen and problems will arise, nobody’s perfect. Properly setting your expectations will keep you from becoming disappointed and adding extra strain to your relationship with your property manager.

If they are doing a good job of taking care of your guests and your property you want to try to work out other issues that come along. Don’t sweat the small stuff but DO keep your eyes on the details of your investment property.

Think about this… Have you ever had a relationship (any relationship) that didn’t end well? Why did that happen? Could it all boil down to one simple thing?

I think you’ll agree the answer is yes.


Did you know the number one reason for relationship failure is the failure to meet expectations, according to Dr. Phil.

This is true in any relationship, not just marital ones.

I’ve seen many relationships between vacation rental owners and property managers ruined because the homeowner had unrealistic expectations about how many bookings they would receive or about the quality of the rental services that would be provided by their management company.

Have you ever had that happen to you? Have you ever had issues with your management company?

Were you promised the moon and the stars and they didn’t deliver?

Did you assume something would be handled by the management company that wasn’t?

It’s more common than you might think for a vacation rental owner to go through several property management companies during the ownership of their rental.

It’s not something that is openly discussed but I know from all of my private discussions with vacation rental owners that high turnover rates are a common problem in our industry.

What do you think are the main reasons why owners and managers have issues?

Do some property managers charge too much commissions?

Do owners get annoyed with being nickeled and dimed with fees and charges.

What are your thoughts?


Dear Vacation Rental Property Management Companies,

Avoid overselling to owners!

Plenty of property managers eagerly want the business of a new owner signing on so they try hard to get that new business and maybe in doing so, they oversell themselves a bit.

Don’t oversell not even a little.  Overselling is a guaranteed way to lose a client and tarnish your online reputation.

Many newbie salespeople feel pressure to sell, they think selling is about “saying what you need to make the deal”. Don’t make this mistake.  

Selling yourself is about bringing to the surface the benefits of using your service, embracing your unique selling points and being honest about everything!

Even when it’s not exactly what the other person wants to hear. When you do that, you become trustworthy in their eyes. They will realize you’re not just trying to get the deal and their money, they will see that clear as day.

They’ll appreciate it and notice that you’re trying to avoid their disappointment.  They’ll also know you’re going to tell them the truth and not exaggerate.

Keep all the numbers and expectations in-line with what the client will really get.  If you fulfill your end of the deal everything should go smoothly. Don’t stretch and promise more than you can deliver, it won’t end well.

If you feel you have to inflate the details even just a little to get clients to sign on, then you need to work on improving your vacation rental product.

There is nothing wrong with “selling”. In fact I believe every vacation rental manager and owner needs to learn how to sell, just don’t inflate details.

In order to prevent these sorts of issues you’ll need to recognize there may be occasions when you won’t be able to meet someone’s expectations. That is just how it is!

You really can’t please everyone and you should avoid doing business with those people.

But who are those people you won’t please? How can you know?

No matter how great you are,  there are some clients that will never be satisfied,.

You need to know how to spot these people who are not a good fit for your service upfront, so you don’t have an issue at the end.

I wrote about this in an article called “Ever Had A Guest You Wish You Never Booked.” You gotta check it out.


Dear Owners AND Managers,

You need to consider your travelers!

Have you ever gone to a movie that you thought was going to be a blockbuster because someone was raving about how awesome it was but it ended up being a dud?

That feeling of disappointment sucks, doesn’t it?

The reason it was a disappointment is because it didn’t meet your high expectations and, therefore, it left you feeling unfulfilled.

This feeling of being unfulfilled is the enemy of your vacation rental business.

The psychology of disappointment

Disappointment is a form of sadness. It forces you to admit that you did not get what you wished to have, you were wrong, it feels final,  and makes people feel foolish.

It is actually easier for you to protest with anger than it is to deal with your sadness about the course of events that led to your disappointment.

This feeling of disappointment is a very strong emotion and remember that emotions make people react.

This is why people vent on social media outlets to let out their frustration and get back at the person who disappointed them with a bad review.

Have you ever had a client who was unreasonably disappointed?


How To Truly Satisfy Guests And Make Customers Happy

If you want truly satisfied customers, then you have to exceed expectations, not just meet them.

That sounds nice but how do you do that exactly?

Always under promise and over deliver!

One practice is to leave out some of the details and then point them out later, after the guest is in the property.

For example, you can send a follow-up email once the guests have arrived to tell them about something they didn’t know was included.

Then you can give a bonus gift or something extra for free. Maybe a gift basket or tickets to an attraction or event.  

That’s how you can set your vacation rental business to exceed expectations and create glowing 5 star reviews.

Using these methods will help your travelers feel like they got more than what they paid for, not less than what they expected.

Now I go into movies with lowered expectations to prevent disappointment and I seem to have a better overall experience… but can you ask your guests to lower their expectations so you can exceed them?

LOL! Some of you probably said yes… the funny thing is, you wouldn’t be wrong.

You actually have to bring your client to the level of service you provide. So if their expectations are too high or unrealistic you need to set their expectations accordingly.

Give a full disclosure. If there is something less than flattering about your property or something people often complain about, you have to bring that up in the beginning, so it doesn’t bite you in the end.

If people know what they’re going to experience they can mentally prepare for it and they will not be surprised.  

They will be much less likely to complain and write a bad review about your vacation rental because they knew about it and expected it. The problem is in the unmet expectations.

My last tip for you is to  never leave anything for interpretation. Guests may assume something is provided, included or just different than what it is.

This will become your problem at some point when they realize it isn’t the way they thought it would be.

You have to be as clear as possible about what they will get.

Stay tuned for my next post… I’ll share with you something I created to make for happy guests and better experiences.

What do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with what was said?