The answer is PLENTY! Our family’s recent vacation to Folly Beach, near Charleston, was very instructive with regard to what is most important to our guests visiting the Smoky Mountains. We waited a little too late to make the final decision that we were in fact going to Charleston and this meant that there weren’t a lot of choices that remained available…
Our original plan was to rent a single large beach front home that would accommodate our good sized extended family. Because we also wanted an on property pool our choices were pretty well eliminated. The next best option was a pair of condominium units but again our delay in booking didn’t serve us well. Wading through dozens of websites, we finally found two 3 bedroom 3 bath condo units that were available for the week that we wanted to travel.
The website that we ended up booking our trip on led us to properties managed by Fred Holland Real Estate of Folly Beach, a name that will live (for me at least) in infamy. While one of the condos was nice enough, the second one was a major dissapointment, and neither was very well cleaned when we arrived. Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness in the vacation rental management business and in this regard the condos failed. Poor cleaning is a fault that is very hard to overcome and we spent the first part of our vacation bringing the condos up to our personal standard of acceptable cleanliness.
Setting that failing aside, the first condo was well furnished, attractively appointed, and very nicely decorated. In fact, with the exception of the very serious housekeeping issues, this was a great property which we would gladly visit again. We will not however, EVER, rent from Fred Holland Realty because of the condition of most of their properties which we saw while we travelled around the island, and the afore mentioned cleaning issues.
In general, guests want accommodations at least as nice as those where they live. As a client of mine said once upon a time, “I don’t mean to sound like I am above it all, but I AM above SOME of it!!”. Property features, pricing, and a good website are all important but it ultimately comes down to the quality of the property and basic service, or the lack thereof.