Lessons from The Overlook: Embrace the Slow Times

Note: Lessons from The Overlook is a monthly update on lessons learned from owning a vacation rental property in the Southern California mountain town of Idyllwild. It’s a hands-on opportunity to apply some of the techniques I advise my clients to use. You can find past updates here.

We’ve just finished an extended busy season where The Overlook has been rented every weekend since November. Revenue is up considerably over last year and we’re very happy.

My wife, Sally, and I are also glad things are slowing down. 

Small maintenance issues add up over time in any home, condo, or apartment. The Overlook is no exception, but it’s difficult to do that maintenance when someone else is staying in the house. 

 After a winter of roaring fires, the fireplace needed cleaning.

After a winter of roaring fires, the fireplace needed cleaning.

That maintenance is essential to keeping everything looking good and in smooth working order, so a temporary slow period gives us an opportunity to get a few chores done.

One of those chores is conducting preventative maintenance (PM). We have a checklist of items that need to be done so we don’t forget. This month’s PM chores include:

  • Inspecting house systems like the HVAC, septic system, etc.
  • Verifying all electrical, plumbing, and appliances are in good working order
  • Deep cleaning the house

There are a few places that need some paint, so we’ll be coordinating with a local painter to get that work done.

Sally and I are also making a last minute trip to the cabin to take some photos of the interior. We’ve made a few small changes, such as hanging new artwork or changing the bedding in one room, so we’ll be able to use the updated photos for marketing on our website, our property manager’s website, and on The Overlook’s Facebook page.

Of course, this also means we get to enjoy staying at The Overlook ourselves!

Many businesses have slow periods. It’s helpful to take advantage of these times to work on important projects that can’t get done when it’s busy.

For example:

  • Complete a preventative maintenance checklist
  • Schedule larger projects, such as renovations
  • Create new initiatives, such as marketing campaigns

Yes, we’d all like the revenue to keep streaming in. The silver lining of a slow period is we know we’re keeping The Overlook looking great and in good condition, which means we’ll be ready once it starts to get busy again!

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