JUNE 2020 EDITION

The CottageCorner

June 2020 Edition

A Word from our CEO

Welcome to the new CottageCorner Owner’s Newsletter. It fills strange to start back on our monthly newsletters without addressing the pandemic and its impact on our company, our industry, and of course on you as our owners. So, I thought we should make this a special edition. As a business owner, I am always fascinated to learn how other business owners were affected by the pandemic, how they overcame, and what they did differently. Their stories always seem to align with mine, but simple differences are abound based on their own history, scope of work, staff size, and more. And while I am also 110% absolutely exhausted with hearing about Covid-19 and living our new existence around it, I remind myself to never shut down or drown it out. Every day and every new story brings a different lesson, a new vantage point.

As a business owner, I am always fascinated to learn how other business owners were affected by the pandemic, how they overcame, and what they did differently. Their stories always seem to align with mine, but simple differences are abound based on their own history, scope of work, staff size, and more. And while I am also 110% absolutely exhausted with hearing about Covid-19 and living our new existence around it, I remind myself to never shut down or drown it out. Every day and every new story brings a different lesson, a new vantage point.
So, if you’re just like me, you may be interested in an insider’s perspective on just what happened in the vacation rental industry, in our company specifically, and on this island, in this state. I gathered my team leaders together and I asked them to give me real details, and very raw accounts about how it made them feel, what their department did to survive, and how it’s changed them and our protocols forever. It’s a very long story, but an interesting one to tell none the less. And it goes without saying that our choices and our actions, which are never taken lightly, definitely have an affect on you as a homeowner. And so we ask ourselves this daily:
  • How will our decision today impact the owner’s revenue tomorrow?
  • Can we preserve the owner’s assets throughout this crisis or the next crisis to come?
  • How can we maintain the staff and protocols to ensure the homes are clean, maintenance is not compromised, and guests and owners feel safe?
  • Are we communicating enough to our owners?

We did what we thought was best, in consideration of our owners, our staff, and our guests. But did we keep our promise? It’s exactly those questions I pose above that I would love your feedback on. If we could have done better, tell us so and give us your personal account.

We are not out of the water yet, and we know that this is not just a hiccup in history, but rather it is our new type of existence. This pandemic has redefined this industry entirely and it will never go back to what it used to be. But we want our partnerships with you to be more solidified than ever and we want you to feel that you and your homes are in the best of hands. The outpouring of support from many of you was second to none. On some of the darkest days, we would receive a random call from an owner, just to spread positive vibes and true sincerity… and it was all we needed to get through the next hurdle. It was the reason to not only live, but to thrive. So, thank you for that and thank you for listening… Enjoy the story!

A Word from Operations

I hope this newsletter finds all of you well as we continue to navigate ourselves during these unprecedented times. Last time we communicated via newsletter was March 12th. A lot has changed since then but not as much as we might have predicted during these turbulent times which could be described as a roller coaster ride for us all in both similar and different ways. We stood strong in our belief that it’s important for us to continue to give people the space to relax and connect with one another. COVID-19 is impacting some willingness to travel away from home, but families still want to take vacations – and desire the privacy and amenities our vacation homes provide.
Since May we have managed to stay quite full and we continue to believe that vacation rentals will grow as an even more popular choice for people who want to vacation. After my newsletter on March 12th things started to take a turn for the worse regarding COVID 19. This was a day after the European travel ban was imposed by our president and it certainly started to signify a higher degree of panic amongst travelers. For the next two weeks our normal functions as a company were completely turned upside down. A massive swath of cancellations started to pour in. We quickly had to develop a policy, execute a plan, and create an entire department to deal with the amount of calls we were receiving.
Our conference room was converted into a war room. We found ourselves caught in a situation where we were trying to protect the business, protect our owners, and do the right thing morally for our guests, many of whom had stayed with us for multiple years. We decided to roll out a policy utilizing “COVID CREDITS” where we would not refund a guest unless they were from out of the country or could prove they were in the medical field or directly impacted by the virus itself. The rest of the guests would be given credits that could be used at a later date. Our goal was to direct the guests to use the credits in 2020 as opposed to 2021 so the virus wouldn’t bleed into next year’s revenue. Our newly formed cancellation department would guide guests to move their reservation for a week in March to a week in July or October for the same amount of money. This was not an easy task. These were extraordinarily tough days for the members of our team that were moved to our cancellation department. Many times they were screamed at and berated. Some even needed to step out of the office because they were in tears, exhausted, or even vomiting from the stress of it all. The last two weeks of March were grueling. It was scary because none of us really knew what was going to happen next. In the micro sense, we were hoping that we would stay open as long as possible as these were some of the highest priced weeks of the entire year. It was incredibly stressful because I really didn’t know if I’d still have a job. The only comforting component was all of my peers were in the same situation. Nobody failed or did something wrong, we were all in the same situation.
In April, the governor issued a stay at home order and all travel into the state essentially shut down along with us. Bars and restaurants were shut down and the island was reminiscent of the days prior to Hurricane Irma. As a group we decided in order to still function operationally and to protect the properties under our control, we decided to move from our homes and quarantine onto the island. Our war room went from the conference room to the large dining room table at The Grand Canal. We were still dealing with many questions, concerns, and cancellations as we continued to dismantle what was left of our April reservations. Staying on the island allowed us to oversee our properties and build a uniquely cohesive team. We did identify some specific loopholes in the governor’s orders and we did begin to make some bookings if our guests were able to meet the criteria. Slowly some momentum was gained and we were able to feel some normalcy come back by these reservations however far and in between they happened to be.
There was a lot of work that needed to be performed at our homes in both the interior and exteriors but it was difficult to accumulate costs on behalf of you, as our owners without knowing when true revenue generation would begin again. We also had a quality staff of maintenance members who we wanted to keep committed to our company once things picked up again so we identified some necessary maintenance and had it pre-approved by owners and kept our guys busy. Without a true understanding of when things would pick up again we decided to hold off on inventory inspections until we had more clarity. By the end of April, things started picking up again. Guests were determined to leave their home states and became quite creative in proving they were coming down for essential travel. Our staff began to move back to their homes and we were ready to reopen our office.
By the first week of May there was a shift in reservations and we had to develop a sense of urgency as the return to normalcy was upon us. Our quality control department went into inventory inspection mode (most properties had been last inspected and full since Thanksgiving) and we prepared our homes for arrival. By the end of the month the governor finally lifted the ban on vacation rentals with a county by county specific approval. Thankfully, many of the systems we had already put into place with cleanliness had already been implemented in March (see my newsletter) and we were ahead of the curve. As a company, we have always differentiated our brand based on cleanliness and now the algorithms on OTA’s like VRBO and AirBnb were moving us up even further when key works like “clean” were being used. Our bookings surged and by the end of the month we had hit an all time record of $1.2M+ in monthly reservations and bookings. As we look towards the summer we are currently standing at an 95% occupancy rate and a continued bright future.

It was not an easy experience and the stress levels have been high but you learn a lot going through situations like we have been through over the last few months. I learned that our owners are amazing people and unwavering in their support of all of us even when times looked tough. I learned that our staff fought hard and stayed resilient regardless of the circumstances that they faced and I learned that I would fight in the foxhole with Heather, Eric, and Roger any day of the week. Nobody backed down, we only grew stronger as the times got tougher. I’m proud to be a part of this company.

A Word from Marketing

Happy June Owners!

I know it’s been a couple of month’s since the last newsletter, so in case anyone would like a refresher, here is the link: The CottageCorner – March 2020 Edition. First and foremost, I hope everyone is navigating these times and you find yourselves safe and healthy. If feels great to be getting back into the swing of things around here and seeing the island busy with locals and travelers. The Sales & Marketing Team has been extremely busy since the last time we spoke, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it! Covid-19 presented some unique challenges to Marketing, as you can imagine. In addition to re-directing our social media efforts, we also had to figure out how to navigate a new influx of negative reviews (from Covid-19 complications) which required us to temporarily take them down from our Facebook page.

They will be back up, but for now they will remain off. As you have seen with our 5-star reviews, this is not typical for this company. As with all things during these times, it was an all hands on deck situation. There were multiple departments handling third-party reviews, whether it was responding directly to messages or comments on our social media pages as well as speaking to the guests on the phone. All of this effort combined helped us in the removal of most of the negative comments/reviews from guests (or those that couldn’t stay with us). I can honestly say our customer service has never been stronger and I truly have never felt more confident that this company can not only survive, but thrive during the hard times. I have never felt more proud to be a part of this CottageCrew and how we all came together and united as a team to take care of the guests and coming up with entirely new and imaginative protocols that will carry on with us into the future as we perfect the guest experience.
Another huge obstacle we had to navigate was, how do you market for a vacation rental company when there’s a stay-at-home order and travel ban in place? How do you engage with our guests, owners and followers on social media without promoting our homes or this beautiful island? We wanted to make sure we still had a strong social media presence and to let our followers know that we’re here for them and that we care. We knew we had to be very sensitive and tactful in each and every post. It was decided that we would simultaneously run two social media campaigns with two brand new hashtags: #TheCottageCrewMissesYou and #SiestaKeyMissesYou. Each one relayed the messages that we wanted to convey and to show how we as a company were handling all this. We also wanted to be informative and let guests know what it was really like on the island.

In addition to the two social media campaigns, we also had the opportunity to amp up our Google ads. This has proved hugely successful in getting bookings and was a great hands-on-learning experience for me. It also gave us the chance to re-access where we are putting our advertising money into and what we should be focusing on in the future. We also got the opportunity to find more efficient ways of doing our marketing and promotions. You may or may not have noticed that this newsletter looks a little different. That’s because we have entirely changed our e-mail campaign and promotions hosting service to a more cost effective, efficient version. These are just some of the things that have changed for the better. Stay tuned for next month where I will be going over the current and new Premier Partner properties for HomeAway. As always, do not hesitate to contact me directly if you need anything. Until next time, #CottageOn!

A Word from Revenue

Since our last newsletter, so much has not only changed for us all, but learned as well. A blindside experience like this takes the utmost trust and vision from you all to see the end of the tunnel and be able to allow us to handle the financial impact of your home. So I just want to be the first to thank you for trusting us to juggle your current bookings, cancellations, and future reservations through all of this. For one home, it may not seem like a crazy ordeal, but for upwards of 115+ listings, this was truly an eye opening experience to say the least. I would like to *quickly* run you through what has happened since we last connected. I will touch on the occurrences that happened within the past 3 months so that you can have a general overview and also learn what is to come from this.

I truly missed not having the time to write  these newsletters because not only is it informational for you to be able to understand what protocols we are implementing, but it truly gives me a birds-eye view to write it all out and reflect on decisions that were made and their effectiveness.

First what came through was the insane number of cancellations. Prior to all of this happening, we had about a week’s notice that businesses, places, cities, states, and even entire countries were shutting down. As any other vacation rental company, we have a cancellation procedure that works effectively for about a 5% to 10% cancellation rate, but not for an entire 2 month span all at once. We were forced to build new and vastly improved cancellation protocols to where when guests called, there would always be someone there to answer the phone. And our personal approach to sales was never compromised. Instead of automating our phone system to the message, “we are experiencing high call volume” or implementing the mentality of “we’ll get to them when we get to them,” we did the exact opposite and created a dedicated live answer team. We made sure we had a human voice on this end of the phone so that all callers felt like they were not just getting the same voicemail repeatedly. We didn’t lay people off; we doubled down and even hired people to keep up with the demand of cancellations that there were. As guests started to cancel and it looked like there was a slim to no chance that anyone would be in your home, making payments, etc; we gathered the entire company and created a temporary cancellation department to handle the load of incoming calls. People were calling to cancel now, next week, next month, next year, you name it. The COVID-19 pandemic sent a ripple effect throughout our industry. We were all hands on deck… not to make money, but to be there for our guests and inquirers regardless of losing nearly all of our revenue for a solid 2 months. We have never seen nor experienced anything like this before. Sure, there were hurricanes where we needed to cancel a week in September, or Red Tide that heavily affected a large portion of reservations in the fall. However, this didn’t seem to be, and is not, just a temporary change. Just about everyday, I still see the “C” word (for coronavirus) in our inquiry requests in relation to what we are doing for future stays, how we handled previous guest cancellations, etc. This is not something we can take lightly, it has and will continue to change our industry.
Now from all of the cancellations, there were a couple of obvious things that happened. We lost a large portion of revenue, we hired and delegated our resources on handling cancellations, which only lost revenue, and our attention was on being responsive to individual needs during this pandemic to make them feel safe with us, but with no financial credit towards us. There came a point where we had to take a look at ourselves and think, “With all of this money being removed, there has to be something that we can do to promote the intake of revenue.” We needed to somewhat offset the effects of this, but how? How do you get people to travel during and after a pandemic? What can you tell them? Everything is going to be okay? Just come anyway? There had to be a creative way for us to continue making sales that gives potential guests confirmation that they can feel safe booking with us. They needed to feel like they could “book care free.” Book with less restrictions, in favor of the traveler, get them to commit to renting your home with no immediate impact on them during a time like this. We found that the best way that we can influence the guests to stay with us is to give them the wheel and to give them the idea that they are steering the ship. We created what we call our BookCareFree promotion. This marketing tactic promotes the previously explained concept by giving them a 24 hour cancellation policy, only requiring $99 down at the time of booking, and the remaining balance is due 14 days prior to arrival. This promotion helps individuals cope with the loss of their own income and gives them assurance that they have a vacation to look forward to and pay for in the future. This makes the guests feel like they are in control of their booking, but have true intentions of traveling. We are testing this theory out, and so far it has been quite successful. We are analyzing this method and finding out that if people want to cancel, they do well before 24 hours, which gives us time to rent the home for those dates once again. Especially for July, we are finding that with the weekly rentals, cancellations that are processed are typically filled within the next couple days due to high demand. We are limiting this cancellation policy to this year, but we are seeing how much effect it may have on booking trends versus cancellation rates for future implementation as well. The initial idea is promising, but thats given the fact that they do not cancel. In May, we set a new record in the history of our company by creating $1,200,000+ in reservations. We are following a similar trend for June, so we know that we are influencing the guests to buy into the idea of vacationing.
We have lived and learned from this experience, and continue to learn as each and every day passes. We find more and more opportunities to improve and make this situation something that makes us grow smarter, stronger, and more creative to deal with issues that arise. Again, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read through this and our recent experiences. We truly appreciate and cherish that you let us manage your home and trust us to make the right decision for each and every one of your unique homes. If you ever have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me at any time, and I would love to be able to discuss anything regarding the sales and/or marketing aspect of your beautiful homes! 🙂 Until next time, #CottageOn!

A Word from Quality Control

Covid-19 took a stronghold at the height of our Spring Season! Cancellations were pouring like raindrops amidst a tropical storm. “Stay at Home” orders were executed and obeyed… for a couple of weeks. This “idle” period represented an ideal time to perform some much needed inventories. Inventories should be a balancing act between guests needs and owners’ expenses. Therefore, it was decided that an inventory would have to wait until a reservation confirmation would land for each property. As new bookings were trickling in, inventories were scheduled. The quality control team encountered closed stores, empty shelves and backed online orders! But they always found a way to get the job done. As reservations started streaming in, our inventories kept them extremely busy.
Greer and Anne became very familiar faces at all Target and Walmart stores up and down Manatee and Sarasota County where masked employees anxiously handed them giant shopping bags to stow their purchases. Yes, the clock stopped mid-March! While our sales team was dealing with disappointed, confused, nervous guests… the time had come to reevaluate our cleaning and inspection procedures in order to reach the highest standard possible. We instituted our new cleaning brand – the “CottageClean” protocol, which includes the usage of EPA approved products by all our housekeeping crews and a secondary disinfection performed by inspectors prior to arrival.
“CottageClean” redefines and assures these qualities in cleanliness for our guests like no other company. A sparkling new logo was created depicting sharp lined cottages surrounded by a warm sun and cool waves. The new logo represents exactly what a challenging guest might expect: “A spotless home, a shining sun and sparkling gulf water.” You can easily check these 50-Point Quality Assurance Standards on our website by clicking the bottom link:
All personnel are required to wear face masks as well as gloves each time they enter one of your properties. Our inspectors reinforce these CDC recommendations and share masks and gloves to cleaning crews that accidentally left their gear home. Sarasota is offering multiple “free” Covid-19 testing sites which allows all our employees to get tested on a very regular basis. Each person reports their dated tests and results to the office administration staff. Although the protuberance of cotton swabs into the nasal orifices can hardly be called pleasant, we all concur that this is a way to best protect ourselves and all others.
Finding household supplies for our guests has been a challenge. Early on, the Department stores still allowed us to grab as many packs of toilet paper, paper towels and hand soaps as desired. As the days went by we felt more and more shame in filling our shopping carts to the brim. Pretty soon the days of assembling gargantuan amounts of toilet paper were over. We were beyond desperate. Even our Maintenance were swiping all toilet paper out of the gas stations on their paths… And soon it was time to find a new avenue. After much research, we discovered Sarasota Janitorial Services…. This was very welcome news as they are still delivering more toilet paper today!   Nevertheless our care package at the height of the crisis provided our guests with tissues, hand sanitizers and extra toilet paper. Small Kleenex packages were ordered online, as well as miniature plastic bottles ornate with our logo which we filled with aloe, alcohol and essential oils according to a safe and effective hand sanitizer recipe. The extra effort that our staff put into all details, when goods were indeed scarce, truly made a difference with all our guests.

We always strive to be the best at what we do but these trying times have propelled us to the next level of excellence!

A Word from Administration

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Fallon Markwell. I am the Executive Assistant of The Cottages on the Key. I am so happy to be writing to all of you for the first time. We have so much to talk about! Events often occur that alter the way we live, menial or extraordinary. New opportunities may come along, or setbacks plague us (no pun intended). Presently, our lives and businesses revolve heavily around the new standards that have been set by a pandemic. Coronavirus has ultimately shifted the way we shop, dine, travel, and work. As March quickly gave way to our new normal, it became time for us to follow suit. Departments aligned more than ever and our crew put all hands on deck in efforts to steer our ship in the right direction.

At the onset of these changes, my department consisted only of myself and my assistant, Abby. We are a small powerhouse responsible for accounting, refunds, reservation payments, vendors, and so much more. Our purpose did not completely change in efforts to adapt, but was instead amplified! Abby, who joined the CottageCrew in January, took a huge leap of faith with us and helped install our Cancellations Department, which quickly became a vital part of our company. The phones never stopped ringing and we were receiving over 200+ calls a day. Whether it was to report to guests the conditions of our area in relation to COVID-19, or to get information for refunds, or to reschedule dates, Abby was there to answer any and all questions.

While my administrative department was down to myself and any spare moments from my assistant, I was able to identify deficiencies in how we were operating under the conditions. Were refunds being administered fast enough? Was every call being answered or returned? Was I doing enough? Was our team burnt out? Most importantly, what were we learning from this experience? What we learned is these few things: Always be able to adapt, primarily by taking the time to cross-train your staff. Make sure you have people who can interpret and understand your accounts. With every experience, there is learned protocol.

Being able to do more with less became the name of our game. Our staff is small, and we are in many ways a grassroots-type company. The ability to divide and conquer pivoted us into a position where we could return calls quickly, track refunds, and help our guests still receive the vacation they have been waiting for! As new policy was put in place by our state and local government, we had to actively adapt within sometimes a matter of moments to apply these new policies. As we were allowed to host essential travelers, we were brought a new hope. A calmness set over us that reminded us, this too shall pass. Simply put, our success was, and always will be, built on our ability to adapt.

Our staff has been undeniably flexible during this time. The benefit of the implementation of cross-training employees is not only effective, but also can be morale boosting. The security cross-training brought to our company is long-lasting. It adds value to each of our staff members and provides our leadership roles strong pillars of support in unexpected, unforeseeable situations. Members from each department were able to shift to and curate an entire department dedicated to cancellation inquiries. It became a supply and demand system, in which resources were pushed and pulled to allow for maximum efficiency across the board. The cancellation department was not always a place of serenity. We were on the phone with guests across the nation who had not left their home in over a month, which can come with a tremendous amount of stress and turmoil for them. At all times, we wanted to remain empathetic to the global status and be a happy voice at the other end of the line that ensured their vacation would indeed come to fruition. The skills our staff have acquired in their cross-training allowed them to do this perfectly.

In specific regard to the administrative department, throughout this experience, we were able to identify unexplored strengths in some employees and this ultimately became a benefit to our accounting. During this period, our account status could be defined a rollercoaster ride, which was intense but also, a good thing. A rollercoaster is not just a downward plummet, it includes peaks and small jumps, too. This is exactly what was occurring within our accounts. As our guests in other states experienced cabin-fever, they were inspired to book with us! This was not the case for all of our guests, however. Some were afraid and apprehensive at the idea of travel for the extent of the foreseeable future. Refunds were dense sometimes. How were we accounting for this extreme scenario? The most intelligent thing we can do is bring more hands to our table. Our department has grown in the past weeks to include Kenneth Hyson. Formally a Vacation Specialist, Kenneth will join Abby as an Administrative Assistant. Kenneth will assist in consistent auditing of accounts and income analysis. Kenneth’s three-year history with the company and interest in accounting has made him an excellent candidate for this position. Any person touching our accounts must have the same interpretation of how to read them. It is imperative to creating a harmonious accounting structure in even the most sensitive times.

A large part of what I do in this company is protocol creation, maintenance, and management. Coronavirus has been instrumental in our newly adopted protocol. As we have gained full control over our ability to operate, we have learned the protocol necessary to operate under such tremendous circumstances. The health of our owners, guests, vendors, and staff is of the utmost importance. We currently mandate that all office staff gets tested frequently for COVID-19. All results are shared at will with myself and their supervisors. Also, our office is cleaned weekly with special attention to clean all surfaces. This protocol promotes a strong, stable, healthy work space and culture.

Our mission stands the same today as it did before. We are constantly striving to improve our methods and practices to be able to provide our owners and guests with peace of mind and heart. I look forward to continuously applying these learned protocols to better our company community. As we move forward, please feel free to contact me at any time with your questions or your thoughts. We are so happy to have you as part of our Cottages family.

A Word from Acquisitions

I certainly hope that all of you are healthy and happy while navigating these “interesting” times. We here at The Cottages feel that we have been riding a rollercoaster for the past few months, but have since endured to the end of the thrilling, slightly scary ride. In times like these it is very difficult to gauge where you’ll be tomorrow not fully knowing what will be thrown at you. I am so very proud of everyone in this company for shifting and adapting their positions and their personal lives to accommodate the needs of this company, our owners and the guests that we cherish and need so much. We’ve gone from record breaking losses to record breaking advances in a matter of months and although we are still The Cottages, we look a little different today.
We have thicker skin, we have an ever better understanding of individuals needs during a crisis, we feel far more educated in an emergency situation such as a pandemic and now that we have climbed out of this mess, so grateful to have learned what we have about our industry and the people that work so closely within that industry. Some things that I have noticed in Acquisitions are that we have an amazing group of owners in our portfolio. Early on we had concerns that a lot of our owners might panic and jump ship as a knee jerk reaction, but rather found that they were firm with their commitment to ride out this storm with us. Even offering their own personal time and assistance if we ever needed them during this time. I was nothing short of amazed when hearing all of the positive feedback from them and I feel like we have made some wonderful relationships here that will last a lifetime.
I learned that our staff and vendors are even more capable at switching gears on a whim and that they seemingly have no breaking point. Without them and their adaptive qualities and strengths, we could have found ourselves in an almost impossible situation that we may not have been able to come out of. Their roles were paramount in bringing us back to the surface.
I learned even more that our CEO, Heather Plampin is relentless at keeping this company strong. She has no limitations and would sacrifice all to protect this staff and our owners. She has worked tirelessly through this pandemic and has put so many amazing protocols in place to ensure the quality and survival of this business. We truly could not have done it without her leadership and unfaltering drive towards perfection.
Operations, our first line of defense! Already working with a skeleton crew at the time of the crisis, pulled themselves together like I never imagined. Situations that would have leveled most, did nothing more than challenge them to be even better. Led by Senior VP of Operations Nick Russell, they became just the force that we needed to push through these times. They were being pushed, pulled and beaten from every direction. Still, they licked their wounds, showed up the next day and battled on for the greater good of the company learning better ways to make their department stronger and more efficient. They have proven to be true leaders of the vacation rental industry.
Marketing stayed strong and dug in deep finding all avenues to boost our online and marketing presence. They fought hard for our guest reviews and were incredibly successful at doing so. We are still set apart from our competition with 5 star reviews in an astronomical way. Guests boast about the cleanliness of our homes while often times comparing us to other rental companies here on the key that left them disappointed. Reviews like that take this company to a new standard and I am so happy to have the Marketing team that we have.
Sales and Revenue Analytics………What can I say about them? Barry Privette leads this tumultuous team and if you refer to the numbers these past two months, you can easily see their efforts producing our highest sales recorded in a single month two months in a row. We currently sit at about 95% occupancy for our summer months. This was not an accident or a lucky turnaround, but rather their ability to dig deep into projections, pricing, marketing direction and just plain drive and educated decisions when looking at the future booking trends. The team was quick to identify homes that were struggling to get booked and made recommendations to their manager. From there, adjustments were made and the homes started booking again quickly. My hat off to sales!
And of course, I can’t forget about our countless vendors that keep this company running at the high standard that we hold. There have been so many changes due to Covid-19. All of our cleaning and maintenance staff are now required to wear masks, gloves and disinfecting themselves constantly. These measures are of the utmost importance, but can be very trying at times while working so aggressively in this Florida heat. We have added extra cleaning measures to disinfect all hard surfaces, handles, knobs, chair backs, kitchen appliances…….etc, etc. Maintenance staff is careful to keep social distancing in mind when dealing with guest related work orders when guests are present. Landscaping and pool maintenance haven’t missed a beat while keeping pools and exterior areas pristine and beautiful. Great job to all of them working collectively in achieving our goals!
One quick acquisitional note! My Acquisitions department is going strong. We are still receiving numerous new property inquiries from owners requesting our services. Economic downturns have historically urged homeowners to take deeper dives into their investment portfolios to get the best out of their investments. This allows us to grow our company even more while making them the most outsized revenues for their properties. If you as an owner need any information on the possible expansion of your personal portfolio, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share any information that might help you with that process.

Lastly, I just want to tell our staff, our owners, our vendors and our guests how truly important you all are to us. We couldn’t do it without you, nor would we want to. Thank you for all that you do and let’s keep Cottaging On! Cheers!