NOVEMBER 2020 EDITION

The CottageCorner

November 2020 Edition

A Word from Our CEO

Welcome to your Thanksgiving edition of The CottageCorner! It feels so odd to be mere weeks away from the holidays, and yet there are still named storms cropping up in the Atlantic and Gulf. But alas, we expect nothing less from 2020. Whatever the case may be, please know that we remain prepared for any hurricane efforts that may still be needed throughout the rest of the season. With Tropical Storm Eta closing in on us, you may like to review Nick’s update regarding hurricanes and resources. If so, here is the link to October’s Edition.

I would also like to announce that our Administrative assistant, Abby Lynn, has officially been promoted to Marketing Coordinator. This is right in line with Abby’s trajectory with our company as she is currently in school earning her Marketing degree. We are very excited to watch her tackle many marketing strategies and projects all the while making it look effortless! Soon you should see updates from the marketing department via Abby in our owners’ newsletter! Let us know if there are any topics you would like Abby to focus on in her coming updates.

Kenneth Hyson is also making his debut on this month’s edition as the Revenue Analyst (he was recently promoted from the Guest Experience department). Hopefully, you will enjoy his updates regarding your homes and revenue details. We strive to make this owners’ newsletter as detailed, informative and thorough as possible. And on that note, I hand it over to the CottageCrew to provide you insight for November!

#CottageOn

A Word from Our Vice President

Hello Everyone!

Happy November!  We all look forward to this time of the year after a long, hot summer!  The temperatures come down and as the holidays approach I always try to practice gratitude.  Gratitude is so important and it’s important for you to all understand that we are genuinely thankful to be business partners with each and every one of you.
We have always been a company that thrived off of soliciting feedback from both our guests and our owners.  Through this feedback we have reinvested into the company, improved or altered our processes, and identified weaknesses which have since turned into our strengths.
We are easily able to garner feedback from our guests which has led to all sorts of improvements to the guest experience or a specific house itself.  Throughout the years we have also elicited and received feedback from all of you as owners which have led to some amazing improvements to the owner experience.
Just to name a few:
  • A few years ago we received a lot of complaints for our owners in relation to the owners portal on Lodgix.  It was way too slow and would take forever to load.  This led to a much improved performance with our partners at Lodgix which now features very quick load times!
  • It sounds crazy to think about this now, but years ago the expenses in your monthly folder did not match with what you saw on your owner’s statement.  This led to a lot of frustration (totally understandable).  We are now able to match all of your expenses on your owner’s statement with expenses in your folder.  In order to do this we need the extra 5 days, which is why even though you are paid by the 10th, you don’t see all your corresponding documents until the 15th.  All in all it’s a huge improvement!
  • Owners had been getting frustrated by the charges incurred on Saturday turnovers relating to the removal of trash.  We were able to create a budget and now incorporate the removal of all trash on Saturday turnovers into something we provide at no cost to our owners!
  • We created a chart of accounts which allows you to identify charges quickly on your owners statements without having to go into Lodgix.  For example, if you see a line item for $200 you will see the corresponding category such as “HVAC” which quickly allows you to deduce the charge and then decide whether you want to take a deeper dive into lodgix.
These are just a few examples amongst many!  We are so thankful to all of you and hopefully you feel the same way about us.  I am imploring you to reach out to me and give us some feedback about where you would like to see improvements to the owner experience.  I promise we will not take it personally, in fact we thrive on this kind of feedback!  I hope to hear from you all soon-  Happy Thanksgiving!!

A Word from Our Director of Sales & Predictive Analytics

Hello All!

As this year is coming to an end, I want to take this opportunity to just inform you of how you can help yourself gain more revenue for your home by understanding our seasonality rate structure. As we expect each and every one of your homes on our portfolio to make the most income possible for you and us alike, we also understand that sometimes, you want to use your own home. I would like to briefly discuss the impact of your owner’s blocks and how you can strategically plan your trips around rentals. Let’s dive in!

I’m going to start with our weekly rentals first. There are many times of the year that we like to restrict reservations to one week rentals, Saturday to Saturday to maximize your revenue and have less wear-and-tear on your homes. Typically, this time is set: [January through the week of Easter], [Memorial Day through the 2nd week of August], Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, and New Years week. During this time, if you are able to follow this weekly rental schedule, you can maximize your rental income. Instead of going off cycle and using an owner block Tuesday to Tuesday, essentially taking 2 of the scheduled weeks off of the calendar, you can maximize your revenue by adhering to the future rentals that are to come. In no way am I telling you that you cannot come to your home when you want, but just informing you of the cause and effect of your travels and how to make more money in your investment property if your travel plans can be flexible. If you ever have any questions about this, or would like to just converse about when I believe it is best to come from a revenue standpoint, I am always available to you!

For our monthly rentals (or homes that require only 1 rental per 30 day period), my best advice for you is to wait for a booking to occupy a 1 month cycle. We strive to get you as many weeks as possible, but in order to keep the balance of not selling your home too cheaply for a month and also not pricing it too high that you do not get a rental, we flex our rentals to be as little as 1 week in some seasons. For example, in the scenario that we book 1 week in September, that means we must block on the calendar 3 weeks on the front or back end of the reservation (whichever weeks we decide are more favorable for a rental, we leave open and block around the reservation). So when you look at your calendar and see a black block in place, that means we can’t rent this time, which concludes that it’s all available for you! This may not work for those individuals that like to plan in advance, but again, these are just suggestions to improve revenue on your home proactively.

As an asterisk for all homes, Christmas and New Years 2021 into 2022 will NOT be on a Saturday to Saturday cycle. This is because Christmas and New Years Days are both on Saturday. We are adjusting this now for Wednesday to Wednesday and will watch the inquiries and requests come in to follow what people are wanting to book for this time.


Lastly, I am speaking about this because we are working on and about to release our 2022 rental rates (ALREADY…). If you have annual owner’s blocks that never change and have pre planned trips to your home, go into Lodgix and input your owners blocks accordingly. If you need help or would like me to do this for you, just reach out to me at barry@thecottagesonthekey.com and I can assist you with this. The 2022 rates will go live in November some time, so the earlier you block your pre planned visits, the less chance we have to book underneath you!

Thank you for your time in reading this month’s CottageCorner! We hope you enjoy our topics and find them helpful.

A Word from Our Revenue Analyst

Hello to our valued owners! I want to start off by thanking Fallon for my introduction in the September newsletter! I look forward to sharing with you updates and information pertaining to my new role as Revenue Analyst. As some of you may know, I began my journey at The Cottages in January 2018 as a Vacation Specialist, and spent 2 exciting years in the position establishing relationships with our guests as they plan a memorable vacation in Siesta Key staying in one of your beautiful homes. I have always had a passion for travel and business, and I am thrilled to be “behind the scenes” now working to help this incredible business run.

Lately we have been working on analytics pertaining to 2022 rate & revenue forecasting, budgeting, and auditing of owner expenses to ensure consistency is maintained across the board. After all, quality and consistency are the most important traits for our portfolio of homes! (Company Credo #5!)

Over the next month, Barry and I look to complete rates for 2022 and analyze vacancies in Q4 2020 & Q1 2021 to see how we can work to make the rest of fall and upcoming winter season better than ever before! So far we have experienced the start of a fall like no other, with incredible numbers for September and so far a strong October. Last minute bookings are becoming more and more frequent, and it is amazing to see our team so ready for eager travelers at moments notice.

Did you know?

  • September is typically the slowest month of the year for arrivals. This September, we have seen an unbelievable increase of 135% arrivals, of which, 27% were made in the month of September! This compares to only 13% of September 2019 arrivals made in the month of September 2019. Talk about last minute bookings!

As with anyone in our incredible team, I am always available to help with any questions you may have regarding your owner distributions, expenses, and more. Have an amazing November!

A Word from Our Quality Control Manager

November! Let us be Thankful… Thankful that no hurricane came ashore (yet!), grateful for so many happy guests… and always Thankful for you: our entrusted owners!
The “Deep Cleaning” program has been implemented and is in full swing. For the smaller units this might include washing the windows inside and out, whereas window washing for the larger properties would have to be performed by a specialized vendor.  Housekeeping moves all furniture and appliances in order to accomplish a thorough sanitation.  Bedskirts, drapes and all quilts are being washed if possible.  It was “refreshing” to check on the few homes where this work has been done as the results are definitely quite amazing.
As we continue to grow,  interdepartmental communication and feedback loops becomes more and more important.  Therefore we are scheduling quarterly meetings with all eight (8) Housekeeping Companies.  This allows us to better understand certain roadblocks they might encounter when cleaning your homes as well as looking ahead to next quarter and discussing continuous improvement plans. A detailed report is written following each meeting and, if required, adjustments are made.
November’s Key Highlights
  • Continue scheduling deep cleanings as needed
  • Perform quarterly inventories
  • Always stay on top of insurance claims
Did you know?

Behind the scenes : Photoshoots

Photoshoots involve doing a complete inspection of the home the day prior to the shoot, removing any remotes, bath rugs, toilet brushes, soaps. The focus is on setting a beautiful table-scape, hanging towels and toilet paper, displaying cupcakes, making sure all beds are well made, all artwork on walls are straight, all blinds are just right… and preparing the pool areas to look their best.  Although I loved this aspect of my work I am so happy to pass on the duties in the very capable hands of Abby, our marketing specialist. Wait til you see her table-scapes…
As I conclude today, I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

A Word from Our Executive Assistant

Hello, again! The excitement of the holiday season sets in as we begin preparations for accommodating all of our guests to deliver only the best during the most joyous part of the year. Truthfully, I did not always love the holidays. The Cottages on the Key has truly reignited my love for them throughout my time here. The feeling of being able to precisely plan each of our employee and guests’ gifts genuinely brings me a kind of happiness and excitement that cannot be replicated.

Every year we are delighted to be able to gift our guests locally made Caribbean Pie Company pies at Thanksgiving and a gift of our gratitude at Christmas. This year will be no different! However, we will be unrolling special seasonal services via our concierge service, CottageCare. We will be introducing the opportunity of purchasing a beautiful catered Thanksgiving dinner delivered to your home. The dinner includes a roasted rosemary turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and all the other holiday classics– including pie, of course! In addition, we will be offering Christmas services, including cookie decorating kits, gift wrapping, and holiday decoration set up. These services will be offered to not only our guests, but our owners, too! Allow us to ease the anxiety of the holidays during your stay at your home away from home. 

If you are interested in learning more about our seasonal concierge services, please email hello@yourcottagecare.com