Beach BLOG

We want to keep you posted and publish occasional newsletters which include information, opinions and data.

Lodging Update December 16th, 2013

By William May
Published: 12/18/13 Topics: Comments:

Are you in the Holiday Spirit? Please read, study and memorize this email as there will be a pop quiz on Monday.

Hey, you haven't sent me any ideas for future topics. Can you do it now?


William May

Vortex Organization

Voice: 866-925-5188 x902



OWNER FAQs: An important update has been made to the flyer "Frequently Asked Questions FAQs" for Owners. Please download and print out copies. Delete all prior copies.

- Loging to your website

- Select "Documents" from the menu

- Search by "All" documents and Keyword of "FAQ"

SECURITY: Keep in mind that most vacation rental homes (including those that do not rent) are empty many nights per year, so planning security is important for owners and managers. There are many things that can be done to improve security.

Keysafe Codes - These must be changed periodically and certainly after any guest who departs late or appears to have been a problem of any kind.

Electronic Locks - We are evaluating several types of electronic locks so we can recommend the best option. This will allow us to provide a custom code for every guest, keep a log of who came and went and - best yet - prohibit unauthorized early checkins or late checkouts.

Lights on Timers - Putting several lamps on a timer is a great way to make a house lived in.

Deadbolts - All homes should have Deadbolts on all exterior first floor doors, which make it just a bit more difficult for a burglar to break in.

Double Sided Locks - Deadbots can be arranged that use a Key on both sides of the Deadbolt. This is a great idea for primary homes where the owner can leave the interior key in the lock on most occasions, but remove it when away for extended periods. This makes it more difficult for a burglary to dash out the door with loot.

Web Cams - Some owners have installed Web Cams which are now very inexpensive and do not require a computer, although you must have an internet connection. By law, cameras are only allowed to look away from the building to display outdoor areas. Interior cameras or those that might look in windows are prohibited. The cameras should always be password protected and its coordinates should be given to the central office. We can now make these easily viewable by logging into the unit, complex or destination website.

Drive By - It is impractical to check on every house in person every day. However, when you are near to any home, even if it is not scheduled for cleaning, always take a few minutes to drive by the house to insure it is not occupied. In fact, if the houses is rented, its great personal attention to stop, introduce yourself and ask if you can be of any service.

Check Ins - We ask all guests to check-in and check-out by phone (In person if there is a desk) and those are recorded in the computer system. Many guests fail to notify us and, given time, we hope to telephone guests the day after departure if we have not heard from them.

CONCLUSION: Recent studies concluded that 80% of perpetrators are intoxicated or high when they commit a burglary. And more than 80% of the time the crook did not "case" the home ahead of time. They usually enter through a back door and depart by the front door. Once they reach the street police have no "Probable Cause" to stop or question them. For vacant vacation homes, unfortunately, that means the odds increase of having a burglary. Encourage owners to take these security steps which will decrease the risk of burglary.

KNOWING WHOM: When anyone calls you (guest, owner or vendor), it is important to make sure you know who you are talking to. If you don't recognize the name, ask "May I ask a few questions just to protect your privacy? Then ask several questions to identify the person. The best questions are:

- Address, city, state & Zip

- Booking ID if they know it.

CAREFUL WITH NAMES: Currently we keep Guest and Owner name and contact information in two places - Goldmine and Samantha - which can lead to problems. Please follow these rules when speaking with people or updating records.

- Always ask "May I confirm I have your correct address?"

- Then repeat what you have and ask if it is correct?

- Do the same for address, phone numbers and email address

- If people tell you the name of their spouse or children, enter those too.

- Enter changes to Goldmine AND to Sam.

- If not at a computer, call in changes to the office.

Failure to keep records straight means messages go awry which risks problems and wastes time.

Read more

Author: William May – Manager, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0331 – 12/18/13

Coming to Skippy's Class ill Prepared

By William May
Published: 12/11/13 Topics: Comments:

Looking back it is astonishing to realize that a world class scholar was teaching in a small community college off the beaten path in the Northwest corner of the country. She would have wowed any student in the finest college anywhere. Read more

Lodging Update December 9th, 2013

By William May
Published: 12/09/13 Topics: Comments:

This week the weather is in the news and its time to warm up properties. Technical news too makes it into the list as does a new concept called Manifest Photos. Please read and head. Read more

Sad Story for Non Renting Vacation Home Owner

By William May
Published: 12/06/13 Topics: Comments:

Home Owner Association caretaker has bad news for vacation home owner who should have kept his home in rental, with which he could have retained the attentive eyes of a full time manager almost next door. Read more

Lodging Update December 2nd, 2013

By William May
Published: 12/02/13 Topics: Comments:

This update is all about our ace lodging software, Secret products, How to do Hourly Billing, Overtime, New Keysafes and how to Change Keysafe Codes. Read more

Lodging Update November 1st, 2013

By William May
Published: 11/01/13 Topics: Comments:

Plumbob Publishing has published a new website for an old magazine. is now online and staff members are listed as correspondents in some cases. Its good for skiers, snowboarders and our lodging partners. Read more

Lodging Update October 21st, 2013

By William May
Published: 10/21/13 Topics: Comments:

In this issue: Your list of Unit Notices, Owner & Staff Dashboards, Owner Self-cleaning procedures, Freshens Reminder. Newly enrolled properties. Read more

Labor Day 2013 - Another Flea Market Bonanza

By William May
Published: 09/09/13 Topics: Comments:

Well it was another great Flea Market this Labor Day weekend in Packwood. Hundreds of vendors from all over the Northwest and some from across the US and Canada. Unofficial estimates are that there may have been 10,000 people on Saturday - but hey who's counting. Read more

How clean is clean enough?

By William May
Published: 03/15/13 Topics: Comments:

Take the Deep Cleaning test. Most owners fail in their primary homes and, let's face it, second homes often get short shrift. Top property managers clean to high hospitality standards because failing to do so makes for unhappy guests and refunds. Read more

Vacation Rental housekeeper spills the beans

By William May
Published: 02/16/13 Topics: Comments:

As professional lodging managers its not too often that we get a full glimpse of what life is really like for Rent by Ownes who manage their personal vacation homes. Here is a Q&A with a top housekeeper who has horror stories to tell. Read more

The Vacation Rental Dollar Store

By William May
Published: 01/16/13 Topics: Comments:

Who knew that Dollar stores were such a good source of items needed to outfit a Vacation Rental home. This author learns a lesson and receives great customer service too. Read more