EP #25 – Vacation Home Rental Hospitality, with Ross Twiddy

Ross Twiddy joins Susan Pannazzo to talk about the hospitality of vacation rental homes and more on this episode of The Hospitality Academy!What lessons in hospitality can we learn from the vacation home rental industry?  When most of us think of hospitality we think of hotels and restaurants. But an area that has become increasingly popular is the vacation home rental market. In all of these industries – hotels, restaurants, and vacation housing rentals – the guest’s happiness is what ultimately determines success.

On this episode of Hospitality Academy, I brought in an expert on vacation housing rentals, Mr. Ross Twiddy. Ross is the president of Twiddy and Company, a family-owned and operated vacation rental business located on the Outerbanks of North Carolina.

Today we talk about how the hospitality of vacation home rentals compares to the hospitality of hotels, why we are all in the experience business, how he handles last-minute changes and much more!

Essential Learning Points From This Episode:

  • How do you know what’s most important to the guests?
  • What does he do to hire and retain great people?
  • How are they different than Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rental home companies?
  • Why removing your “bad seeds” quickly is fundamental to your success.
  • What does the “family” in “family-owned and operated” mean to him in terms of his staff?
  • And so much more!

The topic of vacation rentals holds a personal interest for me, I worked as a rental manager for a homeowners association and managed the rentals of several oceanfront homes in South Florida. The lessons I learned during that position have served me well throughout the years, so when I met Ross I knew he would be a great guest to share with you!

Ross’ company, Twiddy and Company, was founded in 1978. Today they represent over 1,000 private homeowners and specialize in weekly vacation rentals. He says they also have a warm collection of folks who define hospitality with their smiles!

On this episode, we talk about why hospitality is ultimately an “experience-based” business. According to Ross, the experience is about the emotions your clients are feeling whereas the vacations themselves are about the mechanics.

The experience comes down to how they feel in moments with their family after they’ve worked so hard. Ultimately, his guests come to reconnect with their families and disconnect from their work, and the static of reality. And that means they have placed enormous trust in the hands of Twiddy and Company, something he and his team take seriously.

Ross goes on to explain the unique differences in the challenges he faces in the home rental market vs hotels, and how they handle last-minute changes. It boils to down experience, again. His staff listens and communicates with transparency while establishing a rapport built on the hospitality of caring.

He and his staff work with the guest by explaining what they can do and find a way to move forward that makes everyone happy. There a number of other factors that go into this like the time of the year, how many other homes they have available, the weather, etc. But at the end of the day, it’s about making that person happy however they can!

He also shares how they handle requests for refunds from their customers and it is similar. At the core, it’s about having the right point of contact so the guest can express their frustrations and be heard.

He knows the customer needs to know they are being listened to, and sometimes that means allowing guests to communicate via an app, or social media. There are other guests who want to talk in the Twiddy and Company offices, so that is an option too.

Ross is also certain he hires the right people to listen. He knows hiring the right people sounds obvious but it cannot be stressed enough. He says the better you can hire (and fire), the more successful you will be.

While not every situation can be accommodated – there is some ugliness in this industry after all – he says the majority of the time an amicable solution can be found. He also recommends taking the perspective that refunds or any other complaints are a good opportunity to show how much you care.

Also today Ross shares how he differentiates his company from the AirBnBs and VRBOs of the world, and how he and his team work with the unique personalities of over 1,000 different homeowners! Whether you are in the vacation rental industry, the hotel industry or any other hospitality-based industry, you’ll learn so much from everything Ross shares on this episode of Hospitality Academy.

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Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:

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