Property Management

Feel free to contact us to make sure your home-away-from-home is a good fit with Great Vacation Retreats. Contact us at info@greatvacationretreats.com or at 808-742-9202 or 866-541-1033 if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you.

Vacation Home Property Management Services

You need to have someone you can rely on to manage your investment property. We are a trusted company that has been on Kauai for many years. Call 808-742-9202 to see what Great Vacation Retreats (GVR) can do for you. You can also text us at 808-427-0818.

YOUR BOTTOM LINE

Reporting
We spend a considerable amount of time evaluating each individual property as its own business entity every month. We keep track of the revenue at all times. We suggest upgrades and things you can do as the owner to help increase your income.

Owner Portal
Owners can log on to the website through the owner portal and find current and past statements, make their own reservations and see the calendar in real time.

Owner Statements
Our owner statements are straightforward and easy to read. We don’t nickel and dime you for various charges such as paying bills, marketing, and photography. We list all of the maintenance items that are done throughout the month so you know what areas have been cared for. Owner statements are prepared prior to the 10th of each month. You can choose to have checks directly deposited to your account or we can mail you a paper check.

Bill Payment
Many of our owners have us pay their property bills on their behalf. These bills include homeowners’ dues, electric, cable, yard service, pool service, carpet cleaning, etc. You will see the charges on your homeowner’s statement. We offer this service at no extra charge to you.

Taxes
We pay the Hawaii General Excise and Transient Accommodation taxes on your behalf monthly and send a copy of the year-end filing for your review. We offer this service at no extra cost to you.

Linen Charge
We charge a fee for our linen program twice per year based on the number of bedrooms your property has. After exploring many options over the years, we have found that this allows us to have consistent quality of linens while keeping costs as affordable as possible. The charges are made in January and July when income is higher.

Extra Charges
Besides the linen program, we like to have the windows professionally cleaned periodically and perform two maintenance checks annually. For some properties closer to the ocean, the windows might need to be cleaned monthly. We like to sharpen the knives every once in a while and make sure the carpets are clean. That is about it.

Owner Use of Their Property
There is no charge when you stay in your property except for the departure-cleaning fee. You can set up your reservations online or give us a call. We are open 7 days a week and are always available by email.

PROPERTY CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Cleaning
Your condo or home will be assigned to a professional cleaner who is accountable to Great Vacation Retreats to report any maintenance issues and keep your property at its best. The continuity of the same cleaner allows them to do the extras when the time is permitting. We also schedule a deep clean three or four times a year. Owners pay the standard cleaning fee for the deep clean and we pay the rest. All cleans are inspected by one of our staff before check-in.

Maintenance
We have an in-house maintenance working seven days a week that bill by the quarter hour. If we have a problem he can’t fix, we will find someone that can. In order to be proactive, we do two to three maintenance checks replacing lightbulbs, batteries, and any other maintenance needed. This saves you on charges for calls to service problems for the guest. Depending on the scope of work, vendors usually bill us and we pay the bill on your behalf (with no mark up).  You will see the charge on your monthly owner’s statement. We also have an on-call maintenance person for holidays.

Rental Property Inspections
We inspect every property prior to every check-in to make sure it is guest ready and up to our standards. We like to ‘overstock’ the basics such as toilet paper and dish soap, and we leave a little gift for our guests.


MARKETING AND GUEST RELATIONS

Marketing
Marketing is one of our greatest passions, and it is free for our owners. We have a cutting-edge social media program with over 55,000 followers. Our beautiful newsletters are sent monthly to our database.  We offer property-specific advertising on all of the main marketing venues. Our software is user-friendly, allowing for online booking and is integrated with Airbnb.

Reviews
We acknowledge that reviews are very important to the success of a vacation rental, and Great Vacation Retreats collects, monitors and responds to online reviews and in-house surveys. Owners are sent the guests’ surveys that are left for us on check-out, keeping us 100% accountable for the guest’s experience while they are in your vacation home. We diligently answer reviews in the context of the numerous websites that we advertise each property on.

Great Vacation Retreats has been rated Excellent on FlipKey (TripAdvisor), SuperHost on Airbnb and  a VRBO Premier Partner.

Guest Communication
We have amazing software that allows us to fully automate and personalize guest communication from the minute a hold is put on a property’s calendar when the guest is considering booking to a payment reminder, check-in instructions to what to do on island, right up to checking in with them the day after check-in and a follow up 3 days after check-out to see how their stay was.

We have someone answering the phone to take care of our guests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Inquiries
We have reservationists answering all inquiries that are initiated from the multitude of websites we advertise on. It is our goal to personally get back to the prospective guest within ten minutes.  One of our agents is online almost 24/7 making sure your property stays booked – at no extra cost to you! Our software immediately generates a response to potential guests.

Guest Payment
We take all major credit cards and eCheck. The guest pays $500 at the time of reservation and the rest is due 60 days before check-in. We automatically charge the guest the final charge and a confirmation is sent to them.

Cleaning Cost
Owners pay a cleaning fee only when you stay in your own property or you have a guest using the property that did not pay their own cleaning fee. Otherwise, it is standard for rental clients to pay their own cleaning fee when booking a vacation rental.

The important thing to remember is, if your property is well maintained and you have a management company you trust, you should be able to cover and exceed your basic costs (without a mortgage) and enjoy your home-away-from-home while, hopefully, building equity in a little piece of paradise. A good management company will be able to do that for you; a great management company will exceed your expectations and will be very realistic in their promises.

Recycling on Kauai

There is always a certain anxiety that goes along with choosing a property manager whether it’s your first vacation rental, you own multiple rentals or you are leaving one management company and hiring a new one. It is especially important to pick a manager you trust when typically you are not living near your vacation home.


Below are some questions that we consider important to ask yourself prior to choosing to use your property as a vacation rental:

Are my expectations reasonable?

Are like properties renting for the same amount that I want my property to make? Look at the calendars to see if they are full at the price you think your property should rent for.

Am I comfortable with strangers in my ‘home’? There will be wear and tear. Guests appreciate a small amount of personality in a rental home but they also like to envision it as their home during the time they are staying there.

Do you expect to have a positive cash flow? This isn’t usually possible in today’s economy. Most owners who rent their property are looking to offset the costs of ownership. If you need the property to make a certain amount of money each month, make sure you have money put away for the unexpected expense.

Are you expecting a full calendar in November (off season) or in February (peak season) if you own in Hawaii or many other places for that matter? There will be times of the year that it is going to be very difficult to fill without heavy discounts because supply of vacation properties is higher than demand. What is the management company doing to stand out from the crowd?

There are a variety of fees that can come up. You should be prepared to ask a new manager about marketing fees, advertising fees, cleaning fees, bill paying fees, etc.

Here are some questions to ask when hiring a manager:

Do you as a management company measure yourself?
Are there comment cards and/or solicitation for guest reviews? Reviews are critical in marketing properties, and there are many guests who will not stay at a property, that does not have reviews. You, as an owner, should be seeing what guests are saying about your property and you should want to work with a company that is accountable.

Does the management company contact the guest after they arrive? The better reservation software can send out an email to each guest the day after they arrive.

Can I see a sample of real owner statements? Do they charge fees on top of their commission?

How does the management company analyze prices? How often do they change prices and seasons? A full calendar can indicate a too low pricing strategy.

What is your marketing philosophy? Are they using up-to-date technology and marketing techniques?  Do they charge the owner for marketing and/or advertising?

Do you charge the owner for travel agent commission or any other types of commissions?

Do you charge the owner for any cleaning costs?

Is there a linen charge?

Do you charge a fee for paying bills for the property on our behalf?

Do you pay Hawaii General Excise and Transient Accommodation taxes and do you charge for the service? How often are taxes paid?

How is maintenance charged? Is there an hour charge minimum?

Do you inspect the properties prior to guest arrival?

Is there a charge if the owner wants to use their own property or have their friends or family there?

What extra costs will show up during the year?

The important thing to remember is if your property is well maintained and you have a management company you trust, you should be able to cover and exceed your basic costs (without a mortgage) and enjoy your home-away-from-home while, hopefully, building equity in your little piece of paradise. A good management company will be able to do that for you; a great management company will exceed your expectations and will be very realistic in their promises.

Vacation Home Property Management Services

There is always a certain anxiety that goes along with choosing a property manager whether it’s your first vacation rental, you own multiple rentals or you are leaving one management company and hiring a new one. It is especially important to pick a manager you trust when typically you are not living near your vacation home.


Below are some questions that we consider important to ask yourself prior to choosing to use your property as a vacation rental:

Are my expectations reasonable?

Are like properties renting for the same amount that I want my property to make? Look at the calendars to see if they are full at the price you think your property should rent for.

Am I comfortable with strangers in my ‘home’? There will be wear and tear. Guests appreciate a small amount of personality in a rental home but they also like to envision it as their home during the time they are staying there.

Do you expect to have a positive cash flow? This isn’t usually possible in today’s economy. Most owners who rent their property are looking to offset the costs of ownership. If you need the property to make a certain amount of money each month, make sure you have money put away for the unexpected expense.

Are you expecting a full calendar in November (off season) or in February (peak season) if you own in Hawaii or many other places for that matter? There will be times of the year that it is going to be very difficult to fill without heavy discounts because supply of vacation properties is higher than demand. What is the management company doing to stand out from the crowd?

There are a variety of fees that can come up. You should be prepared to ask a new manager about marketing fees, advertising fees, cleaning fees, bill paying fees, etc.


Here are some questions to ask when hiring a manager:

Do you as a management company measure yourself?
Are there comment cards and/or solicitation for guest reviews? Reviews are critical in marketing properties, and there are many guests who will not stay at a property, that does not have reviews. You, as an owner, should be seeing what guests are saying about your property and you should want to work with a company that is accountable.

Does the management company contact the guest after they arrive? The better reservation software can send out an email to each guest the day after they arrive.

Can I see a sample of real owner statements? Do they charge fees on top of their commission?

How does the management company analyze prices? How often do they change prices and seasons? A full calendar can indicate a too low pricing strategy.

What is your marketing philosophy? Are they using up-to-date technology and marketing techniques?  Do they charge the owner for marketing and/or advertising?

Do you charge the owner for travel agent commission or any other types of commissions?

Do you charge the owner for any cleaning costs?

Is there a linen charge?

Do you charge a fee for paying bills for the property on our behalf?

Do you pay Hawaii General Excise and Transient Accommodation taxes and do you charge for the service? How often are taxes paid?

How is maintenance charged? Is there an hour charge minimum?

Do you inspect the properties prior to guest arrival?

Is there a charge if the owner wants to use their own property or have their friends or family there?

What extra costs will show up during the year?

The important thing to remember is if your property is well maintained and you have a management company you trust, you should be able to cover and exceed your basic costs (without a mortgage) and enjoy your home-away-from-home while, hopefully, building equity in your little piece of paradise. A good management company will be able to do that for you; a great management company will exceed your expectations and will be very realistic in their promises.

Self-Managing your Vacation Rental Property

I want to go back to my little grass shack…

A How-to Guide
for Purchasing Vacation Rental Property on Kauai

So you have discovered the beauty of Kauai and have decided to buy your home-away-from-home! Perhaps you intend to offer your new property as a vacation rental to offset some of the costs of ownership? Kauai is a highly desirable vacation destination with consistent “beach” weather all year long! Visitors embrace the myriad of ocean activities available along with air and land adventures, beautiful hikes, world-class golf courses, food and farm tours and nature exploration. Restaurants serving fresh local produce, an abundance of farmers markets and creative artisans offering Kauai-made products all help to create a thriving tourism market. Friendly residents, coupled with a genuine spirit of Aloha, makes Kauai the perfect island community for your new investment.

This guide will provide you with the knowledge needed to rent your vacation home on Kauai. We wish you great success with your new venture and many amazing and memorable experiences for your future guests!

View our PURCHASING VACATION RENTAL REAL ESTATE GUIDE

WHAT CHARGES TO EXPECT

What charges should I expect to see on my Owners Statement?

OWNER STATEMENTS
We try to keep our statements as easy to read and as simple as possible. They are prepared monthly and are based on departure dates. For instance, you would receive the reporting for February guests in March. Usually, the statements are prepared and checks deposited prior to the 10th of the month. You can choose to have your income deposited directly or have a paper check mailed to you.

SAMPLE: View an actual Monthly Owner Statement

Reservation Summary
The reservation summary will show you the names and dates of guests that have departed the month prior. It displays the gross and net income to you for each reservation. You will also see your owner reservations.

Monthly Costs/Charges
The charges incurred during the month are listed on your statement. These items might include window cleaning, carpet cleaning, utilities, etc. There may also be charges in this area for replaced items such as a new coffee maker or other small items.

Maintenance Charges
This category will list any maintenance items that were done during the prior month. This column might be empty for a month if no work was done on your property or it might show small repairs such as fixing a leaky toilet or garbage disposal. You might have used our services to schedule larger repairs and, if we paid the vendor on your behalf, you would see that charge listed here. Maintenance checks are done two or three times a year.

Cleaning
Owners will be a charge for an out-cleaning after an owner reservation. Deep cleans are done three or four times a year at the owners’ expense.

Reoccurring Charges
These will be listed under other charges and include the linen program which is charged in January and July. Window washing is done as needed; sometimes monthly depending on your proximity to the ocean breeze.

There are no marketing, bill paying, commissions, and guest cleaning charges from Great Vacation Retreats’ management.

Meaning of Aloha

Aloha from Great Vacation Retreats!

As guests are planning their island vacation, they often wonder what is provided at the property?

All properties are fully furnished with the basics– at least one television, wifi, radio, alarm clocks, etc., and Great Vacation Retreats supplies an ample supply of the following items below. There is enough for a stay of at least a week, usually more; however if you have an extended stay, you might need to purchase additional items during your visit.

Here is a list of what we provide in your condo to help with your packing and shopping!

Kitchen Supplies
Hand Soap
Dish Soap
Dishwasher Soap
Dish Sponge
Paper Towels
Kauai Coffee Starter Packs Includes Creamer/Sweetener Packs
Kitchen Trash Bags

Bathroom Supplies & Toiletries
Island Soap and Candleworks Bath Amenities;
Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion, and Soap
Toilet Paper
Kleenex
Hair Dyer
Towels (Bath, Hand, Wash)

Laundry Supplies
Laundry Detergent
Fabric Softener
Iron/Ironing Board Set

Linens
We provide all linens including beach towels.

What Should You Provide For Your Guests

One question that we are often asked by owners, usually owners that are new to the vacation rental industry, is “What should we provide at our property for guests?”

We have comprised a list of minimum inventory that is standard for vacation rentals. Over the years we have learned which items are best bought in bulk. In fact, we have most of the items in our storage if you would like to purchase them through us. For certain items like silverware, it is better to purchase from us as we can then replace only the 4 missing forks instead of having to purchase a new set when only the forks are missing, etc.

How much should I spend on inventory? Well, it depends on the property, but plan on replacing items more often than you would in your own home. With high occupancy and the ocean breeze, items tend to need to be replaced more frequently. Usually picking something of median price/quality is a good choice for a vacation rental.

Living Room:
o Flat Screen Television
o Bluetooth Player
o Coasters
o Lamps for Reading
o Tables, Chairs, Couch..etc..
o Wireless Internet

Dinnerware:
o Dinner Plates
o Salad Plates
o Cereal/ Soup Bowls
o Coffee Mugs

Glassware:
o Water
o Juice
o Stemless Wine Glasses
o Champagne
o White Wine Glasses
o Red Wine Glasses

Flatware:
o Dinner Knives
o Dinner Forks
o Teaspoons
o Tablespoons
o Steak Knives

* Dinnerware, glassware, and flatware should accommodate twice the occupancy of your home or condo.

Cookware:
o Casserole Dishes
o Microwave Dishes
o 2qt and 5qt Sauce Pans w/Lids
o Pasta Pot
o 8”&10” Fry Pans
o Roasting Pan
o Cookie Sheet
o Cake Pan
o Stock Pot
o 12″ Deep Frying Pan

Knives
o Knives-paring, steak, bread, 6″, 8″
o Knife Block-magnetic wall mount or free standing

Miscellaneous:
o Kitchen Scissors
o Spoons-slotted, large, wooden
o Cutting Board
o Mixing Bowls
o Can Opener
o Cork Screw
o Vegetable Peeler
o Whisks-stainless
o Whisk -Silicone Ball 11 in
o Spatulas: Metal Turner, Fish/Slotted Turner, Rubber
o Ladle
o Measuring Cups and Spoons
o Liquid Measuring Cup
o Tongs-large and small
o Potato Masher
o Microplane
o Chip Clips
o Lemon/Lime Handheld Juicer
o Ice Cream Scoop
o Silicone Basting Brush
o Meat Thermometer
o Pineapple Slicer
o Bottle Opener
o Corkscrew
o Wine Opener
o Grater
o Colander
o Waste Basket
o Utility Knifes
o Flash Light
o Pot Holders -silicone
o Tea Pot
o Tea Kettle
o Placemats
o Serving Platter and Bowls
o Salad Servers
o Dish Drainer
o Foil
o Plastic Wrap
o Various Food Containers

Small appliances:
o Coffeemaker
o Toaster
o Blender
o Hand Mixer
o Microwave
o Rice Cooker
o Coffee/Spice Grinder
o Food Processor
o French Press
o Slow Cooker (crockpot)
o Griddle

Bedrooms:
o Coordinating and Washable Comforters and Shams
o Bedskirt and Mattress Pad
o Pillows -2 Standard for each Twin, 4 Standard for each Queen and 2 King and 3 Standard for each King
o  Blankets -2 per Bedroom
o Alarm clock -1 per Bedroom
o Wastebaskets
o Plastic/Wood Hangers
o Dressers or Shelves
o Bedbug Covers

Bathrooms:
o Wastebasket -1 per Bath
o At least -1 plunger
o Bath Mats nonslip
o Towels (double the occupancy for the unit)
o Ironing Board/Iron
o Hair Dryer

Miscellaneous:
o Vacuum Cleaner
o Broom
o 2 Floor or Box Fans
o Corded Telephone

 Deck/ Patio:
o Patio Chairs to Accommodate Occupancy
o Patio Table
o Lounge Chair, if space allows

Recommended:
o Additional TVs
o Washer and Dryer
o Games/Books
o Guidebooks/Map

Linens Provided by GVR Linen Program

Owner Testimonials

As we pack to leave (insert sad face) I want to thank you and everyone at GVR for all you do. It was so scary buying our dream get-away from across the ocean and you have made this process seamless. Everyone we have dealt with has been professional, friendly, prompt, above and beyond.
Also, the kitchen stocking is phenomenal. The sheets and towels are first rate, they rival the Marriott! I can not express the gratitude and confidence I feel having our home in your care
Mahalo, Jacqui McChesney


OWNERS KEITH AND LAURE DIETTERIE – MAKAHUENA

The litmus test of a  great on-island management company is not the day-to-day bookings and check-ins.  Many companies perform this service, and do a good job.  The difficult part is how things are handled when a reservation goes horribly wrong – and it can happen – no matter how careful you are!  Great Vacation Retreats recently handled a bad situation for us, and I cannot begin to express how grateful we are to them.  Here is what happened:
A valve in an upstairs toilet began to leak the day our guests arrived.  In short order, GVR arranged to have the water shut off until a plumber arrived, moved the guests to a new location, and had a plumber fix the leak.  Since the water had seeped into the wall, they followed up with a restoration company, to ensure that there would be no mold or mildew issues.  GVR also worked with our insurance carrier, and helped us get all the paperwork needed to file a claim – including a statement of lost income.

This was a bad situation for us being so far away, but GVR stayed on top of the restoration, and now it is a good as new.  In the end, the guests, although irritated, did not write a bad review.  GVR did everything they could to help them relocate and followed up with them (as per GVR’s usual policies).
Before we signed with GVR, we took the time to read the guest reviews, I love the way they focus on the guests and work hard to ensure that they have a good experience.  People spend a lot of money to get to the islands, and look forward to it for months, so the expectations are very high.  Their guest reviews consistently show that GVR does an outstanding job of providing a lovely experience.

Thanks,
Keith and Laure Dietterle

AND

We purchased our condo with the intent of eventual retirement to this beautiful island, and that time has now come.   In the interim period, the condo was managed by GVR and the rental occupancy of our unit surpassed even our most hopeful expectations.  They do an outstanding job of advertising, managing the clients, unit maintenance and communication with the owners.  I feel very lucky to have had this positive experience and wish to acknowledge the company for a job exceptionally well done! If you are looking for a professional team to market, manage and maintain your rental, this team has to rank in the top tier of all on-island management companies.

Keith and Laure Dietterle

OWNERS CHRIS & KRISS MANN – NANI KAI, WHALERS COVE

We love working with Amy Grant and her company, Great Vacation Retreats! We’ve owned various properties over in Kauai so we’ve had the opportunity to work with many rental companies there. We’ve found that Great Vacation Retreats is the best by far for several reasons:


They don’t nickel and dime us!!! Many rental companies we had worked with in the past were charging us for every little thing, and those charges kept getting bigger and bigger. I know I won’t have any surprises with Great Vacation Retreats. They take care of the small things in our unit at no charge. The fees charged on our unit are very reasonable.

We’re making better rental income with Great Vacation Retreats. With one company, one of our unit’s gross for three months was $13,000 and we received a net check of $3,000. Their fee was 77%! Now, we’re getting anywhere from a net of $4,000 to $5,000 or more a month.
Service, service, service! I can’t tell you how many renters have sent emails to Amy thanking her for the incredible service they’ve received from her and her management team over there. That means more repeat business for our units.

I just talked with a friend yesterday who we referred to Amy and he’s so happy. He said Amy treats him like a client and with respect. He said his previous company never acted like they really cared about his property. His revenue has increased and the move has been both personally and financially profitable for him.

I would urge anyone looking for a property management company to work with Great Vacation Retreats. They are the best!

Feel free to contact us by phone or email for a referral.
Sincerely,

Chris and Kriss Mann, (916) 397 8163 – Kriss (916) 335-2524 – Chris
kam@muncpas.com

OWNER BRETT MUELLER – SEA VILLAGE 4207
I am writing this letter in support of Great Vacation Retreats and their management of our unit in Sea Village #4207. We had concerns about using an off island management company at first. We met with Amy Grant at our condo on Kona and were totally impressed with her. Her knowledge of the industry and the use of the Internet was very impressive. She put to rest all of our fears. Great Vacations Retreats has done an excellent job in maintenance, cleaning and the bookings has greatly increased our income from the unit. Since joining Great Vacations we have met and become greatly involved with Linda Sylvester who is Amy’s right hand. Any issues and problems are handled through her in a timely and professional manner. She is a loyal and hard working individual and is a great help when needed.
I recommend Great Vacations Retreats without reservation – they are a great company.
Brett H. Mueller DDS, MA 210-885-8967 (cell)


OWNERS DEBORAH AND PETER TAUBENHEIM – NIHI KAI VILLAS 

So many ways to express it but the simplest is this…… NO “nickel and diming”.

We joined Great Vacation Retreats in 2009 after previously being with two large south shore agencies. We cringed every month when we opened our statement to find yet another long list of incidental charges for which we had no say so in or control of. Amy Grant promised us greater control over expenditures and a relationship that would more like a partnership. Great Vacation Retreats has delivered on that. We appreciate the more personal touch and flexibility given in many ways versus the “cookie cutter” approach of the large agencies.

Great Vacation Retreats is always looking for creative and new ways to expand the base of customers and while growing has been able to maintain the personal touch. We would recommend a look at GVR for any owner considering a change.

Deborah and Peter Taubenheim

OWNERS JUDE & DEIDRE BASILE

We are writing this letter to express our sincere pleasure in doing business with Great Vacation Retreats for a little over a year now.

We purchased our condo on Kauai in 2009 and signed on with another management company. They were really impersonal and were charging a much higher percentage to manage our property. We left them because we were feeling they forgot who owned the unit.

Great Vacation Retreats has lived up to everything that was presented to us at our initial meeting. I have dealt with most of the employees at GVR and have been thoroughly impressed.

Our guest book is full of compliments not only on our condo, but how clean it is and well represented online. GVR has a great website for potential guests and is really user friendly for owners. We can book our own reservations (or our guests), see our statements and our calendar well into the future.

We feel like GVR treats our property as if it were their own. The contact between us and GVR is perfect, not too intrusive, yet we feel as if we know a lot of what is going on “on island”. They have a great presence on social networking sites and our unit is renting really well. We could not ask for more.

We are happy to talk with anyone personally who is considering having Great Vacation Retreats manage their property. We are confident living in California that our investment on Kauai is being well cared for when we can’t be there.

Sincerely,

Jude and Deidre Basile
Cambria, CA  dobasile@charter.net

OWNER LYNN HUFSCHMID – POIPU SHORES

 As an owner/manager of a Poipu Shores condo, I have nothing but praise and gratitude for Great Vacation Retreats and the superior services they provide.  Living on the mainland presents numerous challenges while striving to maintain high standards with regard to our vacation rental.  For years, I have limped along, putting out fires from afar.  Needless to say, it is very stressful when unexpected maintenance issues arise. 

Great Vacation Retreats (GVR) not only schedules contractors to take care of any needed maintenance, but they meet with the contractors to ensure the job is completed to their/our satisfaction.  GVR has several contractors who work closely with them giving GVR priority status.

Great Vacation Retreats has been cleaning our condo for two years.  I call each and every guest while in our condo.  I have received only positive comments on the cleanliness.  Not once have they missed a cleaning.  They are extremely professional, honest, and reliable.  They work hard to accommodate late check-outs when possible.

When a special occasion arises, Great Vacation Retreats will have a bottle of wine, flowers, or an assortment of local coffee, cookies, etc awaiting our guest’s arrival.  GVR immediately replaces items that break such as coffee maker, toaster, TV, etc. keeping value, cost, and aesthetics in mind.

I truly cannot stress the importance of having an “assistant” on island taking care of issues, large or small, in my absence.  As property managers of nearly three dozen condo’s, Great Vacation Retreats understands the importance of maintaining a professional, courteous staff  and they know just what is required to keep guests happy and returning, which is the bottom line.  Since working with Great Vacation Retreats, my business runs so much smoother, and I have the security of knowing someone is on island to take care of anything that may come up.

The benefits for our guests, of working with GVR, are numerous.  Immediate attention and replacement of a non-working items; an extremely well maintained condo; fresh linens that are replaced prior to becoming worn out; just to name a few.

I thoroughly trust Great Vacation Retreats to be the face of my business.  I am very proud of the upgrades I can offer as part of my guest services such as grocery shopping, rental gear, rental cars, and tour bookings.

Please contact me at (360) 573-1516 or email hufschmid@comcast.net for a referral!

OWNERS HECTOR AND PAT ALDAPE – POIPU SANDS

To all the staff at GVR,

My wife and I would like to thank you all and tell you how much we appreciate your help and efficiency in managing and renting our condo Poipu Sands 122. We have found your entire staff to be responsive, knowledgeable and prompt in addressing our concerns and those of our guests.

Just by way of history and comparison, we have owned this condo since 1988. Until early 2013 we used another rental agency. They were also courteous and attentive but at a high cost. With passage of time the charges, mostly related to “marketing and advertising”, became high, with the net result, or bottom line, that we were lucky to get 25 cents on the dollar from our rentals. Since we switched to GVR our income has doubled due to increase in rentals and less extraneous charges.

In summary, we are very happy with GVR and wish you continued success,

Sincerely,

Hector & Pat Aldape

Kauai Marathon

There are still a few condos on Kauai that support a front desk, and there are many advantages to having one on your property. Over the years, many owners have come to depend on the friendly, familiar faces behind the front desk and like the idea of walking over and discussing an issue with someone on-site. It definitely provides that personal contact for your guests, and there is a certain secure feeling that goes along with having an on-site front desk.

The advantages of a front desk come with a cost. Many on-site management companies create a culture that ensure their presence for the long term, a higher commission to themselves and higher homeowners association fees, which partially assist in absorbing the cost of the front desk. Owners are charged extra fees if they don’t use on-site management services like key costs and extra resort fees. Some HOA’s won’t allow lock boxes or electronic locks to discourage outside management companies.

During an age where technology has become so effective, it is sometimes hard to understand why electronic locks are discouraged by HOAs. The new locks integrate with vacation rental software and eliminate key control and key cost issues. They can control who has access and report and alert the management company to all entries into a condo or home. They have become reasonably priced and are a much safer alternative to keys.

Do you need a front desk to be successful? There is evidence that many condo complexes thrive without a front desk. Some of the owners represent themselves; other owners use their right of choice and find the management company that best suits them. The bottom line is they have the choice to spend a lot less on management commission and the owner’s net annual revenue is higher. Are their guests happy and taken care of? Absolutely.

In fact, according to NBCNews.com, “Hotels increasingly want to lure a rising subset of the market — a younger, tech-proficient group of business nomads and vacationers with their own industry acronym: FITs, or Free Independent Travelers. In general, FITs have above-average income, prefer to roam alone, in small groups or as couples, avoid tourist tracks, research their explorations via their mobile devices, and spend freely. They are, Sinclair said, “now the dominant market traveler being sought after by most major brands.”

“FITs, experts believe, prefer hotels that offer texted check-in codes or lobby kiosks that spit out room keys.

‘So how long until old-school front desks vanish from most or maybe all mid-market hotels?

“Within the next 36 months,” forecasts James Sinclair, principal of OnSite Consulting, a national restaurant and hospitality consulting company. His clients include W Hotels and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.””

Many major vacation rental companies have hotel backgrounds, and their business model is starting to change. As an owner of a vacation property, you may find that an extra $1000 to $2000 a month in your pocket is a valid reason not to support a front desk and that most of your guests actually prefer it that way.

Just something to think about.

GET AND TAT

GENERAL EXCISE TAX (GET) AND TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAX (TAT)

When you are hiring Great Vacation Retreats (GVR) midyear, all previous tax information during the current calendar year needs to be provided to GVR. GVR will need also need your online login and password for http://tax.hawaii.gov/eservices/

GVR submits the GET and TAT taxes to the state on a monthly basis on your behalf at no additional charge to you.

GVR collects the taxes from the guest and pays them to the State so it is an in and out charge. You will receive a summary of taxes paid at the end of each year to provide to your accountant.

The general excise tax, commonly called the “GET,” is a tax imposed on business activity in the State of Hawaii. This tax is often called a “gross income tax” because the tax is computed based on the business’ total gross income derived from doing business in Hawaii and not on the business’ net profit. Gross income includes any cost passed on to the customer and represented to be the general excise tax, but does not include any cost visibly passed on to a guest or tenant and represented to be the transient accommodations tax. The State of Hawaii adds the tax to the revenue to figure the tax. You will notice on GVR’s reporting that there is a difference of income reported on the GET statements and this is the reason. The GET is currently 4.5% calculated at $4.712 (you pay tax on tax in this State).

The table on this site, item #5, explains how to pass the GET to the consumer.

The transient accommodations tax, commonly called the “TAT,” is a tax on certain rental activity in the State of Hawaii. It is imposed on gross rental income derived from the furnishing (i.e. the providing or renting) of transient accommodations in Hawaii. Gross rental income does not include any cost visibly passed on to the guest or tenant and represented to be the general excise tax and the transient accommodations tax. The TAT is currently 10.25%.

The total amount of tax passed onto the consumer is 14.962%. This is standard for all vacation rental homes in Hawaii.

There is a one-time fee of $25 payable to the State to set up GET and TAT accounts. We can process this paperwork for you.

Decorating your Vacation Home

THE DO’S AND DON’TS TO DECORATING YOUR VACATION HOME

1. Painting: Refresh the walls or touch up and paint the trim and base boards! Bright, white, freshly painted baseboards give a clean feeling!
2. Update Bedding and Pillows: New pillows and new mattress covers make a huge difference for the comfort of your guests. Typically we try to avoid busy patterns as they don’t photograph very well. Macy’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond have excellent deals! Cotton and washable are recommended.
3. Upgrade Electronics: Provide a Sonos or other Bluetooth player and charging stations for guests to charge their mobile phones and listen to their own music playlists!
4. Lighting: Replace dated light fixtures and add more lighting. Stained or molding lamp shades are a BIG NO! Guests really appreciate good quality reading lamps in both the bedrooms and the living room.
5. Shades: Replace window coverings or old curtains with modern shades that block UV and light to keep sunny condos and homes cool.
6. Appliances: Replace old and tired appliances, especially if plastic is discoloring or parts are rusting. Don’t buy expensive counter appliances – aim to replace them more frequently instead!
7. Get new art: Try bright island prints from local Kauai artists! Check that your art is not molding; if so, it is time to reframe or replace!

PMS-art

It is always tempting to insert your own personality into your vacation home when choosing your décor. If your goal is to rent your home-away-from-home and maximize your income, please read on.

There is a balance that can be reached between your personal style and comfort, so you enjoy being there, with durable and affordable furnishings that can withstand the wear and tear of guests. Owners who like to have those special items for themselves should safely place them in a locked owners’ closet in their absence.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Think pictures. Pictures are what will sell your property to the prospective guest. Pictures need to be accurate so the guests’ expectations are met and, hopefully, exceeded. Neutral tones with accent pillows that match the artwork photograph extremely well! You can get away with prints or patterns, but you have to be extremely careful. Mixing themes can create a busy and cluttered look that will not photograph well. This authentic Hawaiian Quilt is a pattern that works!

pms bed

Many people look at bedspreads with dated patterns and think “old bed,” “uncomfortable,” etc. If you are considering purchasing bedspreads, please contact us as we can make suggestions on where you can make your purchases.

Wicker and rattan furniture with Hawaiian print fabric are common throughout the Hawaii rental market. If you look on any major website you will see living room after living room with almost identical furniture. Yes, it looks tropical, but it also looks uncomfortable. If you are seeking the most rental income possible, buy comfortable, durable and neutral couches or sectionals. Accent pillows to match the art is a good way to bring everything together.

pms living

Purchasing Furnishings

Being out in the middle of the Pacific can make shopping a challenge and often shipping is very expensive to Hawaii. Kauai has, over the past few years, more shopping choices and it isn’t always necessary to shop on Oahu or the mainland anymore.

Aspire Furniture has been GVR’s go-to-place for several years, and many of our owners have created beautiful homes and condos just by working with Cindy and Jeff McGee at Aspire. Their Nawiliwili showroom is “filled with quality home furnishings and accessories for every room in your home.” They have “an eclectic mix of inventory” featuring many manufacturers at a variety of price points. Call 808-245-9015 or visit them at 3337 Nawiliwili Rd., Lihue, HI 96766. Cindy has been phenomenal at assisting our owners with beautiful, tasteful and comfortable choices.

Many of our owners have used Melissa Rawlinson with Align Design to create an inviting vacation rental property. Melissa can be reached at 808-635-4918.

Kauai also has a Pier 1 Imports at Kukui Grove now. Any of the items on their website may be shipped to their store free of charge. They have a large variety of household items for sale.

Two Frogs Hugging is located in the industrial park of Lihue. Two Frogs has an ever growing inventory and off fun furniture choices from around the Pacific. 3094 Aukele St, Lihue, HI 96766 (808) 246-8777

Otsuka’s has been in business for 75 years on Kauai and they are another choice for furniture and accessories. They can be reached at 808-822-7766 or visit their showroom in Kapaa at 4-1624 Kuhio Highway.

For window coverings, GVR recommends Aspire Window Trends 808-332-9844.

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, most items that you purchase on Amazon will ship for free. Don’t have a Prime membership? Let GVR know what you want and we can order through our membership and add the charges to your owner statement.

Pottery Barn offers reasonable shipping to the island when you make an online purchase.

Honolulu based C.S. Wo & Sons also offers high quality furnishings and will ship to the outer islands.

If you would like GVR to help, give us a call. We are happy to oversee any improvements to your condo or home.

Plates and Silverware Program

Great Vacation Retreats has chosen a white dish pattern and silverware that have been and will be available for years to come to stock your condos and homes. We were finding that with the limited supply available to us on Kauai, condos and homes were having many miss-matched items in their kitchen cabinets. A few plates break, forks get left at the beach picnic, etc. and so we have come up with a solution. You may purchase our dishes and silverware and we will add a few here and there as needed.

HOME WARRANTIES

GVR often has warranty issues come up whenever an appliance or electronic device breaks down. Owners have purchased warranties in the past not realizing the challenges that come with them. The outer Hawaiian Islands have limited resources for labor and supplies. In most cases, timing is of the essence when working in high occupancy times, which GVR continues to strive to be in. Many times, GVR cannot contact warranty companies because they will not talk to us, and it can be extremely time consuming and costly to you, the owner, in labor time costs. In most situations, there is not a replacement on island and, in the case of larger items, it is difficult to get a repair person who is covered under the warranty out to the property in a timely manner.

Just to give you an example, a guest had a refrigerator go out one Saturday afternoon. The guest was checking out the next day, Sunday, with a back-to-back situation. The guest who was departing was not upset, but it meant GVR had to get the repair person out that Saturday afternoon. GVR’s regular appliance guy was nice enough to come out right away on a Saturday and established the fridge was not fixable and had to be replaced. A loaner fridge was put in, the broken fridge was discarded. As soon as we took the broken fridge out, the warranty was invalidated. If GVR had waited for the warranty to be checked and the authorized warranty repair person to come out, the owner would have lost the entire reservation which costs more than a replacement fridge, and GVR would have had some very upset guests and no where to move them to.

Guests expect everything to be in order when they arrive and during their stay at your property. In order to provide that level of service, GVR has to act quickly to make sure that the guest has everything they need. As most of you are aware, it is impossible for you, the owner, to be contacted regarding any smaller items. Whenever possible, GVR involves owners in purchasing replacements for large appliances and any work that has to be done that exceeds $500.

It is GVR’s goal to provide you with the best service possible, maintain your condos and homes in the best way we can, while earning the income that many of you desire and deserve to have. If you are considering purchasing warranties on items for your property you may want to take this into consideration as they don’t always work as well with vacation rentals on Kauai as they do in some other markets and in your own home where timing might not be as critical.

OWNER PORTAL