At Carolina Retreats, we recognize that owners are our #1 asset. Without their trust, our hard working team wouldn’t be where we are today. Year after year, thousands of families flock to our beaches having given their accommodations little to no thought. They’ve secured their stay and cannot wait to hit the beach. It is only when after they arrive do they realize that their vacation rental becomes equally as important as the location. To ensure that we are doing our due diligence, we have assembled a perfect Property Management Team.
We have two main locations at Carolina Retreats: Topsail Island & Pleasure Island, NC. Danny Williams heads our Topsail Island team alongside Jessica Soles-Moore while Kelli Taylor runs our Pleasure Island team for Carolina & Kure Beach.
We sat down with each of them and got a closer look at their day to day operations, personal goals and things they’d love to show property owners.
Q: What’s your day to day look like? What are some tools you can’t live without?
Danny: I am a big proponent of our new “Breezeway App”. To help streamline operations we are using app to communicate with our cleaners, inspectors, and maintenance–all through employees’ smart phones. They can get assigned a task, complete a checklist, take pictures, and request something for the property. This helps keep tract of the workflow, and creates accountability. Documentation is key in this business and this is one the most handy tools around!
Jessica: We are smack in the middle of our busiest season, and loving every moment! Being busy every day means we have to ensure we streamline our process and really focus on our efficiency, to perform at our best. Our main goal is always to keep all of our guests, homeowners, and staff in the loop – so every piece of the puzzle fits together perfectly.
Kelli: I love to start my day by running a reservation report for overnight bookings ( Everyone gets so excited to see the activity and it’s a great way to kick off the morning ). The vacation planners start calling the guest introducing ourselves, and start building the most important part guest relations. Next is lining up the run for the day North to South, being on the street and making sure these homes are in tiptop shape. Which homes are empty with partials arriving , who is full and need guest maintenance touched on. Anything left over from after hour calls that need to be handled are addressed at this time as well. Guest satisfaction is 100% our goal from start to finish. Their needs and wants our my top priority during their stay, I want to make sure they are completely satisfied and ready to book again when they leave.
Q: How do you see the current state and outlook on the 2019 summer rental season?
Danny: We are on track for a banner year. We are off to a great start. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kinder to us this year. Fingers crossed!
Jessica: Business as usual! Our properties here on Topsail as well as Carolina Beach and Kure Beach are experiencing a strong booking season! We have had a busy start to the season, looking forward to a steady summer ahead!
Kelli: Guest perception was soured from some local coverage regarding Hurricane Florence last year and we did see some guests hesitant to book early due to concerns of the state of the beaches and conditions of homes in our area. Having said that, this season is steadily picking up from word of mouth and social media that our beaches are thriving. This is helping tremendously. I think booking later in the season is slowly becoming the norm for today’s vacationer.
Q: What kinds of things are you hearing on the island regarding other companies in regards to hurricane recovery (on properties)?
Danny: All of the companies on the island have been going through the same thing. Fortunately, most of our owners have had their repairs completed and are back in business. Many properties have under gone major improvements, so they are looking better and fresher than before the storm!
Jessica: Some homeowners and companies fared better than others of course, but we are all doing a great job of pulling together when it matters to make things work for our guests and owners.
Kelli: All these companies are still dealing with ongoing hurricane repairs. Without the Fall season to catch up from 2018 peak season we certainly had our work cut out for us. Our Island is a team and the past few months have proven this to be true. We can see the finish line and pray that mother nature is good to us in 2019 with no hurricanes!! We all appreciate each other and the goal is all the same!
Q: What are some important things you’d like owners to consider in terms of outlook?
Danny: It is important to think of your vacation rental as a business. First impressions are very important. Keep your yard trimmed and mulched. Keep your exterior and decking power washed and well maintained. Make sure that you have enough outside furniture and that it is good shape. The interior should be bright and clutter free. Less is more when it comes to a vacation rental.
Jessica: As our beloved “little” island grows, updates such as better electronics, solid WiFi, and a streaming device, are all solid recommendations to improving guest satisfaction. These low cost improvements really add a lot of value to a vacationer’s experience.
Kelli: Update update update! Fresh bedding, fresh pillows, fresh paint, clean carpet, etc. make it easy to rent your home! HomeAway/VRBO & many other sites have 100’s and 1000’s of options on our island, when the guest is swiping right make sure your home stands out as updated and comfy for the newest beach goer. Take a look at the inventory on these OTA’s and compare your home. Think of it as if you were the guest, what is it that makes your home nice. If you can’t answer that right away, let’s chat. We can take some easy steps that make a huge difference in the appearance of your investment. Amazon ships in two days! You can ship direct to our office and I will personally make sure your newest items and immediately put in place.
As you may have gathered, our amazing Property Management Team juggles quite the workload. From communication between internal staff or relaying messages to homeowners, these three are forever on the go. We are lucky to have these guys and hope that as a homeowner, you have a chance to meet each and every one of them.