The stars seem to be aligning to create an amazing summer on the Outer Banks. Occupancy is near 100%, according to property managers, the beaches are looking very good and the weather seems to be cooperating.

Which means this is the perfect time for vacation rental property owners to take advantage of happy consumers and make sure they keep coming back. Here’s a quote from Michael LaBouef, author and business consultant, that might help: “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Adding to that–from a marketing standpoint–a satisfied customer is the least expensive source of revenue you will find.

Yes, there is certainly money to be made now, but that may pale beside the money that could be made in the future if the guests staying in your house today are so satisfied they don’t even look at your competitors. If a family books the third week in July for their vacation every year and they are so happy with the home that they book that same house for the same week next year, that’s one less week that has to be marketed. And if they tell friends and relatives about it, that could be two or three weeks less.

There are, of course, quite a number of things that go in to a consumer’s evaluation of a product–specifically in this case, that vacation home. Certainly price is important, but it is not the only factor. In fact, after finding a home in the general price range the family was planning to spend, price becomes secondary to the overall quality of the experience.

That is why we have written a number of times in this blog about how important upkeep of your property is and amenities in making your home competitive.

Curb appeal sets the mood for the week. That family that has just driven from Philadelphia has been on the road for 8-10 hours, the last two stuck in a horrific traffic jam starting at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg. They are tired, and they are irritable. A well-presented, neat and clean house is what they are looking for at this point in time. Does your house meet that standard? Don’t just use your eyes . . . ask others about how it looks. Friends, professionals, neighbors. It is a fact that when any of us create something, we can look at the same mistake ten times and never see it, but fresh eyes will go right to it.

Are the amenities in your house appropriate for both the neighborhood and the fees you are charging? People are willing to pay for additional services or amenities, but they need to feel they are getting fair value for their money. If all the homes surrounding your property have jacuzzis and hot tubs and your house doesn’t, and what you charging is roughly equivalent, your guests may feel they are not getting fair value for their money.

Of course there is much more that goes into why or how our visitors choose a weekly rental, but these are just some of the things to think about while we have what amounts to a captive audience. A paraphrase of another saying, perhaps, to bring it all into perspective. The future, after all, is now.