I have always loved the world of vacation rental apartments. They represent a healthy holistic alternative to hotels, a chance to experience life as locals do, to enjoy neighborhoods you might not otherwise see and to relax as if you were at home while on vacation.
In 2006 I rented out our Yellow Flat, a simple and wonderful 1-bedroom apartment in Paris, for the first time. We had a mortgage to pay and I had rented similar apartments in the past before I purchased one. Why not give it a try?
It worked. We enjoyed many years of warm and happy relations with our guests. By focusing on the quality of professional service and real personal interaction, we guaranteed that the experience they had when renting our apartment was a good one. As I look back I am grateful to those who rented our apartment and shared our vision.
But times changed in the vacation apartment rental market and not for the better. Over the past few years, I witnessed a slow death of professionalism and caring in apartment owners accompanied by a steep decline in the quality of apartments available to rent. The reason? Too many vacation rental apartments on the market, too many websites and too few controls.
Let me illustrate this by sharing a recent experience with you:
On a trip to Paris, our Yellow Flat was booked, so I rented an apartment through Airbnb. Now in the spirit of fairness I did not pick the most expensive flat in our part of Paris. Instead, I went for a reasonably priced flat of similar size located just a few blocks away. What could possibly go wrong?
When I arrived at the building entrance, the door code that I had been given did not work. It went downhill from there. It took me over an hour to get into the flat which was a disaster. In the coming days I exchanged 30+ text messages with the host of this apartment on a variety of subjects that started with botched arrival and continued with no internet service (which was not and could not be fixed), screaming babies, broken coffee makers, trash cans filled with garbage, a complete lack of linens, and on and on.
It is not that the host was a bad person. He was trying to help as best he could. But he was clueless as to how to be a good host. I ended up spending my vacation trying to fix problems that could not be solved.
The vacation rental market has become focused on price and quantity, and unfortunately, not on value and quality. This is the harsh truth that host companies hide behind as they advertise cute images of happy renters eagerly sharing breakfast together in a cozy kitchen.
These websites do not screen their hosts, nor do they disclose what is behind the apartment front door. There are quite simply no standards. What you do have are subjective guest reviews and worse, there is no way of telling whether a review is real or fake.
More importantly, there is no one to talk to. No help line, no 800 number and not even a way to send a message or to communicate except with the owner him or herself, and if he or she is not there or is incompetent, you are basically screwed (if you’ll pardon my French).
Yes, you on your own. A cog in a system that creates experiences like this one. Look at these poor people. They are lost, it’s late, and they are tired after a long trip.
This should not happen.
It is time for a change. Time to bring trust back into the vacation rental world. And trust does not just happen; it is achieved by hard work and attention to detail. It is built by people with passion, enthusiasm and great care. That is why I spent the last two years creating our new vacation rental business: Scertified. To ensure that your vacation apartment rental is safe, secure and satisfying.
Here is how we do it:
We inspect every apartment that we offer. If an apartment does not meet our standards we will not offer it. Period. Our inspections are rigorous. We use a combination of web-based technology, on-site and virtual inspections, along with the plain old-fashioned instinct of our experts’ decades of experience to Scertify each and every one. We assess everything that we can get our hands on! We cull through local statistics, evaluate interior noise levels, examine the neighborhood, review accessibility and look at every other factor that we know matter to our guests.
We are transparent. We will always highlight the pros, cons and idiosyncrasies of each rental so that you can make an informed choice and be assured of a perfect Scertified stay.
We are on your side. We are here to help you 24/7 from booking, to questions before departure; from the moment you arrive, throughout your stay, and after departure. If there is a problem, we will fix it for you.
We choose only the best apartments in top vacation spots. We have selected Scertified apartments in top vacation destinations including New York, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon, Los Angeles and San Diego as well as many others for you to choose from. All of our apartments are professionally managed locally by our partner agencies in each destination.
Our goal is simple: To change your choice of travel accommodation from a gamble to a guarantee. When you are ready to experience a better way to choose your next vacation rental, don’t just stay, stay Scertified.
Thanks for letting me bend your ear and if you would like to reach me, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder Scertified, Inc.
Scertified vacation rentals are now available at www.Scertified.com or by calling +1 860 222 0001 or +44 (0)20 8123 0009