How I Got into the Vacation Rental Business!

“How I Got into the Vacation Rental Business!??? – By Sri Gogineni.

“How did you get in to vacation rentals? “ Many of my family members and friends ask me all the time.
I would love the say that “Several years ago I did a ton of research on vacation rentals with a vision to acquire Florida vacation homes and jumped in to the market when the housing market hit the bottom.???  That would have been quite easy….

The reality of the matter is ………..
We got inspired and even challenged by an experience we had with a vacation home rental experience when we rented a Disney area condo for our family vacation. And, I wanted to do something different for vacationers like myself.

My wife Sunita and I visited Disney for the first time in 1998 or so and stayed in a hotel during that trip.  At that time we did not know much about vacation homes though we learnt a little as we ended up in a high pressure sales pitch for a timeshare purchase. We ended-up walking-out in style WITHOUT buying one (a time-share) and that was a wise decision we took.

Later when our daughter was born, my parents visited us and we all wanted to go back to Disney as we liked the experience we had the first time. But this time we wanted to do something different as we had a small baby and our parents. We started looking for a hotel with kitchen and very quickly found that it is more economical to stay in a vacation home or rental condo. It did not take too long for us to find, rent and pay for a vacation home. If you thought we had a great experience, Emerald Island Rentals would not have started.

We arrived Orlando late at night due to flight delays and drove to the condo we rented which was to be “Minutes from Disney???. The instructions we had gave an address and a lockbox code. We reached the community in which we were to stay and quickly realized that the agent we rented from did not give a gate code to the community. We waited patiently for some other guests to arrive, explained the situation and tagged along through the gate. We found our villa, parked, unloaded all bags. As we walked up to the entrance of the condo, we noticed that the condo was occupied with open packets of food and clothes visible through the curtain-less window. And, there was no key in the lockbox. Thinking that there must be some confusion, we wanted to call the agent from whom we booked the condo. To my surprise, the instructions given had no number for the agent or anyone else that could help me. While still panicking with a little one sleeping in the car and parents looking helplessly, I remembered that I called the agent from my cell phone and scrolled through the phone history and tracked him. Thank goodness, he picked the phone.  I explained who we are and what was happening. He quickly apologized and directed us to another community in a different part of the city where he had another condo. At that point, we were just happy that we can hit the bed in another 20- 30 minutes. Remember, we started early at 05:00 am to catch that flight (which got delayed) and that has already been a long day.

We found our way to the next community and the story is the same, that house also was taken. So, we were directed to 3rd community and finally we found an open apartment (not a condo) that had two bedrooms. We originally rented a 3 bedroom condo, but at that point we were so exhausted that we couldn’t even think. We settled there for that night and hit the parks later that day.

My troubles did not end there. We came from the parks early as I had some office work to do. I had planned this all, had my laptop, booked a condo that had free Wi-Fi……oh wait… we are not in the condo that we booked! We came back from three parks to quickly find that the condo (it was more like an apartment) had no phone or Wi-Fi. We called the agent again and inquired on where I can get internet.  I was told that this unit does not come with phone or internet. The only option I had was to go to the Club House of another community to which I was given access code. My troubles did not end so soon as that Club House closes early in the evening. Since I had no internet access when I came back from the parks, all I could do was to sit across from the Club House in the parking lot and do my work (which is what I ended-up doing). Life is so much simpler now with broadband cards and free Wi-Fi, isn’t it?

At the end of the trip when I looked back and evaluated the whole situation, I was shocked. I booked a three bed vacation condo, supposedly “Minutes from Disney??? with Free Wi-Fi and spent 40 minutes each way driving to parks, in a 2 bed apartment and sat in the parking lot to use free Wi-Fi. Oh by the way, when we questioned the agent as to why he claimed that the condos he was renting are minutes from Disney, he said  “they are only 40 minutes away…???.

Decision Time
The first decision was easy to make, that I wanted to do something, whereby I can provide a  better experience to our guests. Since we loved the convenience of renting a vacation home in the Disney area, we wanted to stick to that area.  Our next decision was an easy one to make, which is finding a vacation home very close to Disney. We evaluated three communities, Emerald Island Resort, Windsor Hills and Windsor Palms and liked Emerald Island Resort as it is a truly a land island with its huge conservation area.

As we reviewed several Emerald Island townhomes, we found a townhome with a great view from the living room and master bedroom and fell in love as soon as we saw the pictures.  We ended-up making our first purchase of our Orlando vacation home, now known as Mickey’s Magic. Along with that townhome we also purchased this website (Emerald Island Rentals) which evolved from a six  page site to what you are seeing now.

Where we are now………….
I love to keep our guests happy by providing what we promise and only promise what we can deliver. My commitment to our guests has always been to offer courteous and prompt response to their queries and keep open lines of communication.

I learnt immensely over the years and am still learning more and……hopefully getting better at it every day. Today, we rent our homes and those of a few friends in Emerald Island Resort using our Emerald Island Rentals and Mickey Villas websites.

 

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