A Day in the Life of a Vacation Rental Manager: The Craziest Emergency Call Ever


    I was jolted out of a dead-sleep by the William Tell Overture. 

    What I thought was a clever ring tone for my “emergency” cell phone lost its humor at 1 a.m. in the morning! My groggy “hello” was answered by a very agitated security guard telling me that one of my tenants had locked herself out of her vacation home... without any clothes on! 

    OMG... Hastily dressing, I grabbed my ring of emergency keys and dashed out of my house not knowing what to expect. The plan was for me to pick up my tenant at the guard house at the country club entrance and deliver her back to her vacation home, letting her in with my emergency key. I braced myself for what I anticipated would be a very embarrassed and very upset guest. 

    As I approached, from the guard house, out emerged a tall and extremely beautiful woman, head up, shoulders back proudly wrapped in a mattress pad just as a queen wears a royal cape. I will call her Sue. Waving her thanks to the two security guards, Sue jumped into the passenger seat of my car before I had a chance to pull over and, thank goodness, she was laughing! 

    She explained, “I shopped all day at the outlet stores and returned to the condo tried, hot and thirsty. I pulled into the garage and immediately went inside, closed the blinds, stripped out of my clothes, poured a glass of wine and sat down to cool off and watch the late night news. Before going to bed I decided to unload the car. I propped open the door between the condo and garage with the fire extinguisher and made several trips between the condo and my car. I was retrieving my last bag out of the trunk, the mattress cover, when I heard the fire extinguisher slide across the floor and the door slam shut. The door was locked…keys in my purse…inside the condo!” 

    This poor woman sat in the garage, wrapped in the mattress cover, lights off and garage door wide open for two hours until she saw the security patrol car making its rounds.

    She ran out and flagged the guard down! As we got out of my car Sue parted her Bed, Bath and Beyond cape and showed me that she was indeed wearing undergarments which looked very much like she had dressed to go swimming. Sue explained that “this is one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me. My husband made a trip back home for a meeting but will return in a couple of days. Please don’t mention this to him... he would be so embarrassed.” 

    Sue and her husband returned several times after that and Sue and I always had a bit of a laugh about her “adventure.”  As far as I know, Sue never told her husband. 

    Post Note:  I changed my emergency ring tone the next morning.

    One fact I have learned through my eighteen years in this crazy, crazy vacation rental business: You never know what will happen next. No two days, no two properties, owners or guests are ever the same. From lost keys to leaking toilets, mysteriously blinking lights to broken air conditioners in the middle of the night at temperatures over 110 degrees, there is never a dull moment. 

    One thing remains constant: Everything is an emergency to the person reporting the problem, and it is our responsibility as vacation rental professionals to rectify these problems as quickly as possible..no matter how insignificant they may seem...or as in this case, strange.
    I’ve met many successful vacation rental managers and one thing they all have in common is: They love this business! Despite the daily challenges, conflicts in personalities, things that make you say "Hmmmmm...", things that keep you awake at night and the things that make you laugh so hard you wet your pants, one thing is for certain: this business is never boring! 

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