Get Back to Having Fun

Buying a sliver of paradise in Hawaii was supposed to be a dream come true, wasn’t it?  No one spends their hard earned money on vacation property with the idea that it is going to be a daily headache, a money pit, or a constant stress inducer. 

In our past blogs, we have described ways that you can maximize your return with minimal stress.  In this blog, we want to share some of the ideas we have to maximize the experience from both the guest’s and the owner’s perspective.  Being in the property management business, there are several tics that we have picked up along the way as visitors to Kauai in someone else’s property that, with small adjustments, could mean volumes in terms of keeping your guests happy and coming back year after year.  From these experiences, we have learned how to better optimize the experience for both owners and guests alike.  We wanted to share two of them here.

True story no. 1: not long ago, we flew in on a late evening flight direct from LAX into Lihue.  It was late, the plane was delayed, and it was raining.  We chose to rent out our place and instead stay at a rental property that had not thought to adjust their prices for the holiday season.  We thought we had scored this great deal.  Despite having an office in Lihue, the management company provided for pickup of the keys in one location only–the rental car agency.  We collected our rental car and proceeded down to Poipu.  Upon hitting the tree tunnel, a thought suddenly shrouded my brain like fast-moving fog–the car rental packet did not have our property keys.  The clock said 10:10 p.m.  And it was still raining.  My repeated calls to the rental car agency, and then to the property management company, went unanswered.  We turned the car around and went back to where we rented the car while alternate scenarios played through my head.  Hotel?  Too pricey.  Sleep in the car?  Not with a 2-year-old in the back seat. (Photo: credit James W. Betts)

It was nothing short of a miracle that the parent car rental agency employees, who were quite gracious, had left just late enough and had left the gate open just wide enough that we were able to go implore them to fish the keys out of the now-locked neighboring property.  They succeeded and we were on our way, but totally stressed out and exhausted.  How easy would it have been to send the guests the keys in advance, or to have a lock box at the agency, or even just answer the phone?  Simple solutions avoid bad problems.

True story no. 2: A friend ours was working with a rental management company and decided to go spend some time in their unit.  Once situated, they decided to sit back and enjoy some of the lovely comments written by their guests.  It was then that they realized they had had guests staying at the property at a time when their management company said there were no guests.  This happened not once during the month, but twice.  Without any access to an owner’s portal online, they were totally reliant on their management company to provide an accounting of when guests were present.  How simple would it be to offer the owner the ability to access the same information that the management company has access to?  What kind of peace of mind would that offer the owner?

These are just a couple of war stories we’ve compiled from years of experience as visitors and business owners in Hawaii.  We want to help you avoid these problems from the start so you can get back to one of the most important reasons you bought your property in the first place — to have fun.

This concludes our 5 part blog series on the 5 Best Headache Cures for Kauai Vacation Rental Owners – we hope that you’ve enjoyed the information and have a better handle on the best ways to avoid stress and enjoy your property after reading.  If you have any stories of your own to share or would like to add any great advice for other homeowners, just drop me an email at and we may be able to post it as an upcoming blog topic!  

Mahalo Nui Loa for reading!

Lisa Stevens is the Owner/Manager of Koloa Kai Vacation Rentals, which she runs with Jed Stevens, her husband and General Manager.