We have a vacation rental in Palm Springs and we offer pool heat to our guests for a charge of $50 a day or $250 per week. This is the going rate but my question is around whether we should automatically require a guest to get the pool heat and how would we work that into the rate if we were to do that? Our high season is during the California winter months which of course aren’t brutally cold but the nighttime temperatures bring the pool water to an uncomfortable swimming temperature. If someone asks for pool heat we heat the pool to comfortable 84°.
Another question I have is what’s the best way to educate people on pool heat because sometimes we have a guest who feels that we haven’t heated the pool and sure enough we check it and it is at 84°. What’s the best way to explain to someone that it’s not a hot tub and if the air temperature is above 84° and the pool is at 84° it might not seem warm relative to the air. Please help me sort out pricing strategy, education and please suggest a way to make the process of giving and offering pool heat easier than the complex and confusing set up that I seem to have now. “
– Roxanne in Palm Springs.
Excellent topic and question (especially at this time of year) and there certainly isn’t a standard answer here. What works for us, is we make it an add-on offering to guests at basically the same rate that you quoted. I favor making an option for guest and not mandatory because it allows flexibility for two cases: 1) someone generally is not going to be using the pool but just likes to read by the pool and sees no sense in spending $50 a day which could go toward 20 glasses of wine at happy hour prices. 2) Having it as an option keeps your rate down so your listing will appear on more guest searches.
The option also gives you a lever to use to either discount the pool heat or give it away for free to make a deal. Or in some cases when there is some type of inconvenience that happens during a guest stay – we can refund the pool heat money if we’ve already collected it or just not collect it if we have not already collected the money at the end of their stay.
As far as education of pool heat, It can be a chore to explain it to the inexperienced but that’s what we do. You have to treat every new guest as exactly that – a new guest – a new guest who is unfamiliar with anything and everything about your house. Part of our job is to educate and you may want put in some text into your house manual about the pool temp versus the air temperature. If you do, PLEASE share that language with me because I think that might be something we’d like to incorporate at our home info!