Busy season, it always starts in March with Spring Break. This year is a bit different though, there's a lot of Universities that are skipping Spring Break due to the later start of the school year. About 5 years ago though, spring break in Gulf Shores looked A LOT different! It basically turned into another Miami/South Padre.... Parents were renting units for their college aged kids, not chaperoning, and the parties were out of control. Now, Gulf Shores has a no alcohol policy that runs from March 1st through Easter weekend every year. This has greatly reduced the amount of parties and shenanigans. The city really does try to keep our small beach town as family friendly as possible. And Gulf Shores PD is absolutely AMAZING at nipping any illegal activities ASAP!
Some tips on booking your vacation, I know we've touched on a couple of these before, but I don't think I can stress it enough.
Make sure you have your dates, and a solid back up date READY! There's a lot of last minute people out there right now. Lots trying to get Spring Break dates still. The condo inventory in Gulf Shores is extremely low right now due to Hurricane Sally, some complexes will not be available all summer.
Just tell the truth. We have had multiple guests this year bring in more people than they originally state. I don't mind as long as it's under our occupancy allowance, HOWEVER, you will not have enough towels and supplies since we stage the condo for the amount of people we are told are coming. ALSO, if there is a fire or natural disaster, we need to tell the Fire Department how many are in the unit. And if you have more people than you stated in your rental agreement then that could be very bad. Yes, babies count as a person!
The whole area has a 25 and older rule, well, more like 99% of the area. This means that the primary renter MUST be over the age of 25 AND also staying at the condo during the vacation. We have it in our policy, that if you are staying and there is not a person over the age of 25 then we will kick you out and not issue a refund. You signed our contract stating you understood that and knew the consequences.
Set a realistic budget for renting. You will not find anything on the beach for under $150/night including a studio or 1 bedroom during the summer and especially not during holiday weekends.
This time of year is when I start holding my breath till my housekeeper checks in and says "it's all good". I. HATE. SURPRISES!!! We really appreciate our guest who understand and appreciate the work we have put into our homes that we are renting them. We provide clean, VERY accommodating, renovated condos for our guests to enjoy while on vacation. We expect wear and tear, but what we don't expect is for people to "use it like they stole it".
Having respect for our "Small Town, Big Beach". You are guests. Are you spending money in our town, yes. But that does not give you the right to act as though you have never been out of your house before. Realize that you will have waits at restaurants. You will have traffic to deal with. You will run into other rude people. Let's all just be nice and respectful. I include some great information in our Welcome Packets that will help you know a bit of information about the area, like when to use red lights for your flashlight and phones so that it helps encourage sea turtles to nest. Why we have sand dunes and to stay off of them. Things that unless you really do your research, you probably wouldn't know and knowledge is power- right.
Our Welcome Packet is very detailed. It includes the rental contract, and BBQ Grill contract that was signed by the guest. We also go over things that you'll want to pack and what you can leave at home. We go over things that we have in the condo. Stuff to do besides sitting at the beach all day - which is our activity of choice. And restaurants that we love as well. I also send driving directions. We definitely do as much as possible to prepare our guests as much as possible for what we expect. We also feel that providing our guests with this information reduces some of the stress of "not knowing" in a lot of rentals. For guests coming from our area (west of the Mississippi) I even change the googlemaps to take them the way we go, we've done the drive and we truly know the easiest way to go lol.
I really try to make your vacation the best I possibly can. We have done so much to our units to make them up to date, keep them up to date, comfortable, sanitary, beautiful, and full of all the things you may need. Basically you have ALL your items that you have in your home kitchen available to you. If I've had to bring it down, it's now an item you have available to you, like a had mixer - yeah, we made stuffed mushrooms last year and I needed a hand mixer - so hand mixers are now in all the units lol.
This year is a bit different, I have so many
guest that had to reschedule from last year and I'm so excited that they finally get to take their vacations! When I see their name pop up as I'm making welcome packet I literally say to myself, "Oh YAY!! (name) get to finally take their beach vacation in 2 weeks!". I truly get so excited for each and every guest to experience our favorite place with their family and/or friends. So CHEERS to the 2021 Rental Season!!!