The Cabin Owner’s Perspective


The Cabin Owner’s Perspective

Page County cabin/cottage owners bend over backwards to help ensure their guests have a good vacation or a great long weekend—and that’s how it should be. Tourists are customers, and deserve to get value for their money.

Having said that, it’s not unreasonable to expect that tourists behave responsibly in a cabin.  It’s also a good idea for all concerned that tourists read the cabin owner’s policies and rules—usually found online and/or available in hard copy. These cover important aspects of cabin rental such as deposits, pets, number of guests, amenities provided, check-in/check-out times, quiet hours, cleanup and trash removal, etc. The policies typically spell out exactly what you need to bring, and what will be provided. Reading these first avoids confusion and misunderstandings later.

We asked some of our cabin owners to give us their perspective on the owner/guest relationship—and how to make cabin rental the most positive experience possible.

“We think it's so important to properly set up expectations,” said Karen Riddle of Shadow Mountain Escape.  “It's important for guests to review cabins’ social media and see recent photos so they are getting the experience they expect.  Also, we have a four day classic itinerary we offer guests before they come, along with all events/activities for their time-frame.  A hot tip for visitors is to start their vacation the second they get into their car…there is so much to see and do on the way to our cabins, too!“   

“We expect our guests to treat our cabins as they would if they were visiting a relative or friend,” said Lisa Franceschini, of Luray Mountain Cabins. She added, “We love our guests, we are very happy that they chose to stay with us, and we go out of our way to make them happy!  Most of our guests are wonderful!”

It’s also important for guests to get a reliable contact number for the owner/operator in the unlikely event something does go wrong.  Zory Glaser of Cardinal Cottage confirmed the importance of reporting a legitimate problem in time to fix it. “The message I would send tourists is to call me quickly with any questions or issues—not to wait until their drive home. One person waited until Monday morning to complain he had trouble tuning the satellite TV. Had he called me earlier, I probably could have talked him through how to do it. Call me and let’s solve the problem!”

On the other hand, one has to ask if the following issues were really emergencies:

Nancy Sottosanti of Shenandoah River Log Cabins and Bella Vista Cottage told us, “A guest called and said, ‘The crickets were too loud’ and another said, ‘The moon was too bright.’  As a cabin owner, I would like the guests to respect the property as if it were their own; to respect their neighbors—about loud noise late at night; to follow house rules on washing dishes and removing trash so the cabin can be made ready for the next guests quickly—and to enjoy the area!! Relax without cell phones!

Ben Price of The Country Place cabins on the Shenandoah River, related this:  “A guest called the office one day to complain that a large flock of geese had landed in the front yard of Captain’s Lodge and asked if I could I send someone down to do something about it.  I replied that most people would consider it a blessing or at least a great photo opportunity for the kids by having the geese there. I explained that the geese were there because the area was so beautiful and rural. “

Another sore spot with cabin owners is guests who “redecorate.” Zory Glaser said, “One frustration is when people decide to rearrange the furniture, or unplug lamps and clocks so they can plug in their cell phone—then don’t put anything back. Or they unplug lights that are on timers, which I want to come on for when the cabin is unoccupied. It takes my housekeeper extra time to put it all back in a semblance of how we want it.  On one occasion, the housekeeper had to call her husband to come and help her move a 200-pound sofa bed where it belonged.”  He related another instance where a guest had booked for four people, but when Glaser rode by the cabin that evening (on his way to his weekend home) there were about 12 cars parked there.

Cabin owners also mentioned feedback and reviews on social media. One cabin got a poor review for “not having a hair dryer in each bathroom” when no such offer had ever been made. Another cabin was blasted for lack of shampoo, even though the cabin’s policies clearly said to bring all such personal items and toiletries.

An honest criticism or suggestion is fine—cabin owners want constructive feedback. But frivolous negative comments can do a great deal of damage to a business.

Page County is Virginia’s Cabin Capital for a reason. Vacationers have rented cabins in Page County for generations. Most cabin owners who operate here know the business inside and out, and they are eager to help you experience an area they love. Often, vacationers book a cabin year after year—and understanding just a bit about the cabin owner’s perspective will help ensure that you are welcome, year-in and year-out.