Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Community Notice

The Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal is offering its annual free disposal coupon. See the fine print at the bottom third of bill that just came out. Its good for two-yards-about a compact pick-up truck load of junk. Valid during May and June. If you have more then one house you can use each on a trip but cannot combine. Must have ID. Bye the way-if you go up there bring cash or a credit card they don't take plastic of any kind.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Alpine on the block? No wait...sold, again?

Seems like ownership at Alpine has been a revolving door for a while now. When I worked there..ah yes I get to say, "back in the day" circa 1989 It was a privately held, granola encrusted, slow paced ski area with no snowboarders and more bearded employees then not. The chairs were old and slow and fresh turns could be found all day without having to hike too far out of bounds on a powder day. And we did it on skinny skis-210 gs boards.

Speed up to today's current ownership. ..and the big ski corp marketing juggernaut roles out slick, glossy, color ads, cheap lift tickets, takes over the concessions and with the combination of many skiers and fast detachable quads the mountain is toast by 10AM, all the way out to Estelle. But hey their making money right? But things weren't the same-everybody agreed. Firings (pinkslip or not) of valued, longtime employees were rampant, and frankly with the exit of Larry Heywood-the mtn became less safe.

So after waiting too long one day (about four seasons ago) for the one person on the whole mountain left who could fix the tempermental Summit Six to come down, I said see-ya. And I got me a Squaw pass. And I never looked back-until this year. Yep-I've had the hankering a few times at on our meager pow days this year to make the shlog out to Grouse rock.

But I waited too long and it looks like with all the 60 degree weather we're having I think the season's about done. So I'll wait till next year.

If I have any advice to the new owners it would be to get back to the essence of what Alpine is-a laid back place where the employees and the skiers are happy, not afraid to wear last year's outfit and there to ski, not to walk around a village. And hire back knowledgeable, quality, key people and pay them well.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rental Picture part 3

This is the kitchen at my rental in Tahoe City-clean and new will help you rent!

I think once you have a handle on how the Tahoe Season flows you can start to build a booking plan based availability, nightly rates, minimum stays and the like-parameters by which to book your property. First off is what and how many...

Occupancy should be based on how many can comfortably sleep in beds and how many will have to share the baths. In the back of your mind is how much wear and tear you want. A typical three bed, two bath in Tahoe can handle 6-7 adults or children mixed. Pushing beyond that I think will just tax your home too much. Also, will you allow pets? Cats no way, never, never. But a dog? You can't overlook the bookings created by being pet friendly. Often that Golden Retriever is just too much a part of the family to put them in a kennel. You charge extra for the dog hair, $25 say and get a deposit too. I find pet owners to be more careful due to the close scrutiny.

Nightly rates and minimums are extremely important. Starting out you should be slightly below market unless your property is new or remodeled. You need to get clients when starting so you have to be competitive. The nightly minimum shouldn't hinder you, especially in the winter. Go 2-3 nights to start, again more if your property is in really good shape. Most people are just coming up to ski for the weekend in the winter. In the summer things are a little different you can go for more 5-7 night minimum as cliients will be here for their summer vacation-with the kids.

Rates: Rates should fluctuate with demand, holidays, season and nightly stay. Your peak rate should be about 25% higher then your normal high season rate. You should try discounts and free nights in the off season to entice people to your wonderful property-then they'll come back during peak time. If you use a service you should advise them to contact you if a client wants a deal-instead of just saying no. And a big deal is that if you want the big income you can't take the best nights for yourself! I had a client who would never block out his property but would call up on a Friday afternoon and if it wasn't rented he would then come up. His place, bye the way did the best out of everyone.