Owning vacation rentals is an adventure, with so much to learn just about every day!
One such lesson was that my newsletter could be quite a bit better. Some personal anecdotes, a little more information on Lindsborg and the surrounding area, and what's going on with our small vacation rental business.
Road Trip to National Parks
Recently my son and a couple of friends took a week-long road trip to visit National Parks (Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes) and National Monuments (Craters of the Moon and Vermillion Cliffs). Many miles were covered, including a 15-hour marathon from northern Montana to southern Utah!
One of my son's skill sets is planning itineraries. He and his friends stayed in short-term rentals (sometimes called Airbnbs). One of their favorites was on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona's Monument Valley.
What's new in Lindsborg
Around the beginning of the pandemic, two of our restaurants in downtown Lindsborg closed: Farley's (which is for sale, by the way) and The Swedish Crown, which is planned to open in the fall as "The Crown and Rye." Stay tuned!
Meanwhile Jalisco's, China and a couple others are open. Salina and McPherson have places for meals to-go. Vacation rentals have their own fully-equipped kitchen to make homemade meals away from home.
Just shop at Lindsborg's grocery store, Scott's Hometown, which has been purchased by White's Foodliner as of August 26th. They have big plans, so be sure to stop by for your essentials and, from what I hear, rotisserie chicken!
Stockholm Estates has broken ground on a new subdivision on the northeast corner of town. Four families plan to build their forever-homes and six more are being built on spec. A new childcare center will be constructed across the street next year
Back when the pandemic hit, Airbnb cancelled our guests' reservations and returned their money. We did the same for guests who booked through LindsborgVacationRentals.com. It was the right thing to do, under the circumstances.
Since we didn't have any guests, we took a close look at our operations and made several improvements. One of them was instituting the QCD Protocol which means Quarantine, Clean and Disinfect. After a guest leaves, the property sits quietly for at least 24 hours before the property is cleaned and disinfected.
Cleanliness is the new standard for vacation rentals, hotels, motels and B&Bs.
We've been extraordinarily busy the last couple of months, especially with guests from Kansas City and other larger cities booking a place to stay in a small town.
VRBO and "Fall into Fall"
In order to attract guests, we like to through "baited hooks into the hospitality waters" to see what bites. Our website is one hook; Airbnb is another.
We recently added our properties to VRBO (pronounced, "verb-oh" and owned by Expedia). Travelers to central Kansas looking for a chain motel room (yawn) might be tempted to try a short-term vacation rental. Our listings on VRBO are a little different in that they require guests to either purchase insurance or agree to a refundable damage deposit.
We'll see how this goes - nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
Now that summer is almost over, the nightly rates for our vacation rentals have dropped for stays between September 8 and December 17. You're the first to know!
If you're looking for an escape, or know someone who needs one, please call or text 855-872-3487 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stenhuset (Swedish for
"the Stone House")
featured on Viega Voice
Stenhuset was demo'ed down to its four 20-inch thick stone walls before it was rebuilt into the magnificent vacation rental
that it is today. Three carved Bible verses in Old Swedish
from 1877 were preserved.
Instead of copper, PEX plastic plumbing was installed. PEX is manufactured in nearby McPherson.
Visitors from out-of-state, a couple celebrating their anniversary and former guests have stayed with us. They appreciate our enhanced cleaning, called QCD Protocol, which gives peace-of-mind to our guests and our cleaning staff.
Most small businesses are open, but some are closed
Lindsborg's coffee shops and retail stores are open, but not every day. But small business owners, such as Hemslojd, are opening carefully. If a shop appears to be closed, simply call them and ask if they would be willing to open just for you. Lindsborg is a small town - it's who we are and what we do.
Recently a couple of art galleries closed permanently: Courtyard Gallery and Hands of Time.
But local museums are open. Enjoy original artwork at the Sandzen Gallery. Take a drive to Hutchinson to the Kansas Cosmosphere to see the largest collection of American and Russian space memorabilia outside of the Smithsonian, including the Apollo 13 capsule: Odyssey.
If you're looking to dine in a restaurant, please adjust your expectations. The Swedish Crown and Farley's are closed for now. But grab-and-go options are available at Blacksmith Coffee, The White Peacock, Ol' Stuga, Jalisco's, China, Subway and Pizza Hut. Yes, we know this isn't ideal. More options can be found in nearby Salina.
The properties at Lindsborg Vacation Rentals have their own kitchens, so guests can make their own meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - even a picnic at Coronado Heights or a local park. Be sure to stop by Scott's Hometown Foods for your supplies and Swedish delicacies.
At Lindsborg Vacation Rentals, our priority is to provide comfort, safety and peace-of-mind for our guests and professional cleaning staff. We have combined the best practices recommended by leaders in the vacation rental community to create our QCD Protocol.
Quarantine: After guests check out of a property, it will sit untouched for three full days. Clean: Our cleaning staff will perform their cleaning procedures, taking about 3 hours. Disinfect: Every surface the could have been touched by guests will be treated with a Lysol-equivalent disinfectant.
Please review the four-minute video below to learn more.
Holly Lofton, Lindsborg CVB, interviews Tisha Beckman, Property Manager about our new cleaning procedures. Many thanks for Jim Richardson, National Geographic photographer, for filming and editing. Enjoy his daily "Scotland Fix" on Instagram!
Road Trip / QCD Protocol / A Plan to Reopen Kansas
We're ready when you are!
We know that travel is a luxury, not a necessity. Right now, many of us have much higher priorities: putting food on the table, paying the rent or mortgage, keeping up on the bills and putting aside some money for emergencies.
As spring turns into summer, we believe that travelers will rediscover road trips. Lindsborg has been, and will always be, a welcoming destination. When you feel comfortable and confident to venture out, please remember us.
After guests check out of a property, it will go under quarantine, staying vacant for three days. Our professional cleaning staff, wearing masks and gloves, will clean and launder for up to three hours as they always have. They will then disinfect with a Lysol-equivalent germicide. These enhanced cleaning procedures will help provide comfort, safety and peace-of-mind for our cleaning staff and our valued guests.
Some important information to know before traveling
Here is a map of the United States showing the impact of Coronavirus that can be searched by STATE and COUNTY - these can be found on in the upper right corner.
On April 30, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly released Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, a three-phase plan that allows each country to implement a "safer at home" policy.
As travelers begin to consider where they might like to travel, Adam Sacks, president of the consulting firm Tourism Economics, stated (WSJ on April 24):
(I expect) people will travel domestically, much more than internationally, choose places they can drive to instead of flying, take shorter, less expensive trips and opt for second homes and rental properties over hotels.
By early May, Lindsborg Vacation and Executive Rentals will announce our QCD protocol to assure our guests. After each guests checks out, the property will sit in quarantine for three days to ensure that the Coronavirus has dissipated. Then our professional cleaning staff will clean every surface and launder all towels and sheets, taking up to 3 hours. Then they will disinfect all surfaces that may have been touched by guests. With this QCD protocol, all of our guests should feel comfortable staying at our studio apartments and detached homes.
Yes! Lindsborg Vacation and Executive Rentals are still open!
However……starting Tuesday, April 7th through Sunday, May 3rdour properties will not be available for guests, out of an abundance of caution.
Several guests were looking forward to stay at our vacation rentals in March and April. As the COVID-19 pandemic grew, so did their concerns. When asked, we cancelled their reservations and returned 100% of their deposits. It was simply the right thing to do.
Given the current stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions, everyone from out-of-state would have to self-quarantine for 14 days in one of our properties. While we would love to help, we simply aren't set up right now to host those who may be unknowingly carrying the virus.
We are taking this time to enhance our two-hour-long cleaning procedures, to improve our outreach to Lindsborg's small businesses and to refresh our marketing.
As we make these important changes, we fully understand that you have much higher priorities: putting food on the table, paying the rent or mortgage, finding ways to keep up on the bills and putting aside some money for emergencies.
Lindsborg Vacation and Executive Rentals know that travel is a luxury, not a necessity. When you feel comfortable and confident to venture out, please remember us.
We believe that travelers worldwide will rediscover road trips – Lindsborg has been, and will always be, a welcoming destination.
Lindsborg Vacation Rentals: Our Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Travel
We have received so many emails recently about COVID-19. From our bank to our favorite local restaurant chain, they are thoughtfully sharing their response, concern and best practices to the coronavirus.
Because you have stayed with Lindsborg Vacation Rentals, we want to let you know that this outbreak is affecting us too, while assuring you that our high-quality properties are awaiting your arrival, whenever you choose to visit.
As a guest with a confirmed reservation or one who is considering staying with us, we're sure you're having conversations about what to do. Should you cancel your trip or not? Should you book a "home away from home" when asked to "shelter in place"?
The most up-to-date information comes from the Centers for Disease Control "CDC" and the World Health Organization "WHO".
The Centers for Disease Control has recently stated:
"For most people in most locations the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. However, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in, or visiting, these areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19…COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries."
There are a small handful of COVID-19 in the state of Kansas, but none in central Kansas.
Keeping things in perspective - It has been two months since the disease appeared in the United States. As of March 16, there are 4,093 cases reported and only 69 deaths. Yes, the lack of adequate testing has caused under-reporting of people infected, but not the number of victims of COVID-19 is accurate.
And yes, the numbers will grow exponentially in the coming weeks, there is no doubt about that. However, we encourage you to really think about these numbers.
During the 2017 - 2018 flu season, over 1,500 people died every week for a total of over 60,000 deaths. There were no travel restrictions, no alarm, and most Americans didn't notice the death toll. During the 2018 - 2019 flu season, 34,000 people died.
Unprecedented measures have been taken to limit the spread.
An incredible number of sporting events, concerts, festivals…etc., have been canceled or postponed. In larger cities, restaurants and bars will be closed for eight weeks. All of these measures are to prevent large gatherings and limit the spread of COVID-19. Most recently Lindsborg's Friday Night Art Walk was cancelled as the request of the Lindsborg Community Hospital, partnered with the Salina Regional Health Center.
Most recently, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommended self-quarantine for travelers returning from California, New York, Washington State and international locations, as well as individuals who were on a cruise ship. Anyone who has visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado within the past week or in the future also should stay at home.
There is nothing safer than staying in your own home and not going outside. However, as you continue to enjoy your life, staying at one of our properties with your healthy friends is one of the safest vacations you can take.
Our top priority is to ensure that guests continue to stay in our properties, without fear or apprehension.
We take pride in the cleanliness of our homes. Since our inception, every property is professionally and scrupulously cleaned and disinfected for at least two hours after guests depart. You can literally rest assured that your vacation rental is as clean as it can be.
We ask our future and former guests to review our cancellation policy here:
If Guest(s) wishes to cancel his/her reservation, the deposit will be refunded as follows:
100% if canceled 30 days or more prior to Check-in
50% if canceled 15-29 days prior to Check-in
If guest(s) wishes to cancel his/her reservation 14 DAYS or LESS before Check-in Date, the lease payment will be forfeited, but the damage deposit and cleaning fee will be refunded if the guest(s) cancels his/her reservation prior to Check-In Date.
Insurance: The Owner strongly encourages the Guest(s) mitigate the potential loss of payment by purchasing optional Travel Insurance offered by a third-party provider such as https://www.squaremouth.com.
Another way to look at traveling during COVID-19 is this:
Follow the advice of the experts in your city and state.
Stay home with your family and loved ones.
Be sure reach out with love and care to your neighbors, friends and to people who you may not yet know.
But if you would like a quick getaway, please come stay with us.
But only if you're feeling well and if you are 100% confident that you will keep your reservation and not change your plans.
One way is to book just a small handful of days before you want to arrive. Our website allows for our guests select their check-in and check out dates to see which properties are available.
This situation is the most challenging we have faced in twelve years of operating vacation rentals. We have always done our best to treat guests like family, to have integrity, and to do the right thing. Our business has thrived because of that. We value you, our loyal guests, and no crisis will change us or our ethics.
Obviously this is an ever-changing situation and our policy will evolve. Our team members are people of faith and trust that this too shall pass. Please let us know if we can help you in any way. Email is the best way to communicate right now: email@example.com or 855-872-3487.
Thank you again for being delighted guests and loyal customers.
Coronavirus - Real-time data through Johns Hopkins
Coronavirus: Facts (not Fear).
A great friend from college spent his career providing counseling to missionary families in Asia, primarily Taiwan. Like me, he prefers to know the facts instead of being persuaded by fears that may be ungrounded.
Here is a link to Johns Hopkins' website with a world-wide map and data that is updated (see the lower left corner to see when the latest information was posted). Coronavirus COVID-19
While some may hesitate traveling, please consider visiting Lindsborg for its 10th Annual Våffeldagen on Saturday, March 21st!