We bring you the interview with the renter Vlaho Jelić, who is in the vacation rental business for four years now, of which the last three years were in partnership with Direct Booker.
Vacation rental is a tradition in Župa dubrovačka, which became a profession today. There are many stories about hosting people in the old times, when that type of service was not being charged. Arrival of the guest was a special occasion in the village, so everyone here is an experienced host.
We asked mr. Jelić what is the most important thing to do to make guests satisfied, carrying the memories they´ll always remember?
'When my guests arrive, I'm completely at their disposal, and I forget about myself. Every time before their arrival, I'm a bit nervous because I want everything to be perfect. I explain every detail that might be interesting to them, I give my recommendations regarding restaurants and excursions because I want them to go on checked locations. I always recommend visits to the Old Town and Lokrum island, because I think it's the best to see in Dubrovnik. Also, I like to point out places like Ston and Cavtat, as some of the most beautiful small oasis. Since I do everything by myself when receiving the guests, I like to remind myself that guests are unpredictable and that you can't get mad at them.´
Just like all the other renters, Mr. Jelić had very diverse experiences with guests. He remembers both good and bad moments.
'One of the nicest stories I experienced was just after I received a fine for 4000 kunas from the police for driving too slow. I was really depressed, and I've told everything to my guest Mark. He was just leaving and we said goodbye. A day later, I found the envelope with 4000 kunas in it, and the message saying how that amount of money doesn´t mean much to him since he earns good money. But he's glad he can help.
One of the most awkward moments was when I had guests who were nudists, and they were naked in the apartment. Regardless of that, I gave them a warm welcome and a treat, but they gave me a bad review anyway.
There were funny moments as well: One time, I asked my friend to help my guest with the bag, since it was really heavy. We asked her what's so heavy in it, and she said it were exercise weights!'
Cooperating with global partners like Airbnb, Booking.com, and HomeAway, Direct Booker offers to their partners-owners a possibility to reach millions of travellers from all around the world, and a significant increase of occupancy rate. 'Nino and Nikola welcomed me nicely, they are fun and easy-going guys, so I decided to work with Direct Booker. They are my first ally in the new order of capitalism that is just beginning. In this business, the harmony is very important – between renting, cleaning, welcoming guests and charging guests. For me, that harmony is the most important, more than money. I'm very satisfied with our partnership, because they are really meticulous, and the whole atmosphere in the company is very positive.
Dubrovnik is often called the pearl of Adriatic, and it is well known that this city is simply loved by the tourists – for its rich history, culture and natural beauty. Still, Mr. Jelić thinks that alone is not enough for a high-quality tourism.
I would like to show Dubrovnik in the best possible way in terms of civilization standards, like waste separation, better conditions for pets, the issue of waste, better preservation of our nature, the solution to the problem of sewage...We should look up to the most recent examples from Netherlands.
As a successful vacation renter, Mr. Vlaho shared just one, very important advice: 'Those who do not like dealing with tourism and people, should not stand in the way of the tourism development.'