Meet Your Merchant: Vacation rental company promotes bear education
January 28, 2014
What: Lake Tahoe Accommodations
Location: 800 Southwood Blvd., Ste. 112
Jim and Melina Morris began Lake Tahoe Accommodations, a vacation rental company, in 1979, at a time when the concept and industry was just beginning.
"It was a new concept, they were on new ground," said the office manager in Incline Village, Jane Rothman.
Now with locations all across the lake and properties on every shore, Lake Tahoe Accommodations has become a leader in the industry.
"We have more experience than anyone else," said Rothman. "We're one of the largest and oldest in Lake Tahoe."
“I want to give back to Tahoe. It’s all about protecting the environment here, and I want to keep the bears alive.”
When Jim Morris developed his idea for Lake Tahoe Accommodations, he wanted guests to have a good experience from the first interaction with his business.
The South Tahoe resident who also helped found the Vacation Rental Managers Association, developed the first software for booking vacation rentals.
"He's really a pioneer in this industry," Jane said.
Lake Tahoe Accommodations currently has 41 properties in Incline and 250 around the lake. Vacation rentals continue to increase as an option for tourists.
"We feel it's the best lodging alternative for friends and family because you have the benefits of staying in a home, but you also have the vacation services to go with it," Jane said.
After coming to the area many years ago, Jane said she loves her job, as she can share her love for the area with people from around the world.
"My heart and soul is with Lake Tahoe," she said.
Jane's experience in real estate dates back to when she first arrived in 1979.
"I've been selling Lake Tahoe my whole life," she said.
Jane's other passion is education — and educating visitors about bear safety is something she takes very seriously at the Incline office, which is full of BEAR League brochures and information.
Jane said she gives each renter a 3-minute talk about the importance of keeping trash closed and not feeding the bears.
"I want to give back to Tahoe," Jane said. "It's all about protecting the environment here, and I want to keep the bears alive."
FROM LOCAL TO INTERNATIONAL
One of the largest properties managed by Lake Tahoe Accommodations is a 7,000-square-foot home that sleeps 19 people.
Home owners range from locals to international visitors such as one of Lake Tahoe Accommodations's most recent client, a new second-home owner from Moscow.
"The gentleman really saw the advantages of having us manage it and rent it out since he comes for three weeks each summer," said Jane.
With most properties being rented more than 100 days out of the year, Jane said juggling it all can be a challenge.
"It's a one man show here," she said. "It's a challenge to keep calm and resolve whatever conflict may be going on."
Lake Tahoe Accommodations is strict on making sure clients get the "Ritz-Carlton" treatment, she said, and also that each and every property is well maintained and cleaned.
October and April, the shoulder season for the area, is when the company does what Laura Gonzalez, the head of housekeeping at the Incline office, calls the "deep cleans."
And with the advent of the Internet, bookings and reservations have changed dramatically.
From what used to be all call-in reservations, Lake Tahoe Accommodations now sees 50 percent made online. A nice website and a 24/7 call center are ways this business aims to be above the rest.
Further, with 15,000 subscribers to their newsletter the business has many repeat customers.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at email@example.com.