The saga of the BBQ at our villa
How we came to offer BBQs at our villas
I’ll confess, I may not be a good cook, but I love outdoor grilling!
At my residence, I have a huge six-burner grill with rotiserie, pot burner, searing plate, and warming burner at the back to keep food warm on a second level. It’s a serious BBQ, and it even has it’s own built-in refrigerator that always pops guest’s eyes out when I pull a cold drink out of there!
And if that is not enough (it wasn’t for my wife) we also have a separate smoker/grill at home which burns flavoured charcoal for long hours at variable temperatures and can be used to smoke meats, grill, and even bake pizza (it has a stone)! Her smoked jerk chicken is to die for!
Why am I sharing all of this? Because in the roughly twenty different times we have been at our properties in Florida over the last decade, we have used the BBQ exactly… NEVER!
In fact, at first it never even occurred to us that guests would want to have a BBQ when on vacation in Florida. We expected people are there to experience the unique sights, sounds and attractions of Florida! One can always BBQ at home, and everyone has some kind of BBQ at their residence, so why would anyone want to BBQ in Florida while on vacation?
But we quickly learned that a good segment of our guests DO want to BBQ when staying in our Florida homes, so we decided to do something about it.
At first, we chose to make one available to our guests by having a BBQ supplied by a local rental company, who would deliver a grill with a propane tank when the guest arrived and then pick it up at their departure. We would arrange for this, and the guest would pay the rental charges, which were $70 per week. We thought it was a good solution… except that the grills that were provided were small two burner units, with folding stands; and sometimes they didn’t even work on arrival, or the propane tank hadn’t been filled… and it just didn’t seem to us to be a good value. For me, someone who does love to use a good BBQ, I didn’t want to have MY guests using a cheap piece-of-%^$%* BBQ (sorry for being so blunt), and it became clear that we needed a better solution.
We chose to purchase a reasonably good quality BBQ for our guest’s use, and for it to be of reasonable size for the maximum number of guests we can accommodate in our homes. So that means a five burner BBQ. Plus we bought a decent set of BBQ tools to go with it. And because we don’t want our guests to be wasting their precious vacation time going out and hunting for propane, we provide a tank on the BBQ, so the guest doesn’t have to go out and buy propane.
But what if the tank runs out, as it inevitably will? And what if it runs out right in the middle of grilling a meal for a hungry family, as it certainly will, according to Murphy’s Law?
Well, for these reasons, we have TWO propane tanks on the property. There is one on the BBQ that is being used at any given time, plus a second full one, waiting to be swapped onto the BBQ when the first one runs out – so when it does need to be changed, the guest can swap out the tank and be back to cooking in five minutes, with a minimum of fuss. This means; no having to find out where to buy propane or swap out the tank, no having to make everyone wait while running off to buy propane in an unfamiliar area, and no expense of having to pay for fuel beyond the cost already agreed to for rental of the BBQ.
And while the second tank is on the grill and our guests are happily cooking away, our management company will discretely come and grab the empty tank and get it refilled, all at our time and expense. Our guests get the best BBQ experience we can provide.
Speaking of BBQ expense… there is one additional cost involved in providing a BBQ for our guests in Florida, and that is the cost of the grill itself. Which one would hope shouldn’t be a huge expense. Here at home, my monster grill I told you about is well over ten years old, and it looks almost identical to what it did the day that I bought it. But in Florida? We have to replace our BBQs, and we do, every TWO to THREE years. It may almost always be ‘summer’ in Florida, but there is a dry season, and their is a wet season which means summer time in Florida where it rains (heavily) almost every afternoon for 20-30 minutes, and then the sun comes right back out right away. But it is sub-tropical and that means the summer is humid, and it is hot. That also means that metals rust faster than you can imagine.
We used to keep a cover on our BBQs to help keep them cleaner, but we learned that during the summer, that means keeping the moisture trapped underneath and in the covers, which just sped up the rusting process. So we don’t have covers on our BBQs, instead allowing them to dry out faster and rust less. And we replace the BBQs… often. It is just a fact of life in having a Florida vacation rental – provided you want to do things right for your guests.
So… that is everything we do to provide a BBQ for our guests. It costs money and it is time consuming. And we NEVER use the BBQ ourselves when we are in our home in Florida. Nor would we at anyone else’s home in Florida where we might be staying.
Given this, how would I feel about having a ‘free’ BBQ provided at a rental I’m staying at, knowing that I am paying for it any way because the cost MUST be covered by the rental charges I am paying… meaning that I would be paying for something that I am simply never going to use? Simply put, as a guest being subjected to that, I wouldn’t be happy.
I would rather not pay for things that I am never going to use, and are provided only because other people want them. In such a circumstance, other guests would be getting to use a BBQ at MY expense, and I just (if I’m being completely honest) don’t feel I should be forced to do that.
And I would just feel worse about it, if the only reason I am forced to pay more to get something for free is because my host was simply too lazy to bother dealing with the administrative issue of charging only those guests who want the added service.
So, yes… we charge extra for providing a quality BBQ, tools, and propane, plus a second tank, plus the service of re-filling the tanks so our guests never have to go shopping for propane while on vacation.
And for that, we charge $5 a day. HALF what the less-than-satisfactory BBQ supplied by the rental company costs.
We think it’s a great value… only $35 per week, for those guests for whom a BBQ is important and want the service, and guests who don’t want or use it are not being asked or forced to pay for it.
We really feel that on balance, it is the best choice for us and our guests.
And that is the saga of BBQs at our vacation rental, and the kind of background and thought that goes into everything we do.
It also demonstrates why we optionally charge an additional amount for extra services to those guests who want or need them.
Thanks as always for staying with us!