The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open again, and so is Smokies Cabins. This COVID-19 update covers our business status, enhanced cleaning/disinfecting, new cancellation policy, and health assurance.
We never closed actually, although we did accept many cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders in most states. As you may have read recently, we converted Hideaway on the Creek to a long-term rental through next March and will decide in early February whether to continue on that path or reopen it as a vacation rental later in the spring. Owl’s Hoot Chalet will remain a vacation rental.
Because we support our state, regional, and local measures to protect public health and save lives, we accepted many cancellations at both cabins and refunded many thousands of dollars in deposits – some less than the 30 days that we normally require. While this has certainly hurt our business and future conditions may continue to hurt our business, we strongly believe that our guests’ health and our health are more important.
As of May 9, 2020, we have no reservations at Owl’s Hoot until guests arrive on May 30. During the 10 days before, we will do our spring deep cleaning, including disinfecting all surfaces possible (especially frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and toys). We will steam-clean/sanitize all pillows, comforters, blankets, dust ruffles, and curtains. We assure you that we are taking every precaution to provide a clean, safe environment for you. In between rentals, we will take similar enhanced measures.
To protect us, our new cleaning crew, and future guests, we ask that you not come to Owl’s Hoot Chalet if you or anyone in your party feel that you might be sick or recently exposed to anyone with COVID-19. Although our cancellation policy calls for 30 days’ notice, we have and will continue to take cancellations on shorter notice, in the event of illness. The decision about whether to refund a deposit with less than 30 days’ notice could depend on several factors and will be made on a case-by-case basis. We ask that you give us as much notice as possible, so that we can try to rerent Owl’s Hoot and minimize our financial losses.
Please note that you have the option of changing your vacation dates and applying your full deposit to your new dates. If you opt for a refund, it will be subject to the administrative fee to which you agreed in your rental agreement, which until now was $30. As of May 10, 2020, this fee is now (1) 2.5% of your deposit (our cost of processing your credit or debit card, unless you paid by check) plus a $25 fee to cover other administrative costs, or (2) $25 if you paid by check, whichever is higher.
For a recent article on purchasing travel insurance and how it relates to COVID-19, see https://www.forbes.com/advisor/travel-insurance/coronavirus-questions/
Just as the management of Smokies Cabins is taking many precautions and extra measures to protect your health, we ask that you respect our hard work and financial sacrifice by not putting us or our cleaning crew at risk. Again, do not come if you or anyone in your party feel that you might be sick or recently exposed to anyone with COVID-19. And if you or anyone in your party feel any symptoms during or within 2 weeks after your stay, please notify us immediately at 865-207-6071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that Owl’s Hoot Chalet is currently booked from July 25 – November 15, except for a few days in September. To check availability at Owl’s Hoot Chalet, please see: https://smokiescabins.com/owls-hoot-chalet/#owlshootdescription
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