Sota Lake Home Rentals, a Frazee lake home rental and maintenance business, has recently opened a new office on Perham’s West Main Street above Harmonious Architecture.
The lake home rental business rents homes near the Perham, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Ottertail, Vergas, Park Rapids and Walker areas, according to Sota owner Darin Trites
“A couple of photographers approached us a couple of months ago and told us about this studio,” Danielle Glorvigen,VP of design, marketing and vacation rentals for Sota, said. “It would be a great place to meet with clients, have team meetings, or someplace to go focus on paperwork.”
Although there was a rash of cancellations on house rentals in March because of COVID-19 resulting in $300,000 worth of cancellations, Trites said. “In May, it absolutely went ballistic. People were starting to travel -- I’ve never seen so many inquiries in my life.”
Normally rentals are booked a year in advance, however, this summer more bookings for this summer are coming in later than normal, Glorvigen said.
Since March, the staff at Sota has grown from five people to being a staff of 13. “In March, it was Danelle, myself, I had one maintenance person, and two cleaners,” Trites said.
"I would say we have had a lot more in state renters vs years past but Also local surrounding starts N.D., S.D., Wis., La. and Neb.," Trites said.
While Sota will always have seasonal staff in the busy summer season they are currently trying to expand their year-round staff. “We’ve now created a foundation and want to keep staff,” Trist said.
While a large part of what Sota does is lake home rentals, they also maintain private lake homes for owners. According to Trist, they take care of everything from cleaning, basic maintenance, lawn care in the spring and summer, house checks twice a week, and checking heating and water in the winter.
In order to keep more staff on year-round, “we want to pick up regular house cleanings, commercial cleanings, business, and offices,” Trist said. All of which would be done year-round, including during the busier summer season.
In addition to seeing a rise in bookings for this, Sota has also had the chance to expand their business this summer. Glorvigen, who joined Sota in March, started doing in house interior design at the beginning of June after her non-compete agreement with Refreshing Designs, Perham, ended. “Her life blew up as some of our lake homeowners decided that they wanted to remodel,” Trites said.
Between doing remodels on both privately owned lake homes and homes rented out through Sota, Glorvigen has been working to bring in new rental properties and also with the company’s new marketing team. “This is peak season,” Glorvigen said. In the offseason, rental occupancy drops from 95% to 50%, she said.
To help keep more people coming to the area during the offseason, Glorvigen and the marketing team are working on offering special stay and play packages; such as hunting, fishing, ski weekend, and Valentine’s Day packages. So far, many of the company's homeowners have been on board with the idea of the stay and play packages, according to Glorvigen.