Dear HomeLink Member,
Spring has arrived and many of you will have already agreed to your 2017 exchanges by now. In light of this, we are sending a gentle reminder for completing an Exchange Agreement Form to help guide you through the process of arranging your exchange. You can find instructions for completing this form at our website help section. Of course, we are always happy to answer any questions you might have…just ask!
We have also included some basic guidelines in preparing for an exchange in our “Helpful Hints” section.
We recently upgraded our secure, internal messaging system. Please see our “IT Update” section for more detail on this and other recent and forthcoming improvements to our site.
Karl and I have recently settled into our new home and are back on track, providing the highest standard of customer support you have all come to enjoy and expect through the years. Thanks to all of you for your patience and well wishes during our transition.
We wish you a wonderful season of home exchange travel and look forward to hearing about your adventures along the way.
Karl & Katie
Preparing For Your Home Exchange: Now that we are entering into the busy exchange season, we thought it best to revisit some guidance on preparing for your exchange. Below is a list of items to keep in mind.
Do you have your Exchange Partner’s cell phone number and/or email address for reference during your exchange?
It is important to exchange contact information with your Exchange Partner for use while on exchange because you never know what might happen that would warrant contacting your Exchange Partner. Perhaps you simply want to share something wonderful you have experienced. Whatever the case, it is important to have current contact information on hand while on exchange.
Does your home meet the HomeLink standards of cleanliness (floors cleaned, refrigerator emptied, oven and stove-top grease free, bath and shower free of mold and grime, windows see-through, and surfaces dust free)?
Space for their belongings:
Have you left space on the shelves, in closets and drawers, allowing your Exchange Partners to conveniently arrange their things in bedrooms and bathrooms?
Bed and Bath Linen:
Have you left sufficient linens for your Exchange Partners to use during their stay (at least two sets of clean sheets per bed and two sets of clean towels per person)?
Have you mentioned where they can find extra linen?
Have you compiled a clear, useful guide to your home and surroundings (including local tourist information, instructions for household and electrical appliances, pet and plant care instructions, where a spare key can be found, phone numbers of recommended doctor, dentist, babysitter, restaurants, helpful friends, etc.)?
A Warm Welcome:
If you are not greeting your Exchange Partner personally, have you organized a warm welcome for them?
- Perhaps a family member, neighbor or friend to welcome them upon their arrival in your home? Of course, this might not be an option for you, which is certainly not an issue. However, this is a nice way to welcome your Exchange Partners if possible.
- Have you left a meal or the makings of a first meal for your exchangers arrival?
- Have you arranged to leave a small gift of welcome for your exchangers (a local delicacy, bottle of wine, local art)?
Upon your leaving your exchanger’s home:
Ensure you leave the home, clean, neat and tidy, in keeping with the HomeLink standards of cleanliness above.
Just a Reminder…
Reduced Rates For Early Renewal: To ensure you benefit from our lower member rates, please renew BEFORE your listing expires online. When you login, use the red “Renew” link found down the left side of your Dashboard page below your profile image or the “RENEW” link found in the upper right corner of the page after logging in.
Special Request For High Resolution Listing Photos: We are updating our internal photo library for Journalist requests. Journalists often want to include profiles and/or images of our Members’ homes for their articles and more often than not, the platform used for their articles require high resolution images for a proper presentation.
Our website automatically scales down images upon uploading, so we cannot use these copies for journalist requests.
The original size of digital images downloaded to your computer is considered “high res”. Therefore, if you would be okay for us to include photos of your home in articles about home swapping, please send us one or two copies of the original digital photos. You can send them as attachments to an email to Katie@Homelink-USA.org
Rest assured, we do not include our member names or specific physical locations of their homes without prior consent from our members. Usually, journalists only ask for a city/state/country of the homes they include.
ARCHIVED Folder: If you have an “Archived” folder, this serves only as a repository of the conversations you had previously archived at the old message system. One of the main reasons for the message system upgrade was to improve the organizational capability of your conversations. You now have the ability to create customized folders to keep better track of your conversations rather than sending them all to a single “Archived Conversations” folder.
At this point, you can retain all conversations previously archived in the current “Archived” folder, but you cannot add any new conversations to that folder. We recommend creating new folders with more specific titles, sending new and previously archived conversations to the new folders.
If you choose to send the conversations currently in your “Archived” folder to newly created folders, once all conversations have been moved out of the “Archived” folder, the “Archived” folder will be automatically, permanently removed.
Unanswered/Outstanding Offers Folder: We are soon to introduce a new folder to your messaging area for unanswered offers. This will help you keep track of the new exchange offers received in order for you to respond in a timely manner and keep your Response Rate at 100%.
Please Note: You do not have to reply to the message, unless it is a first time exchange request to you. If the message is not an unanswered offer, simply clicking into the conversation to read the entire message sent is sufficient to be able to delete it.
Message Template Function: We are also soon to introduce a message template system to help save you some time when you wish to send the same basic message to more than one member. With this new functionality, you can simply select a previously created template message and auto-insert it into the blank message text box. This will function similar to the existing, “No Thank You” reply feature.
Dates & Destinations Presentation: We have also changed the way that dates and destinations are displayed on listings so that three are now visible at any one time. When there are more than three, you can use the arrow keys (found on left and right side) or click the ‘View all destinations” button to see these.
Interested in a Nordic Home Exchange Experience?
Please see the comment below from our long time members, Syd & Joie Galloway about their experience with the airline, Icelandic and the following links to various tourism websites from our Colleague, Arne who oversees our members in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Perhaps these will inspire plans for your next adventure!
“Dear Karl & Katie,
This past summer we used Icelandic for the first time and were pleasantly surprised, not just by the price, but by the service and the tour possibilities shown on the airline’s video. So, this summer we are working on an exchange there, something we had never thought of!
Syd and Joie”
Norway, Sweden and Iceland
For members who are planning to visit the beautiful countries of Norway, Sweden and Iceland this year, here are some links to festivals that may be of interest to you.