Why no one likes “Free”

Over the past seven years I have offered to countless people that they could come and stay at my Vacation Rentals for free in the off season. Over this period only one person actually took me up on this offer.

One Person.

And it was totally the last person I would have expected. I still remember when Robert called me. He was very apprehensive about whether I was initially serious in my offer. Upon asking me if he and his family could come up and stay at one of our places for Christmas, I instantly replied “of course!”

He was dumbfounded but at the same time ecstatic that he and his family got a vacation stay for free. Robert and his family have now stayed with us for the past two years for free. And I am very glad! Finally, someone took me up on my offer. Out of easily over 100 people that I gave that offer to only one person actually took me up on it.

But that recently got me thinking. I offered this sweet deal to so many people but no one took advantage of it. I thought why not? I mean free is as good as it gets right? This is where I was wrong.

Free is bad. Free is suspicious.

Most people do not trust free. They think that if something is free it must be bad, or that their are strings attached. “Surely Nolan wouldn’t just offer his places for free, he must have some ulterior motive behind his charity. He is probably expecting something from us in the future.”

The truth for me is that I have nice places. And when I offered them for free out of pure charity, that was the truth. The way I saw it was that we do virtually zero business in our off-season and thus why not extend ourselves to friends and let them come stay and have a good time when we know the places are going to be vacant anyways.

But that is how I thought, and not how other people thought. This suddenly clicked for me when I was being offered a business proposal by a couple that wanted me to join their operation. The way they pitched their argument was that it benefited me so greatly that it made me suspicious. I thought “why are they telling me this. They are giving me their time and energy, their must be something in it for them.” And they were very hesitant to tell me, and every second that passed I began to trust them less and less. Eventually they told me that they would get paid by a parent company for every person they recruited and effectively that it was a pyramid operation. When they told me this then it all made sense. Personally, I would have been much more receptive if they told how they profited and why they were investing their time in me from the outset. Their “free” time that they were giving was too suspicious.

Then I realized, that so was my “free” stays at my rentals. My offer likely sounded too good to be true to so many people, or further that if people came they would feel in debt to me because of my charity.  This gave me a new idea to from now on offer a nice discount to stay at my rentals in the off season, instead of offering people a free stay. I think that more people may take me up on this offer now because it sounds more reasonable. “Sweet Nolan is giving us a discount how nice!”

We will see if my new plan works and if more people come stay in the off-season. If you are interested, send in a message and say that Nolan offered an off-season discount at http://www.craterlakebungalows.com


Keep Smiling,



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