Something new is happening at the historic Pot Point Cabin.
Instead of hosting big groups, as it so often has, the log cabin is becoming a space for family vacationers and small groups of friends to stay.
That's the hope.
The Tennessee River Gorge Trust recently struck a deal to let Lookout Mountain Vacation Rentals manage renting the house. The nonprofit is hoping that letting rental professionals take over will also bring in more money.
"They have really effective marketing, and they have the customer service down to a science," said Sarah Quattrochi, the trust's outreach and development director. "We're a small staff of three. One of us typically was in charge of managing the rental and making sure it was prepared. That was a lot of time. We thought we could better spend our time on outreach."
Lookout Rentals gets 40 percent of the rental revenue, and the trust gets 60 percent. Nearly all the rental income the trust got before was going toward maintaining the cabin.
The trust had a caretaker on premises who opened the house for guests and locked it up when they left. It also had someone clean it. Now Lookout Rentals handles checking guests in and out of Pot Point and keeping the house clean.
The deal is a good one for the rental company too because it was (and still is) looking to expand its portfolio of rental properties, said Christian Thoreson, who owns Lookout Rentals, along with Christina Holmes.
The locally owned and operated Tennessee-licensed vacation lodging service rents three other properties in the Chattanooga area and Northwest Georgia. Pot Point is its biggest and most expensive rental property, most recently listing at $235 a night, with taxes and fees included.
Pot Point, which sits on the banks of the Tennessee River, was originally constructed in 1835 of hand-hewn logs and planks reclaimed from a boat that wrecked on a nearby rapid, according to the trust. The trust purchased the cabin and surrounding 400 acres in 1991. The property has since been expanded and can sleep eight people. Within the the next few months it will be able to sleep 10.
Offering the house as a rental brings people to the 27,000-acre gorge, which the trust helps to preserve, Quattrochi said. A 3.5-mile hiking loop surrounds the cabin and is open to the public.
The house has typically been a spot for weddings and staff meetings, but the trust is now hoping to draw smaller groups and has updated the interior to help allow for that by adding cozy couches and the like.
"We don't really like groups because they don't have the proper respect," Thoreson said. "Families treat it better. Small groups aren't bad."
Several families have stayed at the cabin in the past month or so and left comments in the guest book saying that they enjoyed it, Thoreson said. "It's a gorgeous property."
Contact staff writer Mitra Malek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6406.