How to manage holiday rental properties
Written by Kelly Odor
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Are you new to managing holiday rentals? Here's some top tips from industry experts.
Top tips for agencies: How to manage holiday rental properties
Are you new to holiday lettings management?
We contacted top Property Management Agencies and their supporting companies to share their tips on how to successfully set up and run holiday rental agencies in 2020.
Their wisdom stems from years of experience in the holiday let industry, managing properties and caring for guests needs.
We've collated their top advice below, and you can click through to read more details from each company.
Karen Blair, Director - Edinburgh-Flats
If you are a rental company or landlord considering moving to holiday rentals, it's important to weigh up what you expect from the business, and your circumstances.
Short let rentals can be more lucrative than residential lets with up to 30% more income, however they may not suit everyone.
Short let rentals can have periods when a property may be vacant, so they appeal to a landlords:
- Who are less reliant on a consistent rental income
- Who would like some personal usage of the property
- Who have properties that are only empty for a short periods – perhaps between longer-term tenancies, or when they are away from their home for a period.
It is recommended that landlords consider long-term residential lets for more guaranteed monthly income to service the mortgage and bills.
Read more advice from Karen Blair in Short Let Rentals Essentials : A quick guide for those considering moving to the industry.
Eddie Harper, Director - Harpers Concierge
A common oversight is that agencies underestimate that at the heart of this business there are physical assets which requires care and attention - the holiday rental property itself, as well as the guests.
A misconception is that you simply need to advertise, take bookings and then schedule in a cleaner for the changeover. This can work for a while, and then start to unravel. This can have a significant effect on guest reviews.
Having someone very familiar with the property on the ground regularly (ideally between every booking) is essential to identify and deal with potential or current issues. It's great if your dedicated cleaner can also serve this function, however this isn't a realistic scenario if you have multiple listings and same-day turnarounds.
If you look after your properties this will be reflected in your reviews, and you will stand out from the competition. This will give you the best long-term results with both your rental return and occupancy levels - which is the aim of the game.
Read more details from Eddie Harper in Concierge tips for holiday rentals
Craig Douglas, Director - Reserve Apartments
There are a number of key aspects to consider before you start a self-catering business.
1. Plan procedures to support you
You need to create procedures, professional emails and templates as much of the work is repetitive. There are lots of tools out there to help you with this.
2. Choose a robust software
Remember that bookings are the lifeblood of your self-catering business. Having a good platform so you can use many channels is vital and the flexibility of your platform is key.
3. Organise your accounts
The accounting for your business is also vital. It is one thing to achieve a lot of profitable bookings but you need reports and accounting capabilities or you will quickly tie yourself in knots.
4. Meet and share experiences
Go networking and learn from more experienced operators. There are a lot of like-minded people out there willing to share and help.
Read more details from Craig Douglas on 4 tips for starting a self-catering business
Robin Morris, Director - Bookster Property Management System
Starting any new business can be a scary time and using the right tools right is critical.
Here is my top tip for selecting the best property management services for your vacation rental business:
Decide on your priorities!
All software is a reflection of the priorities (and capabilities) of the team behind it - they constantly make decisions about which problems to tackle… and which ones to push down the road for another day.
It's important to understand that any platform will likely have some functionality missing that you may consider important.
The key to making the software work for you is the ability to accept different work-flows and to adapt your business processes with the software.
The first step is to consider what the really important software features and tasks are for your vacation rentals.
Write them down, and order them in importance. You may not get everything on your list, but you should focus on getting the most important tools for you.
Check out the rest of Robin Morris’ 4 tips for choosing a vacation rental software
Aga Sawka, Director - Pink Cleaning Aga
Negative reviews of holiday rentals and Airbnb short stay rentals are often as a result of guest’s dissatisfaction with the quality of cleaning.
The quality, efficiency and price of this task can have a significant effect on your business. It is important to get all these aspects correct from the start.
There are a number of tasks which you should plan before you allow guests in your holiday rentals. We've listed the tasks you should plan together with your cleaning company:
1. Pre-rental self catering tasks
Sit down with your cleaning company and plan the tasks that need to be undertaken before your photos are taken and your guests arrive.
Although the tasks may feel time consuming at a time when you're keen to get up and running, it will make a big difference to your business reputation to do these correctly in advance.
2. Arrange the cleaning schedule
Some property managers arrange cleaning on check-in day, and others on check-out days. We recommend arranging these on the check-out day.
3. Linen management for holiday homes
To track the cleaning of your linens, it's important to take time to label and photograph your linens, and discuss this with your cleaning company.
4. Contingency plans
Things do go wrong with holiday rentals. Giving your cleaning company the authority and budget to go ahead and resolve small problems can make a big difference to your guest experience.
5. Provide sufficient keys
Depending on the services your cleaning company will provide you, you need to provide sufficient keys.
6. Cleaning turnarounds
There are a number of aspects to consider for cleaning turnaround times. This includes:
- the length of time required to clean
- the cost and availability of parking
- tasks required for each clean
- tasks required if a reduced turnaround time is available
7. Communicate with your cleaners
Clear communication is important, to prevent and resolve any problems that may arise.
Read further details for each of these tips from Aga at 7 Holiday Home Cleaning Tips.
Lyle Markle, Art Director - Bookster
Creating a website for your holiday lets business is a big task, requiring patience, skill and trust in your web designer.
Here is my advice for those agencies wanting a holiday lets website.
Websites are iterative projects, rather than one-off projects.
It used to be that once a website was created, it was ticked off the list as a completed project. But times have changed.
Some of the highest performing websites that I work with are sites where the agency reviews and tests new ideas on their website regularly.
There are some fantastic tools to assess how a website is performing, and test new ideas for improving web performance, the user experience and the bookings revenue.
Your web designer will be able to provide advice on what tools to use, and what options they recommend.
Read the rest of the tips from Lyle Markle at 3 tips to create a holiday lets website
Julie Grieve, CEO - Criton Guest Book
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