BooksterWe spoke with Craig Douglas, director of Reserve Apartments for his advice for self-catering owners. Reserve Apartments is a well-established property management service based in Edinburgh. "First and foremost you need to create procedures, professional emails and templates - much of the work is repetitive. 1 - Choose a software carefully Bookings are the lifeblood of your business. Having a good platform so you can use many channels is vital. The flexibility of your platform is key when it comes to pricing. Not just in terms of the ease of inputting prices but having the ability to tweak pricing is vital. A yield management tool that automates discounts will save you a lot of admin time and increase your bottom line. 2 - Plan your Accounting practices 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. I learned the hard way that it is important to get your VAT situation correct. Review your procedures to minimise the VAT payable so VAT ideally is only charged on your agency fees and all other VATable items are used to reduce your VAT exposure. 3 - Share experiences with others Go networking and learn from more experienced operators. Some people think that they have something special to offer so they don’t want to 'share'. Unless you have discovered a 'new secret sauce' and even if you have in this Internet Age it won’t be too long before you are copied. Join a form of like minded individuals - there are lots out there, and they're happy to help. 4 - Embrace new ideas I have heard from several 'gurus' in the industry that the successful players in this market place will be those that can embrace the latest technology, streamline their processes and enable them to be more competitive…I wholeheartedly agree. So get your tech head on - or if you haven't got one, get tech help…without it you are going to be an 'also ran'. Good luck with your new venture - I wish you well." For further guidance and information on aspects of self catering that you should consider, read our series of advice from other experts in the industry.

4 tips for starting a self-catering business

Written by Kelly Odor

Four tips for managing a self-catering business by Craig Douglas, Director and co-founder of Reserve Apartments

4 tips for managing a self-catering business - An introduction with 4 tips for managing a self-catering business by Craig Douglas Director of Reserve Apartments
An introduction with 4 tips for managing a self-catering business by Craig Douglas Director of Reserve Apartments

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The day to day organisation of self catering properties comes down largely to good planning.

But what tasks need to be planned to make easier processes and a successful business?

Bookings are the lifeblood of your business. Having a good platform so you can use many channels is vital

We spoke with Craig Douglas, director of Reserve Apartments for his advice for self-catering owners. Reserve Apartments is a well-established property management service based in Edinburgh.


"First and foremost you need to create procedures, professional emails and templates - much of the work is repetitive. 

1 - Choose a software carefully

Bookings are the lifeblood of your business. Having a good platform so you can use many channels is vital. The flexibility of your platform is key when it comes to pricing. Not just in terms of the ease of inputting prices but having the ability to tweak pricing is vital.

A yield management tool that automates discounts will save you a lot of admin time and increase your bottom line.

2 - Plan your Accounting practices

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. I learned the hard way that it is important to get your VAT situation correct.

Review your procedures to minimise the VAT payable so VAT ideally is only charged on your agency fees and all other VATable items are used to reduce your VAT exposure.

3 - Share experiences with others

Go networking and learn from more experienced operators. Some people think that they have something special to offer so they don’t want to 'share'.

Unless you have discovered a 'new secret sauce' and even if you have in this Internet Age it won’t be too long before you are copied. Join a form of like minded individuals - there are lots out there, and they're happy to help.

4 - Embrace new ideas

I have heard from several 'gurus' in the industry that the successful players in this market place will be those that can embrace the latest technology, streamline their processes and enable them to be more competitive…I wholeheartedly agree.

So get your tech head on - or if you haven't got one, get tech help…without it you are going to be an 'also ran'.

Good luck with your new venture - I wish you well."


For further guidance and information on aspects of self catering that you should consider, read our series of advice from other experts in the industry.

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