If you are just starting out in holiday rentals, we have the perfect podcast for you.
Jane Mack is an industry expert who works as a coach and mentor, helping individuals and businesses to scale their operations.
Jane has plenty of experience in the short-term rentals sector as she helped grow The Arran Team – based on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland – from a letting agency to a full-scale holiday rental management company. And after just seven years, the business was acquired by cottages.com, with Jane remaining part of the new company for a further three years before working as a social media consultant, and later a holiday let coach.
During the podcast, which you can listen to via the website or watch on YouTube, Jane shared details about her time with The Arran Team before offering her top 10 tips to holiday rental hosts – which we outline below:
1. Do your research. Understand the best areas to invest. Look at the competition. Think about your personal circumstances – will you be using the property yourself and will you be self-managing or outsourcing the work? Research is paramount to find a property that will be profitable.
2. Make it a home from home. Guests tend to appreciate home comforts. Think about all the furniture and appliances you would expect.
3. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes. The easiest and most effective thing you can do is to stay at your property. This will help you to fully understand the guest experience and is a quick and simple way to fix any snags.
4. Be aware of local regulations. Scotland and Wales have both brought in new rules for furnished holiday lets in recent months. A host of local authorities have also implemented regulations related to second homes and holiday rentals. When starting out, it is important to know exactly what extra costs you might incur.
5. Budget! There will always be unexpected expenses. Make sure you have a rainy-day fund.
6. Have a maintenance schedule. Keep on top of tasks like gas/electrical testing, make sure your place is fire safety compliant, and don’t forget the garden!
7. Property management. Weigh up the pros and cons of self-managing or using a property management company.
8. Automate as much as possible. You could consider a property management solution (HCH sponsor: Hosthub), dynamic pricing tool, or digital guidebook (HCH sponsor: Orana Stay). Several online travel agencies, like Airbnb, will help to automate guest messages, for example. A lock box will allow self-check-in for guests and you could also consider a smart central heating system which you can monitor and update remotely.
9. Less is more. You might think you can squeeze in an extra sofa bed to try and achieve more revenue – but often, less is more. Think about guest comfort – if your place comfortably sleeps three – then advertise it accordingly.
10. Take the rough with the smooth. You will get a bad review now and again. You will have to deal with demanding guests. Like Jane says, there will be some things it is difficult to plan for – like a guest being disappointed at the lack of an egg timer (we thought everyone used their phone these days!). There might even be times when occupancy is low and you need to be a little creative to attract bookings. On the flip side, hosting can be a lot of fun. You get to meet people from all over the world, most guests will love your property, and you will receive many more positive comments than negative ones. As Jane says, it’s important to take the rough with the smooth.
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