Damian discussed his journey in the industry, the upcoming Scale UK show – which HCH will be attending – and shared some brilliant tips for hosts and property managers.
Click here to listen to the podcast, which was hosted by HCH Founder, James Varley. Below are some key excerpts from the interview.
James Varley: For people who have been hosts for a while, what are some tips you could give them to help take their rentals to the next level?
Damian Sheridan: One of the most simple things I would say is stay at your property. Give it a night or two and just see what you're providing for your guests. Have you got enough forks or knives or glasses? Tiny things like that can make such a huge difference.
You could even ask a family friend or acquaintance to stay. Was everything there for them? Were they communicated with effectively beforehand?
We speak a lot about direct bookings but what about repeat bookings? Is anybody going to want to come back to your property if they haven't had the most excellent stay and experience? Absolutely not. So, we can email and keep in communication with our former guests as much as we like, but if the experience was not 100% or close to it, they're not going to come back.
Don’t go years without having visited and stayed at your property. Find out the experience and vibe. Is it a bit tired? Don’t take it for granted.
James Varley: How would you describe the current state of the short-term rentals sector and what future trends should we be looking out for?
Damian Sheridan: We're at quite a different place now than we were a year ago. When we came out of COVID, most managers and hosts saw a huge boom in bookings and one that perhaps we had never seen before. That probably led to a lot of players thinking ‘yeah, this is here to stay, this is an exciting industry, I'm all in’. However, over the last nine months or so, a lot of managers have seen a dip. It could be due to recession or certain things like train strikes in the UK. I know one company on the south coast who’ve been hit heavily by that.
We've moved from alternative accommodation to mainstream, [but] we still have difficulties. It's still a very fragmented market. Regulation is coming in…whether you like it or not. Personally, I think it's a good thing. And I think we need to have some kind of clarity in terms of what is permitted, what should be permitted, what is not [permitted]. We've got a great panel lined up at Scale UK [about regulation].
Professionalisation [and] making sure you are ready for these changes is hugely important. [Don’t] just keep yourself in a little bubble…because there are going to be some holes down the road.
But it's still an exciting time. This industry is still in its infancy. That's the exciting thing. We're still very new and we have a long way to go.
I think regulation is the biggest hurdle but so long as we can navigate that effectively together and wisely with the associations, with government, then things are going to look rosy in the next year or two.