When I started investing in property, my initial focus was regular long-term rentals. However, personal circumstances, along with the rise in popularity of short-term lets and government legislation, forced a rethink in my strategy.
I bought my first short-term rental soon after my daughter was born in 2018. At the time, we were living in Qatar – where I was working on the 2022 FIFA World Cup project – and needed a place to stay during our regular trips back to the UK.
One thing I noticed during my research was the sheer number of platforms dedicated to buy to let investing, including websites, forums, and podcasts. There appeared to be a gap in the communications market for short-term lets – with no single platform uniting the people and businesses with a vested interest in the sector.
As my portfolio grew and knowledge expanded through being an investor and manager, the idea of building a new platform dedicated to the short-term lettings industry kept nagging away at the back of my mind. However, with a World Cup to work on, I needed to focus on Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe before thinking about property.
But after Argentina lifted the trophy at Lusail Stadium on 18 December 2022 and I had signed off the final press release of the tournament, the short-term lettings industry was back at the forefront of my mind.
What could I do to help the many thousands of people starting out in the sector? What do hosts, investors, and managers need in order to thrive in this industry? How can I build a platform that shares valuable information and acts as an advocate for the sector?
The result is what you see today. Initially, my goal was simply to write an e-book to help the people I saw daily on social media, asking questions about where to start with online travel agencies (OTAs) and whether to accept pets or charge a cleaning fee. But while writing the e-book and speaking to people in the industry, it soon became apparent there was an appetite for much more.
Quickly, HCH evolved into a multimedia platform, with a website, podcast, newsletter, and social media channels. My little idea about giving new hosts and property managers a helping hand had suddenly taken on a life of its own. The prospect of working on the next major international football tournament had taken a backseat. By now, I was all in with HCH.
After writing the first draft of the e-book, I worked with some regular collaborators to build a brand, logo, and company presentation. While the website and newsletter were being developed, we started publishing our first posts on social media in order to build a network of people across the industry.
Within a few weeks – and after spending more time on LinkedIn than I ever imagined – I had taken umpteen video calls and gathered enough podcast guests to take me well into 2024. The calls reinforced my view that a platform which offers free education while acting as an advocate for the short-term lettings sector will add huge value to the industry. Our goal is to unite hosts, managers, OTAs, tech tools, lenders, and conveyancers. We aspire to build a community to share best practices, showcase innovation, and promote the importance of our sector to people, businesses, and the economy.
We will work hard every day to become a trusted voice in the property sector and a platform highly regarded for sharing valuable free education – one that helps people and businesses reach engaged audiences.
I am incredibly excited for the future of HCH. The platform you see today is the result of a lot of hard work. Welcome to our little corner of the industry. Together, let’s build a community we can all be proud of.