Tina Villis

Five tips for Success in the Short Term Rental Accommodation Industry #3

Tip 3. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT

Regardless of the number of properties you manage, it is essential that you know your product – the properties – intimately. Before this process begins assessment of the property for suitability for accommodation is the first step.

Questions to ask:

  • Is the location a marketable location, for example, beach, city, suburban, regional
  • Is the property type suitable, for example, cottage, villa, apartment, townhouse
  • Are there one, two, three bedrooms or more
  • How many bathrooms
  • Parking availability
  • Is the property fully furnished and self-contained
  • Maximum number of guests
  • Are there any stairs
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Number of outdoor areas
  • Is there a pool or gym
  • Is the owner an owner/occupier or investor

When this information is gathered and after a visit to the property and meeting the owner, only then is it possible to decide whether the property is suitable for short term accommodation. Not every property ticks all the boxes – it may not be to a quality standard or the location may not be suitable.

Another important criteria in your assessment, is to understand the mindset of the owner. It is important that they are not too attached to the property, allowing you to manage the property – they need to have 5-star mentality, and they need to trust you and your vision. Owners who cannot ‘let go’ tend to micro manage and it makes a working relationship frustrating and time consuming on both sides.

If the decision is made to move forward, it is important to then appraise the property. This serves two immediate purposes – if a prospective guest has questions about the property, you are able to answer with full knowledge. This assists in building a relationship with the guest and they are more likely to book. Secondly, if issues occur when a guest is staying, say an electrical fault, you are able to use their assistance to trouble shoot, possibly saving you a lengthy trip to reset a tripped circuit breaker.

In addition to appraising the property it is also important to provide an inventory, that is, all the contents within the property including all furnishings and everything down to the number of knives and forks. It is a good idea to take photographs, especially of drawers and cupboards. This assists when an inventory audit is conducted and helps housekeeping staff check to see where items are normally kept – this is especially useful as guests tend to move items around.

For owners and managers of a property, knowing the product both internally and externally is essential. Each property will have important details that must be known – from the type of heating and cooling, accessibility, facilities provided (for example, tennis court, swimming pool, gym, games room, business centre, conference facilities), child friendly, pet friendly, security, type of water, smoke alarms, security alarm systems, utility meter locations, to the disposal of rubbish. This is far from an exhaustive list!

For this reason, documenting all the features of a property is essential. Kept on file for reference for ease of access. If you are the owner/manager of more than one property it is difficult to recall every property feature so it is important to have documented evidence to refer to. It also serves as a resource for the documentation prepared for guests, and can be used to guide service contractors and maintenance staff to the correct location.

It is a core essential to know as much about the property as possible. That knowledge gives confidence to the guest if things go wrong – as inevitably they do.

Watch this space for TIP 4. KEEP PACE OF INDUSTRY TRENDS

 

Tina Villis

Five tips for Success in the Short Term Rental Accommodation Industry #2

Tip 2. ADAPTING TO CHANGE

The success of your business hinges on your ability to provide a niche in the market-driven accommodation industry. You need to know what the accommodation market is a searching for and if you identify a deficit you may need to change your approach. In the last 5 years there has been a real shift in the market regarding the wants and needs of travellers. Relocation personnel are coming from interstate and overseas to meet the demand for specialised skill sets required for various industries, and this means there has been a shift in the need for alternative accommodation options.

For this to occur your business needs to be able to adapt to change from what it always has been to what it needs to be. The ability to adapt to the market is a real strength to the success of your business. If you fail to move with the times the competition will be so strong that the business you started no longer fits the needs of the market. The ability to adapt to a changing market is not easy, however it can be both challenging and rewarding.

Some strategies may include:

  • Offering short and medium stays – from a few nights to a several weeks or months
  • Considering long term options, say a 6 –12 month lease
  • Increasing your portfolio of properties. This may mean purchasing additional properties or managing other owners’ properties
  • Linking up with other accommodation operators
  • Offering holistic management services in your local area
  • Consider a booking-only management service

To offer flexible services to meet market demand is a move to establish your business in a niche market. A world where communication to anywhere is at the push of a button and travel allows us to commute from one side of the globe to the other in a relative short space of time drastically changes the face of the accommodation industry. These are exciting times and we need to take up the challenge, make changes and be market leaders whether we are regional, city-based, national or worldwide.

Stay posted for Tip 3. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT

 

Tina Villis

Five tips for Success in the Short Term Rental Accommodation Industry #1

Tip 1.   FOLLOW YOUR PASSION

If you are passionate about what you do, you will shine and success will follow.

Your idea to provide accommodation may start out as a hobby, something that you really enjoy that soon turns into a business. To turn a hobby into a successful business requires a marketing strategy, understanding the demographics of your guests and to appreciate your role as a provider in the tourism and travel industry. It is hard to be successful if you do the same thing as everyone else in the industry, so it is important to find your niche in a competitive environment.

 To reach your full business potential you need to surround yourself with the right team as they are integral to success. Your team may include a Reservations Manager, Property Manager, a Caretaker, Handyman or Gardener and they need to share your vision. Your business is only as good as your team. They can not only transform your business but also accelerate its growth.

It is important to understand all aspects of your business but it does not mean that you must do all the tasks to maximise your business. There are only 24 hours in each day, so it is more effective to do what you do best and outsource the tasks that you are not good at, to people who excel at them. To delegate effectively takes trust and the ability to clearly communicate what you want. This may mean delegating to staff or considering the option of out-sourcing and hiring a virtual assistant.

Running an accommodation business – whether a single property or multiple properties – is labour intensive and is mostly a 7-day week service, whether it is meeting and greeting guests, attending to enquiries, and maintenance issues, to name but a few. The message here is don’t try to be all things to all aspects of your business. If you are innately good at something or have a skill set, embrace it. Find other people to do what you can’t do and focus on your strengths rather than being ‘jack of all trades’ or ‘master of none’.

Stay posted for Tip 2.

ADAPTING TO CHANGE