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.