With a rise in people choosing to holiday at home, accommodation providers have seen the number of enquiries at an all-time high for this time of year
Dave Cordner, Managing Director of Central Belfast Apartments, believes this trend is likely to last for the long-term and so investment in quality accommodation is key to develop and sustain the industry. He answers some of the most common questions being asked by those interested in renting out property.
What would surprise people about renting their property?
That a responsible management company allows you to earn great income from serviced accommodation without having to do any of the work. I think a lot of people know about Airbnb/serviced accommodation but think it isn’t for them because they don’t have the time or know how to run it. It certainly does take a lot of work.
It’s very easy to get started but very difficult to do well.
Central Belfast Apartments does all the hard work for our clients meaning they get all the payoffs from serviced accommodation (increased income, property maintained and professionally cleaned regularly, excitement of being part of a buzzing tourism industry) without any of the hassle.
Selling one weekend as serviced accommodation can bring a homeowner more money than a whole month’s rent on a standard tenancy.
What are the pitfalls?
It is such a steep learning curve for people starting out. There are so many things that can go wrong. In my opinion the biggest pitfall is trying to do everything yourself. Cleaning, linen, maintenance, guest communications etc. It will absolutely take over your life. Leveraging other people’s skills and experience is crucial if you want a business that makes you money and not just drains your time. The easy first step is to outsource the cleaning, though this has its own set of pitfalls!
Another pitfall is people chasing short term gains by accepting one-night stays. Even if they are at a higher rate. It’s a common mistake.
One-night stays block your calendar and prevent longer, more profitable bookings from coming in. They also have higher changeover costs of cleaning and linen etc. Lastly with one-night stays, especially at the weekend you run the risk of getting party bookings. Our YouTube channel has lots of little tips and tricks for people who are starting out.
How do you work out a fair and reasonable rate?
At Central Belfast Apartments we try and offer an exceptional experience for our guests. Going above and beyond in terms of customer service and the quality of the properties we offer, leading to great reviews and being ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor.
This enables us to charge a premium as people are willing to pay a little more for added value.
While there are always busy and quieter periods over the year where our rates change, they aren’t as volatile as others who are forced to compete solely on price.
Ultimately however the market decides what is a fair and reasonable rate.
What comeback is there for anyone who books the property and has issues?
The most powerful tool that guests have if there has been an issue is leaving a public review. There is nowhere to hide in this industry. Things will often go wrong, but what matters after that is how it is dealt with.
Delivering amazing customer service when something goes wrong can at worst stop a negative review and at best actually lead to a really positive one.
What are the most important factors when renting?
1. Having the right property — location, finish and facilities.
2. Delivering exceptional customer service and genuine warmth.
3. Effective systems. For bookings, emails, cleaning, linen, social media, marketing etc.
4. Exposure, making sure you are visible on all booking sites, social media, online marketing and direct booking websites.
5. Protecting your property — Vetting guests, taking security deposits, not accepting short stays and keeping on top of maintenance.
Are there misconceptions about renting a property?
People are often obsessed with occupancy but it’s a vanity metric and not always that helpful. For example, you could have 100% occupancy made up of one night stays which would not be very profitable at all after paying for all the changeover costs.
Another is that it’s all about Airbnb. It’s certainly the most wellknown booking site but there are many others that can outperform Airbnb in terms of where we get our bookings from.
For how long can you rent out a property per month/year?
Longer bookings can be incredibly profitable. Even at a much lower rate. This is because there are no empty nights, no frequent changeovers and often much better guests.
Central Belfast Apartments are market leaders in serviced accommodation. To find out more or to talk to Dave about the management model, visit belfastairbnbmanagement.co.uk or search @centralbelfastapartments on social