7 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started My Rental
Ah, hindsight. Isn’t it a wonderful thing? We’ve all had those moments where something has gone wrong and we’re left thinking “Why did nobody tell me that?!”. In an effort to spare you those moments of frustration, we’ve asked around the TripAdvisor Rentals owner community for valuable nuggets of wisdom gained over years of experience in the industry (over 70 to be precise!). Thanks to their contributions, you won’t have to learn the hard way…
Deb, Bulgaria: “Distance IS a big challenge unless you have a completely reliable and trustworthy representative.”
Deb and her husband purchased a holiday apartment in Bansko, one of Bulgaria’s most popular ski resorts with a rich cultural heritage. They quickly realised that living thousands of miles away and not being on-site when guests were there was going to be a challenge. It took them a long time to find a representative who was reliable and trustworthy. But it has certainly paid off, with lots of reviews mentioning this.
Are you managing your rental from a distance? You might want to take Deb’s advice and invest in a professional representative on the ground.
Adrian, Loch Ness: “It’s so important to manage guests’ expectations.”
Adrian runs a cottage in the world-famous Scottish destination of Loch Ness, but he’s also an IT specialist with a demanding job. He’s keen to let guests know that they’re booking a stay in a traditional Highland cottage – not at the Plaza. Of course, you want to sell your experience to the travelers viewing your listing, but always be honest. If guests arrive with the wrong expectations, you could be on your way to a negative review which could impact future bookings and business.
Are you being 100% honest about your rental and not overselling? Check your description and make sure it reflects the reality.
Peter, La Palma, Spain: “First, we relied on friends to act as housekeepers. But in hindsight, this was the wrong thing to do as it put a strain on friendship.”
After letting two holiday cottages in the UK, Peter visited friends in La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands off the North African coast. When the house next door came up for sale, they decided to buy and restore it in an authentic, Canarian style. At first, the solution seemed obvious: their neighbours could act as housekeepers. But, while convenient, it put a strain on their friendship and Peter now has a local housekeeper with a team of people who take care of everything, from car hire to cleaning.
For more advice on managing every aspect of your rental, take a look at our expert advice category.
Francesco, Bali: “It’s so important to select the right staff so the guest has what they need from check-in to check-out.”
Running a rental in Bali has presented many challenges for Francesco, from relationships with the locals to the building itself requiring constant maintenance. But his main piece of advice is to get the right staff on board so you can maintain a consistent standard. Francesco says that with good staff onsite, most issues can be solved immediately without the guest having to contact him.
Are you thinking about expanding and hiring staff? Get expert advice from someone who’s been there – property manager, Brian Harris.
Steve & Steph, Manchester: “Waiting to meet guests can be a challenge.”
Steve and Steph designed their own houseboat after a moment of inspiration struck while chugging along the canal and saw a hotel boat gliding in the other direction. While it hasn’t been plain sailing (Steve’s joke), one of the challenges has been waiting for guests to arrive. “Maybe they’ve been delayed because of flights or held up in traffic, but it’s worth being prepared for some of the inconvenience you’ll have while waiting to meet them.”
Are you experiencing similar problems to Steve and Steph? Why not consider setting up a safebox with a code for the keys, just in case your guests are running late.
Charlotte, Northumberland: “We make it easy for people to look after the place.”
Charlotte and her family have run their 400-year-old holiday cottage for over 30 years. During that time, they’ve introduced signage throughout the building to help guests look after it. For example, they have a box outside for guests to store their muddy hiking boots. Charlotte says “Instead of just telling people to do something, we make it easy for them – put things in place that help them to do it.”
Do you find guests could be better at looking after your property? Have a think about ways you can encourage them to do this, rather than just giving instructions.
Martin, Warwickshire: “I think the secret, if there is one, is using our own experiences as a template for what we offer.”
After converting some dilapidated out-buildings in their garden and welcoming their first guests five years ago, Martin and his family’s holiday rental has gone from strength to strength. Their philosophy has always been to think about what they enjoy when travelling and use that as a guide to improve their rental. A large part of that has been thoughtful touches like providing a homemade cake for guests (making the most of their daughter’s baking skills!) and adding new technology, like a coffee machine.
Looking for more tips and advice from owners just like you? Take a look at our other owner spotlights!
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