How to Get the Best Out of Your Serviced Accommodation

Recently, we have discussed how to find the best location for serviced accommodation. Now we’ll go over some tips from a ‘Times’ article on how to have the best properties for short term lets. The article has a large range of points but they are generally broken up into two types of changes. First is marketing, making sure your property stands out. This will ensure your property always has bookings even in areas popular with short-term lets. Next is profitability, these changes won’t increase the amount you can charge they will increase profitability relative to amount of time invested. Similar to other types of property when we get really good at investing ‘DIY stands for Don’t involve yourself’. Time is our most valuable asset so many of these tips are for time saving. Let’s get on with the marketing points.

  • Design, people looking for a place to stay usually have to decide on a property based on only a few pictures. So, the design of a property is extremely important to make your property stand out. Keeping up to date with current trends is important. At the moment the major features are light or cream colours, these are popular as they can make a house bright and inviting. This can also work in our favour when trying to draw attention to the property as small splashes of colour or pattern become more noticeable. For some examples of recent trends there is a link below for a décor feature.
  • As an extension of the last point, to show off your new lovely interior, you need to make sure you have professional-looking pictures. There are two ways of doing this, first is obvious, hire a professional. This can be done through Airbnb relatively cheaply; professionals can also be booked on perfocal.com or snapgenius.co.uk. The other way to do this is to do it yourself. If this is the case, you have to use a good camera. When taking the pictures there are a few things you need to do: use a wide-angle lens, hold the camera at chest height, take the pictures in daylight with the curtains/ blinds open, clean the house, make the beds and hide the bins.
  • Next is to make an attractive listing. Apart from location and number of bedrooms you need to highlight the property’s best features. These can include things like a pool, parking spaces or high speed WIFI. Also, don’t forget to list nearby attributes, like restaurants, public transport or tourist attractions.
  • Make sure your charge price is comparable for the type and location of your property. Just like with pricing rents or property you have to keep your price competitive. There are some free sites that can give an overview of the surrounding properties available for short-term let. They include airdna.co, a free site that reviews your postcode, and usewheelhouse.com, a subscription service that updates local pricing for 1 per cent of each booking.

Next we have a few things that will increase the properties profitability for the time invested:

  • If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend managing the property, then a few management services exist to take care of those responsibilities. Some examples are Hostmaker, GuestReady and Airsorted although they only cover certain areas. These companies charge around 15% of bookings, but handle all management issues including cleaning and exchanging keys.
  • If you would like to save some money by avoiding full-service management but would still like your property to run more autonomously then a key safe would mean no one had to be around at key exchanges. Also having a physical guide with the WIFI, code, appliance directions and other instructions.
  • Take out the right insurance, some home insurers see serviced accommodation as commercial activity so will require a different quote. Even though Airbnb has a guarantee on damage caused by guests, like all big companies, they have filled it with loopholes to avoid paying. So, its best to get your own quote that specifically covers short-term lets. Some brokers include Guardhog, Pikl, Towergate or HomeProtect.
  • To make your property more professional and to make guests feel more comfortable you need to make sure your property is clear. Recently, I stayed in an Airbnb that didn’t remove any of their photos and even left their food in the fridge. It doesn’t make people feel at home and can ruin their stay. Next, you need to make sure all amenities, like loo roll and soap, are stocked up. Finally we can check if we might be eligible for tax breaks. The Rent a Room scheme allows up to £7,500 to be earned tax free for letting a single furnished room but includes homes. So, check if you are eligible. Also don’t forget that cleaning, Airbnb fees and insurance are all deductible from your profit.
  • There you go, with this article and other recent features we have covered a large amount of serviced accommodation. However, there is still a lot more to know so if you want to see some examples and learn more of the logistical side then make sure you come along to some of our events.

References

Important amenities for short lets- https://press.airbnb.com/amenities-do-matter-airbnb-reveals-which-amenities-guests-search-for-most/

Property design trends – https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g23550602/design-trends-2019/

Main article on serviced accommodation – https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-airbnb-fb7k6hbkv

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