Dave Cordner, Managing Director of Central Belfast Apartments, believes this trend is likely to last in the long term and therefore investing in quality accommodation is essential to develop and sustain the industry. It answers some of the most common questions asked by people interested in renting real estate.
What would surprise people about renting their property?
May a responsible management company allow you to earn excellent income from housing with services without having to do any work. I think a lot of people know about Airbnb / serviced accommodation but think it’s not for them because they don’t have the time or know how to manage it. It certainly takes a lot of work.
It is very easy to start but very difficult to do well.
Central Belfast Apartments do all the hard work for our guests which means they get all the perks of serviced accommodation (increased income, property professionally maintained and cleaned regularly, enthusiasm to be part of a tourism industry buzzing) without any hassle.
Selling a weekend as serviced accommodation can make a landlord more money than a full month’s rent on a standard rental.
What are the pitfalls?
It’s such a steep learning curve for newbies. There are so many things that can go wrong. In my opinion, the biggest pitfall is trying to do everything yourself. Cleaning, linen, maintenance, communication with customers, etc. He will absolutely take your life in hand. Leveraging the skills and experience of other people is crucial if you want a business that makes you money and doesn’t waste your time. The first simple step is to outsource the cleaning, although it comes with its share of pitfalls!
Another pitfall is that people are looking for short term gains by accepting overnight stays. Even if they are at a higher rate. This is a common mistake.
Overnight stays block your schedule and prevent longer, more profitable bookings from entering. They also have higher change costs for cleaning and laundry etc. Finally, with overnight stays, especially on weekends, you run the risk of getting party reservations. Our YouTube channel is full of little tips and tricks for beginners.
How to find a fair and reasonable price?
At Central Belfast Apartments we try to provide an exceptional experience for our guests. Go above and beyond in terms of customer service and the quality of the properties we offer, leading to great reviews and being ranked # 1 on TripAdvisor.
This allows us to charge a premium because people are willing to pay a little more for added value.
While there are always busy and quieter times during the year when our rates change, they are not as volatile as others who are forced to compete on price alone.
Ultimately, however, the market decides what is a fair and reasonable rate.
What is the return for anyone who reserves ownership and has issues?
The most powerful tool available to customers when they have a problem is to leave a public notice. There is nowhere to hide in this industry. Often times things will go wrong, but what matters next is how it is handled.
Providing exceptional customer service when something goes wrong can at worst stop a negative review and at best lead to a truly positive review.
What are the most important factors when renting?
1. Have the right property – location, finish and facilities.
2. Provide exceptional customer service and genuine warmth.
3. Efficient systems. For reservations, emails, cleaning, laundry, social media, marketing, etc.
4. Exposure, making sure you are visible on all booking sites, social networks, online marketing and direct booking sites.
5. Protect your property – Monitor guests, take security deposits, do not accept short stays, and provide maintenance.
Are there any misconceptions about renting a property?
People are often obsessed with the occupation, but it is a measure of vanity and not always very helpful. For example, you might have 100% occupancy made up of overnight stays that would not be very profitable at all after paying all change fees.
Another is that it is Airbnb. It is certainly the most well-known booking site, but there are many others that can outperform Airbnb in terms of where we get our bookings from.
How long can you rent 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 changes and often much better guests.
Central Belfast Apartments is the market leader in serviced accommodation. To learn more or to talk to Dave about the management model, visit belfastairbnbmanagement.co.uk or search @centralbelfastapartments on social media