13 weeks. That’s all we have left until Easter!
We know that by saying this you are probably groaning as this may be worse than the supermarkets who no sooner than the Mince Pies and Christmas decorations are down and off the shelf, replace them with Easter Eggs. But 13 weeks is not that long.
Anyone who works in Holiday Property Management knows that it is just one big cycle of recovering from one crazy season and then planning for, or being thrown into the next. But if you are in a sun based European destination, this time of year is the best time to get everything in order, sort out those operational changes that are required to make your work-life a little easier and implement ways to get more bookings for your Holiday Rentals.
It can sometimes seem a little overwhelming as no doubt you have a list as long as your arm of lessons that you learned the hard way last year and do not want to repeat next season.
Where do you start? Sometimes it is easier to put all of this off until next week, but the clock is running!
Just in case you are still recovering from Christmas and have not started to think about this, here is a list of some things you may want to consider.
1. Software and Systems
Implementing new systems and software or changing from one system to another takes time and patience. Choosing the right one for you is fundamental and allocating the right amount of time from the right people in your team to get this up and running, is key to a successful outcome and maximising the benefits. Many software providers offer help with onboarding, but there is no magic bullet as only you know how your business should be run and set up. With or without onboarding help, time and patience will reap rewards many times over.
If you are planning on making a change or trying something new, don’t delay as you will want to have this up and running and all of your team trained on any new systems and processes well before the season gets going.
2. Holiday Rentals Listings and Marketing
Is it time to refresh the photos, descriptions, offer and choose a new pricing strategy? How are your properties advertised? Look at where your bookings are coming from and why. Take some time to review your listings as your potential holiday bookings see them when viewed in comparison to the competition. This will help you secure more bookings as it is a competitive market, so you need to make sure your properties and the holiday experience that you offer, stands out from the crowd.
3. Rules and Regulations
Make sure that you are up to date on the latest rules and regulations, with particular reference to the requirements for Holiday Rental Property Managers and Agents to declare all income from rentals.
You should speak with your own advisors about this, but there is some helpful information included in the article in the link below if you are not aware of this requirement.
4. Staff and Support
We all know that it can be very difficult to predict the exact occupancy of your properties throughout the year as so much is out of your control and dependent on economic and other factors which can have an almost overnight, unpredictable effect. The weather both in your location and at the home of your Owners and Holiday Rentals can also have a massive impact.
How many people noticed a difference in bookings last summer from the UK and other Northern European countries as the weather there was so unusually good? And how many experienced an extended summer period that did not seem to end until late October as a knock-on impact of this?
It is very difficult to plan for these events, but starting to think about where you are going to get your seasonal based staff and support from, early on in the year can pay dividends. The time invested in training so that you are a well oiled machine in advance of the peak seasons, rather than running to catch up is time, effort and money well spent.
5. Maintenance and Pre-season Checks
Are your properties ready for next season? If you haven’t done it already, take a look at your exterior and interior cushions, rugs and soft furnishings. Do they need to be sent for professional cleaning? What about the linen and towels? No one likes to have to use tired, grey, stiff and scratchy towels and sheets.
Start planning in your Air Conditioning revisions and servicing to make sure the filters are cleaned and are working to deliver the correct temperature in all rooms.
What about all of the appliances? Does the ice-maker make ice? How are the fridge filters? What about the rubber seals on the dishwashers and ovens?
We will be following up with a separate article over the coming weeks with some more ideas of things to check before the season starts, to not only make your life a lot easier when you have the pressures of the peak season upon you, but also to ensure that your guests have a fantastic holiday with you.
Holiday Property Management can be tough at times and requires an endless list of requirements in terms of skills, experience, people, planning and organisation. However, if you are a successful Holiday Property Manager, you are no doubt already pretty good at all of this and you are an expert in dealing with the things that come out of leftfield. But sometimes, a little bit of earlier planning and preparation can make things a lot easier for you and your team and help you to make sure that your guests (Owners, Friends/Family and Holiday Rental Tenants) have a holiday to boast about and recommend to their friends!