Last week in the article Software, Technology and Holiday Property Management (Part 1) we looked at the importance and inevitability of technology integration into a Holiday Property Managers daily life, focusing on Accounting Software. In today’s article, we are going to take a look at Holiday Rental Advertising and Holiday Property Management. This may seem to contradict our previous article, Holiday Property Management – that’s just rentals and cleaning isn´t it? where we discussed how Holiday Property Management is much more than just rentals, however, as each Holiday Property Manager works differently and provides a variety of services in varying combinations, Holiday Rentals is an important topic to cover.
Holiday Rental Advertising
If you manage Holiday Properties that are also available for Holiday Rentals, ensuring the maximum occupancy when the property is made available to you throughout the peak and off peak periods, is going to be of great importance for you and your Property Owners from an income perspective. The days of just being able to rely on your own website and local network of Rental Agent colleagues to rent out your properties are long gone. Competition is fierce and it is getting more and more difficult to ensure a high ranking position on any internet search results without a significant budget, or extensive effort on your part. In addition, customer expectations and booking preferences have changed, now favouring the online search and ability to make direct comparisons and click to book straight away option. Consequently, in order to better compete on the market, you will also need to adopt online software solutions that will complement your existing Property Management Software System by allowing you to more efficiently market and advertise the rental properties that you manage.
In line with this, a lot of the Holiday Rental Advertising Channels now also encourage or insist on an ‘instant booking option’, in return for lower fees and keeping the position of your property high on their search results. This can be a challenge for the average European Holiday Property Manager if Property Owners do not keep you up to date with their own bookings and usage and also offer their properties out to other Rental Agents. Having a main/lead Rental Agent for the property who is in charge of the Master Bookings Calendar is key to the success of this.
When it comes to Holiday Rental Advertising, there is a significant range of options available on the market for you to use with some very well known brands, all varying on price and conditions. These can include a % fee per booking and/or subscription charges and other conditions.
You will come to your own conclusions on who is best for you, your properties, your location and whether to advertise on just one, or on many Channels. However, some things you should remember when advertising on any of the Rental Advertising Channels are:
- If you do not have exclusive access to the property, make sure that you are the lead agent who has control of the Master Booking Calendar with the agreement that if the Booking is not confirmed on this Master Booking Calendar, it is not a confirmed Booking and the Property is Available
- Invest in some professional photos. The property needs to stand out from the crowd – poor quality photos risk your property getting passed over
- Take time on the descriptions and sell the holiday experience. You know the property and the area it is located better than most, so focus on what you can do to make a holiday at the property you are advertising stand out
- Make it clear that the property is Professionally Managed, meaning the property is well maintained and any issues will be dealt with promptly and professionally – this is more important than you realise
- Look at the pricing and consider offering little extras – everyone likes to be made to feel special and this can be done without spending a fortune. Try to include ones that are easy to manage and you can get good pricing on by buying in bulk and offering them with all of your properties
- Include linen changes and a service clean as often as you can, without affecting the profitability of the rental. This is not only a value add to the rental but this also gives you the opportunity to spot any misuse of the property before check out
- Try searching on the Rental Advertising Channel you are considering using as a customer would if they were looking for a rental property like the one you are advertising. Try to forget any specifics that you would use yourself, because as you are in the market you will refine the search without realising it. Be generic and think as a customer would.
- How much competition is there already?
- Compare pricing and value in comparison to your property
- Try doing the same search on the internet – where does the Channel appear in the search results for the property you want to rent?
- Talk to colleagues who are in a similar business to you – what do they do and what works for them? Some people may not want to share their views but the like-minded ones will embrace it
- Look at the Booking Fees against all of the above as this is not a 100% price/fees decision
- With any rental, make sure that you have the correct rental license in place for any property that is rented
- There can be a lot of confusion on who is ultimately responsible and liable if the property is rented without the appropriate license
- A license reassures the prospective holiday tenant that the property is legitimate and exists
- If the Property Owner does not want to get this license, don´t rent the property – the finger pointing will always be towards the Holiday Property Manager in the first instance whenever there are any issues no matter what the history, you cannot put a price on your reputation so it’s just not worth taking this risk
If you advertise the same property on more than one Rental Advertising Channel and also rely on direct bookings, you will more than likely be looking for some help from Rental Channel Management Software or Systems to avoid double bookings and general Bookings Calendar Management hell! These types of Rental Calendar Management tools are extremely valuable for busy Holiday Rental Property Managers, but this is where the fees that are taken for each Holiday Rental Booking can really start to build, so the right choice for your business is very important. But we will cover this area off in a later post…