Today I thought I would update you on the progress of my holiday home renting. You may remember from my post Here that I sacked the agents in Fuerteventura and decided that I would rent my holiday home by myself. Yes, I know it sounded crazy as it was thousands of miles away – but I had, had enough of crap agents and decided that I would do it better!
Well I am pleased to say that I have done it better and thought I would share with you progress so far, so that if you have a holiday home/ are thinking of buying one then just to tell you – you too can manage your holiday home yourself! So my story today is one of encouragement!
I placed my ad for my holiday home rental on www.holidaylettings.co.uk. Click here for the ad
I had to pay upfront for the advertising for the year which cost me c£250. Not a small amount of money, but I decided that it was far cheaper than an agent. I had also manage to source a local cleaner and handyman for the property so that I could ensure that the property was well maintained and cared for. We organised a system which all were happy with (i.e. how they were paid and how I informed them of the bookings) When you are dealing with people in other countries email is a godsend!
I also decided I should use some free advertising and advertised the property on some local postcards in the supermarket and on gumtree (I didn’t put too much effort into this, but I tried it to see if I got any results)
I also made myself a little website one Sunday night – it is not fancy – but I did it so that I could write the address on my free ads: http://www.lasfuentes.biz/
And would you believe it within a short space of time I had taken so many bookings that I am now booked solidly until April 2011!
I am thrilled to say that I have also, at last, enjoyed being in control of my own holiday home! This means I also get to use it! My mum’s gone for a holiday, I’ve been for a hol, I’m going again next year with friends and I’m currently checking out cheap flights for Christmas 2011!
I always try and offer a much more personal service for people booking with me than if they went to an agent. So for example, I will check with anybody booking how they are going to get to the apartment and recommend transfer agents. I also check they have enough info about the area and send them relevant weblinks which they can check through prior to arriving.
I also try and understand why people book my apartment – what is it about the apartment, area, complex so that then I understand more about the sort of people who are my customers. Through doing this “customer research” I can then add other services/ products to the apartment which would make their stay more enjoyable. This could be as simple as having a travel cot available, to having a selection of music CDs for them to play on the stereo. I can’t please everyone – but I can at least try!
When people are booking holidays it’s lovely as they are all so excited (and it rubs off on me!), and that means that emotions are heightened so that if something is not quite right I know that they will feel it is even more not right (if you get my drift). Fortunately, I have not had any problems or complaints – but I still worry! I try and anticipate what issues may arise and either prevent them or manage expectations. This could be things such as – we have free wi-fi – but I know, if lots of people are using the system it can be slow. And so I pre-warn people that while we have free wifi it’s not the broadband speed they are used to, and that because it is a communal system it can be very slow at times. By explaining to people these issues beforehand, it means that if they do encounter an issue (e.g. wifi is slow) then they are prepared and accept this as they have already been told and know what to expect.
While I confess I have been doing this for less than 4 months – it’s a positive “sunny” start!