Short-term Accommodation Rental

At this time of the year, many holiday home owners are looking forward to retreating to their special place for a well-earned break. Whilst their objective is purely to enjoy one of their biggest life investments, there is always that ever-daunting list of “things-to-do” which encumbers their plan to have a “stress free & maintenance free” holiday. I will address this aspect in a future blog.

At the same time, others are considering how best to get some form of return on this investment as the overall cost of living in SA climbs out of proportion to many people’s disposable incomes. Whilst the initial plan to purchase a holiday home was primarily for use by family and friends, more and more people are relooking this approach, especially in areas where there is a large, seasonal tourism market.

Whilst long-term rentals are always an option, many people are put off by this as it will restrict their use of their own property as and when they get the chance to. Besides the fact that the long-term rental option does not bring in anywhere near the same rental as short-term rentals, there are many choices for them to consider. The question, however, is what is the right choice for you?

With the explosion of the online, short-term rental portals (i.e. Airbnb, etc.), a lot of confusion has been created by people not fully understanding whether these are suitable options for them or not. It is not simply a case of listing your property on the relevant portal and waiting for bookings. There is a fair amount of preparation required behind the scenes to ensure that the accommodation you are offering meets the standards of the guests you are trying to attract.

There is nothing worse than a traveller arriving at their chosen accommodation only to find it is way off the mark in terms of their expectations. All too often these expectations are based on the information listed, which can be very misleading. Then there is that dynamic called “wide-angle lens photography” which distorts the reality of the accommodation which turns out to be a lot smaller than expected.

A further consideration is how comfortable and appealing the accommodation is and what facilities you are putting in place for your guests. Now you may well ask why I refer to them as “guests”. If you are planning on renting out the accommodation on a regular basis then it becomes important that your view of the “tenant” is not that of a long-term tenant. Key to repeat and referral business are the reviews your property gets from each guest and what personal touches you include in the accommodation. As a large proportion of short-term rentals are self-catering, leaving a fruit basket or a bottle of wine for the guests goes a long way to creating a great first impression. Accommodation that is tastefully furnished, providing all the basic facilities that a traveller would expect, is more likely to get referrals than a basic room with tired linen and furniture, even if it does have a decent view.

Then of course you have the dilemma of how this is all going to be managed if you want to rent out your accommodation when you are not permanently based in the area. There are many considerations that one needs to think about and these cover everything from who will meet your guests, run through the accommodation facilities, provide the guests with knowledge of local activities, restaurants, hiking trails and the range of seasonal events. On-going guest communication is crucial before and during their stay and whilst the argument for “everyone can access this information online” is valid in many cases, there is nothing quite like the experience of that personal touch when you arrive at your chosen accommodation.

If you are planning on renting out your property on a short term basis using the portals of choice, it is imperative that your reviews are of the highest standard in order to broaden your reach of suitable guests. To achieve this, you must ensure that the end-to-end process from creation of the listing to post-occupation cleaning is effectively supervised to ensure that your accommodation builds up a reputation of being a preferred destination.