Gone are the days where you have to choose between keeping your holiday home all to yourself or renting it out. Now, thanks to a boom in holiday and short-term letting websites, you can have the best of both worlds – and a little additional income on the side. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Starting blocks
Before doing anything, you need to decide who you want to cater to and who you want to attract. Simone McDermid, PR Manager at HomeAway, the new home of Stayz, says think about “who your ideal guest is and who you would like your listing to appeal to”. From here you can decide what updates or changes you need to make to be competitive in your chosen segment.
2. Style guide
A property styled with your guests in mind will convert to bookings. Kate Walsh, Interior Designer at MadeComfy, says if your holiday home is located close to the CBD, then “current design trends would benefit your property as guests expect a luxurious, boutique and trendy feel that competes with hotels”. The further away you are from central areas, “the more you can mix and match styles, depending on the culture of the suburb”. Your surfaces are a great way to update your rental's bathrooms and kitchens and make them more welcoming. The latest range from Laminex is super stylish and comes in stunning colours such as Crema Venato or French Navy.
3. Where to list
Listing your holiday rental has never been easier. Airbnb, HomeAway and TripAdvisor are some of the mainstream online platforms driving the boom in short-term holiday letting. As always, do your homework, look at what each website charges to list your home and always read the fine print before making a decision.
4. DIY vs hiring a property manager
Managing your holiday home isn’t always possible, but doing so will save you money as you won’t be paying commission. Another pro for doing it yourself, according to Simone, is having "complete control over who rents your property so you can better screen who will be your guest”.
5. Show and tell: what to include in your listing
"Think of your headline as your ‘20-second pitch,’” says Simone. As for the rest of your listing, “Make sure you highlight the main selling points and grab their attention. If you’re targeting families, talk about the fun activities you have on tap, but for couples, make sure you highlight all of the great features that will enable a romantic and rejuvenating weekend.” Air conditioning, complimentary wi-fi and Netflix should also be offered.
6. Where to leave the keys
The easiest solution for the keys is to install a keyless lock box. That way, your guests can head straight to the home. Monique Eyles, co-founder Hotelesque, says, “Having to collect keys can be a very negative start to a stay.” Just don’t forget to change the code frequently for security reasons.
7. The heart of the home
The kitchen is the heart of the home, even in holiday rentals, so treat it as such. Good quality appliances and a modern look can go a long way. For a streamlined look, turn to Bosch Series 8 Cooking Collection products which look stunning when stacked.
The trouble with holiday homes is that they can be left vacant for extended periods making them a target for theft. Some insurers won’t cover a property that has been left unoccupied for more than 60 days. For peace of mind, look into purchasing insurance specifically for holiday rentals.
Safety is key. Don't purchase second hand or overly cheap electrical equipment and appliances, instead opt for reputable companies such as Bosch – and they are stylish too so your rental will benefit from a visual point of view. Bonus!
10. Rave reviews
All of the bells and whistles won’t mean a thing if your guest has an uncomfortable night’s sleep. “To secure a five-star review you can add comfort to any bed by providing three hundred plus thread count linen,” says Kate. “Choose white over coloured sheets as they create a crisper and cleaner look to your bed, as well as upgrading your pillows and quilts. if you are able to splurge, investing in a comfortable mattress or an inviting sofa for your guest to cosy up on will result in great reviews, and return business.”
11. Pricing and taking payment
Another perk of holiday letting platforms is collecting payment from your guests is now a lot simpler. Most people prefer to pay online and services like Airbnb will facilitate the payment and release the funds into your account 24 hours after your guests check in. The price you set is up to you, but it’s a good idea to research what other rentals in the area cost. “A typical booking deposit is around $500 or 10 per cent of the weekly rate,” says Simone.
12. Holiday rental agreement
For every booking, a rental agreement is recommended. Include the names of all parties, payment and bond details, cancellation and refund policies, check in and out dates, cleaning fee, and general house rules, including pets and smoking.
13. Picture perfect
Getting the photos right will make or break a listing. While showing off your home is essential, “you should also include photos of hidden gems around your area such as parks, gardens, cafes and beaches,” suggests Kate. If in doubt, hire a professional.
No one wants to stay in a house that feels dirty, so choosing a cleaner you can trust is vital. “Travellers notice when sheets or bathrooms aren't clean and it is this attention to detail of knowing when to buy new linen, scrubbing every corner of the house and fixing broken doors on kitchen cabinets will ensure the traveller will come back and book with you again,” advises Simone.
15. Zone in on the living room
The living room is key for holiday rentals. It is where guests will gather and spend the majority of their time. Kate says, "Focus on getting a good quality sofa that is a modern but a family-friendly colour, like grey or black.” And warm up the space with rugs and carpets – look to Carpet Court for stunning floor coverings that are stylish and will stand the test of time.