Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478

    I would like to exchange experiences with owners of holiday rentals.
    I want to join an internet booking system like this one  http://www.takeabreak.com.au
    This particualr website costs 10% of the gross rent.
    If you add the cost of cleaning up after each weekend and linen service, it is clearly expensive.

    If anyone has experience in this field, would like to hear what works for you and how to reduce costs.

    Considered local real estate but discarded because they charge a fee but their advertising is poor or non existent so it leaves it back to me to do all the hard work.
    Short of setting up my own website and pay for all the links, need some middle ground that gets the weekends booked.
    Also interested in your experience with internet merchant gateway, considering I have at best one transaction a week. So percentage charging and weekly fees are out. (Sorry PayPal)

    Thank you in advance
    Marc GG

    Profile photo of IP FreelyIP Freely
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    @ip-freely
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 353

    Have a look at Stayz (owned by Fairfax). This may be worth a consideration as it is a high traffic website and fees are reasonable (well, they used to be minimal going back a couple of years).

    The full service booking websites do take a fair chunk ie 10% plus however you are getting a seemless web booking facility which includes taking deposits/payment ie eft facility. I agree that local agents are generally useless often taking 20%+. They charge for everything whilst providing very little service (admittedly, short term bookings are a pain for the agent due to the high level of administration required – advertising, taking bookings, scheduling bookings, cleaning, bonds etc).

    You will quickly realise that most of the money from 2 day bookings goes in costs (agent, cleaning/linen etc) however 3+ days start to become worthwhile as the latter costs are fixed.

    Profile photo of SHalesSHales
    Member
    @shales
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 325

    realestate.com has a section now called realholidays.com.  This is what I use when booking self contained holiday accom (as a tourist). 

    Profile photo of PropertyQuotesBookPropertyQuotesBook
    Member
    @propertyquotesbook
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 11

    Here's 3 sites that I successfully use to attract short-term guests…hope these help :-))

    www.stayz.com.au Stayz is #1 for Holiday Home Rentals in Australia …. expect high traffic/enquiries.

    www.totaltravel.com.au
     Australia travel guide covering accommodation and attractions ….tends to get mainly overseas traveller enquiries).

    www.rent-a-home.com.au accommodation listed by Property Managers & Owners for short or long stay …lower profile than Stayz but tend to get enquiries mainly from Australia.

    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478

    Hi guys, thank you for the replies and sugestions.
    Those websites seem to be a good (and cheaper) alternative. Browsing through the holiday rentals offered in my area (Hawkesbury) I noticed that some offer linen and towels only to o/s turists and at extra cost per person.
    There is already a good idea to cut costs.

    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478

    PS

    Our holiday rental is waterfront and has it's own slipway and jetty. We often think in living a 13' tinny with a 5HP outboard (no need for license) for the guest to use and explore the river. The attraction for a potential guest is obvious and the extra cost is minimal however the incresed risk for litigation in case of an accident is also there.
    I can't decide if it is a good idea or not. I don't see anyone offering this, yet it seems strange to have a waterfront property for rent and nothing to go on the river with.
    What do you think?

    Profile photo of SHalesSHales
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    @shales
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 325

    I think make it possible for someone to bring their own boat, or hire one from somewhere, if they want to.  Someone bringing their own boat might want somewhere to park a trailer.  You can advertise that they can tie their boat up to their own private jetty….  People don't have to go on the river.  They like to be just near it.  I wouldn't supply a boat, too risky, too headachey.  No guarantee that your guest has the brains to avoid crashing into an oyster bed, or the forsight to make sure there is fuel for the outboard.  You'd be surprised how dumb people can be.

    Personally, I've never struck a holiday home that didn't supply linen, and especially if yours is a nice property attracting a fair price, and well off clientele, I think you are better off to offer good quality linen service, as this is what is expected.  It's not much fun to get to the holiday destination and have to make the bed.  Of course, if yours is a bargain basement type accomodation, then cheapest options are best.
    S

    Profile photo of PropertyQuotesBookPropertyQuotesBook
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    @propertyquotesbook
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 11

    The boat is creative thinking but it comes with risks. I agree with SHales, most people want to holiday near the water – they don't expect a boat supplied. Having said that, I have supplied a bike for cycling around the waterways (and a fishing rod). They are reasonably low-cost and low-harm items that hardly get used but allow me to make the rental fee higher.

    In terms of the linen, I have my waterfront apartments fully-furnished and provide all linen, towels etc (I even try and put small bottles of shampoo and soap – just like hotels supply). Guests just bring their clothes!

    My strategy is to differentiate my apartments from others by having a slightly higher quality fit-out & features, and a higher level of cleanliness and customer service. I do charge a higher price for the better quality, but I also attract a better quality of guest.

    So, perhaps its worthwhile doing some research on what your competition is doing and then think about the type of guest/client you want to attract and then work on that as your strategy. Find your own niche – what guests are you aiming to attract? are you going to be the cheapest? are you going to be more expensive? what do you offer that other apartments don't?

    I also did some analysis on length of stay – I didn't necessarily want to "touch" the apartment every day, so I market a niche for stays from 10 days and up to a month. Think about what your minimum booking strategy is going to be for the guests you're trying to attract…?

    Remember, if you do what every one else is doing, you'll get what every one else is getting — so research and then focus on your strategy.

    Good luck!

    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478

    Thank you for that, I agree on all points.
    A few more thoughts.
    In the area there are a few homes for rent, one resort and a couple of guest houses. The cheaper lower end of the market goes clearly to the resort; the guest houses or B&B offer something slightly different.
    That lives a few dozen homes for rent that are scattered along many kilometres from Brooklyn all the way to St Albans. I rented  a couple of the houses on offer in my area to have a feeling of what's on offer and I know my property has an advantage. There is vehicular access to my boat ramp, the others don't. I am next to a reserve the size of a football field that I mow and keep as good as my own and so made it an extension of my backyard since no one uses it. We have two levels of very large decks facing north and facing the river, there is a separate unit in the lower level.
    Against I have little space for parking at the front of the house, (one car in the driveway, may be two small ones) carpet has marks from previous owner's furniture. I will rip the carpet out and replace particle board with floorboards but that will take some time.
    As for the river, it is deep water up to the house but on low tide it requires local knowledge to keep in the channel. We take a 26' cruiser there no problem but others don't venture with a tinny at low tide.
    I see that you offer a bicycle for riding. That would equate to say a rowing boat. Thought of that too, however, the river flows at a good pace when the tide comes in or goes out and to keep up it would require a strong rower. A couple of kids mucking around would probably end up not being able to come back.
    I agree with the linen and towels and shampoo and soap sounds like a good touch. The more expensive homes on the east end of the Hawkesbury offer all of that and command a very high price. The houses in our area do not for the simple reason that there is no linen service for hire in the area and the cleaners would have to do it themselves and wash in house. Not impossible mind you.
    I will have to consider this as work in progress and what works will be apparent with time. As for the original question of the boat, perhaps I can work out a deal with the local guy that rents boats and ask for a discount for my guests, may be delivery to the house, will have to ask. If they then get into strife he can pick them up, that's his job.

    Profile photo of PropertyQuotesBookPropertyQuotesBook
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    @propertyquotesbook
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 11

    Having a go Marc is a great way of learning what works for you in your area.

    Here's a couple more things (common sense) about finding your niche…

    1) When you get the initial enquiry for a booking ASK a few questions – How did they find out about your place (eg/ website, friends, tourist bureau); How many people staying – ages/hobbies, etc; What their plan is or Why they are coming to the area (holidays? wedding? visit friends…)

    2) Always remember to ASK your guests for feedback on what they liked (and if there was anything else they could make their stay more enjoyable).

    Both these things – ASKING questions at the front-end and back-end – will give you some great information on how 'fine tune' your strategy.

    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478
    OK, I have a deal going with the local boat renting place. That was an easy one.

    Another question.
    The house came with an old fashion spa. I don't like it, never used it, I am too used to the one I have at home that is new, massive and works like a charm at the touch of a button.

    However it seems a pity to rip it out. It is sunken in the deck, and has a pool fence around it. The cover is heavy and cumbersome to take off and the switches to the numerous pumps look daunting.

    I suppose I can figure out how to work it and write a set of instructions, yet even if people will use it, I am left with the cost of drain the water and clean it every time. Perhaps this spa that may have been a novelty and a luxury back in the eighties, is now an eyesore and I am better off selling it for scrap and eventually get a nicer new one.
    Which brings me back to the same dilemma. How do you go about spa and renters? The additional cost of electricity and water and cleaning bill is substantial yet not everyone wants to jump in a spa that is not their own, so it would not be worth while to increase the rent for everyone for an amenity that not everyone will use.
    Anyone has a thought or two?

    Profile photo of SHalesSHales
    Member
    @shales
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 325

    Personally, I don't like spas.  Yet nearly every high quality hotel or other accomodation seem to offer one.  I've found too many pubic hairs in spas, and that's been a bit of a turn off.  Plus, particularly indoor spas can be very loud and it's hardly relaxing sitting there listening to that roaring noise.  I saw a segment on a current affairs show a little while back about how rarely spa's in hotels etc are cleaned properly.  In reality, the pipes really need to be sanitised between users.  Or any sort of bacteria can be sitting in there from the previous user, despite you emptying and cleaning the bath itself.  Remnant water and bacteria in the pipes is a bit of a yucky concept.  So, personally, I'd never use a spa, but I may not be your typical target consumer.  Re the complicated switches, perhaps an electrician could simplifiy the set up for you? 
    S

    Profile photo of Yuppy Hippy 101Yuppy Hippy 101
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    @yuppy-hippy-101
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 44

    1Winner and PropertyQuotesBook,

    I had looked into renting out my properties as holiday accommadation but found it challenging to get short term holiday rental insurance and also when I rang the Office Of Fair Trading (QLD) they said that a holiday letting licence is required to do this.  I even completed a profile on stayz but got turned off the idea because I don't want to do anything illegal.  What are your thoughts on this?

    1Winner, I  think that it is a much better idea to organize a special rate with the local boat renter.  On Stayz website there is a property (Gold Coast) that includes a car and a boat.  This investor was featured in Property Investor magazine a few years ago.  This invstor specialises in up market short term rentals and has 3 properties.  There is also another investor on the Gold Coast who has 6 investment properties on Stayz website. 

    I also liked the idea that Stayz had with key lock boxes.  You can buy them if you are a member through Stayz and also at locksmiths.  You can use the keypad box to put your property keys in so that if your guests are arriving late you can tell them the password on the keybox and they can let themselves in.  You can also use it for cleaners access.  I'm into minimising my workload.  Good luck, hope you are very successful.

    DIYPM

    Profile photo of PropertyQuotesBookPropertyQuotesBook
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    @propertyquotesbook
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 11

    DIYPM

    An insurance broker may able to help you find insurance cover for your (holiday) rentals.

    The articles in API were good – its great to read about other property investors creative strategies.

    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Participant
    @1winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 478
    DIYPM wrote:
    I had looked into renting out my properties as holiday accommadation but found it challenging to get short term holiday rental insurance and also when I rang the Office Of Fair Trading (QLD) they said that a holiday letting licence is required to do this.  I even completed a profile on stayz but got turned off the idea because I don't want to do anything illegal.  What are your thoughts on this?

    Insurance. When I took out my landlord insurance I told the NRMA / GIO/ CGU that it was a holiday rental for weekends and that no formal lease would be signed and they all turned me down. However I took out an insurance through Westpac and they said it was not a problem and that it was within the parameters of their underwriter.
    As for the fair trading license I find it peculiar. Make a few more enquiries I wouldn't be surprised they tell you some baloney story. I once rang the ATO and was told I had to pay GST on my rental property purchase because it was an investment …yea right!

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