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The Ups and Downs of owning a Furnished Holiday Let

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Time for another update!

With my last update being that I'd moved to Cottages and they were a train wreck, a few things have changed.

I told Cottages that I was leaving and they could shove the termination fee up their arse, presenting them with a list of complaints. They tried to get me to stay, but I told them no.

The big problem with Cottages is that with over 80,000 properties on their global books (they have lots of umbrella organisations) they just can't provide a good level of service.

I then got a phonecall from a chap from the top of the branding tier, and had a long discussion with him.

The outcome was that I was offered a direct manager, this guy, who would look after everything I needed if I stayed.

I said that I really had to pay attention to all the warning bells that had rung so far about bad service, but he explained that I was bypassing all that by having him be my direct point of contact. The conversation was good and quite frank and open - I said that I didn't want to stay and be that property that was a pain in the ass.

I asked him why I hadn't been offered a direct manager (DM) before, and he explained that they're reserved for the high end properties with significant income, so I asked why I was being offered one when I didn't see myself as one of those. Again, he explained that it was because in part of my conversations with Cottages. I'd highlighted how I was filling a niche in their supply that was currently missing in the Aviemore area (size, hot tub, log burner), and that they saw real potential there.

So I negotiated a lower rate of commission and a six month grace period whereby if anything else went wrong, I was gone with not termination fee.

The guy has been absolutely brilliant. Everything I've requested be actioned was done immediately and where there's been issues, he's kicked arse, so he seems to sit quite high in the structure of agents, etc.

Bookings are building up, still nothing like what it was under my old agent but as the margins are so small I don't really care. I've got a couple of Revoos now which Cottages used which were both 10/10 and that really helps.

Cottages also don't take security bookings, but as part of my contract, I stipulated that I will. It just keeps the guest mindful of their responsibilities. Cottages don't have the facility to take it, so I signed up to Worldpay to let me do online payment links for the deposit. Goes straight to my bank and I refund it at the end of the stay. This has meant that because I need to contact the guest directly, I'm building some really nice bonds with my guests and so far every one of them has asked about rebooking for next year, which means my repeat guest percentage will climb and create a more reliable supply - Aviemore tends to get people who come here every year for several generations, I've already snagged a New Year guest for the last two who's been coming here for about nine years.

Came into the house today, cold and snow on the mountains and house looks great, smells great and crucially, the humidity content in the en-suite is the lowest it's ever been, the new en-suite has settled in nicely.

So a few wee jobs, some freshen up painting etc, but otherwise it's great and again I feel like I've cleared a hurdle.

Currently chasing Abraham Moons to send me out a large selection of fabrics as I'm going to get everything re-upholstered; beds, sofas, chairs, new curtains, etc, and I want to go high end for the material.

Then back fence, quotes around £1680 from several sources, cabling for lighting along the back fence and the family bathroom refurbished with the last stretch of piping to the kitchen modernised.

All good!!!
 
Now thats good news , at last.
Personal contact has paid off for us , all our bookings are by word of mouth with many return visitors, going for the high end is the way to go , even if you have to occasionally bite the bullet over cushions killed by doggies and other mishaps .
 
We have a Holiday Let in a very hot Mediterranean country and TBH the only problems we've ever had with guests have been absolutely minimal, a couple of broken plates and glasses but that's to be expected as the floors are all tiled. Other than that, the only other issue/cost has been high electric use because of misuse of the air-conditioning I.E. leaving it on all day when the guests are all laid on the beach! However, that problem has been resolved by the instillation of some genius PIR sensors that are programmed to switch the air-con off after 30 minutes when there's no heat source or movement in the room. That, and some cunning remote controls that are programmed to NOT go below a pre-set temperature so no matter how low/cold the guest sets it, it will NEVER go below the pre-set level, bit of a Placebo affect. Slashed our average weekly electric use from €46 to just €21...!! And no complaints from guests. Winner.

Not sure about UK holiday lets but overseas we have an outstanding property manager that looks after pretty much everything.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
We had a wedding last weekend where the father of the bride grandslammed his pit and redecorated my favourite room in faeces.

Poo everywhere. Shitty handprints up the walls, vom in the sink and shower.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
We had a wedding last weekend where the father of the bride grandslammed his pit and redecorated my favourite room in faeces.

Poo everywhere. Shitty handprints up the walls, vom in the sink and shower.
Pics for the lulz surely
 

anglo

LE
We had a wedding last weekend where the father of the bride grandslammed his pit and redecorated my favourite room in faeces.

Poo everywhere. Shitty handprints up the walls, vom in the sink and shower.
You sent him the bill for the clean up I take it
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Pics for the lulz surely

I wasn’t there, our staff had to deal with It.

The main point of contact for the booking was the mother of the bride and ex wife of Mr Shitpants.

He managed to sneak away early doors, leaving the room looking like an IRA cell in the Maze.

I can only imagine the family lulz when she received the email explaining that we were taking a lot of money off her credit card because her ex husband had shat himself........everywhere.
 
"heard_it_all_before, post: 9605992

.......Other than that, the only other issue/cost has been high electric use because of misuse of the air-conditioning I.E. leaving it on all day when the guests are all laid on the beach!

That can also be resolved by putting in a key operated switch for the A/C rhen welding the key onto the ring for the front door key - meaning they cannot leave the property with the A/C running.

We have an outstanding property manager that looks after pretty much everything.

It's not me is it?
 
We had a wedding last weekend where the father of the bride grandslammed his pit and redecorated my favourite room in faeces.

Poo everywhere. Shitty handprints up the walls, vom in the sink and shower.

As long as he wasn't called Spud, and one of his mates was a certain Francis Begbie, you'll be okay.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
It always grates me a bit when cunts trash our place. I know it’s the nature of the business but as a family we’ve put everything we’ve got into this place and the pubs.

The hotel was my wife’s childhood home. I obviously came along much later, but I still have fond memories of visiting the in laws there when it was their home. We got married there before it was open to the public. My kids were both conceived in that house. Prince Phillip held my newborn baby son in the front room.

Going into what was my missus’s teenage bedroom with Take That posters on the wall and seeing that some fucker has spewed in the sink still pisses me off.
 
"heard_it_all_before, post: 9605992

.......Other than that, the only other issue/cost has been high electric use because of misuse of the air-conditioning I.E. leaving it on all day when the guests are all laid on the beach!

That can also be resolved by putting in a key operated switch for the A/C rhen welding the key onto the ring for the front door key - meaning they cannot leave the property with the A/C running.

We have an outstanding property manager that looks after pretty much everything.

It's not me is it?


Those Key Fobs are pants cause they don't switch the units off, they just remove power, meaning that once it's re-inserted the units just switch back on again so if the guests come back to the property and re-insert the fob every unit that was previously on will switch back on again, even if that room isn't in use. The PIR's are faultless as they switch the units down just the same as when they're switched off with a remote control, we have one fitted on each unit and they've paid for themselves in just one summer.
 

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quick one for owners, would you feel that a lack of hot water at kitchen sick (no dishwasher) acceptable, known and admitted to fault by managerment company
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
quick one for owners, would you feel that a lack of hot water at kitchen sick (no dishwasher) acceptable, known and admitted to fault by managerment company

As a customer I would not be happy with no hot water in the kitchen taps.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
It always grates me a bit when cnuts trash our place. I know it’s the nature of the business but as a family we’ve put everything we’ve got into this place and the pubs.

The hotel was my wife’s childhood home. I obviously came along much later, but I still have fond memories of visiting the in laws there when it was their home. We got married there before it was open to the public. My kids were both conceived in that house. Prince Phillip held my newborn baby son in the front room.

Going into what was my missus’s teenage bedroom with Take That posters on the wall and seeing that some ****** has spewed in the sink still pisses me off.
Don't spew in the sink next time.
 
Time for another update!

With my last update being that I'd moved to Cottages and they were a train wreck, a few things have changed.

I told Cottages that I was leaving and they could shove the termination fee up their arse, presenting them with a list of complaints. They tried to get me to stay, but I told them no.

The big problem with Cottages is that with over 80,000 properties on their global books (they have lots of umbrella organisations) they just can't provide a good level of service.

I then got a phonecall from a chap from the top of the branding tier, and had a long discussion with him.

The outcome was that I was offered a direct manager, this guy, who would look after everything I needed if I stayed.

I said that I really had to pay attention to all the warning bells that had rung so far about bad service, but he explained that I was bypassing all that by having him be my direct point of contact. The conversation was good and quite frank and open - I said that I didn't want to stay and be that property that was a pain in the ass.

I asked him why I hadn't been offered a direct manager (DM) before, and he explained that they're reserved for the high end properties with significant income, so I asked why I was being offered one when I didn't see myself as one of those. Again, he explained that it was because in part of my conversations with Cottages. I'd highlighted how I was filling a niche in their supply that was currently missing in the Aviemore area (size, hot tub, log burner), and that they saw real potential there.

So I negotiated a lower rate of commission and a six month grace period whereby if anything else went wrong, I was gone with not termination fee.

The guy has been absolutely brilliant. Everything I've requested be actioned was done immediately and where there's been issues, he's kicked arse, so he seems to sit quite high in the structure of agents, etc.

Bookings are building up, still nothing like what it was under my old agent but as the margins are so small I don't really care. I've got a couple of Revoos now which Cottages used which were both 10/10 and that really helps.

Cottages also don't take security bookings, but as part of my contract, I stipulated that I will. It just keeps the guest mindful of their responsibilities. Cottages don't have the facility to take it, so I signed up to Worldpay to let me do online payment links for the deposit. Goes straight to my bank and I refund it at the end of the stay. This has meant that because I need to contact the guest directly, I'm building some really nice bonds with my guests and so far every one of them has asked about rebooking for next year, which means my repeat guest percentage will climb and create a more reliable supply - Aviemore tends to get people who come here every year for several generations, I've already snagged a New Year guest for the last two who's been coming here for about nine years.

Came into the house today, cold and snow on the mountains and house looks great, smells great and crucially, the humidity content in the en-suite is the lowest it's ever been, the new en-suite has settled in nicely.

So a few wee jobs, some freshen up painting etc, but otherwise it's great and again I feel like I've cleared a hurdle.

Currently chasing Abraham Moons to send me out a large selection of fabrics as I'm going to get everything re-upholstered; beds, sofas, chairs, new curtains, etc, and I want to go high end for the material.

Then back fence, quotes around £1680 from several sources, cabling for lighting along the back fence and the family bathroom refurbished with the last stretch of piping to the kitchen modernised.

All good!!!
You should save some money on the fence, cabling and pipes by doing it yourself. You'd probably do a good job.
 

TamH70

MIA
You should save some money on the fence, cabling and pipes by doing it yourself. You'd probably do a good job.

Be honest. You just want to sell tickets to the Rubes who would come to the performance of MrBane doing his brilliant job of DIY after you took out full-page advertisements in "The Times" extolling the pathos and drama of his struggles to fix a u-bend, crimp the end of a BFO electric cable, or staple a fence-wire to a post.

Come to think about it, I'd watch that.
 
...
So a few wee jobs, some freshen up painting etc, but otherwise it's great and again I feel like I've cleared a hurdle.
...
All good!!!
 
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