There is almost nothing quite as unpleasant as welcoming guests into your property, only to get a ream of complaints from the minute they walk-in to well after they have departed. Ruining your weekend and possibly costing you money in refunds to the unhappy guests. Never mind the negative review to follow, plastered on your listing for potential guests to see.
You could chalk it up to an ‘unreasonable guest’ and get upset and yes, sometimes people are unreasonable. But when you put your emotions aside, you may realise you could have been wrong about -
“The slightly rusted shower heads that definitely don’t need to be replaced yet.
The perfectly functional furniture that’s been there for over a decade, absolutely nothing wrong with it.
The good enough linen that hasn't been replaced in years.
The hardly smelly dishwasher, it just doesn’t get used enough.
The noisy fans which still 'work perfectly'
The few chipped plates, they’re extras anyway.”
What you are prepared to tolerate should never be a measure for rental readiness when you decide to do short-term rentals.
There are things that you can personally overlook, either because you have no plan to use this space yourself, or because you can tolerate it for the moment because you know you’ll get to it later.
Paying guests don’t care about this and rightfully so.
The truth is that doing the necessary work upfront pays off, because people have great experiences in your property from the get go. This means you start with a BANG with many positive reviews out the gates, which is key to being prioritised by the booking platforms, resulting in more bookings.
The opposite is also true. Bad guest experiences due to the property not being rental ready results in bad reviews which can be devastating. Negative reviews discourage people from booking your property and the booking platforms deprioritise your listing, resulting in a decline in bookings. It’s tough to build up from here.
So what does it take to make your property rental ready?
It comes down to P.R.I.C.E. This stands for presentation, role, inventory, cleanliness and experience. These areas guide what may or may not need to be done in order to get your property ready for the market.
In some cases a complete refurb is required. In other cases, a light update is all that is needed. Run your property through this assessment as a guide.
A well presented property doesn’t have obviously chipped walls or tiles, wonky side lamps, outdated or tired furniture, old linen and towels, a rusting oven/stove, etc.
Good presentation comes down to the respect you have for your property and your guests. It’s a mark of pride that guests feel the minute they walk in. It takes discipline when it comes to property management and maintenance to ensure your property is well presented at all times for each and every guest.
When guests can see that maintenance has been neglected they start to look for issues and often they will find them.
Does each item in your property properly serve its role? For example is there enough seating to accommodate the maximum guests in the lounge as well as the dining room? Does the furniture in the bedrooms work or is it cluttered? Is there enough cupboard space for guests? Is the braai area in proper working order?
The biggest mistake homeowners can make is to assume that just because it’s a holiday home or investment property that these sorts of things aren’t that material. Those days are long gone.
Competition is big in the short-term self-catering arena and there is a new standard for homeowners who want to achieve long term success. Being average renders average results.
Your property needs the basics and to be adequately stocked for self-catering. So 8 forks, knives, spoons, plates and bowls for 8 guests is not sufficient. Guests will be washing up all day. The rule of thumb with these items is at least 2 (mainly for smaller properties) but 3 times the maximum guest number is ideal.
Inventory also extends to linen and towels. What often gets overlooked is waterproof mattress protectors and pillow protectors. No need to explain why these are non-negotiable. Linen and towels ideally need to be white as this washes much easier and looks a thousand times better than coloured linen and towels.
Cleanliness is often the biggest guest complaint, so ensuring your home is sparkly clean is critical to the guest experience. Cleaning is also a discipline as it involves relentlessly executing a list of predefined tasks before each new check-in.
Homeowners don’t often think about their property in light of the experience it offers guests, however this mental shift is powerful and is what will set you apart.
What unique experience can only your home provide?
Guests are seeking out special experiences and will book your property over another if it can deliver on this.
Experience is primarily created through intentional interior design. Have you ever watched HGTV on DSTV or any of those home makeover shows on Netflix or similar? What you’ll notice is how they stage the home before putting it on the market because they know how powerful the interior design is in the process of selling the property. The same principle applies when selling your property to guests because it’s what they see in the pictures. Here’s the proof: how often do you scroll right past a listing because the interior is a turn off?
Who can assess if my property is rental ready and help me with this work?
The right people to do this assessment are those with experience in the industry. This is usually a property and/or short-term rental manager. The right one will be able to put a team together to quote on the work to be done and execute the project. This team may include an interior designer depending on the scope of the design work needed. It is important that the team has experience in the short-term rental space to guide their work. There are certain items that are a no-go in a short-term rental property. A good example of this is a seagrass carpet (often called a Jute rug or carpet). While they look beautiful, they are easily ruined with a single stain, so they’re not a good option in your short-term property. It’s never a perfect science, however the right team will have a decent understanding of what is best.
This team should give you a quote with estimated timelines which you can agree to or not. Some professionals charge a refundable fee to put a quote together that will be refunded if you decide to proceed with the project. A fee is fair as it takes a lot of work to put this together.
How long will it take?
The scope of work varies per project and the calendar will need to be blocked for this period. You may be able to phase it, however it is best to do it all at once as it saves costs in the long run. Always build in some buffers to be safe.
The good news is that you should recover the money spent on your rental readiness through future booking income. A small project may be able to recover the costs within 4 to 6 months. The larger projects may take longer. An effective rental readiness project should add more value to the experience that the property provides, which will allow you to attract a higher nightly rate, which helps you recover the upfront spend faster.
If you are not yet renting out your property on a short-term basis, it’s a good idea to do a market analysis in your area so that you can assess the viability of going this route. You don’t want to over capitalise.
If you own a property that you think will be a good fit for the short-term rental space and you want our help, contact Euphoric Leisure.
Our mission is to help homeowners enjoy what they have earned. If your property qualifies, we can assist with rental readiness inspections and projects and a host of other solutions to help you get maximum enjoyment from your property assets.