Have you ever been on a short break and stayed in a property that was absolutely perfect, feeling like it was your home away from home? Anyone who regularly uses quality serviced accommodation will know that feeling very well.
And it’s a good thing, too, as that’s the biggest selling point of serviced accommodation!
Short-term let properties aren’t used by visitors for the long haul. Somewhere between a couple of days and a week or so at max. They have a high turnover rate, which means they need a lot of appeal to attract more visitors and generate a healthy income.
But why is this way of thinking limited to serviced accommodation? If you have any kind of tenanted property, shouldn’t the main aim always be to create a home away from home?
Short-term lets give guests that homely feel because it’s the best way to get repeat business and to gain a positive reputation. But capturing that feeling in your long-term rental properties as well can lead to tenants happily staying in your property for years.
There’s a lot the BTL market can learn from the serviced accommodation sector. We list the key points here.
Residents Want to Live Comfortably
At its heart, the rental market is human-centric. Property isn’t built and rented out just for the sake of it. People live in these properties. People with real lives, families, hopes and dreams. It’s where they curl up on the couch after a tough day at work, where they dig in to Christmas dinner, and where they raise their kids.
Put simply, a property should always be a home to residents.
Take a look at one of the properties you own or have worked on. The best test to check if it’s fit for the rental market is actually based on your own response. Is there anything about the property that would put you off living there? Anything that would stop you from loving it?
Serviced accommodation landlords know they can’t ever let standards slip. The second they do, a competitor moves in to take away their guests. But it’s the same for traditional PRS. If a property dips below tenant expectations, the landlord just down the road will be more than happy to step in.
Making sure residents are living comfortably doesn’t mean splashing a small fortune on furniture, furnishings and interior design. It means making sure they’ve got the necessities without cutting corners on quality.
Fully furnished properties should ideally come with a:
Stylish sofas & seating
Comfy beds & mattresses
Dining table & chairs
TV & media unit
Wardrobes & storage solutions
Cutlery & Crockery
Accessories to make the property feel like home
If anything is damaged or broken, it should be mended or replaced as soon as possible. Not acting quickly can lead to tenants becoming fed up, putting you at risk of a dreaded void period. After all, if you were paying rent every month and the dining table had a missing leg, you wouldn’t be very happy about it.
Which leads us on to our next point.
How Fast Can You Replenish a Property?
A speedy service is key to the success of serviced accommodation. Let’s say a guest is rocking backwards on a dining chair. The guest goes too far back and slips. The back is damaged and a leg has come off — not the guest’s back and leg; we mean the dining chair’s.
This visitor is leaving tomorrow, but there’s a family of four coming for a stay in just a couple of days. Only, there’s three seats around the table now.
To make sure the family gets the service they paid for, the short-term let landlord has to find a replacement chair quickly, and it has to match the rest of the set.
Should this be any different for a property that’s tenanted full time?
Residents pay for quality living conditions. If there’s something about the property that doesn’t match up to what they’ve been promised, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
A huge mistake that can be made on the BTL market is thinking it’s fine to put off the little things because the tenants are in a contract. But contracts run out, and the cost of finding a new tenant to replace the current one who feels ignored is a lot higher than simply mending or replacing a damaged item.
Always Listen to Feedback
How often do you take time out to chat with your tenants? Simply by asking them how they’re feeling about the property once a month or so could make a huge difference to their happiness.
In serviced accommodation, a property lives or dies based on reviews. When a guest has had a great stay, the landlord encourages them to leave a positive review. If they’ve not had an enjoyable visit, the landlord still hears about it. Only now, they’ve got some information to work with and the improvements can begin.
That feedback is essential for putting together a better experience. If your tenants get the urge to move out, the costs of having a void property can quickly stack up to over £2500 if you can’t bring in a new resident within three months.
Nip the problem in the bud. By learning more about your residents’ likes and dislikes you can find a solution before problems start to build.
Taking Every Opportunity to Provide a Better Service
The buy to let market in the UK is huge. There’s around 2.7 million private landlords up and down the country, which means the competition to keep tenants is staggeringly fierce.
You have to be the landlord that sets the bar. Remember to keep your tenants’ best interests in mind, and you can’t go far wrong. That personal touch matters to residents. They want to be seen as real people, and not just a source of income.
Whatever interior services you need to keep your residents happy, we can help with. From designing the perfect space to quick replenishment, our purpose is to make sure tenants are living in a comfortable and homely environment. Make sure to get in touch if you need any help.