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Self-catering holiday rental are not like hotels...are they?
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Sunbeam



Joined: 10 Aug 2015
Posts: 77
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:26 am    Post subject: Self-catering holiday rental are not like hotels...are they? Reply with quote

What do people think about making self-catering holiday rentals more like a 'hotel' experience, with things like individual shampoos in bathrooms and 'branding' - as per the blog post from 1ChicRetreat below.

http://1chicretreat.com/how-to-crush-vacation-rental-and-airbnb-branding/

Is it the way forward - and is it what people actually want or does is spoil the experience of saying in an independently owned holiday home.

We do have what we think is a professional looking website but it is not on the scale of being like a Four Seasons Hotel! We've avoided providing little shampoos - we'd like to, but worry that it leads to expecting dishwasher tabs for the week, washing powder etc. We provide information about the area but have been careful not to become a 'concierge' service – book restaurants for example. We did this when we first started but found it gave the wrong impression about it being a self-catering holiday, leading to guests thinking we were on hand 24/7.

We are relatively new to this - this is our third year - and interested in other's views.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5972
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There’s probably as many answers to this as there are owners on LMH! None of them is necessarily right for anyone else...
We provide a fair bit - some dishwasher tabs and laundry tabs, usually enough for the week but not if the guests make a lot of use of the machines.
We provide good quality toiletries, which is stuff in pump bottles that retails at over £10 per bottle but with refilling from bulk containers is probably cheaper than providing a tablet of soap; I’d guess most people would expect to be able to wash their hands after they’ve used the toilet paper provided on arrival! We’re at the end of the market where providing bathrobes and slippers makes a difference, so we include those. Conversely our “welcome tray” is not lavish; tea, coffee, milk, local bread and jam, some biscuits. Local is good - and different to elsewhere.

I don’t believe guests particularly want the full-on hotel experience, particularly if they’re used to it! Individuality in what we provide is important, and for the most part our places are all going to be different and a different experience for the guest, and that’s a big part of what most guests are looking for. Given the importance of location, location etc and levels of comfort, I very much doubt if a guest would base a future holiday on the fact that they liked the soap at a particular rental...

The price bracket of the accommodation has a big impact on what is sensible to provide, and what guests expect.

I do believe that it’s important to make sure that guests know what will be provided, so they’re not making wrong assumptions. A guest who is disappointed on arrival is not good.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1291
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sunbeam. An interesting read.
Quote:
Vacation rental branding always incorporates four key elements:

Seamless, cohesive interior design.
A well-designed website that clearly conveys who you are and how much you care about your guests.
A logo.
Media exposure.

I presume "media exposure" is referring to Facebook and similar. I would think that journalistic exposure with editorial in a travel magazine or a newspaper would be the ultimate, but I suppose you just have to get lucky with that.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 382
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
There’s probably as many answers to this as there are owners on LMH! None of them is necessarily right for anyone else...

I do believe that it’s important to make sure that guests know what will be provided, so they’re not making wrong assumptions. A guest who is disappointed on arrival is not good.


+1.

I agree with greenbarn. It's horses for courses. We are not at the hotel type boutique level. We provide a spacious, quality appointed "home from home" which from the visitor feedback suits those who choose us. We don't provide toiletries - in the bathrooms and WCs we provide only hand wash. Our welcome pack is tea, coffee, milk and locally made biscuits, plus flowers in the main lounge.

The kitchen is deliberately over-stocked as my family often stay there and, after all, it is a self catering holiday house.

What I also think important is the rapport that is built with your visitors before they arrive. I have to do this as I am not on-site so I put effort into earlier communications and provision of information.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
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Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giraffe wrote:

What I also think important is the rapport that is built with your visitors before they arrive. I have to do this as I am not on-site so I put effort into earlier communications and provision of information.


+1
Rapport. A word that doesn’t exist in the world of the big listing sites.
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casasantoestevo



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 3958
Location: O Saviñao, Galicia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The properties highlighted:
Do they have on site owners?
Do they allow children?
Do they allow unappreciative guests, who like to destroy your processions?
Nice photos that look as if they come right out of House and Home magazine.


Agree with the idea on branding and a lot of owners on LMH have got some great examples.
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Sunbeam



Joined: 10 Aug 2015
Posts: 77
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your considered responses.

Greenbarn - you must be more upmarket providing slippers and bathrobes - and of course what's provided is dependent on price and type of offering and what's in the area.

Giraffe - we also provide those things. We did go through a phase of also providing cava but no one ever commented on it - and raved on about our homemade biscuits and olive oil - so we stopped the cava and ramped up home-made offerings - jam/chutneys etc.

And Casasantoestevo - I also immediately thought would you really want to rent a property like the ones shown to a family with children - or anyone who didn't remove their shoes on entry!

I suppose what I'm wondering about is there an shift in expectation from guests - we read that the self-catering market it getting bigger and that people are shifting from hotel based holidays. So are guests expecting more of a hotel experience or is the difference understood.

We had a group of youngsters (mid-twenties) in our first year who made a bit of a mess and we deducted damage costs from the damage deposit - the only thing disputed was stained linen and towels - they said was that not 'par for the course' in our business. We explained we are not a hotel that hires linen so has a never-ending supply of pristine sheets and towels - it's all washed in a domestic washing machine. I think the expectation was that we were like a hotel.

I've seen a few articles with ideas about how holiday rentals can compete with hotels - and I'm hoping that guest expectation doesn't change too dramatically over time. This does not mean that we're not striving for high standards - we very much are, but as a self-catering house, not as a hotel-type experience.

I won't ramble on - and thanks again for comments.
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casasantoestevo



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 3958
Location: O Saviñao, Galicia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And Casasantoestevo - I also immediately thought would you really want to rent a property like the ones shown to a family with children - or anyone who didn't remove their shoes on entry!


Never said that read again please.
Quote:
they said was that not 'par for the course' in our business. We explained we are not a hotel that hires linen so has a never-ending supply of pristine sheets and towels - it's all washed in a domestic washing machine.


I take it you have never slept in a small Hotel or similar. Only large conglomerate owned hotels rent linen. Family run businesses do not. The cost can be significant and the damage is still adsorbed by the accommodation. That is where any sort of hotel accommodation will be above whole let rentals..... No damage cost to the client.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 382
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

casasantoestevo makes a good point - self catering is generally much cheaper than a hotel. If my house is let at the full capacity of 7, visitors pay around £10 each per day in the lowest season, and around £22 in peak season. Definitely not hotel prices!

Sunbeam, don't worry about rambling on. You've made me think about what I'm offering, my pricing and my market place.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
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Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine we’re all only too aware that for short stays (and it does depend on the size of the property) self-catering is going to be more expensive than an equivalent standard hotel - a fact that many guests (and listing sites) don’t understand.
Our servicing costs per stay are for the whole property, for a hotel it’s for a bedroom, so for say 2 to 4 guests for 1 or 2 nights the hotel can afford to be cheaper. (A hotel isn’t only selling bed space either - food and drink earn them more).
Once the stay becomes 3 nights, the balance tips and the self-catering is cheaper - but in many ways still offers more than a hotel.
Is there a comparison, or are self-catering and hotels very different experiences? Complementary rather than competing businesses perhaps? Short stay v longer stay?

casasantoestevo wrote:
Only large conglomerate owned hotels rent linen. Family run businesses do not. The cost can be significant and the damage is still adsorbed by the accommodation.

In the UK the opposite is very often true. Many small hotels - and self-catering owners - use a linen hire/laundry service as it can work much better for them. Many big hotels have the space and the turnover to justify an in house laundry.
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amandajane



Joined: 14 Jul 2014
Posts: 172
Location: South hams, devon

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
I imagine we’re all only too aware that for short stays (and it does depend on the size of the property) self-catering is going to be more expensive than an equivalent standard hotel - a fact that many guests (and listing sites) don’t understand.
Our servicing costs per stay are for the whole property, for a hotel it’s for a bedroom, so for say 2 to 4 guests for 1 or 2 nights the hotel can afford to be cheaper. (A hotel isn’t only selling bed space either - food and drink earn them more).


Couldn't agree more. And one if the things they're paying for is the space and the freedom of a whole place.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
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Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amandajane wrote:
greenbarn wrote:
I imagine we’re all only too aware that for short stays (and it does depend on the size of the property) self-catering is going to be more expensive than an equivalent standard hotel - a fact that many guests (and listing sites) don’t understand.
Our servicing costs per stay are for the whole property, for a hotel it’s for a bedroom, so for say 2 to 4 guests for 1 or 2 nights the hotel can afford to be cheaper. (A hotel isn’t only selling bed space either - food and drink earn them more).


Couldn't agree more. And one if the things they're paying for is the space and the freedom of a whole place.


Yup! It’s that level of freedom that can tip the balance for a short stay even when self-catering is more expensive.
I think the space and freedom become much more of an issue as the length of stay increases. I’m happy enough in a hotel for a couple of nights, but more than that and I start climbing the walls...
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
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Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re my quoted daily charges they are for whole week stays. I advertise short stays in the low season, but as others have said they work out relatively expensive due to the cleaning/changeover costs. One cannot charge one seventh of the week for each night. Never had a booking for these.
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casasantoestevo



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
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Location: O Saviñao, Galicia

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:

In the UK the opposite is very often true. Many small hotels - and self-catering owners - use a linen hire/laundry service as it can work much better for them. Many big hotels have the space and the turnover to justify an in house laundry.


Did not realise that. Only wrote from our experience and from that posted on here. There are not so many B&B/ small hotels which are UK based on LMH.
Our local laundry service charge a small fortune. The sheets were not iron in a size that could fit in the storage cupboard and they were far too stiff. We will carry on with our own laundry.
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The Olive Grove



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, don't tell my laundry what any of you are paying. Here in Southern Italy I pay around €5 per double bed, and slightly less for singles. That is washed and ironed, I have to deliver and collect myself.
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