Using an agent
Call in the professionals: using an agency to market your property
More and more holiday properties are coming on to the letting market. Whilst that increases competition and drives up professionalism, quality and value for money, it also presents challenges and loads pressure on to owners who must find ways of making their properties stand out from the crowd. What does an agent offer to the home owner who wants to let a property?
As always, it’s all about matching and meeting individual requirements. Some buy a property, and go it alone: improving and preparing it for holiday lets, marketing it themselves and finding visitors to rent it. But the bottom line is that letting your property through an agency makes life easier and more secure. Although agents add costs through commission, expertise and experience appear to count and good agencies significantly increase the chances of long letting seasons. As a minimum, a good agency should be a professional marketing outfit with excellent brochure, website, advertising, PR, direct mail and email campaigns. But it should also generate more bookings than you reasonably could yourself (thereby paying for itself). The agency should guarantee owners full payment, upfront, for all bookings (even cancellations) and handle all administrative matters. The best have a basic commission rate with no upfront ‘registration fees’ or ‘extra charges’ for website entries. In return, the foremost obligation of an owner is to deliver ‘quality goods’ to the paying holidaymakers, exactly as it was ‘sold’ in the brochure, at the appointed time and for every minute of the period booked. But the 101 other responsibilities and attention to detail required of a home owner make the inputs and efforts of agency professionals helpful to problem-free, profitable holiday letting.
Any good agency is happy to give free advice early on. For someone about to buy a property with a view to holiday letting, an agent can give invaluable, expert advice on: best locations; letting-friendly building layouts and refurbishments; desirable design and décor; ideal fixtures and fittings; preferred furnishings and must-have equipment. Property letting managers should visit your property, then send a report, free, with key things you could and should do to make it an ideal holiday home – one which ticks all the boxes the agency knows, from week-in week-out experience, will woo many holidaymaker bookings. Rental values, expected booking numbers and projected income figures should be quoted, too. The best agencies expertly set rents and identify facilities that will achieve happy marriages of property and holidaymaker. Ultimately, the interests of an agency and holiday home owner are the same – more bookings, lower costs. Both should know that success in the holiday letting market relies on recommendations from happy holidaymakers. Owners who sign up with agencies get access to their many thousands of previous happy customers, a mass-data marketing machine and the agency’s countless efficiencies in fielding enquiries and fixing bookings to the last detail.
EASCO would like to thank Helpful Holidays for the text on which this article is based.