If you’re thinking of letting out your holiday home, you might be wondering how best to go about it. Do you organise everything yourself, or get an agency to manage everything for you? There are a lot of benefits to having an agency involved – from managing bookings and housekeeping, to marketing and promotion. But how do you choose the right agency?
After many years in this industry, we’ve come across a few specific areas that you should consider…
Service levels and property management
Take a look at the level of service you’re being offered by the agency – you might be surprised how different the terms of the contract are. Some focus more on being the booking engine rather than managing anything beyond that, while others (like us) offer housekeeping, gardening, maintenance and property checks, among plenty of other services.
If something breaks in your property, who will be responsible for organising a repair? If a guest has a complaint, who will be in contact directly with them in order to get it resolved? Again, you should ask these questions of any agency you consider, and find one that offers the level of service you expect.
Commission rates are something else that varies between different letting agencies, so keep a close eye on the percentages – and don’t be fooled, higher commission rates don’t always translate into better service levels. Make sure you look closely at everything before signing up.
Local knowledge can be the difference between ok service and brilliant service. If you choose an agency that specialises in a particular area, you’ll not only have expert knowledge at your fingertips, your guests will also get more value, increasing satisfaction and return visits.
For example, we focus on Salcombe, which means we know this area inside and out. We can give you real, factual advice on things like expected rates and occupancy levels, the types of features guests expect to see, and even the best places for you to enjoy when you come to visit.
We’re also right here in Salcombe, so we’re much more reactive to any issues than if we had one head office hundreds of miles away dealing with complaints.
Choose an agency that focuses on a smaller area and you’ll get a fantastic service for you, your home, and your bookings.
Complaints or issues
One question you should ask any agency you’re considering is how they deal with customer complaints. For example, we deal with the customer for you, protecting you and your income. Being local, we can often deal with issues quickly and quietly, so that they don’t escalate to larger problems.
Some agencies follow this format, while others simply pass the customer complaint onto you to resolve. Make sure you know whether or not your personal phone number is going to be given out, and be prepared for calls at any time of the day or night.
Some agencies require that you have your property available for a certain number of weeks per year. The number varies by agency, so work out how often you’d like to visit for your own holidays and make sure you still have enough left over to meet the requirements. Don’t forget to include weeks you may wish to let independently – to family or friends, for example.
Unless you only want a week or so for yourself, you should look for an agency that either has a very low requirement, or doesn’t impose minimum levels at all. After all, it’s your property and you should be able to enjoy it too!
If you’re interested in letting your holiday cottage in Salcombe, why not give us a call and see if we can help?