‘The Next Airbnb’

Five New Holiday Rental Sites to Try

Looking for Airbnb alternatives this 2022?

Discover these new holiday rental sites to track down cheaper booking fees, wider availability and accommodation with a personal touch.

The popularity of these sites

The general public tends to be moving away from hotel stays and instead, moving to hosted experiences, where they can go for a pad to call their own and have the freedom to master their schedule and itinerary.

With no set times for breakfast, no restaurant menu dictating the options or no rules on when to wake up or what to cook, the Airbnb experience seems to be more favourable than the latter.

Because they allow guests to do what they want when they want.

airbnb renting

Expedia

You can find holiday rentals and discover great deals on homes, villas, apartments, cottages and other holiday homes from £61 in London and across the UK.

It takes five minutes to set up, and within an hour you’ll be ready to greet guests.

Vrbo or Vacation Rentals by Owner

Whilst they may not be as large as Airbnb, Vrbo still has over a million properties on their books.

Launching in 1996, they have 12 years more experience and standing compared to Airbnb – however, their model varies slightly.

Their system works better for families or larger groups looking for a longer stay; although there are certainly some properties targeted at couples.

Booking.com

Known for providing great deals on hotel rooms, what you might not have realised is that Booking.com also lists homes and apartments.

For property owners, it is free to list on with a small fee applied per booking.

The Plum Guide

If you’re concerned about a lack of quality, The Plum Guide will be a great choice as they accept less than 5% of properties applying to use their site.

Plus, you can rely on the fact that The Plum Gide vets every single one over 150 criteria; everything from shower pressure to the quality of the linen is tested.

Free to apply for property owners, however, you do have to get through a very stringent vetting process. After approval, a one-time membership fee is charged on your first booking, which covers the cost of the vetting process.

Following each booking after this, there will be a small commission applied.

Agoda Homes

Agoda Homes list apartments, vacation rentals, villas and bungalows amongst their millions of properties to choose from.

It’s free to have your own accepted into the Agoda search engines, but fees will apply for bookings.

Homestay

Often described as what Airbnb should be, Homestay is a genuine hosted experience, which means you always stay in a host’s home.

A stay like this equates to getting a genuine, local experience, where you can feel a part of the local lifestyle.

Homestay is in big cities around the world including London. Al stays include breakfast too, which is a huge plus.

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Host & partner

We’ve worked with hundreds of hosts wanting to let their property out on platforms like Airbnb. Here, at Hello Guest, we make sure your property is marketed on several property hosting websites at once; so you’ll never miss a chance at landing a guest.

We offer first-class hosting support where we will do all of the work for you – we take care of everything from guest vetting to cleaning after their stay.

We take the hard work out of short-letting, so you can sit back, relax and reap the rewards.

Hosting goals

The first question we always ask our hosts is what they value most?

We have found through working with hundreds of hosts across the UK that they all share the same values and goals.

These include:

  1. Have more free time to do the things they love – No problem, we’ll do all the work for you!
  2. Having more money to travel and explore themselves – Some of our hosts earn thousands of pounds in extra income a month.
  3. Ensuring their guests experience an authentic stay – We’ll draft up neighbourhood guides and even offer advice on the best and even hidden tourist spots to visit.

Sign up now!

What is flexible letting? And why it benefits homeowners everywhere

What is flexible letting? A simple guide

If you were anything like us years ago, you might have gotten a little lost in the world of letting – with options like short-let, medium-let, long-let and flexible letting, it can be easy to get confused.

But a decade later, we now consider ourselves the property let experts and have even founded our own company (Hello Guest), to help homeowners everywhere get the most out of their properties or second homes.

To begin, what is flexible letting?

Flexible letting means combining different kinds of let that allows you to maximise occupancy rates and earnings throughout the year.

Examples of flexible letting include:

  • Holiday letting for a few nights
  • Allowing longer stays or visits up to three weeks
  • Taking on corporate reservations for several weeks
  • Multiple month tenancies

What’s so good about flexible letting though?

flexible letting

Hosting your property on sites like Airbnb and Booking.com can provide your family with a substantial second income that can help you increase your returns.

Flexible letting leads to increased revenues simply due to the fact that shorter stays attract higher nightly rates, and travelling business guests are often happier to pay higher prices for the taste of home comforts.

Longer-term bookings may guarantee generated income over the winter and spring months, where demand for short-lets quietens. The added flexibility here allows you to enjoy and reap the rewards of both letting worlds.

The beauty of flexible letting is that it’s FLEXIBLE

The proof is in the name, flexible let’s provide homeowners with better flexibility – so if your circumstances change, you’ll have better control over your home.

  1. Need your home to live in? Move back.
  2. Trying to sell your home? Earn rent in the meantime.
  3. Have guests in town? Use your second property as you see fit.

airbnb host service

Very few homeowners use this strategy

Letting your own property and managing everything in between can be a difficult task and it often means that homeowners miss out on savvy techniques to make the most out of their assets.

Many homeowners tend to stick with just traditional longer tenancies, whereas some make the permanent move to just holiday letting. Perhaps because it’s more straightforward?

Combining the two letting systems is an innovative strategy that ensures your earn potentially earn the maximum revenue your home could attract.

Those forward-thinking enough to notice this gap in the market may feel a bit overwhelmed knowing how to get started – but that’s where property management companies like us get involved.

We’ll do it all for you in one monthly fee; whether it’s keeping your home clean and safe, or communicating and vetting holiday guests.

Rent Out Your Home on Airbnb

But is there really a need? What about the current demand?

There’s a new increasing demand for mid-length bookings as the popularity for short holiday lets in the UK soars.

We can see the evidence of this also showing up in hire companies like Zipcar, who see an increasing demand for their assets on a part-time basis.

The economy has also changed with the rise of flexi-hours that allows people to work flexibly and from anywhere in the world. And how people are using accommodation has changed too – people like to move around, so the traditional 12-month locked in tenancies doesn’t work for everyone anymore.

Potential customers include; travellers, work placements, those on training days, longer-term, travelling tourists, friends visiting friends, family visiting family, students, digital nomads, adult-gap year people, those moving houses and those rebuilding their primary residences.

professional cleaning

WAIT, sourcing more bookings, cleaning and communication more often takes extra work

Don’t dive just straight in – all of the components needed to offer short lets and holiday lets requires a lot of extra work – and whilst there is a significant payoff, there needs to be a level of honesty of what additional input you can put in.

We recommend using an Airbnb host partner, like us, who can do all the hard work for you. We’ll help build listings, research pricing and ensure you target and attract the right audiences at the right times.

Opting for letting agents like Foxton or Savills, who have strong name recognition and experience may be more expensive, as well as a lack of a personal touch and a slowness to adapt to a short-let market. They have limited resources they can use to manage guest communication and check-ins, unlike Hello Guest, who specialise in Airbnb-style lets.

We do it all – short and long-lets across the UK in prime locations like London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Dublin and many more.

Get in touch.

Avoid Hidden Costs in Managing Your Airbnb 2022

Letting Your Property on Airbnb can be Expensive if You’re Not Careful

Whilst letting your home on sites like Airbnb can be a profitable investment, landlords and property owners often underestimate all the others costs involved.

As property letters ourselves, here are some of the expenses you might not see coming. Because short-letting your home is not as simple as sitting back and watching your income grow. But it can be.

Please enquire about our Airbnb management services and get the most out of renting out your home.

Two types of costs

As a property owner or landlord, you might already be aware of certain costs that come with the title. For us, we’ve broken it down to two types of expenses; the ones you see coming and the kind that just come out of nowhere.

why you need an airbnb agency

You have mandatory costs

These are things like a Gas Safety Certificate (around £100), which, if you wish to rent a room in your property, will be a legal requirement to have an annual gas safety inspection.

Certain cities have regulations on whether you might need a permit or a license to short-let your property. You can see Airbnb’s details on UK short-term letting here.

Other mandatory costs will involve:

  • EPC certificate (around £36)
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • Potential legal fees

Then, you have the circumstantial costs

This can include things like property maintenance. For your home to earn up to its highest potential, you will need to cover maintenance costs like decorating, updating fixtures and making sure everything is in a good, usable condition.

And as property problems often happen spontaneously, you’ll likely face a call-out fee for emergencies too.

Next, for your Airbnb let to be successful, you will need to ensure a high standard of cleaning, which also comes at a cost. Not to mention the cost of replenishing essentials like toiletries.

Lastly, there may be key exchange costs.

Most Airbnb hosts do not live close to their rental property or are not always available to exchange keys – and leaving the key under the matt is not an option.

Some hosts, therefore, turn to lockboxes and allow guests a self-check-in process, which again opens up your home to risks.

The solution? Again, an Airbnb Management Service will vet your guests, check them in and out, so you can continue to do whatever you do best.

Not only will this keep your property safe and secure, but it saves you any additional costs.

professional cleaning

What most homeowners do not consider

Another cost factor, which some landlords or homeowners may not initially think of, are downtimes.

Unless you’re an expert in property listing optimisation, likely, your property will not always be fully booked, which may result in the property being vacant for extended periods.

Not only will you continue to cover the costs, but not be able to profit from your empty home or room either.

If you want your property to receive multiple bookings and be full 90% of the time, it is often best to opt for an Airbnb Management Company that can manage this for you.

Not only do their services cover a lot of the costs mentioned above, but they can help to ensure your home remains profitable.

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Do you see how quickly everything adds up?

The costs of short-letting your home can quickly add up if you go it alone. This takes money out of your profit and will rely on you being fully booked to earn a substantial income at all.

Short-letting on Airbnb is where we started, and discovering all these costs was new to us too. As working professionals, too, managing a property let felt like a second job.

That’s why we started Hello Guest, to make it easier for people exactly like us, who wanted to earn a second income without jumping through lots of hoops.

So let us help make it easy for you. Cut out all the extra costs and go with our Airbnb Management Services, which include listing optimisation, cleaning, property maintenance, toiletry replenishment and much, much more.

Pay just one fee (from 12%), sit back and relax. We’ll do the rest.

Contact us to learn more or get started.

Massive Revenue Increase for London Holiday Lets

Holiday Let Revenues Rise by 93.25% in Less than a Year

Airbnb is more popular than ever before. 

Bouncing back pretty strongly following the pandemic; their second-quarter revenue almost quadrupled to $1.3 billion from $335 million, which is a 299% increase year over year.

Gross booking value climbed to $13.4 billion, blowing past analysts’ expectations of $11.56 billion.

That’s a 320% increase year over year and a 37% improvement over the second quarter of 2019.

Nights and experiences booked rose 197% year over year to 83.1 million, though they were down 1% from the same period in 2019. Data source.

But what has this meant for holiday let and property owners?

From the table below, we can see that since January this year, homeowner’s revenue has jumped by an impressive 93.25%.

Some impressive stats:

ready to short-let your home

The five best areas in London for Airbnb:

  1. Camden

  • Average Daily Rate: £153
  • Occupancy Rate: 77%
  • Revenue: £2,558

Best precise locations: Hampstead Heath, Kentish Town Road, Camden Town, St Pancras, Goodge Street, Shorts Garden and Clerkenwell Road.

  1. City of London

  • Average Daily Rate: £159
  • Occupancy Rate: 75%
  • Revenue: £2,884

Often 0.7% of all properties are booked in London. Popular locations that perform the best are Fleet Street, Chancery Lane, St Paul’s Cathedral, Fenchurch Street and Spitalfields.

  1. Wandsworth

  • Average Daily Rate: £130
  • Occupancy Rate: 76%
  • Revenue: £1,946

In 2018, Wandsworth was 4% of the overall booked properties in London. The highest performing areas include Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms Lane, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth High Street and Northcote Road.

  1. Westminster

  • Average Daily Rate: £170
  • Occupancy Rate: 73%
  • Revenue: £2,755

Again in 2018, Westminster made up 14% of all properties booked in London. Best performing areas include Warwick and Ecclestone Squares, Vauxhall Bridge, Brompton Road, Soho, Edgware Road and Hyde Park.

  1. Kensington and Chelsea

  • Average Daily Rate: £165
  • Occupancy Rate: 70%
  • Revenue: £2,652

Around 8% of all London bookings, best locations within Chelsea and Kensington include Portobello Road, Pembridge Gardens, Cromwell Road, Sloane Avenue and Kensington Olympia.

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What features can add value to your let?

Earn, earn and earn!

Is your property frequently empty? Do you have a second home that you would like to earn money from? Sign up for our Airbnb Management Service in London now.

We make renting your home easy! With the ability to earn thousands every month, we can help you make the most out of your property without you ever having to lift a finger.

Airbnb Property Management in London offers:

  • Bookings, guest communication and availability management
  • Deposits, insurance and paperwork
  • Check-in and check-out
  • 24/7 monitoring and assistance
  • Guest screening and vetting
  • Airbnb Listing Optimisation
  • Marketing for your properties across various platforms
  • Property management, repairs, replenishments and cleaning

Explore our services or get in touch here.

The Pros and Cons of a Holiday Let Management Company

Holiday Let Management Companies vs DIY Management

Do you have a second home that you vacation to? Is it empty much of the time or hard to maintain or clean – especially if you live away from the area?

Holiday Let Management Companies like us make all these problems go away.

Whilst we know that our clients rate our services as helpful, affordable and beneficial, we know that they won’t work for everybody.

For example, it’s a big decision to decide whether you can manage everything yourself, or if an agency should take over.

So we thought we would break it down for you; what are the limitations of going it alone? Are agencies worth it? Find out below…

The Best Airbnb Management Companies in London

Quick questions:

  • Is holiday letting profitable? During peak season, especially as of late, holiday letting can earn you as much in a week as you would usually earn in a month from regular buy-to-let schemes. Holiday landlords can actually earn up to 30% more providing an annual return of 8% (2% more than buy-to-let investments).
  • How much is a holiday let management? Traditional agencies fees can be around 20-25% including VAT. However, here at Hello Guest, we charge a 12% fee.
  • What do holiday letting agents do? We deal with enquiries, bookings, availability, reviews, complaints, guest communication, check-in and check-out, listing optimisation, property management, cleaning and providing amenities.

see what your property can do

Going it alone

For those just starting out, or wanting to maintain a closer handle on their holiday rental, there are a few advantages. These include:

  • The slight potential for higher earnings: With no agency fee, you get to keep 100% of the rental income. However, agencies often increase the number of bookings so if you do not actively work to promote your property there is the chance of having smaller returns.
  • Ease of entry to the market: With multiple online vacation rental sites that are easy to use, you can upload your property and get it seen by guests instantly. These sites also charge a fee though.
  • Screen guests: You can personally vet all your guests and have the final say of who comes to stay in your second home. However, this can often be time-consuming.
  • Flexibility: You set your own timetable when you want to be at the property yourself with no restrictions. Although agencies like ours offer homeowners complete flexibility and ownership of their homes.
  • Set your own rates: As you’ll be directly in charge you can adapt to the market and offer special deals or discounts if you choose. This can help to secure last-minute bookings – whereas an agent could do this for you, but would need your approval beforehand.

Renting Your Place

Cons

  • No guarantee of bookings: It’s that simple, running it yourself and doing the best you can does not necessarily mean that you can provide yourself with a steady stream of income.
  • It takes a lot of time: For example, holiday rental owners spend on average 9 hours a week marketing their vacation rental as well as managing their bookings. This is not taking into account property inspections, repairs, cleaning, tidying, replenishing, guest communication, check-in and check-out etc. Not to mention the time it will take to the administration work. Essentially it’s like having another full-time job, which can be difficult to keep up with if you have children too. Often DIY holiday let management leads homeowners to work in the evenings, weekends and any extra moment they have.
  • Issues can happen at any point: It could be the middle of the night and your guest might have a problem. You will be required to handle these straight away, so if this is not your only source of income it might be difficult to help. Property management companies here manage all of this for you and are available to deal with complaints or any problems as they arise.
  • It’s impractical: Unless you’re based close to your property, managing it yourself will not be practical – especially if there’s an emergency.
  • Lack of expertise or experience in the sector: Whilst it may sound easy and simple, if you’re a newbie to the holiday letting sector, it can be a steep learning curve. Expect to make mistakes – even costly ones as you find your feet.
  • Extra responsibility: If you hire people to help with the running of your holiday let, such as cleaners, gardeners or a receptionist of sorts, you will be responsible for their contract, working conditions, health and safety, pay and arranging their tax with HMRC.
  • Competition: Airbnb has 6m rentals worldwide. As more and more holiday rental owners join the competition, it can be difficult to stay competitive. Professional rental agencies have better online distribution models as well as more properties in their portfolio – they can offer lower costs, commercial experience and marketing prowess.
  • Marketing expenses: In order to be successful, you will need to market and optimise your property listing through marketing and advertising. This can be a significant outgoing especially if you’re trying to get established.

ready to short-let your home

Pros and cons of a holiday letting agency

If you’re struggling to decide on what to do, it might be worth seeking advice from those who have tried both ways in the past.

A lot of our clients have tried the DIY management approach and now wanting to scale their business even further come to us.

Interestingly enough, we started by letting out our property and have done the DIY model ourselves, through much success and from seeing the main difficulties; we created Hello Guest to help homeowners across the country reap more of the benefits from this lucrative industry.

Leave it all to us – get in touch.