Taking on anything new is always a steep learning curve. So, taking on 4 serviced accommodation apartments in Bedford at once was always going to have many lessons and learnings (mistakes and failures). So here are 30 top tips in setting serviced accommodation apartments, one for each day from start to finish.
1. Furniture takes up more space than you think! Our house literally looked like a warehouse.
2. You can source all furniture a lot cheaper than you think. We spent £17k on everything needed, NEW. Plus half the stuff needed for another few units. This meant we did it ourselves not with a company.
4. Charity shops are great for small decor features that are unique.
5. A strong power team is essential. We were lucky that we had good labour/trades available from property to help with build and moving furniture. Carried EVERYTHING up 6 flights of stairs 💪💪💪. Our cleaner is awesome as well.
6. Logistics are ‘fun’. I say fun to sound positive on the experience. I’m not a naturally organised person and that wasn’t straight forward. If you’re not good here – either really focus on it, partner or pay someone.
7. Broadband companies are all useless.
I make no exceptions here 😀 This is a whole hour long rant if you want to hear more (please, you don’t!)
8. Receipts, paperwork, admin, book keeper = ouch.
9. Utilities were easy to sort.
10. Systemisation is essential (see point on logistics). We went to a channel manager on day one and it was a great decision. We use Hostfully.
11. Learning the basic differences on all channels isn’t easy – give yourself time (we didn’t). Go as deep as you can on each one though.
12. Take your own payments where possible (eg. Not BDC processing the payments for you). It massively helps cashflow.
13. Learn how to optimise your listings on all platforms – again know the difference guest bases on each and how to optimise for them. 📈📁
14. Have guest terms in place. Guests will break your rules. Be strong and know how to handle them.
15. Getting a last minute contractor booking in the week = joy. 🥳🤩
16. Getting a last minute booking at 9pm on a Saturday night = worry (and probably with good cause). 😕😫🤬😱😶
17. Get good at marketing (luckily that is my core skill). You’ll attract more business – repeat bookings and more management opportunities.
18. If you self clean, you will HATE linen more than cleaning.
19. Get a great cleaner (ours handles the linen as well).
20. If you target contractors (or that is the bulk of client base) be prepared so lots of next day / next week bookings. Learn to be comfortable with a vacant calendar for next week.
21. Occupancy takes time to build. ⏱
22. Set realistic expectations on cashflow and profit (see above on occupancy). Lots of people post huge bookings and amazing profit numbers. These happen and are real, just are rarely on day one. 💸
23. Photos are incredibly important. Get a great photographer. We tried two. And in the end I still preferred the ones I took (and they perform better!)
24. Test pricing – especially at the start.
25. Test, learn and optimise everything. Listings, pricing, photos, scripts, finishing touches (that help get reviews).
26. If you plan on doing more units, buy in bulk upfront (if you can afford it). It makes the set-up of future units much easier.
27. Write down every step you took – so next time it is easier.
28. Sh!t will go wrong. It is how you handle it that matters.
29. Don’t be complacent. Don’t fear competition. There are some big players in my local markets. Just be on your game and raise the standards.
THE BIG ONE…
30. If you’re in doubt/fear/worry – just step up and do it. If the numbers stack and you want to do it, get out of your head and get on with it!