Investing in serviced accommodation may come with exceptional rental yields but it also comes with increased management. For investors who prefer to take a hands-off approach, this is easily solved by using a property management company.
However, if you’re going to leave your property in the care of someone else, you need to know they’re going to make the most of it. With that in mind, we’ve come up with 11 questions you can use to find the right property manager.
Serviced accommodation comes with far greater demands than your traditional buy-to-let due to the simple fact that a lot more people are going to be using it.
Therefore, you need to ensure your management company has the experience required to first acquire and then deal with a high turnover of guests.
If they don’t, then you may be left with unhappy customers, which could lead to poor reviews and less demand in the future.
Serviced accommodation is well used by tourists trying to avoid expensive hotels, so it makes sense that your property will be in high demand at certain times of the year and less so at others.
In order to make the most the high-demand moments, your property manager needs to have a strong understanding of the local market and be able to set prices accordingly. After all, the last thing you want is to discover you could have charged more once you’re fully booked.
Market familiarity should also include an understanding of business events in the area so you can generate corporate guests as well.
It’s called serviced accommodation for a reason, so you need to clarify exactly what services they’ll provide. If you’re paying someone to manage your property for you, it’s important to ensure they’re doing the heavy lifting.
Standard services should include meet & greets, cleaning and being on call in case anything goes wrong. However, you may find that some managers also offer to design and furnish your property, taking the entire burden off your shoulders.
It’s worth digging into the details on the services they provide and a great place to start is who will look after the meet & greets. With guests potentially arriving at all times of the day and night, this is one of the most important services.
Find out how many staff are on hand for meet & greets and quiz them on the process. Many management companies will organise a time for the guest to arrive, while others will ask the guest to call them when they are nearby.
Either way, you want to make sure your guests won’t be left waiting in the cold.
Success in serviced accommodation comes from hosting a lot of guests, so if someone wants to book your property and arrive in the middle of the night, your property management company needs to be able to say “yes”, or you’ll have to.
Therefore, make sure you choose one that is available 24/7. This is also particularly important as guests expect a high-quality stay, so if the oven’s not working, they need someone to call at any time of the night.
One of the services we didn’t mention previously was the marketing of your property because it’s so important, it deserves its own question. When it comes to making your property visible, there’s more to it than putting it on a hosting website.
In order to make your property stand out in a crowded market, your management company should be able to offer a variety of services, from professional photography to ‘added value services’ like free airport transfers.
Part of marketing your property is also generating positive user reviews, so find out if they have a system for following up with guests and generating these.
One of the most popular forms of serviced accommodation is the one/two-bed flat in the city centre, but it’s worth remembering that there is a range of different types.
If your property is slightly different from the norm, ensure you choose a management service that is used to dealing with similar ones. The same goes for the price.
If you’re charging a premium, you’ll need to work with someone who can provide exceptional service, so you don’t want to use someone that is used to dealing with lower quality properties.
While serviced accommodation is often associated with tourists, there is also a huge demand for it from businesses who need to provide shelter travelling staff or visitors.
These are often the best guests, as they may book for an extended period of time and can even be repeat customers.
Therefore, it’s good to learn whether a management company has a database of regular clientele. If they do, then you may be able to sleep a little easier knowing your property is more likely to be let year-round.
Serviced accommodation allows greater access to your property and, therefore, more scope for maintenance, so it’s unlikely that any disasters will occur.
Still, there is always the possibility that something will go wrong, so you need to know how your management company will react and deal with any disruption to guests.
The high turnover of guests in serviced accommodation makes owning this type of property like running a business. Like any business owner, then, you need to be kept in the loop on current and projected turnover, along with a variety of other considerations.
As such, the reporting process for serviced accommodation needs to be more in-depth than you’d find for a traditional buy-to-let.
The whole point of hiring someone to manage your serviced accommodation is to take the burden off your shoulders. If you’ve asked all of the previous questions, then you’ll have a good idea of the answer to this final one, but you should still ask it.
After all, the last thing you want is to be cutting into your profit and having to let guests into your property at 11pm.
If you think serviced accommodation could improve your portfolio, download our free Guide to Investing in Serviced Accommodation.