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What to Ask When Considering a Holiday Letting Company

Kitchen | The Bakery | Arundel Holiday Homes | Simple Getaway

Managing a holiday let can be a very time consuming process. Sometimes people buy a holiday let and immediately put the management in the hands of a holiday letting company. Other times, people manage their own holiday let and then switch to holiday letting company to take on the work after experiencing the strain of the work involved.

Either way, when searching for a holiday letting company it is important to do your research and make sure you are asking the right questions. We’ve put together a list of the questions we get asked the most.

What Do Airbnb Property Managers Charge?

Well, that depends. There is a difference between a booking agent, and a full management service. At Simple Getaway, we are a full management service, meaning that when you list your home with us, we take care of everything else, from guest communication, to cleaning, to maintenance etc. Market rates vary between 12%-30% depending on the type of service, and more importantly, the type of holiday letting management. Be careful in signing on for too much or too little, you want to make sure you are getting the right level of service for the amount you are paying.

Where Do You Advertise My Holiday Home?

If the answer is Airbnb then that is great, however, there are various other websites where your property can be listed in order to gain maximum exposure; VRBO, Booking.com and Tripadvisor being the most well known, but smaller niche sites can be popular depending on the type and location of your property. At Simple Getaway, we were selected to appear on ‘The Plum Guide’, a network of some of the best holiday lets in the world. Only the top 3% of homes are selected and our holiday lets made the cut! Contact us and see if we can list you too!

Do You Advertise My Holiday Let on Your Website?

Whilst most companies can’t compete with the big online travel agencies (Airbnb, Booking.com etc), that doesn’t mean that having an online presence is pointless. In fact, when guests book directly, it saves both them and you money as additional fees charged on the big sites are avoided. Direct bookings usually come as a result of repeat guests and recommendations so making sure your holiday let management has a website is a good idea.

What Makes You the Best Holiday Letting Company?

A holiday letting company should know their unique selling point, and why you should choose them to manage your holiday let. At Simple Getaway, we have a few tricks up our sleeve – find out more about us by giving us a call

How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Holiday Let?

Obviously this varies from house to house depending on size and bedroom count. It also depends upon the model that holiday letting company uses. We handle all our cleaning with various cleaning crews and take care of all of the linens to ensure they are clean and crisp for every arrival. Some cleaning companies may not handle the linens so you need to check. Some property managers may charge the guest for the cleaning whereas others may charge the homeowner, some may charge neither! Either way is fine, but it is something you should know before signing on with a holiday letting company.

Is Holiday Letting Profitable?

Are you renting the property out full time, what are your utility bills and maintenance costs, is your home well looked after? Only you will know if your holiday let will be profitable depending upon the bills you pay. However, the best holiday letting companies will be able to give you some advice about how much you are likely to receive in terms of rental income if you rent your home out. At Simple Getaway, we go beyond, and give you real data insights that can show you exactly what your holiday let rental potential could be. Contact us to find out more.

Does Airbnb Offer Property Management Services?

The short answer is no. Airbnb does not have their own property management service, they simply exist as a platform, whereby you can list your own property for rent, or someone else can list it on your behalf. Most property managers would hold a contract with you directly and would then list your property on Airbnb, and/or various other platforms.

What Should I Provide for My Holiday Let and How Do I Furnish My Holiday Rental?

The best property management companies will be able to give you plenty of guidance on what to provide, and how best to furnish your holiday let. We previously wrote a blog on the items you should provide – read the blog here for some ideas:

What to provide in your holiday let

When it comes to furnishing your home, there are definitely some things to consider. The best first step is to consider the use of the property, who your potential guests are likely to be, young couples, business groups, families with young children, pets, elderly visitors. Each of these groups may be geared towards slightly different functionality so it is important to think about. What would you look for in renting a holiday let? Make sure you keep your interiors clean, whilst ensuring that they stand out in a listing. Our team at Simple Getaway is qualified in interior design. We would be happy to give some guidance to our holiday let homeowners and share our past projects portfolio.

Which is the Best Holiday Letting Company?

Simple Getaway! We manage homes in East and West Sussex and would be delighted to hear from you regarding your holiday let. Whatever service you are looking for, please give us a call or send us an email and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Benefits of Using a Holiday Let Management Company

Kitchen | No.42 | Arundel Holiday Homes | Simple Getaway

We are asked many questions by our property owners before listing their property with us. As expected, many questions revolve around the financial aspect and, ‘what do Airbnb managers charge?’. It is an important question and may be the pivoting point between whether or not to choose a property management company for your holiday home. At Simple Getaway, we will be honest about the cost of our services, but we want our owners to understand the benefits of using a holiday let management company, and why we charge what we do.

Holiday Let Management Costs

Hiring a holiday let management company can reduce the time and cost of running the property. From promoting the home, providing customer service for the guests, to cleaning and maintaining the holiday home throughout the year.

We endeavour to make owners and guests happy with their holiday let property but in order to do so, there are lots of things to handle along the way. Below are just some of the things that property management companies do, and why you benefit from hiring one to manage your holiday home.

Handling Guest Enquiries

Guests are extremely important, and without them, you do not reap the financial benefits of listing a holiday let for rent. So, it is important to engage them and then keep them happy during the booking process and beyond.

It is vital for a property manager to respond to guest enquiries as quickly as possible. Often, a guest will target multiple properties they are interested in and if you are the first to respond it is highly likely that they will end up booking your home. We aim to respond to all enquiries immediately and on average, our statistics show that we respond within an hour – pretty good considering some of these come in the middle of the night!

A property management company is dedicated to responding as quickly as possible but without one you may not be able to respond quite so fast. You are probably busy, in a business meeting, doing the school run, enjoying time in a remote holiday destination. All of these things would impact your ability to respond in a timely manner and you run the risk of losing that consumer engagement.

Holiday Let Cleaning Management

A good property management company usually has a standardised cleaning schedule for each of their homes, and typically would have more than one cleaning company or staff. If you manage your home yourself, you may clean it yourself, or you may have a cleaner. But what about those instances where the cleaner doesn’t show up, or is unwell?

If this happens with us, we can typically rely on one of our other teams to jump in last minute and help out making sure that a guest turns up to a clean house every time. If you hire a property management company, you can rest assured that each time a guest checks out, your home is being cleaned to a professional standard.

Holiday Let Maintenance

It is inevitable that things will break from time to time and most of the time your guests will understand that. However, it is important that any issue is attended to timely, particularly if there are guests in your home and it is impacting their stay.

As a property management company, we have our own maintenance teams, dedicated to ensuring that your property and all its parts, work as they are meant to. For smaller maintenance items, we are quickly able to have our team on site to assist and will even carry out routine maintenance checks to locate problems ahead of time. Preventative maintenance is key, and we aim to keep potential problems at bay for each of our homes.

For more specific work, we have good relationships with a number of professional contractors and can usually get issues attended to quicker than you would as a new customer. These relationships can be crucial particularly when dealing with fundamental issues such as a broken boiler, which must be dealt with very quickly!

Useful Data Insights

We use software that enables us to understand the pricing in the area at any given moment in time. That means we get the most competitive pricing for your property and make sure that you maximise bookings and returns on your holiday let. As well as this, we use a software system that updates these prices across all travel agency platforms every single day ensuring that you are continually optimised at all times.

Oversight

Unlike large national companies, we are local and make sure that we keep an eye on your property throughout the year. From regular check ins, routine maintenance, high standard cleaning and top-class technology, we make sure that your property is being looked after. When you list your property with us, you can rest assured that we will make sure your home is kept clean, maintained and booked!

There are many reasons why choosing a property management company can be beneficial for your holiday let. If you have a holiday let and are considering using a property manager, contact us today and we can walk you through the process.

The Sussex Trug

Rooftop Deck | New Park Terrace | Chichester Holiday Home | Simple Getaway

Sussex is home to many historical sites and natural beauty. From the Roman Palace and Gardens in Fishbourne, to the medieval castle in Lewes, to the long stretch of the wildlife of the South Downs, there is plenty to talk about when immersing yourself in Sussex history. Less widely known, are the stories of some of Sussex’s local products which have their own rich histories and traditions.

History of The Sussex Trug

The Sussex Trug is one of those products which has been a part of Sussex history for almost two centuries. The Trug was developed from a design of a ‘trog’ meaning ‘boat-shaped vessel’ and was used by the Anglo Saxons as far back as the 1600s. The trog was originally used in multiple different sizes as a measuring tool to weigh grains and liquids, but their uses were prohibited due to their weight.

Thomas Smith’s Trug

These original trogs were redeveloped in the 1800s by Thomas Smith who determined that the same style of basket could be used, but in a lightweight material to make them highly functional for use in farms and gardens. There are claims that these trugs were made by other families in Sussex prior to Thomas Smith but this remains unproven due to a lack of a written record. The story of Thomas Smith is one that has passed down through the ages and remains the best account we have to date.

Thomas Smith, who hailed from Herstmonceux in Sussex originally, made the newly invented Trug out of sweet chestnut wood and cricket bat willow wood. Both kinds of wood had attributes that made them perfect for use in creating a lightweight basket. Sweet chestnut is a hardwood, resistant to rot and solid in its properties, making it a good material for use as a frame for the basket. Cricket bat willow is a lighter wood which is malleable, making it the ideal complement to the hardwood frame, resulting in an overall lightweight basket.

Trug Uses in the 1800s

These baskets were seen all over Sussex in the early to mid-1800s. They were used in fields, farms and gardens to collect and carry crops. Their lightweight features and durability made them an excellent choice for harvesting and weighing produce for farmers for many years and their production continued successfully throughout that time.

Royal Sussex Trug

It was in 1851 when Thomas Smith and his Sussex Trug became world-famous. In an exhibition in London, his trugs caught the eye of Queen Victoria who reigned from 1837 to 1901. She put in an order for the trugs for members of the royal family and later, Thomas Smith was awarded a Royal Warrant meaning that the Sussex Trug was now officially coined the Royal Sussex Trug. After the late Queen gave her seal of approval, the Royal Sussex Trug found its way onto the global marketplace to be used in many locations far beyond the realms of Sussex.

Sussex Trugs Today

To this day, Sussex Trugs are still being produced locally, albeit in a different manner. Top-quality birch is now used as the primary wood for the basket which is softened in boiling water and then bent and manipulated into position. They are almost completely hand made as they always were and are now exported all over the world. Though their uses in agriculture are far less than they once were, the Sussex Trug is still a useful item for gardeners, and a beautifully handcrafted piece of tradition to have as a talking point.

At Simple Getaway, we aim to keep this local Sussex tradition alive. For each home that we manage, we supply our property owners with their own Sussex Trug to display in their holiday let. Just a small appreciation for our property owners, guests and the beautiful historic county in which we live and work!

Want to see Sussex Trug production in action? Just stop by the Cuckmere Trug Company, Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop located in Herstmonceux, East Sussex.

Sussex Insider- Adventures for Life

Sussex Countryside | Simple Getaway

From 1989 to 2020 – Growing up in West Sussex 

Sneaking out was our best-kept secret as kids. Back then I lived in a 300-year-old converted barn, set beside the River Rife, West Sussex, made of flint and mortar with vertical vent slots set into the stone from which, I always imagined, Archers shot their arrows at invaders. I remember the day my father took me to see our new home, before its conversion, when it housed a few hundred pigeons in its sagging roof and a century of their droppings on the ground. ‘We’re going to live here?’ Knee deep in bird mess, I was mortified. ‘Yes, Son’, he marvelled, with visionary confidence I had yet to grasp… And so we did. With it, dawned a world of adventure from the house walls and beyond. 

Luckily, my new bedroom was tucked into the roof of the offset adjoining garage. A small window beneath the rafters opened above a head-height flint wall below. Out of earshot of the parents, whose bedroom was on the far side of the barn, it was the perfect escape. A few friends and I would meet at the house for a ‘sleepover’ at the weekends. We’d wait, in anticipation, all evening, for darkness to roll in and the parents to head to bed. As soon as we clocked their bedroom light go off, the count down was on. Half an hour was the minimum we’d wait, sometimes more, never less. They had to be deep asleep so that the security light that flickered on when we hot-footed across the driveway wouldn’t wake them. When it was time, we made our escape. We crew of bunny eyed kids ran into the night, giddy with the enormity of our perilous new freedom. 

Which is a little hard to stomach from a parent’s standpoint, I know. But the thought is often worse than the reality. 

You see, in West Sussex, you can get away with it. It is invitingly open, quiet, authentic. Wholesome for the young adventurer. In the late summer night, we would mission into the cornfields, beneath the downs, rolling the giant cylinder hay bails together and build giant forts, to the bewilderment of the next day’s farmer.

It is worn, rural, quirky. It breathes life into the imagination. If we had enough bikes we would pedal to the top of Highdown Hill and stand atop the ancient Saxon settlement, looking mightily upon the satellite villages, lit up in patches, along the dark coast, for miles. 

Its diversity of terrain is endless. Chalky hills, wide meadows, grass banked rivers, stunning pebbled coastline, Oakland, wooded parks are all to be explored in wide-eyed wonder. On a stormy night, we would head to the beach to see the thunder and lightning in its panoramic glory. In ecstatic defiance, we would dare each other to stand upon the highest pillar of the wooden breakwaters, tempting that Gods fry us with a bolt of white light. We would test the sea, running as far out down the shingle as we could between crashing waves. 

The architecture, old and new, is built with a level of respect. The affluent estates on the coast attract the wealthy who build big, solid mansions able to withstand centuries of battering from winter gales. The construction sites made perfect mission bases. We bellied under the fence and ran riot around the huge houses to be. Fireman poling the scaffolding and scaling ladders like James Bond, we’d recce every room. A friend once accidentally knocked a steel girder off the third floor, the bang must have woken half the county. 

And how different my life would have been had we not had our greatest base of all, our treehouse. Built-in the farmers copse beside a field. For years we worked on it, extended it, improved it. In the end, we had it insulated, carpeted, waterproofed, with electricity buried right through the woods to my friend’s house. We even built a tiled fireplace, until the day we inevitably burned the whole lot down. The nights in the treehouse were the best of all.

On and on went our adventures in Sussex. Now, as an adult, I’m a little less ‘bunny eyed’ but a lot more appreciative of Sussex for its beauty, its grandeur. Even a few of its locals.  

Arundel castle bears rightful claim the grandest of castles upon the hills. It stands above the Arundel plains and Arun river in profound dominance. Fantasy-like. It’s gardens, edible and not, are a cherished secret of Sussex. The interior, fully habitable and furnished as original, is a window to another life. Arundel village reflects the authenticity of the old and humble. Bakeries, pubs, butchery, antique shops, tiny steep cobbled streets, immovable medieval architecture, leaning houses and class eateries are as quality as it gets. 

Pubs litter the sides of every potholed country lane. No elaboration needed, think of a hearty pub and that’s what you’ll find. Pub crawls attract any wanderer looking to lubricate the imagination and are a past-time to be sorely forgotten. They’ll accept most muddy cyclists, wet kids, dogs or well-oiled travellers. 

Although why not crawl somewhere else?  Take the back roads and Cafe crawl your way from village to village. Manor House and quaint village hop from Pulborough to Amberly to Houghton to Bury. If you can handle anymore history, then castle hops from Guildford to Cowdray to Amberly to Knepp. Load up with wine on the route from the stunning microclimate haven of Nutbourne vineyards and it’s over-seeing windmill. 

Cycle the South Downs way, yawing up and down with ever-changing scenery and a consistently good view. 

Spend the day crabbing from Littlehampton or head out to sea with the local fisherman moored beneath the promenade. Hire a yacht and sail to beloved Brighton for the day. 

Dare I say it, go shopping.

To this day I explore. I love it, it’s endless. I’m a product of my environment. The open pastures, silent nights, charming seaside and wild diversity of Sussex gave me the gift of imagination and the opportunity to tell stories in fond memory. Adventure comes from ‘Aventure’ meaning, ‘that which happens by chance’. We snuck out as kids, we had our adventures and, by chance, found a passion for life.