Promoting our portfolio of holiday rental properties to generate much-needed rental income for our homeowners is a tough challenge at the best of times. It’s even more challenging these days with the worldwide economic slowdown and an over-supply of available rental properties resulting in the self-catering holiday accommodation market on the Costa del Sol being more competitive than ever before.
So say hello to Kathryn Stride, the person charged with the task in our Holiday Rentals department.
Although she’d never admit it herself, Kathryn is what you call a true professional, with a wealth of experience in the UK travel industry.
She’s increased our rentals business significantly year on year, and with the number of weeks of holiday rental bookings generated so far this year already well up over the same time last year.
So what, you may ask, does Kathryn do each day to be such a success?
Well, her day starts early in the office at her computer as she goes through her emails and checks the bookings that have been generated overnight through our HolidayRentalontheWeb.com website’s automated booking system.
“We get a lot of enquiries from holidaymakers,” says Kathryn. “Usually they’ve been browsing through our online portfolio in the evening, seen a property or two they like and want more information, especially about the dates the properties are available.”
Although each property has a live online calendar that instantly shows availability, kathryn is happy to deal with rental clients direct. She says that even though people can easily book and pay for their accommodation online, without the need to call or email her first, holidaymakers still like to make contact to quickly confirm with her all the details that are shown on the website.
“Giving rental enquirers a quick call or sending out an email means I can establish personal contact with them. It helps to reassure people that we’re not just another faceless website sending out automated responses and that we actually take a hands-on approach to find exactly the kind of accommodation they’re looking for.”
Kathryn also receives a great deal of enquiries from our partners in the European travel industry.
“We’ve been providing rental accommodation to travel companies in the UK and Ireland for many years now, and more recently to travel companies in Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark. So I’m in regular touch with the sales staff in those companies, pro-actively recommending our properties and advising them about any special price deals we may have, so they can in turn recommend them to their clients.”
Another key aspect of Kathryn’s job is speaking regularly with our rental property owners and negotiating special price discounts to be promoted to holidaymakers and travel partners.
“Obviously, things are tough financially for a lot of people thinking about their holidays at the moment, but from what we’re seeing in terms of the volume of bookings we’re getting, they apparently still want their two weeks in the sun. It’s the one luxury they seemingly don’t want to do without. Having said that, people are shopping around a lot more looking for the best deals, and there are some great deals available, so it’s important for us and our owners that we stay competitive by offering special discounts.”
Kathryn insists that on the whole, owners fully understand this. “I’ve had the owners of some of our most luxurious rental villas recently contacting me asking if we can drop their usual rental price by as much as 30% to help get bookings. Whilst special deals like these represent compelling offers to holidaymakers and travel partners, our 10% early booking discounts also work very well in generating bookings.”
Kathryn’s daily routine is far from desk-bound. Quite often she jumps in the company car to head out and about, up and down the Coast visiting the new properties that have been added to our holiday rental portfolio. “This helps me establish a realistic weekly rental price for the property just after we’ve taken it on, based on a combination of the type and quality of the property and its desirability in terms of location. It also helps me get to know each property inside out so I can offer first-hand advice about it to our rental clients.”
She also manages all the ‘Meet and Greets’, to ensure holiday guests are personally welcomed upon arrival by a member of the HomeCareontheWeb staff, sometimes quite late into the evening and on weekends, to ensure they’re familiar with their rented property and the local area. “Guests like to know the important things about their accommodation such as where the nearest bar is and how the air conditioning works!”
A lot of holiday clients also pop into the office during their stay to ask her advice about things to do and places to go, or to use the office facilities like the Internet. “We leave a Guest Manual in all the properties with all the information about the Coast in it, but people still like to hear it ‘from the horses mouth’ so to speak, and I’m delighted to point them in the right direction. It’s all part of the service.”
If you’d like to speak to Kathryn about any of the issues raised in this article, please call her on either (Spain)+34 952 83 95 95 or (UK) 0208 123 58 53 or send her an email to info@HolidayRentalontheWeb.com