Since starting with my very own Barcelona holiday apartment I have had to learn a huge deal. How does it compare to the competition? Could it be made more appealing? It is still early days for my Chillax Barcelona Apartment but here I would like to share a few basic tips with you:
Check-in and check-out
Usually check-in is from 15:00 and check-out before 11:00. That makes sense to have enough time to clean and get the apartment ready for the next guests arriving on the same day. However, be as flexible as possible provided you are not pushed for time and more importantly never let a guest what for his check-in or check-out at the agreed times. Sadly, I see guests waiting all the time at other holiday apartments and their faces tell more than a story. It can be very frustrating for guests after a long journey or flight only to be left waiting for their check-in. Not a great start to a deserved holiday. Always be on time for your guests.
Take time for your guests
Take a little time to explain not just the apartment and the facilities to your guests. Also, explain the area a bit such as where is the nearest supermarket, metro or bus stops, a few restaurants or cafes, or whatever they may be interested in. Organise a city map for them and point out the address and area in the map. After all they are most likely in your city for the first time and need a bit reassurance.
Provide your guests with some refreshments such as a couple of bottles of water. Even better if you add some coffee, tea, milk and sugar! Often guests are arriving late and shops may be closed. They appreciate it if they can get up in the morning and have a least the basics available. A bottle of cava or wine may also add to a first great impression and may help you to get a great review on Tripadvisor or other great booking websites. A small investment for more business in the future.
Why not provide a few fruits in a bowl. Very inexpensive and even adds a bit additional colour to your kitchen. Oranges are associated with Spain and foreign guests love this little touch. Besides it shows again that you care and make an effort too.
Apartment Design & Equipment
When designing a holiday apartment think very carefully about the furniture you choose. A mixture of furniture from different furniture stores works very well. Whereby if all furniture is just from one store such as IKEA it can be slightly disappointing for guests. They are all looking for something ‘new’ and ‘different’ in a holiday apartment. Make sure that your kitchen is fully equipped. For example, often British or American guests expect to find a water kettle in the kitchen for tea or coffee. You can buy one for 10 Euros or less. Or a juicer to prepare fresh orange juice.
Feedback and Complaints
If you are just starting out in renting out your holiday apartment it is advisable that you tell your guests and that you welcome every feedback in order to improve your apartment or add certain items you may not have thought of before. Most guests totally understand and won’t give you a bad review. However, even if you get a serious complaint it is best to apologize and don’t get involved in any disputes. Simply use the opportunity to ensure it does not happen again with future guests.
If you are intending to manage the apartment yourself be aware that it is a time-consuming job! Check-in, check-out, cleaning, maintenance, shopping and so on all take time. Be sure you have the time to manage it all yourself. Or simply find a professional company to manage the apartment on your behalf. Usually, they charge around 20% commission but it may be worth considering if you don’t have the time yourself.
Probably this is the most important point of them all! Don’t give up just after a few months because your expectations are not met or you face certain issues. Often holiday apartment owners get frustrated when their properties are not fully booked in particular during the low season. Pricing is often critical. Lower your prices during the low season or offer last-minute deals. Everyone likes a good deal. Another option is to promote your apartment with certain ‘add-ons’. For example, create a special Christmas package by including a free Christmas lunch or a guided city tour.
These are just a few points to consider. Probably ensuring that your guests have a great experience and constantly bearing this in mind is key to a successful holiday apartment.
Now Barcelona is waiting for you!