A Perfect Partnership
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Thinking about letting your property with Harrogate Conference Apartments?
We hope you will find the information in this section helpful and informative, whether you are looking to purchase a property for short term letting, have an existing property , or are an existing holiday property owner.
If you have any questions or you would like us to come and visit your property please feel free to telephone us, without pressure or obligation on 01423 523333 or email us at: email@example.com.
Alison & Keith Hartwell
When we come to visit your property, initially we will be looking at its potential as a self catering property, we will give you plenty of advice and guidance about such things as:
- Inventory and furnishings
- Tourist Board Registration
- Discounts available as holiday owners
- Safety Standards
The written offer and suggested letting prices will follow a couple of days after the visit, this will tell you the brochure prices, our commission and the amount you will receive. We do not hide anything, our policy is to be completely open and honest with our owners.
Once you have decided you want to go ahead with short term letting, we will then send out an agency agreement and agree wording for the brochure and website. There is normally a £99 (inc VAT) registration fee. We can work together on the wording to make sure you are happy with the description the guest sees.
An outside shot of the property is included in the registration fee, however, properties with internal photographs always let better and we have a comprehensive range of photography services available, along with the 360 degree ‘virtual tours’ which are all very competitively priced by our own, in house, semi-professional photographer.
Our commission rates are very competitive at 18%+ VAT and are stated clearly on every monthly invoice you receive. This is detailed on your written offer from us.
This commission enables us to work hard on your behalf to secure as many bookings as possible. By far the largest single expense paid for out of this commission is our advertising which we believe is essential to maintain at a high level to ensure a steady flow of bookings.
For some properties we are able to offer a full management service so you leave all the rest of the hard work to us! In addition to our booking service, the full management service includes the following: Cleaning; Laundry; Key handling; Liasing with guests during their stay and welcome pack. Other services, such as maintenance, gardening, shopping and Tourist Board liason can be carried out at an additional charge.
The fee for our full management service is charged per guest stay and varies depending on the size and type of property, please ask for further details.
When a guest calls our reservation hotline to make a booking, we make a provisional booking for this guest. We will hold this provisional booking for up to 7 days during which time the guest pays a deposit, by card or cheque (or the full balance if it is within 8 weeks of arrival). Only confirmed bookings are advised to owners by a booking advice. Last minute bookings will be communicated by telephone.
Visit Britain was created in April 2003 and provides quality standards for accommodation providers. All our properties are registered with Visit Britain and one of their independent inspectors will visit your property and give you a star rating. To keep our standards high we only take properties that we genuinely believe will get a 3 star grading or above. A discounted rate applies for registration with Visit Britain as you are part of our agency.
A detailed standards booklet will be given to you when you join us.
Annual Brochure and Website
Our full colour brochure is produced in October each year, and then mailed to our own, very loyal, existing client base, along with conference organisers and corporate businesses in the Yorkshire area. We also mail to Tourist Information Centres around the country.
Your property would have a free listing on our website which is receiving bookings constantly by nature of the fact that it is live to our reservation system with its online facility.
Payment for your bookings is made by BACS at the beginning of each month detailing the payments we have received in the previous month on your behalf. A deposit of £50 is sent to you following a confirmed booking showing the name of the guest and the date of their booking. Balance payments will normally be received the month before the guest arrives except in the case of a last minute booking which has missed the BACS deadline.
Making your own bookings
Owner bookings are weeks you take for your own use, after all it is your property! We like to think we are one of the most flexible agencies when it comes to working with owners.
During the winter months there are no restrictions on owner bookings at all, however in the summer months a maximum of 4 weeks of owner bookings should be taken. If this is a problem, talk to us as there are many other options available. To avoid overbooking though the following procedure must be observed:
- Notify the office by telephone, giving priority to any bookings we may have taken
- Email or fax the office to confirm.
Making the right Purchase
Guests staying in business apartments or holiday cottages all have different requirements, so it’s important that you decide whether you are aiming at the corporate and business market or the leisure market (or both). Harrogate Holiday Cottages, being locally based, are able to target a broad spectrum of markets to give a far wider pool of customers than many other agencies who target the holiday market alone.
If you do not already own a suitable property, here are a few simple guidelines to follow when buying for short term rental:
- Good location. For example, a good business location may be in town, perhaps near a university or conference centre. A good leisure property could be in a pretty location with good local amenities.
- Parking facilities are a big plus.
- Views from windows whether rural or town appeal to many guests.
- Outside seating whether balcony, patio or garden is an attractive addition.
- Practical considerations such as cleaning and easy access for cleaners are worth considering.
Our team at Harrogate Holiday Cottages are very experienced at setting up properties for this purpose having set up many themselves. They will be delighted to assist in any way they can throughout the whole process.
Cleaning and Maintenance
It is the responsibility of the owner to arrange the cleaning of the property. The success or failure of your holiday property will be directly related to the time and effort you take in making sure that it is immaculately clean, tidy and maintained for each guest. If you appoint a caretaker you must ensure they keep to the correct standards as this could affect your bookings.
We can often help with cleaning if you are on holiday and have a team of cleaners who can help out with prior notice.
In even the most well managed properties problems do arise, however the incidence of complaints is remarkably low. All comments and complaints need handling correctly and these should be addressed firstly to the property owner. If you establish a point of contact ideally by greeting on arrival and showing guests into the property any problems can often be solved very quickly. In the case of any written complaints to the office we will always communicate with you to resolve the situation quickly.
It is the responsibility of everyone who lets residential furnished accommodation, including business apartments and holiday cottages to meet certain safety standards. A brief (but not comprehensive) outline of these is as follows:
- Gas appliances - A safety certificate by a CORGI registered plumber should be issued annually.
- Fire - At least one smoke alarm to be provided in all units (with advice sought from the local fire prevention officer if necessary). Fire blanket and/or Fire extinguisher to be mounted on wall.
- Electrical Testing - Electrical equipment supplied in the property must be safe and it is recommended that equipment be checked by a qualified electrician at regular intervals.
- Furniture - Any furniture should comply with the Furnishings and Furniture Regulations 1988, by showing a permanent label.
- Emergency lighting - Some form of emergency lighting to be available e.g. a torch.
- Information on Safety - Procedures to follow in the event of an emergency e.g. numbers for doctor, dentist, local hospital etc.
If you need more advice on general safety your local trading standards office will help.
If a guest cancels a booking, we will notify you in writing or by telephone straight away. Depending on the circumstances, the guest may still have to pay for the booking so, in this event, you will also be paid. In the event that a week is cancelled, we ask that you keep the week available for us to re-sell.
Short term lets usually commence on a Friday or a Saturday, however as an owner it is often better to be as flexible as possible as many guests especially those on business require a midweek arrival. Short breaks are offered by most properties and are charged at 75% of the weekly rate, these are well worth having especially at short notice.
If you decide to sell your property
If your property is withdrawn from our portfolio during the agreed year due to the owner wishing to put the property on the market or any other reason, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing. A withdrawal penalty detailed in the agency agreement will then be discussed depending on the amount of bookings outstanding that will have to be cancelled or moved to an alternative property. It is not wise to commence letting if your intention is to sell the property.
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