Attracting and retaining the preferred guests and tenants
Upon acquiring a buy-to-let property, an owner needs to adopt a strategy for the property’s operation – short-let, long-let or a mixture of both rentals. Any operating strategy needs to position that property to appropriately target a specific market, addressing the particular tenants’ expectations.
Although a property’s location is one of its strongest selling points, one should also address the design and finish. Should the property have unique features, such as exposed stone, a niche, or arches, these may be at- tributes that potential occupants appreciate. Modern comforts, such as air-conditioning, internet access points and lighting features, are also sought-after amenities.
For example, properties with full ownership of a roof benefit by converting that into a roof terrace, as numerous potential tenants seek outdoor space.
Additionally, it must be borne in mind that guests occupying the property for vacation purposes have different needs to long-term tenants.
The primary concern for a short-let property is to adhere to Malta Tourism Authority standards. Since these standards stipulate a minimum set of requirements, an owner benefits by introducing additional enhancements or high-quality products that raise the property’s offering. For example, no specific reference is made to the provision of wine glasses, though these are frequently requested by guests.
Prior to booking the property, potential guests evaluate the photographs and reviews written by previous occupants, after which they assess the amenities provided.
Upon arrival, first impressions are important, as guests should enter a de-cluttered, clean and tidy property. A stellar welcome would have the towels shaped as swans or owners. Another recommendation is a ‘welcome pack’, such as a map, and light snacks or beverages. The availability of a hairdryer
also enables guests to travel with less luggage and potentially avoids airline fees for baggage stowage.
Guests expect to have internet access throughout the property and, should it be limited to certain areas, then they should be advised beforehand.
Prior to launching the property, it should be appropriately deep-cleaned. Throughout a property’s short-let operations, and due to back-to-back bookings, there is usually only the time to undertake a general clean, while a deep-clean can only be scheduled every couple of weeks, depending on the property’s occupancy.
In relation to long-lets, owners need to decide on the audience they wish to address in attracting the ideal tenant, such as a family, single person, couple, or corporate clients.
Long-let rentals place greater emphasis on providing a potential home and, consequently, white goods such as a dishwasher, washing machine and tumble-dryer are frequently requested by the potential tenants prior to finalising the lease agreement.
First impressions count and, to successfully host occupants, it is essential to greet them with aspects that stimulate and satisfy the five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Furthermore, throughout the occupants’ stay, any of their requests and maintenance issues must be appropriately handled to ensure that the occupants have an enjoyable stay, encouraging them to return or to extend their stay at the property.