Before You Set Up Your First Serviced Apartment
Set Out Your Goals & Expectations
Before you set up any business it’s important to outline your goals and expectations – so although marketing your apartment, or multiple apartments, as a serviced apartment may seem like an easy way to make some money, working in this ever-expanding part of the hospitality industry is not without its challenges.
In recent years the serviced apartment sector has become increasingly competitive, so ensuring that you have a clear idea of what experience you want to offer to your potential guests – and have yourself! – is key. Do you want to provide a standard, no frills apartment for an affordable price, or do you want to offer something special that makes your accommodation stand out from other serviced apartments in the area?
Whatever you decide, making sure that you have a specific purpose in mind for what you want your serviced apartment to achieve is essential.
Setting up multiple serviced apartments, a business or even your own apartment as desirable place for guests to stay can be more time consuming than it might first appear. If you’re not prepared, you can easily become weighed down with administrative tasks such as handling bookings, answering guest queries and marketing your properties to potential guests. Do you have the time and resources to manage this effectively?
Risk & Liability
Insurance is one of the most important things to consider if you are letting serviced apartments, as it offers protection for both you as an accommodation provider, and your guests. Although once tricky to source, due to the increasing popularity of serviced apartments recently, there are now more options available that cater to your needs as a serviced apartment provider. It’s advisable to make sure the policy that you choose includes Public Liability Insurance as a basic, however there are many options you might want to look at to make sure that you are completely covered.
Local Relations & Regulation
Depending on the scale of your business, you may need to consider whether or not you require a license: and if you do what type of license that is. As well the type of license, it is important to be aware of the amount of business rates you will have to pay. Remember that self-catering units are not classed in the same category as domestic properties – so, if you have multiple serviced apartments under one roof, you will incur more charges than, for example, a traditional Bed & Breakfast with one kitchen but numerous bedrooms.
The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) is an independent not-for-profit organisation that regulates serviced apartments to ensure that the quality of serviced apartments is of a high standard. Their Quality Accreditation Programmes are a great way to help market your properties to potential guests, as they provide reassurance that their home for the next few weeks – or months – has the been verified independently.
Set Your Pricing
Most guests who stay in serviced apartments are business travellers, and often stay in a location for a lengthy period of time. It is thus wise to set your pricing at different rates for daily, weekly and monthly duration of the stay. If you decide to charge a premium rate for your apartment, what makes your property worth the money you’re expecting your guests to part with? Another element of pricing that might be necessary to consider is cancellation fees – as many guests staying in serviced apartments are business travellers who need to be flexible, it’s important to offer a reasonable cancellation fee as an incentive to stay, whilst making sure you do not lose out on large amounts of revenue either.
Change Of Lifestyle
There are many rewards to be gained from providing serviced apartments on both a small and large-scale basis. As with running any business, there are many responsibilities, however with the added pressure of having the needs of guests to take into consideration. Nevertheless, knowing that you are providing guests with a home-from-home is rewarding, whether you choose to maintain a professional relationship, or get to know your guests individually.