Cornwall LivingIssue #94
The value of independence
Do you have a holiday cottage or properties that an agency markets for you?
Running your own self-catering accommodation alongside daily life used to be more demanding than it is today, so it was easier to pay the agency fees and let someone else do the leg work. But, explains Jo Blaylock, property marketing and booking expert at ACT Independent, “times have changed.”
“Our experts will do everything you need to professionally set up your marketing. And we’ll continue to provide support if you want us to”
“Owners of quality holiday properties can pay between £20,000 and £70,000 in agency commissions over a three-year period,” Jo continues. “Agencies typically take 20% plus VAT of the total booking value; then it’s the owner who pays for changeovers, service fees, property maintenance and bills. It’s significant money.”
Since many local agencies are now owned by large corporates, Jo tells us, “your property gets contractually locked in and competes for bookings among thousands of others.” This is a missed opportunity, especially when you have an excellent property that can hold its own.
According to ACT, owners’ main concerns about going it alone are getting enough bookings, and disruptions from guests when booking or during their stay.
Firstly, Jo stresses, you really don’t have to pay an agency to market your property to get bookings. “Our experts will do everything you need to professionally set up your marketing. And we’ll continue to provide support if you want us to. Most tasks involved can be automated by having a website carefully designed and written for your property.” With ACT, your website would include an availability calendar, so guests can simply book and pay online, linking your availability to live listings on portals like Booking.com.
Secondly, potential guests sometimes have a query about advertised rates, start days or length of stay. “An agency asks for your response to these anyway, so the only difference is you reply to your guests direct,” reveals Jo. When it comes to cleaning and property maintenance, “which owners are responsible for even when using an agency,” local service companies are hired to organise this. “Sharing your property calendar enables them to support you and your guests hassle-free.”
At the end of the day, Jo believes you’ve got nothing to lose and little to be concerned about, especially given that you normally have a six-month agency contract termination clause – the perfect time period to become fully set up to run independently. Jo finishes: “If for some reason you change your mind, simply return to the agency or join another. They’ll definitely want your business.”
For more sound advice on capitalising on your holiday cottage or to find out more about ACT Independent, be sure to give Jo and the team a call.
0845 8621 661
"Our experts will do everything you need to professionally set up your marketing. And we'll continue to provide support if you want us to"