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Owner Advice - How to deal with wear and tear and accidental damage

We join Shelley D’Arcy, Head of Property Recruitment at Sykes Holiday Cottages, as she answers some of the questions we’ve received from our property owners during August, 2018…

How should I deal with damage in my property?

Damage in properties does happen from time to time. From general wear and tear, to more substantial problems, every owner will making repairs and replacing items at some point.

Basic wear and tear is something that every owner should be prepared for. Scuff marks on doors and skirting boards can be easily removed as part of your cleaning regime in-between guests. And keeping a list of things to spruce up or repair when a property is empty is also a good idea. You’ll be surprised how a lick of paint can freshen the look of your property. More major repairs or decorating should be planned in-between seasons where possible.

This also applies to outside spaces too – most importantly the front of your property, which makes that all-important first impression. Regularly maintaining your patio or garden helps prevent the chances of damage from overgrown plants or weather-related wear and tear.

Of course, if something needs to be repaired because it is a hazard to guests, then it must be dealt with promptly and efficiently. Ensure your guests know how to contact you, should anything occur when they are staying at your property. You should also ensure you leave clear and comprehensive instructions for how to use everything from hot tubs and TVs to microwaves and barbecues. This will minimise the risk of any accidental problems arising.

Naturally, there will be times when guests accidentally break items. After all, the odd broken glass or plate is part and parcel of running a holiday let. Our advice for things like crockery, glassware and kitchen utensils is to always have an extra supply of matching items you can replace broken or worn items with. This also applies to items like bedding, towels, soft furnishings and rugs.

You can help limit accidental damage by writing some dos and don’ts into your welcome pack, such as refraining from using bathroom towels when dying hair or sleeping in the bedding after applying fake tan. What’s more, you should provide dog towels for cleaning a pet after a muddy walk, and have a stock of plastic crockery and glasses for outdoor usage.

However, there are times when more substantial damage occurs from guests. The most important thing to do when you are made aware of, or discover, this level of damage is to take photographic or video evidence of the damage. It should then be reported to us in the Owner Relations team on 01244 617977. We will review the damage with you and agree a course of action with the guests. If the additional costs of repairs, cleaning or replacing can be met from the Good Housekeeping Bond that some owners operate, then this can be agreed and applied.

In other cases, guests may have taken out a Damage Insurance Policy when booking and we can help you set this in motion to make a claim. On rare occasions where damage is purposeful, we will work alongside you to recover the necessary costs of cleaning and repairing your property, so it’s ready for the next guests. This may include legal action. Thankfully, these occasions are very rare and account for less than a handful of cases in the last year, despite having received over a quarter of a million bookings.

When we deal with any case of malicious damage we give you the right to blacklist a guest from returning to your property. We also consider whether we wish to stop that guest from ever booking with Sykes again. Every case is treated individually. The most important thing is to support you in keeping your property operating and earning income.

If you want to know more about a Good Housekeeping Bond for your property, please do contact us on 01244 617977.

We struggle to get cleaners to work on Saturdays, so it makes it a difficult changeover day for us. What is the best change over day?

This question seems simple enough – however, it really does vary according to where you’re located.

Our data reveals that in the West Country and in Scotland, there is a tendency to go for Saturday changeovers as the default. This is because most bookings are of one-week durations with many guests travelling more than two hours to reach the properties. In the West Country, properties with a Saturday arrival day earn 8% more than those offering other days of the week. In Scotland it’s 3% more.

For all other areas of the country, our figures show that a Friday changeover works better. This is due to the fact that many owners choose to offer short breaks to guests in these regions. This not only gives them more bookings, it also allows them to generate higher incomes of as much as 13% due to the flexibility they can offer.

Our question came from an owner in Yorkshire, so we would advise that you opt for a Friday changeover and accept short breaks as well. This should not only make it easier to get cleaners, but you’ll also earn more income too.

To amend your changeover day, call the Owner relations team on 01244 617724 and we can discuss your options. To opt into accepting short breaks, log onto the Owner Portal where you can find your settings on the pricing tab and amend them.

If you want any help with your cleaning or changeovers, why not use our handy guides on the Owner Portal? Or contact our Managed Services team on 01244 617724, who’ll be happy to advise you.

When we will hear about the Sykes Gems Winners for 2018?

The winners of our Sykes Gem awards for 2018 will be soon be announced and the short-listed properties can be viewed on the Sykes blog.

Judging has now taken place and we are in the process of contacting the winners. If you have won, you’ll be getting a call to let you know if you are to receive one of our fantastic trophies or certificates.

We will be revealing the winners in September, as well as letting our customer database know about all our award-winning properties.

Let your property with Sykes and earn up to £125,000 per year*

  • Join over 15,000 holiday properties already working with Sykes Cottages
  • We welcome over 26 million web visitors a year
  • Many of our owners achieve more than 45 bookings a year
  • We specialise in turning your holiday property into a profitable year-round income for you

*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.

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