Policy: Owner Bookings

 

Company Position: 

Property Providers™ vision is to, “Help People Live Better” through being Sydney’s most flexible residential rental company. This vision is driven by 3 core values; Passion, Performance and Partnership.  Importantly, we seek profit not through dollars and cents but through the pursuit of our guiding principal that all meaningful long-term partnerships have a strong foundation of mutual investment, respect, risk and commitment. We aim to create these virtues in all our relationships and touch points with long-term leasing tenants, short-term rental guests, employees, suppliers, partners and our property owner partners.

 

Document Purpose: 

The purpose of this document is to clearly communicate the company’s policy as it relates owners using and booking out their short-term rental property. 

Please note: This policy only applies to short-term rentals that we manage on a full-time or year-round basis and DOES NOT apply to Seasonal Rentals where the property is the owner’s primary residence and where owner is harnessing idle capacity (i.e. properties that are only available for holiday periods).

 

Background: 

One of the big benefits of leveraging a short-term rental strategy is that it creates the opportunity for owners to use their own properties for themselves or for friends and family. We also understand that some owner/investor/landlords also want to deploy short-term rental strategy because they are “timing” the market for a sales campaign, planning renovations, or may reside out of the area most of the time and therefore want to use their property for lifestyle purposes. 

There is no doubt that NOT locking a property into a fixed term tenancy provides incredible flexibility. On the other hand, this flexibility and ability to use your investment property for yourselves still needs to be managed. Over the past couple years “Owner Bookings” have increased not only in number but in frequency. It has become a business challenge for Property Providers to effectively manage owner stays, both from a communication vertical but also from a financial one, as this activity does strain our resources and income earning ability.

 

Policy Objectives:

  1. To be clear, concise and consistent regarding what the company’s position is for personal owner bookings and for bookings of owner’s family/friends.

  2. To support the company’s guiding principal that all long-term relationships have a foundation of mutual respect, mutual reward, mutual investment and mutual risk.

  3. To implement a consistent and fair framework around owners using their own properties either for themselves or for their family and friends (which we encourage as this is part of our proposition and one of the key benefits of short-term rentals).

  4. To effectively manage and control these 2 types of owner bookings to ensure the best possible experience for the agency as well as the owner.

 

Policy for Personal Owner Bookings (i.e. The Owner Themselves are Staying at Their Property):

  • Owners are to advise the agency of their owner booking in writing at least 5 working days prior their arrival.   

  • “Owner Bookings” will be charged our $132.00 booking fee for Property Providers to manage the administration and calendar updates, scheduling of cleaning and other operational components.

  • Properties will be left "guest ready" for owners (linen provided etc.) no extenuating circumstances.

  • An initiation clean will occur on an owner’s exit to make the property guest ready again. This is at full cost to the owner and is $44 an hour of cleaning/ property preparation.

  • The agency will not cancel an existing confirmed guest booking and replace with the owner booking as we feel this is unfair and unethical to guests who have made the commitment to rent the property as well as the agency who has secured the client on behalf of the owner. In these cases, we warmly welcome the owner to book another property with us where we will do our best to provide the best solution at the best price.

 

Policy for Owner Bookings (for their Family/Friends):

  • We welcome your family and friends to use your property and understand if you want to let them stay there rent free. All family and friends’ stays will need to be managed as a guest booking in the Property Providers booking system for ease of communication and cleaning scheduling.
  • Family and friends will be required to pay the “guest” rates for exit cleaning, linen, and our booking fee. This payment must be paid prior to their arrival and key must be collected from Property Providers offices as per normal key collection instructions.

  • We also recommend that they pay for the allocated security deposit which is refundable when they leave as long as there is no damage etc.   

  • Normal or “business as usual” such as arrival, key collection, departure instructions, etc. apply to owner's guests/owner bookings.

  • Property Providers will allow up to 3 different bookings of family/friends a year without additional charges applying or an appropriate adjustment in commission.

  • The agency will not cancel an existing confirmed/paid guest booking and replace with the owner booking as we feel this is unfair and unethical to guests who have made the commitment to rent the property as well as the agency who has secured the client on behalf of the owner.

  • Importantly, by making payment the guest is also bound to our Booking Terms & Conditions  should anything unfortunate happen. This effectively protects the owner from uncomfortable situations and/or risk. 

 

Policy Rationale:

  • Decreased Inventory: “Owner Bookings,” directly remove availability/inventory from the rental pool. They circumvent our ability to earn income which is something that we feel owners should acknowledge and respect. When deploying a short-term rental strategy, the owner is gaining the benefit of flexibility however in all fairness this cannot be at the agency’s labour and lost revenue expense. Simply put, our commission is not substantial enough to cover these circumstances.  Unequivocally, the agency does not make any money from an owner booking and this is something that needs to be considered.

  • Process and Procedure Consistency:  To avoid confusion, conflict and unnecessary cost, when owner bookings happen, it is important that we use all the same policies and procedures that we would use for a normal guest i.e. making the property guest ready and managing the stay through our booking system. Constantly managing exceptions creates far more work and is not scalable or sustainable, (to be truthful they can be very disruptive). The business cannot be confident that it can/will deliver the same level of service if the goal posts are constantly shifting. By maintaining consistency, we are able to scale which keeps costs as low as possible for all parties.

  • Booking Fee Cost:  The booking fee charge is to cover the listing/calendar maintenance, housekeeping scheduling, pick pack and shipping of linen and amenities, key exchange and general owner communication/touchpoints. It is not considered part of property management.

  • Highest Expectations: With respect and rightfully so, owners are often the most critical and cynical of all guests (as to be expected). Therefore, they are the most demanding and often request additional services and resources.

  • System Flexibility:  Our systems are only so flexible, and they do not account for endless special circumstances. The above policy aligns with our operational procedures and ensures that operations run smoothly and efficiently.

  • Fairness:  We believe that this is fair and balanced to all parties and is in the spirit of partnership.

 

Mechanics:

  • Owners are to advise the agency of all owner bookings in writing at the latest 5 days prior to arrival, even if they are just popping into the property – Property Providers should be made aware of this.

  • All Owner Bookings are to be logged within our booking system by either the owner or the agency (no exceptions). Please request your log in details and a tutorial on using the owner system if you do not know how to do so. this is to be done by

  1. Logging onto our owner portal and logging the booking;

  2. Or; simply emailing help@propertyproviders.com.au (Subject – Owner Booking – Property Name – Owner Name). 

  • We highly recommend that owner's "Owner Bookings" do not commence or conclude on the same day (i.e. back to back) with other guest bookings. This has created significant issues for the agency in the past and it is something that we would like to avoid in the future. If this is unavoidable, the agency reserves the right to charge a fair cost dependant on the particular circumstances to allow for resources to adequately manage it.

  • If the owner is booking the property on behalf of a friend or family, the owner will provide the agency the full contact details of the guest for us to input into our booking system which triggers all the relevant communication to seamlessly manage the stay.

  • Standard arrival time of 3:00pm and departure time of 9:30am will apply to all owner bookings unless advised in writing at the time of the initial booking. If early check-ins or late arrivals are required, the agency requires a minimum of 2 working days to facilitate this change in the operational or housekeeping schedule and owners must understand that this may not be possible depending on other bookings.

  • If the arrival/departure day is on a Sunday or Public Holiday housekeeping and there is a guest arriving or departing on the same day, hospitality penalty rates will apply.

  • If the owner does not have enough funds in their account to cover the booking fee and initiation clean, an invoice will be sent to cover these costs.

 

Summary: 

Property Provider’s positioning is to be, “Sydney’s Most Flexible Residential Rental Agency”.  In this regard, we really do want owners to enjoy the use of their own properties. We have found that often owners improve the property while they are staying there which ultimately enhances the guest experience and our joy in managing the property. 

Importantly, however, we ask that owners understand that there is a significant amount of operational resource that is required to manage any stay (albeit an owner stay or a guest stay). We simply request that owners respect this and contribute. Lastly, we believe that the above policy has been developed with the spirit of partnership in mind and is grounded by our guiding principal of mutual respect, mutual reward, mutual investment and mutual risk

 

Effective Date:  This policy is effective April 1st 2019