Whether you own your property primarily as an investment or as somewhere to spend your holidays, listing it as a holiday rental can be a great way to increase your return on investment. Holiday houses have always been a part of the way of life in Australia. With so many beautiful destinations around the country, they provide the perfect base with space and freedom for all. At Stayz.com.au we have over 700,000* people each month looking for holiday rental accommodation so why not make the most of this opportunity with your property?


Many people, when considering renting their property, believe that permanent lettings will ensure the best rental return and a hassle free investment. However renting a holiday property can be a highly profitable endeavour. 

Depending on the location of your property, it may be possible to charge the regular (permanent) monthly rent for just a one week holiday stay. Leasing your property for only 12 weeks a year as a holiday rental would then generate the same investment return as a permanent tenant. Any additional weeks simply increases your return and the property is still available for you to enjoy for your own holidays. 

To help you with the decision of whether to invest in a holiday rental, we have put together the following guide to give you an idea of the process and what options are available to you.
 

What's involved


If you decide to rent your property as a holiday rental, there are a few key decisions you’ll have to make. The first being whether you want to look after the rentals yourself or use an agent?

For those who want to closely vet potential guests managing the rental yourself could be the way to go. Listing with us directly is the ideal option, where in you keep all the profit by cutting out the middle man. 

If you’d prefer a more hands off approach, then check out the local real estate agents in your area. If you do decide to directly control your rentals, here’s a list of initial, and day to day business, tasks you will need to consider.
 

Getting Ready


Complying with rules and regulations
Before you are ready to list your property for rent, there are a few things to consider to help your business run as smoothly as possible. 

Privacy policy
Small businesses are not required to comply with the Privacy Act, however it is good practice to be aware of the guidelines. There is no hard and fast rule about what questions you can ask a prospective guest in screening their enquiry – but it’s important to consider whether it is necessary to collect the information in connection with the holiday letting and whether you are collecting that information in a fair way. To determine if you are covered by the Privacy Act, and for more information on how to comply, visit the Privacy Commissioner’s website www.privacy.gov.au.

Government bodies
Each state has unique legislation relating to holiday rentals. Generally, a holiday home or rental is defined as a property ordinarily used for holiday purposes or rented for no more than 2 months in a year.

General government guidelines for property owners include:
  1. Confirm the rental agreement in writing to guests, including emergency and repair contacts, and leaving requirements;

  2. Request a Refundable damage deposit to protect you from damage to the property and early departure;

  3. Make an inspection of the property before new guests arrive. Note any damages and provide guests with a copy of the report. Guests are responsible for any damages caused by their negligence.


Contact your state government department for further information:
 

State/ Territory

Phone

URL

NSW

13 32 20

www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

SA

1300 138 918

www.ocba.sa.gov.au

QLD

13 13 04

www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

NT

1800 019 319

www.caba.nt.gov.au

VIC

1300 55 81 81

www.consumer.vic.gov.au

TAS

1300 65 44 99

www.consumer.tas.gov.au

ACT

(02) 6207 0400

www.ors.act.gov.au/fairtrading


Council zoning
Some councils may require you to seek approval for short term leasing (i.e. less than 3 months) of your property. Contact your local council for guidelines and further information on approving your holiday rental.
 

Setting up your business


You may want to set up a registered business with an ‘Australian Business Number’ (ABN) for your holiday rentals.

As a business, an ABN is essential for dealing with the ATO and other government departments. You will also require an ABN to register for GST. For more information, visit www.business.gov.au. Taxation guidelines require you to declare ‘income from rent’ for tax purposes. You may also be able to claim on ‘rental property expenses’.

Contact your accountant or the ATO directly for more information on income tax and GST at www.ato.gov.au or 13 28 61

Accepting payments
Travellers prefer to pay online for goods and services, which is why Online Booking is the ideal solution to help convert more bookings.

Online Booking
You can set up your property for travellers to provide their credit card details during the booking request process. These funds are managed by Stayz and disbursed to you into your nominated bank account. You will have 24 hours to accept or decline these booking requests and you will have the opportunity to speak to the traveller before deciding. 


Managing keys and hiring a cleaner
If you don’t live in the area of your holiday rental, this can seem like a big barrier to managing rentals directly. However, with a few of our tips below and a little bit of research these issues can be overcome.
  1. Install a keyless lock for easy, hasslefree access. Change your a simple code periodically to ensure your property’s security.

  2. Ask a real estate agent or local business such as a post office or newsagency if you can arrange key pick-up from them.

  3. When hiring cleaners, speak to locals or other holiday rental owners in the area to see who they recommend. You may want to interview a couple when visiting your property.

  4. Once you’ve decided on your cleaner, it’s important to give them clear instructions on your expectations.

  5. Cleaners are also a great source of feedback about the state of your property after guests have stayed.


Preparing your property
It’s important to consider your guests expectations. While they are not expecting a cookie-cutter hotel room, there are certain features that will increase the property’s appeal and your guests’ comfort. It can be helpful to look at other property listings on stayz.com.au to get an idea of what other owners offer.

Furniture
It’s a good idea to think about how many people your property can comfortably accommodate. Make sure you have enough beds, couches and chairs to cater to all. Bunk beds can be a great way to make the most of small bedrooms. If you want to attract a particular market, e.g. families or pets, you may want to include furniture and safety precautions that are suitable to their needs.

Standard equipment
While some guests will want nothing to do with the kitchen while on holidays, many will want to make the most of the opportunity to have affordable meals in. It is generally expected that holiday rentals will come with a fairly well-equipped kitchen with enough plates, cutlery and glasses for all guests. Basic cooking gear and other items such as a kettle and toaster are also usually expected. Outside of the kitchen, you need to decide whether you want to supply linen and towels. Many owners expect the guests to supply their own, which is generally accepted. Other bedding, such as blankets and pillows should be supplied. It is possible to make linen an optional extra cost for guests. You may be able to partner with a local linen service to cater to your guests needs.

Added-value
To make your guests stay as enjoyable as possible, it’s a great idea to think beyond the necessities. Providing entertainment in the form of books, games, music, internet and perhaps even Cable TV, can help attract guests and make your property a place they want to return to and recommend to others.

What to lock away
If your property is a place for you to holiday as well as your guests, you’re likely to have valuables and other items that you’d prefer your guests didn’t have access to. If this is the case, put a lock on a room or closet where you can store these items.

Arranging your listing
When you advertise your property online, you need to include details that will appeal to potential guests. 

Photos
The photos displayed of your property can make a huge difference to the amount of enquiries you receive. Take some high quality photos and ensure that you display as many photos of the property itself and its outlook to help sell your property. Stayz requires a minimum of 6 photos up to a maximum of 24 photos. Include shots of: 
  • The exterior

  • Kitchen

  • Living room

  • Main bedroom

  • Additional bedrooms

  • The outlook


Property description
After the initial impression from your photos, holiday-seekers will turn to your property description to see whether the rental is suitable for them. It is important to make the description of your property as clear and as succinct as possible to grab their attention as they skim the page.

Describe;
  1. The property features including unique selling points, What kind of people it is suited for (couples, singles, groups, families, accepts pets, or has pet fencing)

  2. The location (proximity to local amenities and areas of interest)

  3. Number of bedrooms, bed, bathrooms, has cots, etc. 


Pricing
It’s important to set pricing for your property as many time-poor holidayseekers will simply move to the next property if your listing does not display a price. Also, setting a price will reduce the amount of irrelevant enquiries you receive.These are referred to as the custom rates. 
Make sure you look at other similar properties in your area to help you set the right price, and see if others change the price depending on the time of year. For example you may want to charge a higher price for peak season, school holidays and public holidays.

Another question to ask yourself is whether you want to set a minimum night stay? This could vary depending on the demand for your area and your property. If your area is in a quieter holiday area, you’ll encourage more bookings by offering 2 night stays rather than restricting to 3 nights or more.

Once you've set up your custom rates, you will need to set up your Standard rate, which will kick in only when there isn't a custom rate set up for a period. 
 

Day to day business

Once you are up and running, there are a few simple day to day tasks you’ll need to coordinate in order to maximise your bookings and keep your guests happy.

Managing your listing
Holiday-seekers can get frustrated if they can not find out easily if your property is available, and this can affect whether they take the time to enquire with you. Follow these steps to make your life easier
  1. Add bookings to your calendar to show when your property is unavailable.
  2. Keep the pricing up-to-date on your listing also, as this this will attract qualified enquiries that convert to bookings.
  3. Setting up your Standard Rate immediately will help with this.

Responding to enquiries and booking requests
Instant bookings are possible for so many services today, and impatient holiday-seekers are likely to move on to another property if they don’t hear back from you quickly. Online Booking will be enabled on your property once you provide us with your payment details and this will provide you with qualified leads and increase the number of confirmed bookings. Try and respond to these enquiries on the day you receive them, ideally within a couple of hours as this will increase your chance of converting the enquiry to a booking.You can sign up for a free SMS service to receive an SMS when a guest makes a booking request or enquiry. 

Taking payments
Deposits
You need to determine what deposit amount you deem acceptable in order to hold the booking. 20% is a good benchmark. Once your guest has paid the deposit, the booking is confirmed and the calendar is automatically blocked.

Refundable Damage Deposit (RDD)
You will also need to consider whether you will hold a Refundable damage deposit until after the guests have left the property to safe guard you against any issues. Many businesses simply ask for credit card details to hold, however it’s not unusual to take a payment beyond the rental fees that you can return following the stay. A refundable damage deposit can also be requested through Online Booking.

Terms and Conditions
Make sure your guests are aware of your cancellation policy and general terms and conditions. Details to highlight include your check-in and check-out times and process, the amount due, and any property policies and restrictions such as whether smoking and pets are allowed.
 

Listing with Stayz

To list with Stayz, simply go to www.stayz.com.au and click List your property tab and follow the steps on the page. 

If you would like more information, simply contact Stayz using the contact us button at the bottom of this page.