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Woodlands in Salcombe is managed by Pebbles Property Management and let with the support of HolidayHost.

How Pebbles stays objective with letting advice 

At Pebbles we are privileged to work with lots of holiday homeowners, many of whom choose to let their properties. The nature of property management for letting holiday homes is that it relies on a community of businesses to work together to bring the home to market, attract guests and make sure they stay happy, to take care of the property and to make sure it’s ready for owner or guests to arrive. 

Letting suppliers and professional hosts are an important part of that network but as every homeowner has different objectives when it comes to letting their holiday home, different suppliers will suit different people and properties. At Pebbles we are often asked to offer advice and recommendations, and as a business that’s built on trusting relationships, true objectivity is vital. 

So, how can owners be assured that we remain objective to provide an independent opinion? To answer, we thought it would be helpful to go through some of the most common questions that our Property Consultant, Kim, gets asked by owners about our services and processes.

What’s it been like these last few months in Property Management & Services?

It’s been incredibly busy for us with the rise of UK staycations and it’s a trend that looks set to continue. More and more people are choosing to holiday in the South West, which means there are both more private second homes, and more holiday homes that are purchased for holiday letting.

How do you describe Pebbles’ services to a potential client?

We offer a comprehensive property management service to owners of luxury properties, usually with four or more bedrooms. 

Each property is assigned its own personal dedicated Property Manager, who becomes the eyes and ears of the owner, and they manage everything to do with running the holiday home. They do regular visits to make sure all is safe and secure, and they are responsible for helping with the many tasks involved with running the property. 

The owner has lots of help making sure that the house is guest ready if it’s a letting property, such as keeping an inventory of the kitchen, organising all the kitchen cupboards, arranging for PAT tests and Fire Risk Assessments, checking all appliances and light bulbs before guests arrive, creating a Guest Welcome Folder, organising the collection of waste bins, ordering linen, monitoring the quality of housekeeping visits, and so much more! 

Under the umbrella of a Property Management Package the owner is then invited to engage any of the other services that we offer in house, including:  

  • Access to our management service 24/7 365 days of the year for homeowners and guests
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Gardening
  • Window cleaning 
  • Our in-house maintenance team of handymen, decorators, and a carpenter
So, you can see that Pebbles is really a one stop shop for homeowners. The only thing that Pebbles doesn’t do, is take bookings.

How does a letting holiday home get those all-important bookings?

The great thing about Pebbles not taking bookings is that it means that we work with lots of different suppliers that do, such as Beach Retreats, Toad Hall Cottages, Unique Home Stays, Perfect Stays, HolidayHost and Cornish Gems. 

They take the bookings, send the information to us, and we take care of everything else at the property for the guests. We work with around a dozen of these suppliers - many more since we began in 2004, and we’ve become expert at matchmaking owners/properties with the best supplier for them.

How do you advise them if they don’t have a letting supplier in place already?

Many properties that come to us are established holiday lets and already have a letting solution in place which the owner is very happy with. In those cases, we step in as the property management and services provider to work closely with the letting solution in place.

If a property is new to holiday letting, then it will often come to us still needing to be set up ready for paying guests.  We are always asked for advice on the best letting solution supplier for the house. We look at this objectively. We consider the type and style of holiday home, location is a large factor, and so are the owners own personal requirements for access to their holiday home. For example, the number of lets they want to achieve. Then we will introduce the owner to one or more of our primary contacts within each supplier and let them decide what’s best for them. More often than not, the owner will end up signing with one of them.

What’s important about these relationships and maintaining our objectivity is that we don’t get any material benefit from referrals, which can typically be up to £1,000 for every successful referral. We don’t take referral fees – we make the recommendations and referrals because we believe that’s what’s best for the client and their objectives for their property. Our aim is always for a long-term relationship with a trusting client who is enjoying and making the most of their successful holiday home appointment. 

What if the owner wants to use online travel agents like Vrbo and Airbnb? 

The way people use Airbnb has changed enormously. These days letting a whole house, instead of the odd spare room, involves a lot more work and preparation than people might think. For example, professional photos are key if you wish to charge premium rates, there is much to do involving administration and time spent answering enquiries, as well making sure that the home is guest ready. 

So, this year, when an owner comes to me with a view to managing their own bookings, we have been recommending professional hosting services like HolidayHost, which takes the admin hassle away from the owner.

Do you help owners set up their holiday homes?

Of course! We love being involved right from the beginning and will give owners lots of guidance and advice on how to get their house set up for paying guests or for their own use. This can involve everything from advice on which bedlinen to choose and where to get it from, to the safety certificates that are required, the best layout for a room, stocking a kitchen, organising trade waste collections and receiving deliveries.

When stocking the house, our Property Managers always like to give homeowners some options from local businesses. Some local shops will offer a discount to Pebbles’ clients. We feel it’s very important to support local businesses and trades people as much as possible, but it’s also practical – for example, if crockery comes from a local store and something gets broken during a guest’s stay, then it can be quickly and easily replaced during short changeover periods before the next guest arrives!

If you would like to find out more about Pebbles Property Management and Services can support you and your holiday home in achieving your letting goals and taking care of your property, contact us by phone or email any time.

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