Furnished Holiday Lets
Nuneaton? Who would want to come to Nuneaton?
In this series on diversification, we have looked at the eggs to put in our basket. We have looked at two of those eggs: Flats for Families and Shared Living Projects. In this third part we delve into the most dynamic part of Lets Delight operations. Furnished Holiday Lets for overnight guests.
Furnished Holiday Lets stand alone as a quite separate part of our operations. So much so that they have their own brand - Lets Stay. Yet, the opportunity was not one that we had planned. Instead, it came to us.
One of our Shared Living Projects located in Nuneaton had a couple of spare rooms. These were proving very tricky to fill. So much so that it was becoming a bit of a concern. It was a combination of the time of year, us finding our way in the area and other issues. It was far from ideal.
Around the same time Joolz and Ian took a long weekend break to Stroud in Gloucestershire. They stayed in an AirBnB with host Mark. He was a pleasant chap and we were all sitting together one evening putting the world to rights. The topic of AirBnB and accommodation came up and Mark explained why he used the platform. It transpired that Mark usually has a lodger. But when his lodger room is vacant, he advertises it on AirBnB. It was one of those lightbulb moments...
Later that evening, Joolz and Ian were discussing AirBnB and their own two void rooms. Although Joolz asked the question that has been asked many times since...Airbnb in Nuneaton? "Who would want to come to Nuneaton?". Of course, there is nothing wrong with Nuneaton at all. It just isn't the first place anyone thinks about when then think about a holiday in the UK!
Once back from an enjoyable trip away (Stroud is a lovely place) some investigation ensued. It didn't cost anything to list on AirBnB, only a bit of time. So there was nothing to lose and it might help out with the vacant rooms. Pretty soon we had the rooms listed. Now to wait. The waiting didn't take long...
Who would want to come to Nuneaton?
It turned out, quite a few people! Not for holidays but to see friends, to visit family, for work and for other reasons. Not only do people live and work in and around Nuneaton, it is also well located for accessing other important towns. Suddenly, we found there was indeed demand.
The other thing we found out was that mixing housemates and guests in a Shared Living Project was not ideal. So the quest began to find a property only for short-term guests. This property became Abbey Green View. It immediately proved popular with AirBnB guests. People love that it accommodates 6 people and their canine companions.
Everything was going well until coronavirus came along. AirBnB and the like cancelled all existing bookings and stopped new ones. Even for permitted travellers like key-workers. We quickly needed an alternative route to market. So we built our own booking platform and took control. We scaled up marketing and publicity to those who needed accommodation. Through this we were able to keep people safe and continue to have a revenue.
Furnished Holiday Lets have been hard hit by the pandemic. By taking control and investing in targeted marketing we have managed to thrive. Now, as the UK comes out the other side of restrictions, we continue to provide well positioned accommodation. Not only do we have space for 6 people, we also are completely self-contained. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination by keeping people in their family bubble.
Our Furnished Holiday Lets form an important part of our diversification. Alongside Flats for Families and Shared Living Projects they ensure different baskets. In the next and final part, we look at PropTools. We use technology to keep the business running smoothly. Some of this technology we share with other property professions. This is through our PropTools brand.