Continuing our series in which we meet and introduce you to some of our holiday home owners, today we are meeting Gareth Metcalf, owner of Rose Apartments in Edinburgh. Sitting in the city’s New Town area, Rose Apartments is a newly refurbished and renovated holiday home, perfect for exploring the Scottish capital. Whilst Edinburgh might not immediately spring to mind when booking your next summer holiday, 2014 is the perfect year to visit; it’s close cousin Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth Games, and the annual Edinburgh Festival and Fringe will bring the world’s top comics, cabaret acts and musicians to venues small and large.
So let’s meet Gareth (and Rose Apartments) as he shares his tips on how to have the best experience in your home away from home.
How did you decide to buy or own a holiday rental home?
Gareth Metcalf: I was interested in renovating an old property and I knew that obtaining a flat in the city centre would put me in better stead for rental opportunities and sale value. I had an inkling that it would make a good holiday apartment and during the renovation I settled on that idea after doing a little research. It was something I had no idea about and thought it would be a great challenge.
How and why did you choose the location?
GM: In a capital city, obviously the location is very important and especially in Edinburgh. I knew that if I was to own a holiday apartment, the location was the most important thing for it to succeed. Properties in the best locations are fairly hard to come by, especially with Edinburgh being so compact. When I saw this property it had been on the market for three months with little interest. It was desperately in need of a full renovation which is probably why it hadn’t been snapped up. I saw it and knew straight away that it had masses of potential and it felt instinctively right. I made an offer immediately.
What advice would you give to people thinking about owning a holiday home?
GM: That’s quite a hard question to answer in a sentence. I guess I’d say to be prepared to commit yourself entirely and to persevere. Holiday homes can be rather trying at times and require your attention around unsociable hours sometimes too.
To build up a good reputation and establish yourself amongst other owners takes some time and is fairly competitive; there are nearly 300 Edinburgh rentals advertised on HomeAway alone, and I know there are at least double that in total, so as you can imagine everyone is eager to obtain business. I think that if you persevere with making it continuously better then you’ll have a healthy booking calendar.
What’s the best/most enjoyable part about renting out your holiday home?
GM: I think that would have to be meeting different groups of people from all corners of the world. Scotland attracts people from a whole range of different cultures and backgrounds and it’s great having the opportunity to appreciate the diversity when you welcome guests.
What’s the most challenging part of renting out your holiday home?
GM: The most challenging part would be keeping on top of bookings and more notably arrivals. I think it is very important to meet the guests at the apartment to welcome them; it’s more personal and it also gives them a chance to ask you any questions and for you to offer any advice. I try to be as flexible as possible to work around arrivals, which as you can imagine can be quite difficult when you also have other commitments.
How long have you advertised on HomeAway and why did you choose the website?
GM: I have been on the site for two years now; it was clear that HomeAway was one of the most reputable international holiday booking sites out there. In hindsight this was a good move, as I have received many bookings on faith from guests from a host of different nations.
How have you managed to maximise the performance of your listing?
GM: I believe photographs are the most important thing with advertising a holiday rental. It’s the best opportunity to sell your property at a glance. Someone told me that a good photo is 80% of the way to a booking. I don’t know how accurate that is but I can definitely appreciate the importance. Consequently I decided to have my photographs done professionally and I’d say this decision has paid for itself many times over.
Also, another way to maximise performance is exposure. The more you get your property out there, the more opportunity you have for securing a booking.
Have you any wonderful stories of renting out your holiday home?
GM: Not so much renting, as I’ve been doing this for a relatively short period of time – but an interesting story was passed on to me from the previous proprietor who was an elderly lady, and the property had been in her family for many years. Her husband was a keen historian and investigated the history of the building and surrounding area.
The building was built in 1792. At this time, Edinburgh Castle, which lies about half a mile from the property, was being partially re-built (it would have been several hundred years old by this time); consequently stone from the castle was used to construct the apartment. As you can see from the pictures it is built form solid stone. So a nice little quirk that adds to the character is the fact that the property is made from one of the most famous castles in the world!