MANY property owners may have been tempted by the revolutionary potential of the online marketplace Airbnb but hesitant about taking the plunge.
However, a start-up in Bournemouth claims to be the first in the area to take on the work of listing and managing a home on the platform on the owner’s behalf.
Jon Duignan set up Vantage Point along with Chellenka Davis, who has 15 years of experience in holiday lettings.
“As I was working around the Sandbanks and Lilliput area I saw a lot of empty homes. Lots were holiday homes where people weren’t there half the time,” he said.
“The idea began through that. I had a friend visit from Brazil. He mentioned that when they travel around, they use Airbnb. I had heard about it but didn’t know much about it.”
Airbnb’s roots go back to 2007 in San Francisco and it was launched in the UK in 2011. It is a marketplace where people can list accommodation for rent, with Airbnb taking a percentage from both the guests and the host.
Mr Duignan said Vantage Point was the first company locally to manage properties on Airbnb on behalf of the owners – taking care of photography, listing, laundry, cleaning and dealing with the guests.
“There are management companies in big cities like London and Edinburgh but there was nothing down here on the coast. Having worked down here for a number of years and knowing the property environment down here, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to introduce,” he said.
“You give us the key, we do the photography, we do the profile for the property, we list the property on Airbnb. We then manage the property.”
Vantage Point, based in Commercial Road, Bournemouth, mainly manages properties in the Bournemouth and Poole area, although it also handles one on the Isle of Wight.
It visits potential properties to see if they are suitable before taking care of the photography and listing. It can also enlist the services of interior design company GM Designs to improve properties for rental if required.
It says owners could have the potential to increase rental incomes by 60-100 per cent. It can also allow properties to be used for Airbnb letting while they are on the market for sale, with estate agents’ viewings arranged around rental bookings.
Mr Duignan said: “It works for landlords on a number of platforms – for example if you have an investment property or holiday home which you only use once a month but want to gain the extra income without the restrictions which come with conventionally renting your property, we take care of everything and make sure that when you want to use the property it is ready and feels like no one has been there.”