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Successfully Letting your Holiday Property Imagine Ireland

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Successfully Letting your Holiday Property Imagine Ireland Powered By Docstoc
					Successfully Letting your Holiday Property
                             Owner
    Dear Holiday Property
                                                       ding
                           the UK and Ireland’s lea
    Welcome to Imagine,
                             ay cottages.
    letting agency for holid
                                                    ays
                           g in self-catering holid
    We’ve been specializin
                                                     in
                             00 holiday properties
    since 2003 with over 1,5                                                   reats and holiday
                                                     tely homes to coastal ret
                           arming cottages and sta
    Ireland alone, from ch
     gems.
                                                                           th our Owners: we know
                                                 e to our relationship wi
     Imagine’s succe   ss to date is largely du
                                                                                tch this with the
                                                      lling to pay, and we ma
     what the market lik   es and the price it is wi
                                                                                      lidaymakers
                                                           implement. After all, ho
                                t and the standards we
     properties we represen                                              before.
                                              more so now then ever
      demand va   lue, choice and comfort

                                                                                                             Contents
                                                                                                  Letting:
                                                                        ssful Holiday Property
                                    put togeth er this Guide to Succe
      With this in mind, we’ve                                                   d as a simple, practical
                                                        nsidering, it’s intende
      whether you’re a sea    soned owner or just co
                                                                                         e, however it
                                                                It’s not comprehensiv
                                     st out of your property.
       aid to help you get the
                                 mo
                                                                     do for yourself in maxim
                                                                                                izing the    Page 2        Introduction
                                 n do for  you and what you can
       will outline what we ca
       return from your invest
                                  ment.                                                                      Pages 3/5     Why Imagine?
                                                                                         is, Co Clare) and
                                                              in our Irish office (Enn
                                  gional Managers based
        We have dedicated Re                                                              answer any and
                                  say , Skipton). Our Owner
                                                                Team is on standby to                        Pages 6/7     What We Do For You
        also in Yorkshire (Emb
                                                            of help!
                                   look forward to being
        all of your queries. We                                                                              Pages 8/13    Tips For Letting
                                 ccess
        Best wishes and every su
                                                                                                             Pages 14/15   Your Duty Of Care
                                                                                                             Pages 16/18   Making Your Guests Welcome
                                  -Founders
         Annette and Astrid, Co                                                                              Page 19       How We Stay In Touch

2
Why Imagine?

Imagine... Bringing you
and your customers together
n 100,000 strong international database
3

n Dedicated Owner Team in Ireland and UK
3

n Directors personally involved in the day to day running of the agency
3

n Free inspection visits & free photography of your holiday home
3

n Personal, friendly service - We go the extra mile for you
3

n Confirmations by text and email or post
3

n Above average property rentals
3

n Direct, on-time payments paid monthly into your bank account
3

n All year round marketing in UK, Ireland and abroad
3

n Award winning website at the cutting edge of technology
3

n No.1 on Google and in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
3

n Superb marketing on your behalf with dedicated teams
3

n Car hire and ferry agreements to help your customers travel from overseas
3

n Experienced Call Centre open 7 days a week 363 days of the year
3

n Imagine… successful holiday letting is our business.
3



                          To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)   3
    Why Imagine?                    (continued)



    Imagine… successful holiday letting is our business

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                                                                                                                                    e
       Imagine Property                Imagine Property                 Imagine Property                  Imagine Property
        Number 6704                     Number 5038                      Number 5462                        Number 895
     Location Lacken, Co. Wicklow    Location Duleek, Co. Meath    Location Roney Beach, Co. Wexford   Location Inch Beach, Co. Kerry

      2008 10 weeks sold              2007 19 weeks sold              2010 34 weeks sold                2010 31 weeks sold
     2010 35 weeks sold              2010 37 weeks sold




                                                  Bringing you and your customers together.
                                                                Call us Now to arrange a FREE visit:
                                                            UK 01756 707770 Ireland 1890 946663


4
As a holiday property owner, you may ask yourself             In other words, we assess each and every property in          including national press, paid search on the
‘why place my property in the hands of Imagine’,              terms of its likelihood to sell and we do this based on       internet plus of course excellent organic visibility
after all, ‘all holiday letting agencies are the same’ … or   our years of experience in holiday cottage letting, in        on the internet, direct mail and social media like
are they?                                                     selling holidays to consumers, and knowing their likes        Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Flickr.
                                                              and dislikes.
Certainly, most agencies will offer you a brochure
feature and a website listing; some will also offer           •	 We then agree with you a price and profile for
advertising and a reservations service; some will actively        your property accordingly and review this on
promote you and market your property at prices you                an ongoing basis with you.
want to sell ….
                                                              •	 We aggressively advertise your property
….. And then there’s Imagine.                                     on- and off-line across multiple media channels

Our success to date is due simply to making a
difference to our owners.

We do this by matching your property with market
demand. Simple.
                                                                                                                        •	 We provide a 7-day reservations service, 363
                                                                                                                            days of the year so we practically never close
                                                                                                                            while our website is reservations-enabled
                                                                                                                            and widely regarded as the industry’s finest.
                                                                                                                        In short, we’re honest, hard-working and
                                                                                                                        experienced … and we’re nice people to work
                                                                                                                        with.

                                                                                                                        But most important of all, we make a difference for our
                                                                                                                        owners (we’ve four examples opposite). We guide you
                                                                                                                        through the letting process including advice on do’s
                                                                                                                        and don’ts while managing your customers, confirming
                                                                                                                        your bookings and most important of all, paying you
                                                                                                                        your agreed rental income each month.




                             To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)                                                                  5
    What We Do For You
    Here at Imagine, our business is driven by yours.   To do this, we engage the market across a breath-taking
    Our focus is on maximizing the number of weeks      array of marketing channels.
    sold for your property while driving your rental
                                                        For example,
    income.
                                                        •	 We actively mail our own database of over
                                                        100, 000 (and growing) past customers and enquirers
                                                        up to 6 times a year including our annual brochure and
                                                        quarterly promotional mini-brochures.

                                                        •	 We advertise weekly, in some cases daily, in
                                                            the classified holidays sections of all the national
                                                            newspapers including TV listing magazines and
                                                            special interest periodicals.

                                                        •	 We also distribute your property through online
                                                            channels including marketing affiliates while
                                                            visitor traffic to our website is driven by ongoing
                                                            search engine optimization, pay per click
                                                            advertising and social media (Twitter,
                                                            Facebook, You Tube, etc.)

                                                        •	 Your property also features in joint promotions
                                                            with partner retail brands such as for
                                                            example Tesco Club Card which has 14m members
                                                            throughout the UK and 750,00 through Ireland.

                                                        We also operate our Call Centre 7 days a week,
                                                        363 days of the year, handling everything from
                                                        holiday sales and customer queries including owner
                                                        support.




6                           To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)
Our dedicated Owner Team is essentially your point        Step 3: On your sign-off of the above, and once we
of contact with Imagine while joining Imagine                     have contracts received, we then put you
comprises 3 very simple steps:                                    ‘live’ on our Reservations system and
                                                                  publish your property on our websites and
Step1:   We visit your property to assess its viability
                                                                  across our on- and off-line marketing mix to
         as an Imagine property; we also take digital
                                                                  start selling your property.
         photographs and audit your property
         in terms of equipment, features, selling         The whole process from start to finish usually takes
         points, etc.                                     7 days. And if you’re an existing owner, re-registration
                                                          is even quicker!
Step 2: We then issue you a rolling sole agency
        agreement renewed annually plus a                 Thereafter, we pay you for holidays booked at your
        property profile which is used for our            property monthly directly into your nominated bank
        marketing collateral.                             account in the month of guests’ arrival. We also provide
                                                          monthly statements for your records by email.

                                                          And although we are unable to guarantee the number
                                                          of weeks you can expect, you can at all times be assured
                                                          that Imagine is actively selling and marketing
                                                          your property.



                                                                                                                     Call us Now to arrange
                                                                                                                                a FREE visit:
                                                                                                                          UK 01756 707770
                                                                                                                      Ireland 1890 946663


                                                                                                                                                7
    Tips For Letting
    The following tips which are in keeping with our            Look at your property next time and see it with your
    minimum standards are designed to offer helpful             guests’ eyes!
    guidance to you in getting the most from your property.
                                                                •	   Is the driveway free of potholes?
    Your local regional manager, or our team at our head        •	   Can the gate be properly closed?
    office, will be pleased to provide further help and ideas   •	   Is the lawn cut?
    if needed.                                                  •	   Is paintwork clean?
                                                                •	   Are borders weed-free?
                                                                •	   Are gutters weed-free?
                                                                •	   Do the windows gleam?
                                                                •	   Are external lights working?
                                                                •	   Would I want to stay here?

                                                                Good first impressions make all the difference between
                                                                a dissatisfied or complaining holidaymaker and a
                                                                satisfied and understanding one. Ask yourself what
                                                                                                                          •	 Is the property thoroughly clean throughout?
                                                                you can do to welcome your guest in these vital initial
                                                                                                                          •	 Is the property warm and well aired?
                                                                stages?
                                                                                                                          •	 Is the heating on and the fire laid if there is a chill
                                                                •	 Are you providing everything that is stated in the          in the air?
                                                                     brochure and the web description?                    •	 Are there clear instructions to operate appliances,
                                                                •	   Do the website photographs represent your                 heating and television?
    First Impressions Count                                          property correctly?                                  •	   Are the beds well aired and made up with fresh
    Your guests will have high expectations of their holiday    •	   Are the directions to your property clear and             clean linen as per the confirmation?
    cottage. They will have planned, talked about it among           accurate? Can they be followed if it’s dark?
    themselves and to their friends and relatives, and          •	   Can you personally greet your guests? If not, are    The one thing we know from our years of experience is
    dreamed of their holiday ever since they made their              you easily contactable?                              that a clean, well presented property will almost always
    booking.                                                    •	   Is there a welcome tray with some tea/coffee/milk    be left clean and tidy, and be easy to manage. A shabby
    You never get a second chance to make a good first               and biscuits?                                        property will be treated shabbily…and dirty properties
    impression. Consequently, the external appearance of        •	   Is the property equipped in line with our minimum    will be left even dirtier!
    your cottage, including the garden, must be first class.         guidelines?




8
Think about what you would want or expect if you were   SITTING ROOM                                        •	 Ambient lighting, either on the wall, side table or
on holiday…                                             •	 Comfortable armchairs / sofas must be provided         standard lamp.
                                                             for the maximum number of guests.              •	 Open fires must have a fuel container, fireguard,
                                                        •	   Coffee table / occasional table.                     poker, brush, tongs, shovel and ash bucket.
                                                        •	   Suitable pictures or wall decorations.         •	    Colour Television is essential along with a working
                                                                                                                  remote control (and spare batteries for this).
                                                                                                            •	    DVD player / Satellite or Digital box / Stereo system.
                                                                                                            •	    Visitors Information Pack (up to date).
                                                                                                            •	    A selection of books, games and DVDs.

                                                                                                            DINING ROOM
                                                                                                            •	 Large enough to comfortably handle the specified
                                                                                                               number of guests.
                                                                                                            •	 Dining table for the maximum number of occupants.
                                                                                                            •	 High Chair.

                                                                                                                 Cleaning the Sitting and Dining rooms:
                                                                                                                 All floors should be polished (if wood or stone)
                                                                                                                 or vacuumed (if carpeted). Corners of ceilings
                                                                                                                 should be dusted to remove any cobwebs. The
                                                                                                                 tops of radiators, skirting boards, window ledges
                                                                                                                 and blinds should be dusted. Remove and dust
                                                                                                                 shades from wall lights as they can fill with insects
                                                                                                                 and look unsightly. Remove loose cushions from
                                                                                                                 sofas and chairs and vacuum beneath them. In
                                                                                                                 Summer fill any open fires with a dried flower
                                                                                                                 arrangement, and leave pot-pourri in the room to
                                                                                                                 give a background perfume. Check that electric
                                                                                                                 plugs and flexes are in good condition, and that
                                                                                                                 any remote controls work properly.




                          To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)                                                             9
 Tips For Letting                                            (continued)


 KITCHEN                                                          •	 Refrigerators must be of a size appropriate to the      •	 Where a dishwasher is provided a second set of
 Believe it or not, of all the rooms holidaymakers spend               property.                                                   crockery cutlery and dishware is essential.
 most time in is in fact the kitchen so it is really important    •	 Storage space must be provided for food, crockery,      •	 Microwaves, slow cookers and food processors,
 that you give this room lots of attention, such as:                   cutlery and cleaning equipment.                             though not essential, are increasingly in demand.
                                                                  •	   Working surfaces must be available and appropriate    •	    A separate freezer is desirable in larger properties.
 •	 Kitchens must have one window opening to the                       for the property occupancy.                           •	    A fire extinguisher and fire blanket (both wall
      outside or an approved ventilation system.                  •	   Sinks must be equipped with a draining board,               mounted) must be provided and clearly visible.
 •	   Kitchens must be equipped in line with our                       drying rack as well as hot and cold water.            •	    Crockery, cutlery and glasses should match and be
      minimum guidelines.                                         •	   Kitchens must have a covered waste bin with liners.         of good quality.
 •	   Kitchens must have a full sized cooker or hob with          •	   Kitchens must have a kettle, toaster, iron and        •	    Flooring should be easily cleanable.
      oven, grill and timer.                                           ironing board.
 •	   Refrigerators must have a freezer compartment               •	   Dishwashers, Washing Machines and Tumble
      (unless a separate freezer is provided).                         Dryers are desirable in larger properties.                 Cleaning the Kitchen:
                                                                                                                                  Unplug the fridge to defrost the icebox (there is
                                                                                                                                  no reason why a request to switch off the fridge
                                                                                                                                  should not be included in the Visitor Information
                                                                                                                                  Pack, so guests do it on departure) and clean it
                                                                                                                                  thoroughly. Cookers, drawers, grill pans, pots
                                                                                                                                  and pans must be clean and grease-free. If the
                                                                                                                                  cooker has a hood make sure the filter is regularly
                                                                                                                                  cleaned, likewise any extractor fan. Ensure
                                                                                                                                  toasters are free of breadcrumbs. Double check
                                                                                                                                  that all cutlery, crockery and glassware is sparkling
                                                                                                                                  clean. Remove open sauce bottles, jars and left-
                                                                                                                                  over groceries, but leave salt, pepper and oil as
                                                                                                                                  these tend to be appreciated. Floors, sinks, taps
                                                                                                                                  and work surfaces should be clutter free and clean.
                                                                                                                                  Make sure the rubbish bin and the area around it
                                                                                                                                  are cleaned. Ensure your bins are clearly labelled
                                                                                                                                  for recycling.




10                             To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)
BEDROOMS                                                                                                              •	 Windows must be dressed to fully block out any
•	 Bedrooms must be furnished with a wardrobe or                                                                            light.
     clothes hanging space (with coat hangers – 6 per                                                                 •	 Cot with safe cot mattress – cot linen need not be
     person), adequate drawer space, a chair or stool,                                                                      provided.
     mirror, fire-resistant bin, heat source, bedside                                                                 •	    Bed linen must be supplied for each guest. It must
     cabinet and standard bed.                                                                                              be changed and laundered at each changeover, and
•	   A sensible mix of double beds and single beds                                                                          for a fortnight holiday linen should be changed at
     should be offered; and remember that most guests                                                                       the end of the first week, if requested. One hand
     will only want to have a maximum of two people in                                                                      towel and one bath towel should be provided for
     any bedroom.                                                                                                           each guest.
•	   Two single beds in a bedroom is termed a Twin
     room.                                                                                                                 Cleaning Bedrooms:
•	   Guests must have easy access to beds, drawers and                                                                     Strip the beds of all linen, as it is important to
     doors.                                              •	 Bedside cabinets or shelves should be provided for
                                                                                                                           circulate the air. Mattresses, duvets and bed linen
•	   Double beds must have access on both sides.              each person.
                                                                                                                           must be free from stains. Beds must be made
•	   All beds should be fitted with headboards.          •	   Bedrooms must have a light which can be controlled
                                                                                                                           up for arrival. Vacuum bedroom carpets paying
                                                              from the bed, or have bedside lights.
                                                                                                                           particular attention to vacuum under the beds.
                                                         •	   Double beds are 183cm x 137cm (6’ x 4’6”).
                                                                                                                           Check that bedside lamps are working. When
                                                         •	   Single beds or adult bunk beds are 183cm x 91cm
                                                                                                                           cots are required, make sure they are assembled
                                                              (6’ x 3’).
                                                                                                                           and have the correct clean safety mattress. Check
                                                         •	   Mattresses must be interior sprung and in clean
                                                                                                                           wardrobes and cupboards for items previous
                                                              condition with mattress protectors – waterproof
                                                                                                                           visitors may have forgotten.
                                                              mattress covers are advisable for young children.
                                                         •	   Bed linen must be supplied – This should comprise
                                                              mattress protector, duvet and two pillows per bed
                                                              – a high tog rated duvet is required for winter;
                                                              alternatively, two blankets and one bedspread per
                                                              bed are required.
                                                         •	   A base sheet, duvet cover (if duvet) or top sheet (if
                                                              blankets) plus pillowcases are required. Valances
                                                              are desirable.
 Tips For Letting                                      (continued)


 BATHROOMS                                                  •	 Hot water must always be “on tap”.                      •	 Use tiebacks to enhance curtains, and valance
 •	 All properties must have at least one bathroom with     •	 Bathroom or WC doors should have a lock or bolt.             sheets to complete beds.
    a bath or shower, washbasin and WC, plus shower         •	 There should be a clothes hook behind the door and      •	   Use neutral colours in rooms, but then introduce
    curtain, bathmat, towel rail, toilet roll holder.           a cabinet or shelf for toiletries.                          a strong contrasting colour in a cushion/rug/lamp.
    Increasingly, smaller party sizes are demanding         •	 Bidets, spa baths and steam showers are popular         •	   Enlarge and frame photographs of your area.
    two bathrooms. Any property sleeping six or more            additions.
                                                                                                                       Often, it is the “little extras” that will make your holiday
    should have two WCs.
                                                                                                                       home a talking point. For instance…
 Other points to note are as follows:                         Cleaning Bathrooms:
                                                                                                                       •	 A welcoming tray with teabags/coffee/milk and
 •	 All bathrooms must have a window opening to the           Particular attention should be paid to bathrooms
                                                                                                                            sugar… perhaps even some local produce.
      outside or an approved ventilation system.              and cloakrooms. Staining and marked grouting
                                                                                                                       •	   Providing cling film, foil, toilet paper, pepper and
 •	   All bathrooms must have toilet paper, a fire-           are particularly common problems, but cleaning
                                                                                                                            salt.
      resistant covered waste bin and a toilet brush.         regularly with bleach and an old toothbrush will
                                                                                                                       •	   Providing a dishwasher tablet, washing powder
 •	   All bathrooms must have a heat source – preferably      keep it at bay. Grout markers are now available to
                                                                                                                            tablet, kitchen paper and a sewing kit.
      a radiator or heated towel rail.                        cover stained grout so there is no excuse! Towels
                                                                                                                       •	   A small library of DVDs or CDs.
 •	   Shaver sockets should be provided near to a mirror      should be spotless and not frayed or threadbare.
                                                                                                                       •	   Games – many can be purchased in charity shops
      or an adaptor provided for use elsewhere                Pot-pourri and blue loo in the toilet cistern all help
                                                                                                                            - a deck of cards, scrabble, snakes n ladders,
                                                              to keep a bathroom fresh and clean.
                                                                                                                            jigsaws.
                                                                                                                       •	 Some properties provide modern games consoles,
                                                                                                                            such as a Playstation.
                                                            Homely Effects                                             •	   A selection of magazines and books, and perhaps a
                                                            The more homely you make your property, the greater             copy of the local paper.
                                                            the guest satisfaction - and the higher the repeat and
                                                                                                                       If you want your property to be “child friendly”,
                                                            recommendation business. There are many inexpensive
                                                                                                                       attracting families, then do consider the needs of
                                                            means to create a homely effect, for example…
                                                                                                                       babies and young children. Successful child friendly
                                                            •	 Fill empty corners with tall plants – eg a Yucca        properties have enclosed gardens, locked gates, swings
                                                                plant grows well and needs little attention.           and sand pits, in addition to stair gates, a sterilising
                                                            •	 Leave a dried flower arrangement in the fire hearth     unit, buggy, changing mat and the added bonus of child
                                                                during the summer period.                              proof cupboards and fridge locks.




12                           To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)
 Your Duty Of Care
 As with the provision of any service or product, there is        Check there are no hidden nails protruding from            children. Check that pans have sturdy handles that
 a duty of care placed on the you the owner. This duty of         undersides or sharp objects in the padding                 will not give way if filled with hot liquids
 care is to ensure that appropriate steps have been taken                                                               •	   Access should be restricted to any outhouse/barns
 to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those using the                                                                       that are unsafe for children to play in
 facilities.                                                                                                            •	   Refuse bins should be provided and placed out of
                                                                                                                             harm’s way. They should be securely fitting lids and
 For example,
                                                                                                                             labelled according to dry and wet waste
 •	 All stairways should have a securely fixed banister                                                                 •	   Gardens and Pathways should be well maintained
      rail and open-tread staircases must have wide                                                                          and free from hazardous objects and Garden
      treads. A stair-gate should be fitted if very young                                                                    Furniture should be clean, well maintained and
      children are to be accommodated                                                                                        sufficient chairs to accommodate all occupants.
 •	   Mezzanine or Gallery Rooms with only three closed                                                                 •	   Your property’s brochure description should make
      sides should have sturdy secure banisters which                                                                        clients aware of any streams/rivers or ponds that
      toddlers cannot slip through and which are high                                                                        border or run through the grounds
      enough to satisfy current European legislation                                                                    •	   Gardens described as being enclosed should have
      (1.m). The gaps between railings should not be                                                                         no gaps in the fences and latches must be “child
      more than 10cm                                                                                                         proof” otherwise do not describe them as being
 •	   Chimneys should be swept annually and a fireguard                                                                      enclosed
      provided in addition to a metal bucket for hot                                                                    •	   Playground equipment should be in good condition
      ashes, a tongs, brush and shovel                       •	 Cots, highchairs and bunk beds must be purpose               and safe to use – sandpits should be regularly
 •	   Patio doors and windows should be fitted with               built and in good condition with no weak joints.           checked for animal fouling. Bicycles made available
      warning stickers at child and adult height                  Modern safety mattresses should be fitted so there         to holidaymakers should be in a good state of repair
 •	   Floors must be smooth and well laid and coverings           are no gaps between the cot frame and the mattress.        and regularly maintained. These items are to be
      must not pose a tripping hazard. Slippery floors            Cot sides must be at least 60cm above mattress             used at the holidaymakers own risk and this should
      should be pointed out to holidaymakers as                   level. Paint should not be chipped or lead-based.          be outlined to them upon arrival
      something to be wary of                                     High chairs must have baby retaining straps           •	   Hygiene – Your property must be thoroughly
 •	   Wires to lamps, stereos, televisions should not        •	   Equipment supplied must not be chipped or cracked.         clean for every holidaymakers arrival with special
      cross areas where people walk                               Sharp knives and other implements kept out of              attention paid to bathrooms, toilets and kitchens. It
 •	 Furniture must be fire retardant, secure and sturdy           reach of children and strong poisonous cleaning            is advisable to supply necessary cleaning products to
      and not likely to give way if used at all heavily.          supplies should not be kept where accessible by            ensure holidaymakers can clean before departure.




14
                                                                                                                             responsibility of the owner to ensure that there is an
                                                                                                                             uninterrupted supply of clean water to the property
                                                                                                                             at all times. If fed by a private source a recent test
                                                                                                                             report must be available to prove the water is safe
                                                                                                                             for human consumption. If not, bottled water must
                                                                                                                             be provided. The hot water system must not be so
                                                                                                                             hot as to scald
                                                                                                                         •	 Finally, there is a duty of care placed on property
                                                                                                                             owners to ensure that gas installations are safe
                                                                                                                             and serviced regularly with a certificate as proof
                                                                                                                             of safety. If the property uses bottled gas, owners
                                                                                                                             should make provision for somebody if not
                                                                                                                             themselves to changing of bottles. A gas (carbon
Fire Safety                                                     the electrical installations within a property. All          monoxide) detector is essential in properties with
In order to minimise the risk offire, you must also             major electrical fittings should be professionally           an internal gas heater/boiler.
ensure that every precaution is taken in terms of               installed earthed and adequately insulated.
providing sound electrical equipment, safe gas             •	   We recommend that all electrical items are serviced
                                                                every 12 months and it is prudent to keep a record         First Aid Kit
installations, fixing smoke alarms (a minimum of 1 per
floor of your property) and making sure furniture and           of the dates when items have been tested. It is            A first aid kit is an essential inclusion in your
furnishings are fire retardant.                                 important to ensure that washing machines, fridges,        property and the inventory should include:
                                                                kettles, lamps, ovens, dishwashers, microwaves,            •	 Individually wrapped sterile adhesive
For example,
                                                                televisions and hairdryers are all in a good state of           dressings
•	 All new furniture brought in the EU since 1990 will          repair, correctly wired and fused and are checked          •	   Large sterile individually wrapped
     be in accordance with the current fire retardant           regularly. Ensure none of the above electrical items            unmedicated wound dressings
     regulations (accept antique items) however it is           are via a multi-way adaptor or trailer socket              •	   Sterile eye pads
     your responsibility as the owner to verify this by    •	   Your kitchen should have a wall mounted fire               •	   Individually wrapped bandages
     checking furniture for “carelessness causes fire”          blanket and fire extinguisher -2.2-2.5kg dry powder        •	   Safety pins
     labels on armchairs, sofas, beds and divans, all           type suitable for use on all fires as per the European     •	   Sticking plasters
     types of mattresses, scatter cushions and pillows.         Directive on Fire Safety                                   •	   Burn treatment cream
•	   There is also a duty of maintenance placed on you     •	   As regards water supplies, following the                   •	   Ointments and treatment for stings
     the owner with regards to the quality and safety of        guidelines of the drinking water directive, it is the



                            To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)                                                                  15
Making Your Guests Welcome
Information Pack                                           It is advisable to retain checklists/receipts to show        Security Deposits
We find the most effective way to help your guests get     the monitoring of all Health & Safety functions i.e.         The self-catering holiday market does not look favourably
the most from your property is to prepare what’s called    the replacement of batteries in smoke detectors;             on deposits and as such we do not recommend this but
an Information Pack.                                       extinguisher tests, equipment services, etc.                 we do suggest that if you wish to make a security charge
                                                                                                                        then follow through as holidaymakers will check your
Ideally this will take the form of a folder with clear     The Information Pack should also detail where to get
                                                                                                                        stock inventory.
plastic sleeves containing information and it should       help in the event of an emergency such as for example
be reviewed after every letting to ensure that the
                                                           •	   Your mobile and home telephone number                    Public Liability Insurance
information is correct and up to date.
                                                           •	   Your neighbour’s number
                                                                                                                         Public liability insurance including accommodation
Contained in the Information Pack should be ‘easy-to-      •	   The local doctor’s surgery and opening hours
                                                                                                                         and contents appropriate to the commercial letting
understand’ instructions on how to operate standard        •	   The local hospital A&E unit
                                                                                                                         of your property to a minimum level of protection of
electrical items ... even if holidaymakers have been       •	   The local vet and opening hours
                                                                                                                         €2,000,000 is required of you by Imagine.
shown how to use these personally. Furthermore,            •	   The local Police Station
explanations in your own words as opposed to leaving       •	   The local Fire Station
the instruction booklet is always favoured, for example:   •	   The local taxi service                                  Heating Oil, Gas and Electricity
                                                                                                                        It is becoming more acceptable to charge extra for
•	 How to turn on the central heating and set the timer    Finally, other information should include: details of
                                                                                                                        services such as oil, gas and electricity. However
•	 How to use the washing machine                          refuse collections and where to re-cycle glass/dry
                                                                                                                        holiday makers will naturally favour inclusivity. In 90%
•	 How to turn on the hot water or use the emersion,       goods (explanation of what is dry/wet waste and what
                                                                                                                        of our Holiday Questionnaires the holidaymaker will
                                                           goes into each bin would be helpful both for you and
     electric shower or Jacuzzi bath                                                                                    tick for all extras to be included in the price and this is
•	 How to turn on the oven, switch on the hob and          the holidaymaker); opening and closing hours of the
                                                                                                                        because there is a genuine fear of additional expenses
                                                           local shop and pub; opening and closing hours of the
     filtering system                                                                                                   after the holiday and the overcharging for utilities. As
•	   How to turn on the television and how to operate
                                                           local chemist
                                                                                                                        a result, all inclusive properties generate more business
     your satellite channels                               leaflets on local amenities; menus from local restaurants,   resulting in the additional bookings making up for the
                                                           pubs and take-aways                                          extra cost while the extra cost can be balanced in the
                                                           details of festivals and events happening in the area;       rental charge.
                                                           and a copy of the local free paper.
                                                                                                                        If you do want to make a charge for oil, we recommend
                                                                                                                        that you install an Oil Meter from your local oil supplier;
                                                                                                                        meter readings or a supplement charge towards the oil
                                                                                                                        cost are more acceptable than slot meters.



                                                                                                                                                                                  17
 Making Your Guests Welcome                                                                                (continued)


 In Ireland for example, ‘The Electricity Regulation Act        State to introduce a Building Energy Rating (BER)              A searchable database of registered BER Assessors
 1999’ is statutory legislation in that this act specifically   system. Effective from 1st January 2009, buildings of          available nationwide is included on SEI’s website
 established a commission to regulate and amend supply          any class, which are offered for sale or letting must have     www.sei.ie/ber or contact us for details.
 charges. As the said charges are governed by statute it is     a BER certificate.
 beyond the power of anyone to claim more for electricity                                                                        Photography
                                                                The BER is obtained by the landlord and is valid for
 than that determined by the commission. (Irish owners                                                                           We cannot emphasise enough the importance of
                                                                10 years. BER certificates help consumers who are
 can log onto www.esb.ie for more details).                                                                                      photography “A picture tells a thousand words”.
                                                                buying or renting a property to make an informed
                                                                                                                                 There is an onus on you the owner to view your
 Ideally it is best in the presence of the holidaymaker to      choice between available properties, with regard to a
                                                                                                                                 property photographs on our website. Our
 read the electricity and oil meter and note the reading        comparison of their energy rating. The BER is similar
                                                                                                                                 representative will take photographs on the visit
 together on arrival and again on departure. Record             to the energy label on a fridge, with a scale of A to G. ‘A’
                                                                                                                                 day but often it is not a nice sunny blue sky day
 the unit used and multiply by the unit cost and note           rated homes are the most energy efficient and ‘G’ the
                                                                                                                                 and often the rooms are not displayed at their
 the amount in a copy book. Noting the utilities on a           least energy efficient.
                                                                                                                                 best. You can influence how your property appears
 weekly basis will avoid any nasty surprises for the
                                                                In addition an Advisory Report, which must accompany             on our website by posting us a CD of your own
 holidaymaker at the end of the holiday. In your absence
                                                                each BER certificate, offers guidance on steps that can          pictures. Images that are acceptable for printing in
 an easy-to-understand guide on how to read the meter
                                                                be taken to improve the energy efficiency of the house           our brochure are high resolution Tiff or Jpeg/jpg
 and the provision of a calculator will be helpful to the                                                                        images. Please be advised that images in a PDF,
                                                                i.e how good or bad your home is at keeping in heat and
 holiday maker                                                                                                                   GIF or images in a word document or email will
                                                                what you need to do to improve it. The government has
                                                                made available funding to assist people with upgrade             not be acceptable. If you have a digital camera set
 By the way, it’s a small point but if your brochure
                                                                works through the Home Energy Saving Scheme. In                  it up on the largest size (minimum 1mb or 1000kb).
 copy states “open fire with starter pack” then it is
                                                                Ireland a BER certificate is issued                              After taking the picture write them straight to a
 essential that your fire is set to light with sufficient
                                                                by Sustainable Energy Ireland                                    CD from the camera without saving in any other
 coal or briquettes to last the evening and advice in the
                                                                (SEI) following an assessment                                    program and without editing the pictures. Send to
 Information Pack where to purchase more fuel. Fire
                                                                by a qualified BER assessor,                                     us and we will edit and post to the website.
 Logs are very convenient and widely available.
                                                                who must be registered with                                      Remember also to Caption the Images – what is
                                                                SEI. The costs of BERs will                                      the view from the window i.e the front windows
 Building Energy Rating (BER)
                                                                vary according to the size                                       are overlooking the River Suck excellent for
 * Only applies to properties in Ireland
                                                                and location of the building                                       fishing or Lahinch surf beach is one mile from
 The EU Directive on the Energy Performance of                  and the advice is to shop                                            the property.
 Buildings introduced a requirement on each Member              around for the best price.




18
How We Stay In Touch
Agency Agreements                                             address with which to receive text messages and on-line     taken after this cut-off date will not be paid until the
Imagine is an Agent acting on behalf of you the property      communications from us. Equally important is to have        following month.
provider and other service providers such as ferry            an active voicemail or answering service and inform the
operators and car hire companies. Imagine must have           company if you are not available for long period of time.     Owner Booking Notification
your permission to promote your holiday property                                                                            Imagine takes a lot of effort, expense and time to
                                                              Booking Confirmations
which is in the form of Imagine’s Agency Agreement: in                                                                      generate a holiday bookings and when these are
                                                              A booking which is confirmed i.e. where the
a nutshell, this is a rolling continuous agreement until                                                                    not accepted by owners (termed ‘owner throw-
                                                              holidaymaker has paid a deposit, is automatically texted
either party terminates it in writing on/before 1st June.                                                                   outs’), it results in us losing that holidaymaker
                                                              to your mobile phone advising you of the dates and the
                                                              name of the holidaymakers. This is followed up with           to another company. It is therefore imperative
The Agency Agreement outlines the company terms
                                                              an email and a postal confirmation if you do not have         that you advise us of your owner bookings i.e.,
and conditions. It is important that it is read and
                                                              email. The confirmation provides additional details on        the dates you want for yourself so we can reduce
understood as it is the platform of agreement between
                                                              party size and transportation. It is advisable to insert      the stress and upset that is generated from owner
Imagine Ireland and you the property provider.
                                                              the reference number of the booking into the dates on         throw-outs’ .
Properties selected for inclusion across Imagine’s            your Booking Planner to keep track of bookings.               The charges we impose for an owner throw-
brochures and marketing collateral are chosen
                                                              On a monthly basis you will be posted an Arrivals Report      out barely covers our costs and does little to
because they are the most competitively priced, offer
                                                              which outlines all your future bookings: if a previously      overcome the goodwill lost from a disgruntled
inclusive facilities and have peak season availability. All
                                                              confirmed booking has cancelled it will not show up on        holidaymaker. So please keep us informed of your
properties will as a minimum be featured on Imagine’s
                                                              this Arrivals Report so it is important that you check it     owner bookings.
own website.
                                                              to ensure you are fully up to date with your bookings.
Furthermore, all owners receive an annual Booking             We will phone and text message to advise of cancelled       Guest Book Feedback
Planner and on a monthly basis a newsletter by email          bookings but again it is important that you scrutinize      Finally, as an owner you can also boost your own
plus an arrivals report and a statement of holiday            your Arrivals Report to double check.                       bookings by providing us with your Visitor Book
payments as applicable, both by post and email. Speaking                                                                  comments. Positive commentary can confirm a
                                                              Again, on a monthly basis we will make a transfer of
of payment, Imagine pays by direct transfer into your                                                                     holidaymaker’s final choice of property so we would
                                                              payments or send you a cheque along with a statement
bank account (by B.A.Cs, i.e. Banks Automated Clearing                                                                    urge you to send in your guests’ comments. After all,
                                                              of payments for any bookings taking place that month
System) unless otherwise agreed. Payments are paid on                                                                     every little helps!
                                                              i.e., unlike other operators, we do not pay deposits but
or around the last working day of the month and tend
                                                              pay in full in advance for all bookings. Typically what
to take 3 working days to transfer into your account.
                                                              we term the “month end” is conducted three days before
                                                                                                                                        Happy Holiday Property Letting!
You are encouraged to have a mobile phone and email           the end of the month so just to note that any bookings



                             To register your property, Call: 1890 946663 (Ireland) or 01756 707770 (UK Cottages)                                                                19
Don’t delay. Call us now to arrange for your FREE visit.


 Owner Line:   1890 946663 (Ireland)                Owner Line:   01756 707770 (UK)
 or for owners outside Ireland: ++44 1756 707723
                                                    Email: owners@imagineukcottages.com
 Email: owners@imagineireland.com
                                                    Web: www.imagineukcottages.com/owner
 Web: www.imagineireland.com/owner

 Post: Block 2, Unit 5, Ballymaley Business Park,   Post: Embsay Mills, Embsay, Skipton,
      Gort Road, Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland                North Yorkshire, BD23 6QF, UK

				
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