Freetobook: Case study: Suites In The City

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Graeme Shearer is a trained architect and property developer. www.suitesinthecity.co.uk, a number of serviced apartments in Glasgow, is his first foray into the short letting accommodation business.

"I realized early on that having a centralized diary is an essential."


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"Having spent such time, care and consideration over their transformation from offices to apartments, I was reluctant to sell them. Short-term letting allows me to hang onto them and to see if it makes financial sense to do so."

Starting out from scratch meant getting the online marketing right first time was important. Armed with only his iPhone 6, Graeme took all of his property's promotional photography with no training as such.

Here are some of Graeme's general words of advice:

Choose a bright day for your internal shots. 'Stage' the shot to ensure that each image has a 'story' to tell.
Do the images show the property is cozily furnished or spacious with minimal decor?
Are there important 'details' you want to highlight?
Edit, edit and edit again. Take 50 shots but choose and use the best three (I'm still tweaking!).

Importantly, note that the different booking platforms like booking.com and expedia will use your uploaded photos but to their own online format. They might be cropped or put in a different order. Double check them online to ensure they are in the right sequence and not distorted in any way."

Six weeks out and with around 70 percent occupancy to date, Graeme's suitesinthecity are off to an excellent start. So what planning and research did he do before embarking on this enterprise?


"I talked to others who have short term letting properties to find out the pitfalls. We all dread the 'party booker'. One property owner told me his cautionary tale of the single guest who booked out a large apartment for one night and then 'sold' around 150 tickets to partygoers.

"I also realized early on that having a centralized diary is an essential. I got myself into a bit of bother having registered rooms to a number of booking platforms. With 11 bookings for the same Saturday night I had to quickly sort out the mess. Now using freetobook's centralized diary that is no longer an issue.

"It's been an interesting learning process. Do your research on the competitive landscape and similar properties to get the pricing right and to ensure that your expectations match those of your guest."


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