Transforming Your Property into a Profitable Vacation Rental

Welcome to our latest podcast episode!

In this podcast episode, Liam interviews Vee, the host of H N F C Stays based in Newcastle, England. Vee shares their journey from leaving home at a young age to study in New Zealand to pursuing education and finance in the UK. They explain how H N F C Stays transformed from an investment firm to managing vacation rentals.

Vee started by renting out their spare bedroom on Airbnb and received a positive response, leading them to expand their business to four units, with plans for further growth. They offer a range of accommodations to cater to different guest profiles, including central flats for young travellers and quieter options for families and students.

Vee discusses the challenges of finding suitable properties and emphasizes the importance of efficient management through tools like UpListing and Beyond Pricing. They also utilize Hostfully to create customized e-guides for guests and plan to offer additional services like early check-in, late checkout, and airport transfers.

Vee suggests using Notion as an organizational tool to streamline processes, documents, and staff onboarding. Liam wraps up the episode by expressing gratitude to Vee for sharing their insights and valuable hosting tips.

Key Takeaways
  • Liam interviews Vee from H N F C Stays, a host in Newcastle, England, who shares their background and the evolution of their business from an investment firm to managing vacation rentals.
  • Vee started by renting out their spare bedroom on Airbnb and received a positive response, leading them to expand their business to manage four units, with plans for further expansion.
  • They offer central flats for young travellers seeking nightlife experiences and quieter accommodations for families and students near the city.
  • Vee discusses the challenges of property acquisition and emphasizes the importance of establishing an efficient management structure.
  • They recommend using UpListing as a channel manager, Beyond Pricing for dynamic pricing, Hostfully for customized e-guides, and Notion for streamlining processes and organization.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
01:09 – Vee Intro
02:59 – How did the business come about?
05:39 – How did you find your units?
07:47 – About the tech used in the business
10:37 – Outro

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube

Audio -Boosty Podcast

Instagram

Facebook

Linkedin

Transcript from the Episode

Intro

[00:00:00] Liam: Hey everyone. Welcome to the new episode of the Boostly podcast. Today we are going behind a host and hearing a host who's based in Newcastle in England, and, uh, hearing his story and seeing what tips and shares that he's gonna have for us. Um, if you haven't, Sort of already heard then today is the Boostly podcast that you're listening to, of course.

[00:00:20] And, uh, this is the podcast that gives you the tools, the tips, the training, but most importantly the confidence to go out there and get more direct book-ins. And part of the reason why we do these, uh, behind the hosts is that it. Hospitality can be lonely. So really hearing it from other people's perspectives and some of the challenges and some of the successes that they're going through can help you as a host in your business.

[00:00:44] So let's dive in. Um, I've got Vee, Venski from, um, H N F C Stays. So welcome along. Let's dive in. Tell us, um, a little bit of an introduction to who Vee is, um, where you're based in the world. Um, I can detect that's not a Newcastle accent as well. So, uh, tell us about how you come to be a Newcastle and, uh, yeah, just a little bit about yourself.

Vee Intro

[00:01:09] Vee: Sure, sure, of course. Yeah. As, as you probably picked up. Yeah, no problem around. Yeah, so, um, we got the long story short. So I left home when I was 14 and I'm from Belarus, so I'm a Belarusian and all my family, obviously from Belarus as well. So I left home when I was 14 to study in New Zealand all by myself.

[00:01:27] So that's actually where I picked up. Most of my language skills because all I knew is the one word I don't understand. Well, I don't understand. That's all I knew when I got there. So for three, four months, that's all I was saying. And then obviously as time passed, I got more. And after I graduated, uh, through my Cambridge examinations there, I, um, got accepted into a foundation in, in the UK into, into, um, Harrisville University and then decided to take.

[00:01:58] Completely different, uh, path from intended go with finance and investment management because I've been quite interested in my college back in the days, and that's kinda how it all started.

[00:02:07] Liam: That's cool. I mean, to leave home at 14 and to take that big risk, that's already, um, how did you feel taking that,

[00:02:14] Vee: uh, that step?

[00:02:14] And I'd say it was one of the most interesting, um, probably chapters of my life. So, um, one thing that my uncle taught me, well again, when I was 14 because it has no family. You don't speak the language. It's New Zealand, it's a completely different culture. You dunno what's happening there.

[00:02:34] But it was only for the one main reason to learn more about, how the business has been made in the West. And get into a really good education with Cambridge, cuz I want some grants. The education was quite expensive with that, so it probably was the drive to become an entrepreneur that said, okay, I'm without my family, without my friends.

[00:02:55] I don't know anything but. That's what I want to do. So that's why

How did the business come about?

[00:02:59] Liam: I will do that. Amazing. Very inspirational. So talk us through HNFC stays. How did the business come about and um, tell us whereabouts, obviously we know it's Newcastle, but how many units and who do you tend to serve, and what kind of avatar?

[00:03:17] Vee: Yeah, yeah, of course. So h has a long history now, um, in April will be five years old. So the company has changed its operations, uh, in the last few years. In the beginning, we started as an investment firm, so we've been managing money, uh, for clients, wealthy individuals, just on a, on a stock market. Then we got into property investing.

[00:03:38] And just a little, uh, less than a year ago, we started doing vacation rentals. And the way it all started is because I'm also here on my entrepreneurial visa and I had some troubles with our software. And so like, oh, what can we do? Let's try Airbnb. So basically I got into South Shields. That's where I'm at today, and I thought, how about I test if I just rent out my spare bedroom and if it works?

[00:04:05] I can see them doing an entire flight because obviously, it's the risk. You, you don't have anyone to ask. You need the capital and you're kinda lost there. So I've done this, it's done pretty well. I, it literally was a year ago, and now we manage four units and we'll get probably another two, like literally this month.

[00:04:25] So, uh, we just bought a house. This Monday, so we're doing all the refurbishment, so it would be great. This place where I'm at today will be an entire flat for the next few months, and then also we'll probably get another good flat in Newcastle. And for this area. Um, In regards to the guests that we're serving, it's, we still, we're still walking this out because it kind of varies because we have two very central, uh, flats in the city centre.

[00:04:54] One that, which is a perfect, uh, most of the time they're all booked. However, it's very noisy. It's a listed property, so there's no double glazing and there's very limited, uh, thing we can do with this property. So it's suitable mainly to, um, young teenagers who travel, need to experience the vibrant light of Newcastle because you probably know, uh, it's a very interesting experience, uh, for people to have.

[00:05:18] But at the same time, we do, uh, host families. Especially students with the, with the graduation when it comes to that. Some small events, obviously like no parties, but mainly it's like family and friends. We need a more quiet area still within walk-in proximity to the city. Mm-hmm. So that's kinda our strategy of what we're trying to do.

How did you find your units?

[00:05:39] Liam: How did you find your units, what kind of structure do you use? Are these kinds of bought, managed, or, or rent to service accommodation units? And uh, how did you feel getting those first units

[00:05:51] Vee: as well? Right. So that probably was the hardest bit because everyone says, oh, just find more properties.

[00:06:00] And it's pretty much you, you sorted. Um, you starting like everyone else is going through all, right? Move, open rent, et cetera, et cetera. All these different websites. And for me, it didn't work out. So I started asking my friends who happened to be in the industry, they manage. Four or five flats, and they have literally two flats in the same building as we have today.

[00:06:25] So they said I'll talk to my agent. Maybe she has something, um, reach out to her. So after two months of searching, finally she got back to me because it was. Complete nonsense. And she said, yeah, yeah, okay, I'll do the viewing. Like, can you do it now? And I'm in the south. I was like, well, it will take me probably like an hour to get this, but I can do it now.

[00:06:45] So getting an Uber bed driving there, because I know I need a flat as I need it. So we're going there, we're seeing the flat. I was like, okay, it's not bad. And then we signed the agreement. The best part was there were no negotiations needed to be done with this company because they know exactly what.

[00:07:05] Um, What, what, what do I need to do? And the whole building, it's kind of focused on short-term rentals because if you leave there permanently, probably because of all the noises like literally, you can hear the bus laughs outside because it's so central and the sun isolation is very minimal. It's probably not gonna walk.

[00:07:24] So an entire building, like probably for 40 or 50 flats, And probably 80% of them after the short-term accommodations. So literally in my contract, it says you're allowed to sub blessing or whatever you need. However, there's a little catch to that. You need to pay a one-month rent as their service fee.

[00:07:43] Mm-hmm. For allowing you to do an Airbnb. So there was the only con.

About the tech used in the business

[00:07:47] Liam: Tell me more about, um, the tech that you use in your business. Do you use any tech?

[00:07:52] Vee: at all? Yeah. Yeah. So the most important bit for me is. Put the structure right at the beginning. Mm-hmm. So obviously we paint a lot in other heads.

[00:08:03] For example, like as I said, um, on someone, it's like six to eight K in revenue, but like my take is so little because I have to pay admin assistance. We have two admin assistants at the moment, and they also obviously co-host that does all the checking. They deal with all the queries because.

[00:08:22] Before 3:00 AM 1:00 AM I'm always replying. I'm always sorting all issues because it's kind of how I wanna treat our guests. So we're always there 24 7. The cleanest is actually on someone who does pay like 13, 1400 pounds, which basically can actually hire your dedicated cleaner and obviously have more control, save money, and maybe make some money along the way to clean other flats.

[00:08:45] But yeah, so we use up listing as a channel manager. That's a key thing. I highly recommend this. Obviously, there are a lot of different alternatives and it helps us to have everything in one place, because as soon as you get more than one property, let's say more than even two, it becomes a problem.

[00:09:02] Different calendars, clashes, double bookings, which is way more common than you think, but as soon as you set everything up, it's so easy to automate your business. Like what perception, what messages go there, discounts everything. The second, obviously it's beyond pricing. Mm-hmm. So this is dynamic pricing software.

[00:09:21] They are some integrated with Airbnb, but I would strongly say do not use them because Airbnb's algorithm is way poor than others. Plus. The main, main idea is to put heads in the bets so it's not in their direct interest to put the right price for you rather than the lowest, which is something you perhaps want to consider.

[00:09:40] Um, we also use Hostfully since June, so we've designed all our E guides, custom, tailored to the guests. So, as you know, you probably can have like a nice leaflet or like, um, a fold on the arrival for the guests, but thought, okay, we'll do it electronically, which automatically has all the events, pubs, caps, scenes.

[00:10:04] Actually, it pulls up the internet on your local area and address. So it's always up to date and it's based on the proximity and all the additional information that we have plus additional services. So now our goal is to increase the average ticket by selling add-ons. Early check-in, late checkout free stocking.

[00:10:24] We do transfers as well from the airport and to the airport. And we thinking of launching Chef that comes and does the cooking for you. But it's probably more to the premium side of the market, so probably not just yet.

Outro

[00:10:37] Liam: So thank you so much. Um, uh, so was there anything I missed? Um, before we bring things to a close, the.

[00:10:45] Vee: Um, everything was covered. The only thing I probably would add to our software list is also to put notions in there. I'm not sure how much you know about the software, but basically, notion helps you to organize everything, documents, processes, onboarding, uh, especially learning materials for your staff.

[00:11:03] Mm-hmm. I would say it's really important cause at the beginning, every time you need to interview someone, then you have to onboard them. But rather than create a document, videos. Share the link on Notion you don't need to be involved.

[00:11:17] Liam: That's cool. And that's one which every business needs isn't it? It is organizing

[00:11:21] Vee: hundred per cent of any business even in your personal life.

[00:11:24] I also use Notion with all my yearly goals, and every single goal has a kind of mini-action plan that you need to follow. So it's helping.

[00:11:33] Liam: Well, thank you so much for that, uh, that, that tip as well. So, uh, thank you ve that's, uh, fantastic to find out about your business. Um, thank you. Also, if you're listening to `this episode in the Boostly podcast, we know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and we thank you for putting it with Boostly.

[00:11:47] Hopefully you've got some, uh, amazing tips from obviously that one at the end there, which is notion. But also some of the software that you could go out and, uh, and use like uplifting beyond pricing and also some of the real-life situations, uh, that you deal with in hospitality and some of the challenges that come along with it.

[00:12:04] So thank you so much for listening. Thank you again V and um, yeah, we'll, uh, pleasure. Well, we'll see you on the next podcast. All right, bye for now. Having a blast. Gonna get

[00:12:15] Vee: it's on the Boostly podcast, Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard and the tea is loose leaf. Picking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.

Before you leave

Please go and rate, review and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify Google Play or Anchor or visit Boostly Hospitality Podcast for the full list of episodes!

Transcript from the Episode

Intro

[00:00:00] Liam: Hey everyone. Welcome to the new episode of the Boostly podcast. Today we are going behind a host and hearing a host who's based in Newcastle in England, and, uh, hearing his story and seeing what tips and shares that he's gonna have for us. Um, if you haven't, Sort of already heard then today is the Boostly podcast that you're listening to, of course.

[00:00:20] And, uh, this is the podcast that gives you the tools, the tips, the training, but most importantly the confidence to go out there and get more direct book-ins. And part of the reason why we do these, uh, behind the hosts is that it. Hospitality can be lonely. So really hearing it from other people's perspectives and some of the challenges and some of the successes that they're going through can help you as a host in your business.

[00:00:44] So let's dive in. Um, I've got Vee, Venski from, um, H N F C Stays. So welcome along. Let's dive in. Tell us, um, a little bit of an introduction to who Vee is, um, where you're based in the world. Um, I can detect that's not a Newcastle accent as well. So, uh, tell us about how you come to be a Newcastle and, uh, yeah, just a little bit about yourself.

Vee Intro

[00:01:09] Vee: Sure, sure, of course. Yeah. As, as you probably picked up. Yeah, no problem around. Yeah, so, um, we got the long story short. So I left home when I was 14 and I'm from Belarus, so I'm a Belarusian and all my family, obviously from Belarus as well. So I left home when I was 14 to study in New Zealand all by myself.

[00:01:27] So that's actually where I picked up. Most of my language skills because all I knew is the one word I don't understand. Well, I don't understand. That's all I knew when I got there. So for three, four months, that's all I was saying. And then obviously as time passed, I got more. And after I graduated, uh, through my Cambridge examinations there, I, um, got accepted into a foundation in, in the UK into, into, um, Harrisville University and then decided to take.

[00:01:58] Completely different, uh, path from intended go with finance and investment management because I've been quite interested in my college back in the days, and that's kinda how it all started.

[00:02:07] Liam: That's cool. I mean, to leave home at 14 and to take that big risk, that's already, um, how did you feel taking that,

[00:02:14] Vee: uh, that step?

[00:02:14] And I'd say it was one of the most interesting, um, probably chapters of my life. So, um, one thing that my uncle taught me, well again, when I was 14 because it has no family. You don't speak the language. It's New Zealand, it's a completely different culture. You dunno what's happening there.

[00:02:34] But it was only for the one main reason to learn more about, how the business has been made in the West. And get into a really good education with Cambridge, cuz I want some grants. The education was quite expensive with that, so it probably was the drive to become an entrepreneur that said, okay, I'm without my family, without my friends.

[00:02:55] I don't know anything but. That's what I want to do. So that's why

How did the business come about?

[00:02:59] Liam: I will do that. Amazing. Very inspirational. So talk us through HNFC stays. How did the business come about and um, tell us whereabouts, obviously we know it's Newcastle, but how many units and who do you tend to serve, and what kind of avatar?

[00:03:17] Vee: Yeah, yeah, of course. So h has a long history now, um, in April will be five years old. So the company has changed its operations, uh, in the last few years. In the beginning, we started as an investment firm, so we've been managing money, uh, for clients, wealthy individuals, just on a, on a stock market. Then we got into property investing.

[00:03:38] And just a little, uh, less than a year ago, we started doing vacation rentals. And the way it all started is because I'm also here on my entrepreneurial visa and I had some troubles with our software. And so like, oh, what can we do? Let's try Airbnb. So basically I got into South Shields. That's where I'm at today, and I thought, how about I test if I just rent out my spare bedroom and if it works?

[00:04:05] I can see them doing an entire flight because obviously, it's the risk. You, you don't have anyone to ask. You need the capital and you're kinda lost there. So I've done this, it's done pretty well. I, it literally was a year ago, and now we manage four units and we'll get probably another two, like literally this month.

[00:04:25] So, uh, we just bought a house. This Monday, so we're doing all the refurbishment, so it would be great. This place where I'm at today will be an entire flat for the next few months, and then also we'll probably get another good flat in Newcastle. And for this area. Um, In regards to the guests that we're serving, it's, we still, we're still walking this out because it kind of varies because we have two very central, uh, flats in the city centre.

[00:04:54] One that, which is a perfect, uh, most of the time they're all booked. However, it's very noisy. It's a listed property, so there's no double glazing and there's very limited, uh, thing we can do with this property. So it's suitable mainly to, um, young teenagers who travel, need to experience the vibrant light of Newcastle because you probably know, uh, it's a very interesting experience, uh, for people to have.

[00:05:18] But at the same time, we do, uh, host families. Especially students with the, with the graduation when it comes to that. Some small events, obviously like no parties, but mainly it's like family and friends. We need a more quiet area still within walk-in proximity to the city. Mm-hmm. So that's kinda our strategy of what we're trying to do.

How did you find your units?

[00:05:39] Liam: How did you find your units, what kind of structure do you use? Are these kinds of bought, managed, or, or rent to service accommodation units? And uh, how did you feel getting those first units

[00:05:51] Vee: as well? Right. So that probably was the hardest bit because everyone says, oh, just find more properties.

[00:06:00] And it's pretty much you, you sorted. Um, you starting like everyone else is going through all, right? Move, open rent, et cetera, et cetera. All these different websites. And for me, it didn't work out. So I started asking my friends who happened to be in the industry, they manage. Four or five flats, and they have literally two flats in the same building as we have today.

[00:06:25] So they said I'll talk to my agent. Maybe she has something, um, reach out to her. So after two months of searching, finally she got back to me because it was. Complete nonsense. And she said, yeah, yeah, okay, I'll do the viewing. Like, can you do it now? And I'm in the south. I was like, well, it will take me probably like an hour to get this, but I can do it now.

[00:06:45] So getting an Uber bed driving there, because I know I need a flat as I need it. So we're going there, we're seeing the flat. I was like, okay, it's not bad. And then we signed the agreement. The best part was there were no negotiations needed to be done with this company because they know exactly what.

[00:07:05] Um, What, what, what do I need to do? And the whole building, it's kind of focused on short-term rentals because if you leave there permanently, probably because of all the noises like literally, you can hear the bus laughs outside because it's so central and the sun isolation is very minimal. It's probably not gonna walk.

[00:07:24] So an entire building, like probably for 40 or 50 flats, And probably 80% of them after the short-term accommodations. So literally in my contract, it says you're allowed to sub blessing or whatever you need. However, there's a little catch to that. You need to pay a one-month rent as their service fee.

[00:07:43] Mm-hmm. For allowing you to do an Airbnb. So there was the only con.

About the tech used in the business

[00:07:47] Liam: Tell me more about, um, the tech that you use in your business. Do you use any tech?

[00:07:52] Vee: at all? Yeah. Yeah. So the most important bit for me is. Put the structure right at the beginning. Mm-hmm. So obviously we paint a lot in other heads.

[00:08:03] For example, like as I said, um, on someone, it's like six to eight K in revenue, but like my take is so little because I have to pay admin assistance. We have two admin assistants at the moment, and they also obviously co-host that does all the checking. They deal with all the queries because.

[00:08:22] Before 3:00 AM 1:00 AM I'm always replying. I'm always sorting all issues because it's kind of how I wanna treat our guests. So we're always there 24 7. The cleanest is actually on someone who does pay like 13, 1400 pounds, which basically can actually hire your dedicated cleaner and obviously have more control, save money, and maybe make some money along the way to clean other flats.

[00:08:45] But yeah, so we use up listing as a channel manager. That's a key thing. I highly recommend this. Obviously, there are a lot of different alternatives and it helps us to have everything in one place, because as soon as you get more than one property, let's say more than even two, it becomes a problem.

[00:09:02] Different calendars, clashes, double bookings, which is way more common than you think, but as soon as you set everything up, it's so easy to automate your business. Like what perception, what messages go there, discounts everything. The second, obviously it's beyond pricing. Mm-hmm. So this is dynamic pricing software.

[00:09:21] They are some integrated with Airbnb, but I would strongly say do not use them because Airbnb's algorithm is way poor than others. Plus. The main, main idea is to put heads in the bets so it's not in their direct interest to put the right price for you rather than the lowest, which is something you perhaps want to consider.

[00:09:40] Um, we also use Hostfully since June, so we've designed all our E guides, custom, tailored to the guests. So, as you know, you probably can have like a nice leaflet or like, um, a fold on the arrival for the guests, but thought, okay, we'll do it electronically, which automatically has all the events, pubs, caps, scenes.

[00:10:04] Actually, it pulls up the internet on your local area and address. So it's always up to date and it's based on the proximity and all the additional information that we have plus additional services. So now our goal is to increase the average ticket by selling add-ons. Early check-in, late checkout free stocking.

[00:10:24] We do transfers as well from the airport and to the airport. And we thinking of launching Chef that comes and does the cooking for you. But it's probably more to the premium side of the market, so probably not just yet.

Outro

[00:10:37] Liam: So thank you so much. Um, uh, so was there anything I missed? Um, before we bring things to a close, the.

[00:10:45] Vee: Um, everything was covered. The only thing I probably would add to our software list is also to put notions in there. I'm not sure how much you know about the software, but basically, notion helps you to organize everything, documents, processes, onboarding, uh, especially learning materials for your staff.

[00:11:03] Mm-hmm. I would say it's really important cause at the beginning, every time you need to interview someone, then you have to onboard them. But rather than create a document, videos. Share the link on Notion you don't need to be involved.

[00:11:17] Liam: That's cool. And that's one which every business needs isn't it? It is organizing

[00:11:21] Vee: hundred per cent of any business even in your personal life.

[00:11:24] I also use Notion with all my yearly goals, and every single goal has a kind of mini-action plan that you need to follow. So it's helping.

[00:11:33] Liam: Well, thank you so much for that, uh, that, that tip as well. So, uh, thank you ve that's, uh, fantastic to find out about your business. Um, thank you. Also, if you're listening to `this episode in the Boostly podcast, we know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and we thank you for putting it with Boostly.

[00:11:47] Hopefully you've got some, uh, amazing tips from obviously that one at the end there, which is notion. But also some of the software that you could go out and, uh, and use like uplifting beyond pricing and also some of the real-life situations, uh, that you deal with in hospitality and some of the challenges that come along with it.

[00:12:04] So thank you so much for listening. Thank you again V and um, yeah, we'll, uh, pleasure. Well, we'll see you on the next podcast. All right, bye for now. Having a blast. Gonna get

[00:12:15] Vee: it's on the Boostly podcast, Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard and the tea is loose leaf. Picking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.

Before you leave

Please go and rate, review and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify Google Play or Anchor or visit Boostly Hospitality Podcast for the full list of episodes!

Share this post