Secrets to Successful Hospitality Management of Luxury Properties

In this podcast episode of the Boostly Podcast, Liam welcomes Julian Foster from Richmond Property Group, discussing the challenges of managing luxury properties. Julian highlights the importance of effective communication systems, like WhatsApp, for international property management.

He shares strategies for preventing parties and damages in high-end properties, including the use of sound recorders and Google Nest cameras. Julian encourages listeners to embrace the luxury property market.

The episode concludes with Liam thanking the audience and inviting them to join the Hospitality Community on Facebook.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Liam: Hi,

[00:00:00] Welcome to the new episode of the Boostly Podcast. This is the podcast that helps give you the tools, the tactics and the training, and most importantly, the confidence. So you can go out there and get some more direct bookends. Uh, today we are doing the Behind the Host series. Uh, this is the mini-series on the Boostly podcast with myself, Liam Carolan and we dive into a successful and interesting short-term rental host's journey.

[00:00:25] Uh, find out all about their business and see if there's stuff that you can take. From their experience you can go and implement it into your business to help you, with hospitality and getting those excellent reviews. And today, I'm excited. We're, we're joined by Julian Foster. He's from the Hey.

[00:00:41] Hey, Julian. Well, he is joined from the, uh, Richmond Property Group and, uh, he's special at. My specialty is managing luxury properties. And, uh, something which I'm interested in because I know there's a huge demand for high-end properties at the moment. And also in general, just we are gonna find out how you've, how you go about managing properties, which are both international but also very high-end and what's involved in that.

[00:01:04] So, uh, Julian, welcome along.

[00:01:06] Julian: Hey Liam, how are you doing? Very good. Very happy to be on a podcast.

[00:01:09] Liam: I'm excited to have you here. Thank you for joining, buddy. So let's start, um, if you can introduce yourself, um, tell us a bit about yourself, where the, uh, where the business is based, how many units and that cool stuff.

Julian’s Introduction

[00:01:21] Julian: Yeah. Cool. Well, so, um, like you were saying, my company's Richmond Property Group, and we've got a portfolio of properties that are, they're mainly luxury properties and they're located. Globally really. So we've got properties down in, in Cornwall, uh, in Central London, in Bournemouth, Amsterdam, uh, a couple of properties in France and a couple of properties in Chicago, in the USA as well.

[00:01:47] And um, and yeah, the thing that binds them all together is that, is. They're luxury property. So I think that's the main thing that I wanna kind of talk to, talk, talk to you about today, really about how I managed them, how I found them, and to give you guys some kind of tips and tricks if you want to approach luck, luxury property yourself.

How did you get into hospitality?

[00:02:04] Liam: That's amazing. I know there's gonna be a lot of people listening and, uh, we've, we ear, uh, very much open to this. So, um, let's start with more about, your journey, Julian. How did this come about? What did you do before? This, uh, at the moment before with hospitality. And how did this opportunity of managing luxury properties come about?

[00:02:25] Julian: Yeah, so, okay, so my background was original, I was working in, in events when I was kind of, you know, fresh outta college. I was working in the events in the industry and that pivoted. So eventually I was working in, uh, selling commercial office space. That's what my background was, was, uh, selling commercial office space in central London.

[00:02:47] So, And, uh, that was an incredibly boring thing to be doing. Um,, I look after some commercial space. Now it's part of the portfolio that I look after, but there's no doubt that that, um, is the, the most kind of boring part of what I do. And it was about 2019 when Covid, uh, was, when that crept in as well. I was already looking for, for kind of a way out and something new and something exciting to do.

[00:03:13] And, uh, the first opportunity came up where it was just this. One, uh, the person who had a, a, a quite a large portfolio of properties that he needed looking after, and he bought me on board with, um, just to, to kind of look after those. And, um, that went from strength to strength and eventually we decided that it would be better to, to, um, structure it as a kind of personal company, my own company.

[00:03:42] And, um, and that's where it started from. So, uh, I had this kind of base portfolio of luxury properties and um, and that's where the kind of fun and game started really. It was really about kind of being I. Kind of thrown in at the deep end. So having to manage luxury properties was, was, a challenge and something very new to me at the start.

[00:04:05] Uh, and having to manage properties in more than one location, uh, likewise was just something that I had to kind of get used to and work out solutions for. All of these complicated problems, you know, like, uh, not just the kind of classic ones that you might think of, like. Working with different time zones and all that kind of stuff.

[00:04:22] But, um, even, uh, looking after properties that are in, in foreign countries, was, uh, something that was new and exciting. You know, uh, I, I could speak of moderate level of French, but uh, I don't know how to, what the French are for changing the internal ring of a pool cover or, um, Changing hot tub filters in, in Dutch.

[00:04:46] It's, you know, it's all-new kind of stuff that I had to kind of work out. So that was part , of the fun and games.

Tips for managing an international portfolio

[00:04:52] Liam: Let's go for the international aspect. First of all, how, what tips would you have around managing an international portfolio? Um, I guess instead of just a local portfolio, what are some of the things that, the challenges that you've met, but also the things that you've done, to overcome that?

[00:05:11] Julian: Yeah. Well, so I, I think the key thing here is like the systems that you have in place because every business is gonna have its own, its systems that it has. And with the, the, the portfolio that I manage, we, we have our own set of d set way of doing things, and it's not that complicated. Um, WhatsApp is the absolute king, for what we do.

[00:05:36] And every team that we have in every different location, the communication is still. In, its kind of, the Purest sense is through WhatsApp. So every cleaner, every, you know, uh, like, um, client, uh, guest liaison, every handyman that we have, regular maintenance men, they're, they're all in on the these WhatsApp groups.

[00:05:56] It's, it's key to what we do. Linked to that. Um, I'm pretty sure most people that'll be listening to the podcast will have a, property management system, and a PMs that they choose. Uh, we use the Guesty PMs system and, uh, it's great and essential for kind of providing super reliable, uh, calendar functions and, uh, guest communication.

[00:06:22] Everyone that needs to, can kind of jump in and out of, um, So that's key to us. It's just about having systems in place as a project management tool. We use Trello. Um, and again, that's super invaluable for us. Like really, again, what I'm trying to say at the core is that it seems super difficult, but it's not that difficult.

[00:06:42] It's just about, it's. Getting people on board, you know, um, we find that a lot of people in us, they don't use WhatsApp. I find that strange, but you just kind of coax them into it and say, look, make sure you get this on your phone. Um, and uh, and, and then everyone kind of, everything kind of all falls into place.

[00:06:59] Liam: Let's talk about these big luxury properties. Um, My thoughts are a lot of the time you must get people who want to, you know, have an event or, or have parties, you know, sort of. So is there anything that you've got in a place where you'd prevent that from happening in, in some of these amazing properties?

[00:07:17] Cuz I imagine the last thing you'd want is to, to have breakages and, uh, I can imagine some of the interiors is, is quite expensive.

[00:07:24] Julian: Yeah. Oh my God. I mean, I, I, I swear this would be my TED Talk. If I had to do a TED Talk, it would probably be on, on party prevention because, um, this was one of the biggest challenges that, that I had, uh, coming into this kind of luxury property market.

[00:07:41] Cuz like you said, they're very desirable places and a large proportion of people that use vacation rental platforms, they're not. Always, the people that are, are your ideal guests. They're people that they want to use them to, host parties or even just to have like a kind of once-in-a-lifetime stay at a luxury property where they do crazy things.

[00:08:05] They just kind of, you know, they, uh, ride inside the properties on bikes or, you know, invite other people over to, to like, brag about how good the property is. You know, there's just, what people want to do. Extreme things. And we had massive problems right from the start with, uh, with, with trying to prevent parties.

[00:08:23] You know, we start, you know, I, we started in the middle of Covid and at that point in time, uh, bars and nightclubs were, were shut down. Some people were just using platforms like Airbnb maliciously to, get spaces where they could host legal parties. Um, And, uh, and then also more recently, I dunno about you.

[00:08:47] I've had a huge backlog of weddings and, you know, I, I I've been to nine weddings in 2022. That's, uh, 18 different stagnant Hindus that have to be accommodated for around the world. And, um, are

[00:09:02] Liam: party central happening after Covid, isn't it?

[00:09:04] Julian: Yeah, it's, it's chaos. Um, so we get so many different inquiries for people that wanna stay at the properties, uh, for Stagin Hindus.

[00:09:12] Now, that's the latest kind of problem that we have. And, um, some of them are honest and say that they wanna do that in the inquiry form. Uh, and then other people, they're more kind of malicious and sneaky about it. So what do you need. To do what we, what we've done is, uh, go in depth into preventing parties happening.

[00:09:32] The main ways that you do that? Well, I would say there are two main things. The, first, and like I said, I could go for ages about this, but the first is to set up your property in a way that makes it hard for parties to continue. Um, I dunno if you've talked to, if you had the guys for a minute on the podcast, the minute sound recorders, but they are essential.

[00:09:53] essential. And combining those with Google Nest cameras that we have in the properties,, in the correct locations to monitor who's coming in and guest activity generally without being intrusive is key.


[00:10:07] Liam: Awesome. Thank you so much. So, um, that kind of brings us to the end. Are there any last closing comments or anything I missed, uh, question wise along the way?

[00:10:16] Julian: I don't think so, Liam, I just think that I wanna tell people not to be scared of approaching luxury property. So, uh, throw yourself in there and you'll be amazed at what can come out of it.

[00:10:26] Liam: Amazing. Thank you so much, Julian. And, uh, thank you too. If you're listening to this episode on the Boostly podcast, we know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and we thank you for spending it with Boostly.

[00:10:36] If you haven't done so already, go and check us out on Facebook at the Hospitality Community, that's a group, a free group where you can come and join in the conversation about hospitality. Um, go and check out Julian's website. Uh, we will add that to the show notes as well. And, uh, yeah, any, um, Any questions or anything like that, feel free to get in touch with Bruce Lee as well.

[00:10:55] So thank you very much, everybody. Uh, that's buy from me and that's buy from Julian. See you the next. Thanks. Bye-bye. Having a blast. Gonna get it on

[00:11:02] Julian: the Boostly podcast. Bruce Lee led Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the tee loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.