How to make sure your home is a success in the rental market
Many people dream of owning a holiday villa in a beautiful tropical area like Krabi. This dream is in fact much more affordable than they may imagine when the potential returns from the rental market are factored into the equation. In a popular tourist destination like Krabi, pool villas are in high demand.
But it is not sufficient simply to buy or build a house and then join a rental program. The success of any villa, ensuring excellent reviews and repeat clientele, is dependent not only on marketing and management, but on the design of the property itself. And creating a villa that is suitable both to be lived in by the owner and also rented out when they are not there can be a tricky business.
It involves planning from the design stage onwards, balancing the owner’s long term needs with those of the high end traveler staying only a few nights, and creating a space that is both personal to the owner and appealing to the tourist market. A lot of the requirements are unobtrusive and technical; while others mean that owners may have to accommodate design features that they may not previously have thought of.
Below, we compile some dos and don’ts for each area of the villa, as a useful checklist to bring when consulting your architect or management company.
Grounds and garden
DO construct a high perimeter wall around the property: privacy and security are essential for most villa guests. Plant cover can be used to make a more attractive boundary. Walls also help to keep animal intruders such as snakes and stray dogs out of the villa grounds.
DO keep the garden a low maintenance space. Landscape gardeners can advise on the type of plants that will provide flowers and foliage with minimal care.
DO provide lots of covered outdoor spaces, such as salas (gazebos), terraces and outdoor dining areasas guests will spend most of their time outside.
DO install a swimming pool. This is an absolute must for the holiday market. Experience shows that villas with no pool are almost never rented out.
DON’T make a deep swimming pool. Deep pools are technically more difficult and more likely to incur problems with leakage and so on. A depth of 1 – 1.2metresissufficient to allow swimming but is also shallow enough toaccommodate play.
DO consider a children’s pool with a proper barrier to the deeper area.
DO provide sufficient outdoor lighting for evening use of the pool and garden, as well as for safety reasons.
DO consider offering a barbecue for guests’ use.
DO provide covered parking, as both the sun and rain in Krabi can damage vehicles.
DO stick to a natural, neutral palette, with splashes of rich colour. Pastel shades are a no-no for this type of tropical villa.
DON’T clutter the space: in addition to being easier to maintain, there is not so much for guests to break or damage.
DO factor lockable owner storage areas into the house plan, so that you have somewhere to keep personal belongings when you are not there.
DO install a transformer, which is needed for safe and stable electrical supply. You may not run all air conditioning units at the same time, along with several laptops and other electrical equipment, but guests will.
DO construct a “technical room”, to house all electrical controls, water pumps, pool equipment etc. so that they are easily accessible in case of problems. This can also function as a storage room for garden tools and so on. It should be separate from the rest of house and lockable so that children cannot access it.
DON’T install dimmer switches in any room: they don’t work with energy saving bulbs. You may then wish to consider having alternative soft lighting – lamps etc. – in some rooms.
DO offer a master key or key card system: with so many gates and doors on a single property, it can be hard for guests to keep track, and confusing to find the correct one if they return in the dark.
DO install high speed wireless internet access throughout the property; this is now as essential as air conditioning for the international traveler.
DO also offer a network LAN cable in addition to a Wi-Fi network as this can occasionally malfunction.
DO consider the needs of younger guests. Children may require extra security in the kitchen and around the pool area, as well as high chairs andcots, which should be available on request.
DO make the property wheelchair accessible: avoid interior steps (also easier for cleaning and maintenance); offer wider corridors and doorways; and at least one entrance should be floor level or ramped.
DO offer a bench in a shallow area of the pool for both wheelchair users and older guests to sit on.
DO provide a coffee machine, microwave and water dispenser in addition to the usual stove, fridge and sink: these are the number one visitor requirements.
DO consider providing picnic equipment.
DO provide plastic glasses, plates and cutlery, both for children and for use around the pool.
DON’T think it is necessary to air condition the kitchen or living room areas: if they are designed with high ceiling and large windows, natural ventilation may be sufficient – and more pleasant.
DO consider providing a mixture of bedding: both doubles and singles, or even bunk beds if space allows.
DO consider adding a sofa bed to accommodate children or extra guests.
DO provide a personal safe in every bedroom, and invest in a more reliable expensive one, that is big enough to fit a laptop and ideally with an interiorpower socket for charging.
DO provide an iPod dock and DVD player.
DO make sure flashlights are in all bedside drawers in case of power outage.
DO provide extra power sockets in bedrooms for charging electrical equipment.
DO label remote controls and consider having simple written instructions for operating various equipment.
DO consider adding notes about energy saving and environmental protection regarding towel and linen changes.
DO prepare a “house book”, not only with practical information about the property, but personal recommendations for dining and excursions: this is a wonderful way to welcome your guests.