What do we know about the tourist apartment rental sector? Not more than what is most commonly said, really. Therefore, in this article, we will try and bust some of the most popular myths.
1. They increase house pricing
There is a popular belief on touristic apartments increasing the price of housing for the local population. On paper, it does make sense: if at an increasing rate apartments are made available to visitors only, less of them will be available to those willing to live in the city, and therefore the rise in demand will eventually increase the price. Nonetheless, believing this is a common mistake among both visitors, apartment owners and locals themselves: Barcelona’s current restrictions, as of 2014, don’t allow for more touristic apartment licenses to be handed out, therefore only the non-increasing number of vacation apartments is allowed to be on the market, allowing for a stable pricing in the housing sector.
What is more, The Association of Touristic Apartments in Barcelona itself (Apartur) has assured “tourist apartment activity in the city has a non-existent effect on the price increase of the residential housing”. Additionally, the quantity of illegal tourist apartments has seen a significant decrease over the past few years due to more rigorous city inspections: currently there is only allowance for 9,591 apartments legally.
2. It is harmful for the neighbours, hotels and everyone
Most might agree that having a big group of noisy tourists in their own block can be rather annoying. Likewise, some would say sharing the market with hotels and other lodging businesses can be harmful for the tourist accommodation industry. Hence, are those affirmations true, or is it just a common misconception?
Theoretically, the lodging industry should be losing those guests that now tend towards a touristic apartment. But fundamentally, in cities like Barcelona where the daily occupation rate is often close to total – even in low season – it is inaccurate to say that hotels are suffering from such type of accommodation. Rather, these apartments are allowing for a number of tourists that would otherwise not have a place to stay, visit Barcelona.
On the other side, market leaders prioritise the comfort and wellbeing of our apartments’ neighbours. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for us to avoid any inconvenience having tourists might cause on locals, and avoiding nuisance such as loud volumes can be easily fixed by implementing noise meters.
3. You'll be saving money by booking through Airbnb
Another myth to bust is the assumption that an Airbnb booking will help saving money. Initially, for guests, the website had always been envisioned as a “communitarian” platform, where hosts could post apartments freelyand rent them out. Nonetheless, the reality is that Airbnb is no Couchsurfing: the platform works just like competitors such as Booking, charging commissions for every single stay, as little as that one may be. Additionally, most apartment listings usually have a bigger company in charge of them, and are not at all individuals posting them. Losing the whole sense of community people usually attribute to it
For a guest, the most intelligent choice is to book directly from a property management company: this will allow for easier contact and a significant price reduction when compared to pricing offered in Airbnb or Booking, since the apartment company will be working with much more flexible price constraints. The use of platforms such as those only puts more boundaries and charges much higher levels of commission.
4. They don't provide amenities
One of the main things that come up in our top of mind whenever we think about hotels is amenities. Ranging from the most standardised ones such as toiletries and towels, to a complimentary coffee set and champagne bottle. Apartment-wise, amenities are still a thing, as it is a decision of the owner – or the company managing it – essentially, to decide whether to include those or not.
Just like with hotels, the set of amenities can vary depending on several factors, mainly influenced by its price range. The most lower-range ones may not even include towels, and limit themselves to bed sheets or linen. Yet booking an apartment managed by a higher-ranked company can provide guests with even more amenities than hotels: often, these options include with every stay complimentary coffee, kitchen utensils and goods such as salt, pepper and olive oil, and a bottle of Cava as a gift, among others. Therefore, if you choose wisely and book the right apartment, you might even outdo the hotels!
5. Vacation rentals are dirty and messy
It makes sense to think that staying at what essentially is “someone else’s home” could lead to uncleanliness and disorganisation. While this may sometimes be true, short term rentals are usually managed by bigger companies that have already pre-established protocols and guidelines on how to act when an apartment is rented, including the arrangement of cleaning services before each stay. Some online platforms even require all owners to facilitate such services.
Leading PMCs partner with first class companies in Barcelona to offer the best experience possible when it comes to cleanliness and guest comfort. Thus, saying tourist apartments are unclean is mistaken as it does not apply by far to most of them, since it is usually compulsory for them to have it in most cases.
6. If something goes wrong, it's your own problem
Understandably, guests may think that no staff physically in the apartment all the time signifies no assistance or maintenance team. What if your heating system stops working in the middle of winter, or you’re left out of your apartment because you lost the keys for it? Unlike some do think, individual owners – to some extent –, together with property management companies, have partnerships with or assistance teams of their own, and comply with current regulations by offering 24/7 phone lines just in case something goes wrong.
If a guest encounters himself with a plumbing issue, he will most likely be able to ask for assistance and get it fixed in the following hours; and if he does forget his keys he will have someone come open him up in a matter of minutes, just like at any hotel. What is more, involvement in new projects for bigger personalisation such as the making of how-to videos to help guests learn how their appliances, among other devices in the apartment, work, is a current trend among PMCs.
In conclusion, we hope this article has provided you with all main facts on property management companies and given you the reasons needed for you to consider working with them in the near future, be it for renting an apartment on holiday, or letting your own.
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