Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Cordner of Central Belfast Apartments and author of Short Term Rental Revolution. Dave knows more about Short Term Rentals or Serviced Accommodation than almost anyone else. In this interview, I ask questions about using serviced accommodation (Airbnb) for investments and also how it can be managed as a side hustle.
It’s a great discussion and Dave provides some incredibly valuable insight into the business he successfully runs. If you are thinking about starting a serviced accommodation or short term rental business, then this is a must watch interview.
Buy the Short Term Rental Revolution book
Buy Dave’s Best Selling Book – Short Term Rental Revolution https://amzn.to/3qpobhb
Connect with Dave
If you want to connect with Dave you can visit the following profiles
Connect with Dave on Tik Tok – https://www.tiktok.com/@airbnbcoach
Connect with Dave on Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-cordner/
Visit Central Belfast Apartments – https://www.centralbelfastapartments.com/apartments/
Below is an edited transcript of the full interview. I’ve used ai to summarise the content and then checked over it to make sure it’s as accurate as possible.
Good morning and welcome to Foundered Money. This is your host, Connor. Today, we have a special guest – Dave Cordner of Central Belfast Apartments. Some of you might recognise Dave from TikTok, where he has grown quite a following in recent years. I first met Dave during my past life at Kaizen when we collaborated on some branding projects. This discussion has been a few years in the making and has been an exciting journey for us both.
Dave, I’m thrilled to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Dave is the founder of Central Belfast Apartments, a property management company based in Belfast with approximately 75 units under its belt. He loves promoting Belfast on social media and has recently had success with his book, “Short-Term Rental Revolution,” which reached number one on Amazon. Dave is also a coach, helping individuals set up and scale Airbnb businesses.
His journey into this space started with his parents, who owned holiday rentals before Airbnb came into existence. Dave had his hands-on experience from an early age, cleaning the properties and interacting with guests. He bought his first property in 2014, then another in 2015, and began managing other people’s properties in 2016.
The Growing Market
The service accommodation space, which is essentially holiday rentals or lets, has matured significantly over the past six to seven years. While it’s still relatively new and misunderstood, Dave believes that the demand for this kind of accommodation is immense. It offers a much-needed alternative to hotel rooms, providing the space and amenities that families or groups need when they travel
In addition to leisure travellers, service accommodation also attracts contractors and business travellers. Dave highlighted the convenience and cost-effectiveness of staying in a two-bed apartment with a sofa bed instead of booking individual hotel rooms.
The Day in the Life of Dave Cordner
Dave maintains a balanced life, putting his role as a father first. His business, with its systems and rock-star team, allows him the flexibility to enjoy his life while also making social media content, writing books, providing coaching services, and promoting Belfast.
While service accommodation can be a great side hustle, Dave stressed that it’s not a passive income source. It’s a hospitality business that requires dedication, focus, and hard work to grow. But with proper planning and systems, it can offer geographical and financial freedom.
Service Accommodation and the Growth of Belfast
Belfast has experienced significant growth in terms of brand and tourism over the past decade. Dave believes that the growth of service accommodation in the city has benefited from this trend. He’s passionate about promoting Belfast, and his goal is to convince more people to visit the city for the first time. Once they experience the city’s charm, they’re likely to return and spread the word about their positive experience.
Opportunities for Investors
Service accommodation can also present investment opportunities. The main source of income in this business is guest bookings. For anyone considering entering the space, it’s essential to plan, systemize, and understand the work involved. But once set up, it can offer a valuable return on investment, contributing to both personal and business finance growth.
Picking The Right Property
The property itself should offer the feel of a home, and more than that, it should represent the feel of the area it’s located in, adding to the overall holiday experience of the visitors. When it comes to managing bookings and maintaining the property, it may be beneficial to adopt a blended approach, taking into consideration the seasons and the type of guests you are catering to.
One thing is certain – the profitability in short-term rentals and serviced accommodations is greatly enhanced when you focus on maximizing occupancy rates and minimizing costs. Encouraging longer stays, especially with corporate bookings, can save on changeover costs and ensure a steady stream of income. However, shorter, higher-priced stays, particularly during the summer season, can also yield substantial income.
If you are planning to manage the property yourself, it’s important to strike a balance between the desire to use the property for personal reasons and the opportunity to generate income. Many property owners find that once they see the potential earnings from letting out their property, personal use becomes less of a priority.
While there are multiple channels to advertise and rent out your service accommodation, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, and others, having a direct booking website can eliminate commission costs and increase your profit margin. Even Google has recently entered the market with Google Vacation Rentals.
When assessing the potential of a property for short-term rental or serviced accommodation, it’s not only about numbers and calculations, it’s also about the overall appeal of the property and its location. Larger properties tend to have fewer competitors and offer more flexibility in terms of the number of guests they can accommodate. Additional features like extra bathrooms, balconies, and underground parking can make the property more appealing.
Location-wise, being city center is not always essential but being in a lively area close to amenities and attractions can enhance the guests’ experience. Finally, safety and a sense of belonging are paramount to the guest’s satisfaction. Therefore, picking a location that is not only convenient but also safe and welcoming is of utmost importance.
Understanding the Dynamics of Service Accommodation
As outlined in the conversation, service accommodation is an increasingly popular sector of the real estate market, with potential to provide a significant income stream for property investors. However, just like any business venture, it does not come without its fair share of challenges.
One of the main concerns is the location of the property. Although city centers often offer great amenities and transport links, properties located on arterial routes can also be beneficial. Furthermore, choosing the right property size is crucial. A three or four-bedroom property can accommodate more people, but this also implies stringent vetting requirements to ensure the occupants are responsible.
Renovations and Upgrades
Unless the property has been built within the last five years, it will likely require extensive renovations. This might include installing new bathrooms, replacing flooring, repainting, and purchasing new furniture. The initial investment can be high, but the returns in the long run are worth it. However, property owners should ensure that their properties stand out for the right reasons, especially when competing with numerous other listings.
Growth and Cash Flow Considerations
When investing in service accommodation, both long-term capital growth and short-term rental returns should be considered. However, once a property is set up for service accommodation, it will likely generate consistent income, making the capital appreciation a happy byproduct.
Vetting Tenants and Team Management
Managing short-term rentals often involves dealing with a diverse array of tenants, some of whom may pose challenges. Therefore, a stringent vetting process is essential. Additionally, having a reliable team on the ground for cleaning and maintenance is crucial for the successful operation of the business.
Getting Started with Service Accommodation
If you’re interested in diving into the world of service accommodation, consider reading David’s book, “Short-Term Rental Revolution,” available on Amazon. Also, feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn, Instagram, or TikTok.
Finally, one major financial benefit of service accommodation is the ability to offset mortgage costs against tax, a feature not available with traditional buy-to-let investments. This can significantly increase profitability and makes service accommodation an even more appealing investment option.
Remember to always conduct thorough research and due diligence before diving into any new investment venture. Good luck on your journey into the world of service accommodation!