Pillow Partners: A hands-on holiday lettings company
As a short-term accommodation and holiday lettings provider with managed properties around Scotland, Pillow Partners has ambitious ideas for expansion. We caught up with founder Scott Weir to find out how the company has grown over the last year.
Although it does advertise on Airbnb, the Pillow Partners holiday lettings service it offers is much more hands-on. The properties on its books are managed, so although it doesnt own them it sends in cleaners and handles the marketing.
weve got a booking portal that only showcases our properties, said Weir. And we don’t have to pay fees on that like we do when we advertise on Airbnb so we prefer to sell on there.
As it stands now, the company has been operating for just under a year and covers Scotland. There are other companies that offer a managed local service, and there are companies that offer a nationwide service, but according to Weir no company offers a nationwide managed service. This is where Pillow Partners aims to set itself apart as it has ambitious plans.
our overall target by December 2019 is to have a thousand properties under management. it’s a very simple expansion strategy, our regional property managers will work from home, he explained. Theyll all be experts in hospitality or tourism and know all about their specific region. Were looking to have 20 property managers scattered across the UK with 30 properties each.
The model Pillow Partners uses means that the business has two kinds of clients those looking to let their property, and those looking to rent one for a holiday. To market the business to this diverse range of clients, Weir makes an effort with networking and speaking at events to position himself as a short-term rental expert.
I genuinely believe there has never been a better time to do it, said Weir. Weve got access to clients all over the world. The industry before Airbnb was predominantly magazines, mailing lists and catalogues wed never have been able to do this at any other time in history.
were also at the right time where a lot of the owners of holiday homes tend to be older and more traditional, so they don’t have the grasp of technology they need and they’re looking to companies to help them with listings.
The business has a strategy in place where it seeks out online listings that could do with improvement and approaches the owners offering help.
the good thing about holiday home owners is they will always try and promote their property every way they can, whether its Gumtree, Facebook or Twitter. They try to get their properties out there.
Weir has previous experience with running a business his other offering for residential properties has been running for ten years. Throughout this time, he has come to acknowledge recruitment as one of the main challenges a business can face.
Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.