Owners' Frequently Asked Questions

The merits of holiday renting

As a general rule only, the net returns from holiday renting (after our agency costs, cleaning, laundering and some repairs and maintenance costs), are roughly the same as you would earn from permanently renting your property.

However, due to the high quality of our portfolio and how we operate our business, many of our holiday rental properties do outperform the permanent rental alternative. By way of example, in FY2022 (the 12 months from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022), we had 25 holiday homes that generated over $100,000 in bookings.

Many of our owners also factor in the personal use dimension – for owners, family or friends. It is appealing to arrive at your property to find it clean and made up for your stay. Upon your departure, the cleaners will also make it ready for the next guests.

We can discuss the merits of your property as a holiday rental, and give revenue comparisons for similar properties.

The merits of The Holidays Collection

The Holidays Collection is a privately owned business that has already grown 6 fold since it was purchased by Craig McIntosh and Bernadette Ciampa in May 2013. We are focused, successful and professional in everything we do.

We manage 300+ properties and when it is full house, we have over 2,200 guests staying at our properties!

Our properties are located along the south coast of NSW from Kiama to Jervis Bay, and in the Southern Highlands.  We have offices in Hyams Beach, Gerringong, Kangaroo Valley and Bowral.

The comparative advantages of The Holidays Collection

We offer two key comparative advantages to owners:

  1. digital marketing
  2. hands on property management

In relation to digital marketing, we have a very strong following for our Holidays Collection and Kangaroo Valley Escapes websites In addition, our reservation system automatically distributes our properties to the following portals:

  • Airbnb
  • Stayz / the VRBO network
  • Booking.com
  • Homes & Villas by Marriott
  • Google Hotels

We are confident therefore that our combined digital marketing of your property reaches 90% + of all accommodation searches that are performed for our destination areas.

In relation to property management, we stand apart from other agencies in that we have an in-house team of 5 handymen, equipped with utes, batteries, lightbulbs, spares, guest supplies, gas bottles etc – allowing us to deal with issues in a timely and cost effective way for owners or guests.  We are very hands on by comparison to other agencies who mostly outsource issues to tradespeople at great cost to the owner.

12 month commitment to The Holidays Collection

Because of how much time and effort we invest into setting up a property, we ask that an owner commits to listing with us for at least 12 months.

This is not a contractual obligation, but rather an act of good faith.

If you are still unsure about what to do with your property (keep, sell, permanent rent, holiday rent), we ask that you hold off until you are 100% sure that you wish to take the holiday rental path- thanks!

Setting rates for your property

As we have such a large portolio, we are generally able to find a directly comparable property to yours, or make reasonable estimates of what the pricing for your property should be. Once we meet with you and see the property (either in person or via photos), we will give you our thoughts on nightly rates. We then mutually agree what the initial rates will be.  Key factors that determine the rates for a property include:

  • guest numbers
  • quality of the home in terms of décor, furnishings, artworks, appliances, crockery, cutlery, etc.
  • the modernity of the home, or if an older style home, how much comfort, character or quirkiness it has
  • the existence of attributes that are sought after by guests, which will vary according to the location. Examples include proximity to a town or shops, easy access to a beach, views, or a swimming pool

How often are rates reviewed?

Rates are then reviewed from time to time by us as we handle bookings and assess changing market conditions. We also respond to any request by owners to review rates…so don’t be shy to ask.

How are rates set if your property is listed on Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com etc?

Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com etc have their own fees that they charge to the guest (not you, not us).  These fees are disclosed to the guests at the time of booking and it is their choice if they want to book at the higher rate.  We also see that savvy guests find our website and book directly with us to obtain the “book direct” lowest rate.

For the Holidays Collection, Airbnb charges a commission of 15%, VRBO charges a commission of 13.2%, and Booking.com charges a commission of 12%.  This cost is passed on IN FULL to the guest by each booking platform. 

As a result the commission that you pay to the Holidays Collection will ONLY be the rate that is set out in your Management Agreement.  And it applies only to the base rate / the book direct rate.  The Holidays Collection does not earn any commission on the markup component that is applied by Airbnb, VRBO, or Booking.com.

Seasons and minimum nights – beach houses

For our beach houses, the following seasons and minimum night rules apply:

  • Peak Season – mid December through to the Australia Day weekend – 2-7 night minimum stay, depending on the property
  • Easter – 4 night minimum stay
  • Long Weekends (Australia Day, October, June) – 3 night minimum stay
  • Low Season – May, June, July, August – 2 night minimum stay
  • Shoulder Season – all remaining times of the year – 2 night minimum stay

During Peak Season, each property is allocated a designated change over day to make cleaning rosters manageable. Peak Season bookings are made back-t0-back so that the calendar is full.

At all other times of the year, guests may arrive any day of the week, but NOT on a Sunday or Public Holiday. This is done as outgoing guests are given a 4pm check out on a Sunday or Public Holiday, and during busy times of the year, it is often the only day of each week that the cleaners are able to take a day off.

Seasons and minimum nights – country retreats

For our country retreats in the Southern Highlands, Kangaroo Valley and some properties in Berry, the following seasons and minimum night rules apply:

  • Peak Season – mid December through to the Australia Day weekend – 2-4 night minimum stay, depending on the property
  • Easter – 4 night minimum stay
  • Long Weekends (Australia Day, October, June) – 3 night minimum stay
  • Low Season – May, June, July, August – 2 night minimum stay
  • Shoulder Season – all remaining times of the year – 2 night minimum stay

At all times of the year, guests may arrive any day of the week, but NOT on a Sunday or Public Holiday.  This is done as outgoing guests are given a 4pm check out on a Sunday or Public Holiday, and during busy times of the year, it is often the only day of each week that the cleaners are able to take a day off.

Check in and check out times

As a general rule, our check in time is 2pm and our check out time is 10am.

4pm check out on Sundays and public holidays

It is a hallmark of The Holidays Collection portfolio that guests get a 4pm check out on Sundays or public holidays. It is also one day off a week for the cleaners!  We have a very strong following of regular guests who know and love the fact that they can enjoy a full weekend at the property that they have rented.

Owners may not therefore arrive on a Sunday or public holiday unless they are willing to clean the house themselves.

To engage The Holidays Collection as your holiday rental property management agency, the key steps are as follows:

    1. Initial contact – we will have an initial conversation with you including finding out the address of the property, looking at any photos, and determining if your property is a potential fit with our portfolio.
    2. Property visit – if we believe that your property is a potential fit with our portfolio, we will arrange for one of our staff to meet you at the property. Only once we have seen a property can we finally decide if we are able to take on the management of the property – dependent on the quality, style, standard of equipment, and location of the property. In addition, you as the owner need to feel comfortable with us. During our visit, we will make also notes of the key attributes that will affect our assessment of rates and / or required improvements to the property.
    3. Summary email –  a summary email is sent to you including our overall impressions of the property, suggested bedding configuration, suggested improvements, suggested rates, and the various costs that would be involved – primarily our agency commission, cleaning costs and laundering fees
    4. Name – confirm a ‘name’ for your property, either one that you have thought of, or one suggested by us. We avoid duplicate names within our portfolio so may have to ask you to consider alternatives if your selected name is the same or similar to an existing property.
    5. Management Agreement – if you wish to proceed, we enter into a formal agreement. This is the legal basis for our relationship with you.
    6. Photos – organise professional house and drone photos, and have floor and site plans done. This is done through our preferred photographer at cost.
    7. Key lock box – one of our maintenance team will install a key lock box at your property.
    8. Keys – 4 sets of keys will need to be provided: guest set, spare guest set, cleaner set (with key to cleaner cupboard), and an office set (all keys, including keys for locked cleaner and owner areas).
    9. Cleaner and gardener – we send a cleaner to visit your property and give a quote.  The same applies to a gardener if required.
    10. Fire alarm audit – under NSW legislation, all holiday rental properties need to be compliant with Fire Alarm legislation.  This entails a cost of $400 including GST. This fee also includes a second visit by our auditor so that they can install Evacuation Diagrams (as required by STRA legislation). Evacuation diagrams are based off the floor plan (from the photos packaged) and cost $150 + GST.
    11. Linen and towels – we can assist you in purchasing necessary linen and towels for your property if necessary. This needs to be labelled or ‘tagged’ clearly (you or your cleaner may do this). If your property is in the Hyams Beach area, we can discuss with you a linen hire service that we use.
    12. Trust Account float – provide a deposit a $500 float into our Trust Account.
    13. Listing is created– by this stage, your property will be set up in our system as a rental listing.
    14. Receive Owner Portal instructions – this gives you access to the bookings calendar as well as invoices and statements (see further explanation below).
    15. Notifying our staff – we notify all staff of your new listing and let them know any important details that are relevant to your property.
    16. Listing is published – the property goes live in our system and we start taking bookings!

Can I see a copy of the Management Agreement?

Yes. The sample Holiday Rental Management Agreement contains Terms and Conditions of the contract, the Management Services included in the level of service applicable to your property, and a Schedule of Fees.

What is the duration of the Management Agreement?

The Management Agreement remains valid until one month’s after notice is given by either party. However, due to the time and effort it takes to set up a listing and to establish bookings, we expect a minimum 12 month duration.

How can The Holidays Collection assist in setting up my property for holiday rental?

We will meet you at your property and discuss your requirements. We can guide you through the process of setting up your property to prepare it for guests. This will include discussions regarding furniture, bedding, heating & cooling, kitchen requirements, linen requirements, guest supplies, cleaning and laundering arrangements, and any other factors that are relevant to your property such as firewood or pool and spa maintenance.

Can The Holidays Collection advise on décor?

It is important to present your house in a consistent and appealing manner – this is best for photos and for presentation to the guests. If you are unsure how to decorate your house, The Holidays Collection provides assistance to those who need guidance. Our experienced in-house decorator charges $66.00 per hour and can assist you at all levels – from styling advice to purchasing items on your behalf, whether it be soft furnishings, kitchen items, furniture items or any specific requirements.

Desirable attributes of the property – what optimises my listing?

To maximise the appeal of your property, and to encourage return guests and good reviews, it is desirable to have the following:

  • Well equipped kitchen (we can provide a list to you of suggested inclusions)
  • Heating and cooling – it is desirable to have ceiling fans and reverse cycle air conditioning that is sufficient to heat and cool the house
  • WiFi
  • Smart TV where the guest can use their login to access streaming services
  • Outdoor seating area and BBQ
  • Swimming pool or plunge pool, particularly if the house is not on the coast or is not within walking distance to the beach
  • Outdoor shower for beachside properties
  • Fireplace – particularly in the Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley
  • Off-street parking

Desirable attributes of the property – what optimises my listing?

To maximise the appeal of your property, and to encourage return guests and good reviews, it is desirable to have the following:

  • Well equipped kitchen (we can provide a list to you of suggested inclusions)
  • Linen and towels provided (we no longer take on properties with a BYO linen and towels approach)
  • Heating and cooling – it is desirable to have ceiling fans and reverse cycle air conditioning that is sufficient to heat and cool the house
  • WiFi
  • Smart TV where the guest can use their login to access streaming services
  • Outdoor seating area and BBQ
  • Swimming pool or plunge pool, particularly if the house is not on the coast or is not within walking distance to the beach
  • Outdoor shower for beachside properties
  • Fireplace – particularly in the Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley
  • Off-street parking

Insurance

By law and under the mandatory Code of Conduct for the Short-term Rental Accommodation Industry, owners of a holiday rental property must have appropriate insurance in place.

The code of conduct mandates insurance for injury or death at your property but we suggest a policy that covers all of the following:

  • building and contents
  • public liability of $20m
  • accidental damage
  • malicious damage
  • loss of rental income

Please be sure also that your policy specifically covers holiday rentals, and that it is not limited to permanent rentals only. This is an extremely important point to check with your insurer or broker.

The Holidays Collection can recommend the following insurers as a starting point for finding a suitable policy:

RentCover Insurance – https://www.rentcover.com.au/
Homsure Insurance – https://homsure.com.au/

Proof of Ownership

Each owner is required to provide proof of ownership of the property for our records. A rates notice is sufficient.

Do I need a Short Term Rental Association (STRA) number?

Yes. It is a requirement under NSW law to register and obtain an STRA number.

How do I register my property on the STRA register?

We can register the property on your behalf at cost.

The current cost is $65 and the annual renewal cost thereafter is also currently $65.

The property already has an STRA number – can this be used?

Yes, however the number will need to be transferred to The Holidays Collection. We will assist you in this process.

Why is smoke alarm compliance important?

Legislation requires smoke alarms to be interconnected and installed in certain locations throughout the house. Interconnection can either be via wireless technology, or hard wiring (cabling) in the ceiling.

How do I make sure my property is compliant?

Our dedicated Compliance Officer inspects every house prior to the listing being published. The cost is $400 including GST. On inspection, we will advise whether the smoke alarms are compliant, or whether changes need to be made. If new smoke alarms are needed, the purchase price will be an additional cost to an owner, and for wireless smoke alarms, we install that as part of the $400 cost. If smoke alarms in the house are of the hard wired variety, we need to engage an electrician at cost to do that work.

How often do the invoices and statements get issued?

Invoices and statements are emailed monthly on the 1st business day of the month.

How do I receive my invoices and statements?

By email, or they can be viewed by logging into the Owner Portal.

Who do I contact if I want to speak to someone about my invoices and statements?

Please call 02 4411 7000 and speak to Loretta or Sue.

Can I get a copy of a particular invoice or statement?

Yes. All statements are available on the Owner Portal. If you cannot find what you need, please call 02 4411 7000 and speak to Loretta or Sue.

For a comprehensive explanation of cancellation policies and booking terms and conditions, please see our Terms and Conditions page

As an Owner, can I access my own property?

Owners are of course able to use their property whenever they like. We do however ask and expect that a property will be made available for a reasonable amount of time during the year – in excess of 70% of the time, to give a guide.

If an owner asks us to cancel an existing guest booking for personal use of the property – which is of course strongly discouraged – a cancellation fee of $220 is charged to the owner. This is a very unpleasant task for our staff to deal with.

Do I need to notify The Holidays Collection of my stay?

Please let us know about any stay, so that we avoid double bookings, or so that you do not arrive to a house that has not yet been cleaned!

Owners may make an Owner Booking or an Owner Guest Booking through the Owner Portal in our Homhero reservation system. When making the booking you can indicate whether the cleaner is required to attend the property after your stay.  The default setting is that a clean IS required on your exit.

Alternatively, owners can phone our office on 02 4411 7000 and ask one of our staff to make an owner booking, or you can email bookings@holidayscollection.com.au and ask for an owner booking to be made for you.  Once again, the default setting will be that a clean IS required on your exit.

I have existing photos of my property. Can I use these?

Only existing professional photos will be considered, and if so, they must all be landscape format, 2 – 3 MB in size, and a minimum of 1920px wide by 1080px high.

It is preferable to have photos taken by our photographer. For costs and information see our Photography page.

Do I need a floor plan?

Yes. A floor plan is needed for each listing. For costs and information see our Photography page.

Generally a site plan will also be provided with the floor plans.

Can The Holidays Collection advise on bedding configuration?

When we visit your property we are able to provide feedback to you on how to configure the beds / bedrooms based on the size of your house, and any other factors such as the amount of bathrooms and facilities, and your personal use preferences. This will in turn affect the number of guests, and the rates that can be charged.

Sofa beds and trundle beds

As a general rule, we do not encourage the use of sofa beds or trundle beds for guests. They can lead to guest complaints about the quality of the mattress, or they can lead to overloading of a house. We will consider each house on a case by case basis, so please discuss this with us, but we find that the best guest experience, feedback and reviews come from houses with a good bed provided for each advertised guest.

Who provides linen?

All new properties in The Holidays Collection must supply linen and towels to guests. We no longer take on properties who expect guests to bring your own linen and towels.

Depending on the location of your property, we may be able to offer a linen hire service, or you will need to purchase sheets, towels and other linen items. We will let you know if  our linen hire service is available to you.

What linen is required?

If you are required to buy linen and towels for your property, please purchase the following. We strongly recommend white or white stripe linen so that it can be bleached if stained. Coloured linen is not able to be bleached, and generally does not age well or appeal to all tastes when photographed:

  • Pillows – 2 per person
  • Mattress protectors – 2 per bed
  • Duvet – 1 per bed, and an extra for each bed size that the cleaners can access if one needs dry cleaning
  • Sheets and duvet covers – 2 sets (fitted and flat), however if your property becomes busy, we may increase this requirement to 3 sets
  • Blankets  or large throws – 1 per bed, in addition to the duvet
  • Towels – bath towels – 2 per guest, however if your property becomes busy, we may increase this requirement to 3
  • Towels – hand towels – 2 per guest, however if your property becomes busy, we may increase this requirement to 3
  • Bath mats – 2 per bathroom, however if your property becomes busy, we may increase this requirement to 3
  • There is no need to supply face cloths

What colour linen is recommended?

As noted above, white is always the best colour for linen. Not only does this photograph well, but it can also be bleached if needed.

Can I purchase linen through The Holidays Collection?

Yes. The Holidays Collection has a regular supplier of high quality linen and towels, with competitive pricing.  Owners are also welcome to buy their own linen and have it delivered to our office.

How do I label the sheets?

Some owners purchase printed, sew on labels, while others use a fabric pen. Either is sufficient. The name of the house or the address is used, ie 2 Smith, or Rendezvous.

In some cases, the cleaners can be paid to do the labelling and setting up of the linen in the house for you. Please let us know if you want us to investigate this option with your designated cleaner.

Where are the spare sheets stored?

It is required that the house has a locked cupboard to store linen supplies. This can also be the cleaner lock up cupboard. Linen and towels can either be stored in open shelving or in plastic tubs, depending on the nature of the storage room.

Who takes the sheets and picks them up from the laundromat?

The cleaner is responsible for dropping off and picking up all laundry from the laundromat.

Do I have to provide beach towels?

No. Guests are told to bring their own beach towels, and all guests accept this.

For some of our very high value houses, beach or pool towels are however provided. This is not essential however.

 

How much will it cost to clean my house?

Each house is quoted independently by the cleaner nominated to your property. We organise for the cleaner to visit the property, and they then provide a written quote which you forward to you for approval.

Does the cleaning cost ever change?

Yes. If the cleaner increases their fees, we will notify you by email.

Is the clean the same each time?

Ordinarily, yes. However if there is a reason for an additional clean, for example to remove mould or to clean damage by the guest, there will be extra charges for these services. The cleaners will charge an hourly rate. If it is a bond claim over $50.00 we will request reimbursement from the guest.  Bond claims under $50.00 are not normally processed. 

Do I supply the cleaning products?

No, generally not.  All cleaners will supply their own cleaning products for using during a clean of the house.

What supplies are needed?

We can provide a thorough list to you during the set up of your property. In general the items required are as follows:

Basic foodstuffs

These are optional as many guests are wary of owner supplied foodstuffs due to concerns about use by dates, germs and the like. It is however increasingly expected that the following be supplied:

  • tea
  • coffee
  • sugar
  • pepper & salt
  • olive oil

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry supplies

  • washing up liquid
  • dishwasher tables
  • scourers
  • Chux wipes or dish cloths
  • paper towel
  • tea towels
  • toilet paper
  • spare mugs, wine and drinking glasses, so that like can be replaced with like if breakages occur
  • soaps (bar soaps or pump soaps)
  • shampoo, conditioner and body lotion (recommended, but not essential)
  • washing powder

Who provides re-stocks these items?

The best approach is for owners to buy a large initial supply of all supplies which the cleaners can access from a lockable cleaner / storage cupboard. Thereafter, our preference is for the owner to keep supplies topped up during owner visits – to maintain a consistency of quality.

Some cleaners will buy the top ups for a house but one then tends to get a real mix of quality, based on what is available or what is convenient to where they live.

Where are these supplies stored?

It is required that the house has a locked cleaner cupboard to store guest supplies. 

During the stay, what happens if there is an emergency at the property or the guest needs assistance?

In their pre-arrival email, guests are provided with an after hours contact number for the Property Manager in their area.  Each Property Manager has a vehicle fitted out with tools, cleaning equipment, BBQ gas bottles, light bulbs, batteries etc.

The Property Manager will be able to answer the guest’s query over the phone, or if needed, attend the property if the problem can’t be solved over the phone.

As needed, the issue is escalated to our Operations Manager or Managing Director, who are both on stand by to receive calls if there is a major emergency or other serious issue.

The Holidays Collection understands that hospitality  is a 7 days per week / 365 day per year industry, and is staffed accordingly.

In a true emergency the guest will call 000 or the SES.

What is the best heating and cooling for a holiday house?

The recommended form of heating is a reverse cycle air conditioner which can be used in summer for cooling and in winter for heating. Houses with ducted or reverse cycle air conditioning increasingly book better than others.

For houses located on the coast, ceiling fans in bedrooms are also recommended.

What is the best hot water system for a holiday house?

The recommended hot water system is electric, solar with electric boost, heat pump etc – basically all systems other than gas. It is much easier to manage electric or solar hot water systems than gas – due to the constant need to monitor gas bottle supplies. Murphy’s Law is that gas bottles often run out right in the middle of someone having a shower, and many guests are unfamiliar with how to change over gas bottles.

If a house has mains gas, the use of a gas hot water system is fine and less problematic.

Do I need to supply BBQ gas bottles?

Each property must supply two 9kg gas bottles for each BBQ – on in use and one spare. Thereafter, we have a pool of gas bottles in our stores that we use to exchange with any empty gas bottles. All BBQ gas bottles are checked during our property pre-checks, or if guests use it up during their stay, we deliver a fresh bottle to them. 

A 9kg BBQ gas bottle is charged at $50 to you as the owner, with no further labour or delivery charge.

Do I need to supply large 45kg gas bottles?

Typically, if the property uses cylinder gas there will already be 2 x 45Kg gas bottles at the property.

How are the 45 kg gas bottles refilled?

The maintenance team check the gas bottles during their pre-check or guests will typically report if they empty a bottle and need to change over to a full one.  Our office will then place a new order with the supplier to your property.

We require the account number to be able to place the order.

Who  maintains the lawn and garden at the property?

The best system is to engage a local company to regularly maintain your lawn and garden. It is advised that during winter this is monthly, and during spring and summer this is weekly or fortnightly, depending on landscaping.

Who  maintains the pool/spa at my property?

We require that pools or spas be serviced either by the owner, or by a professional pool /spa contractor. The Holidays Collection does not have in house expertise to look after pools and spas.

During our pre-check of a property before guests arrive, we will however check the cleanliness of a pool or spa and do what we can to present it well to incoming guests e.g. scooping leaves out of a pool.

During winter, monthly servicing is sufficient.  For the rest of the year, a fortnightly service is generally adequate. During peak season,  a weekly service is ideal. Servicing should logically flex with the frequency of bookings. We have some properties that require weekly servicing all year round as they are so busy.

Is the pool/spa checked prior to each booking?

Yes. Our maintenance team checks the pool/spa during the pre-check inspection.

Should the pool be heated?

If a pool has a solar heating system, we can advertise that but disclaim strongly that the water temperature will be totally dependent on solar conditions.

If your pool has an electric or gas heating system, we are typically very reluctant to advertise that for two reasons. Firstly, guests then have very high (often unrealistic) expectations of how warm the pool will be. And secondly, the costs of running a pool heater can be very high, especially if left on or used excessively by guests.

It is always safest to advertise the existence of a pool, but not advertise that it is heated.

We can discuss this issue further with you.