28
Feb 2013

Meet the apartment owner – we interview David Belda

As an apartment rental company, we would be nothing without our owners! This month, we chat to David Belda, who rents out his Barcelona apartments with us. David’s apartments have proven extremely popular with guests, and here he gives us a glimpse of things from an owner’s point of view.


David with Marta from 'Go with Oh'

Good morning David, and thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. How many years have you been working with ‘Go with Oh’?
About five or six years. I have two apartments – one in Gràcia and one in the Sagrada Família area of the city.

What made you choose ‘Go with Oh’ instead of another company?
I had signed up with another apartment rental company beforehand, but to be honest, I wasn’t getting any bookings. So I moved over to Oh-Barcelona.com and haven’t looked back since.

Where do most of your guests come from?
A few come from Germany and Italy but the vast majority come from the south of France, which isn’t surprising considering its proximity to Barcelona. I don’t get many British clients.

How much day-to-day contact do you have with your guests and what form does it take?
I contact guests as soon as they’ve made their booking, to give them all the information they need before they arrive – from directions to the apartment and a map of the metro to an idea of nearest supermarkets and restaurants.

I don’t tend to have much contact with my guests throughout their stay, but they know they’re welcome to get in touch with me if they need help with anything. Apart from that, I pretty much leave them to it as I don’t want to intrude while they’re on holiday.

How much flexibility is there in terms of the check-in and check-out times?
I’m very flexible when it comes to checking in and out. I do ask that they confirm their arrival time and I charge a little extra if it’s during unsociable hours.

If the next guest isn’t arriving straight away, they’re welcome to leave their luggage in the apartment until it’s time to go for their flight.

For tourists coming to Barcelona, what one attraction would you recommend?
In my opinion, Park Güell or the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau are Barcelona’s top picks. Or simply having a drink in a chiringuito beach bar or going for a walk around the Port Olympic area.

What changes have you noticed in the holiday apartment rental sector since you started renting out your properties? How have you adapted to these changes?
That’s a tricky one. I’ve noticed that people are coming from further and further afield, not just from Europe. I started out with a fairly basic apartment, but as the sector has grown, I’ve noticed that people’s expectations have grown with it.

I have to say that the interior designer that ‘Go with Oh’ sent me was a great help when it came to renovating and sprucing up my apartment.

What are the advantages for tourists of renting a holiday apartment rather than a hotel?
For families or travellers, apartments are a lot more comfortable. You can prepare the breakfast and dinner that you want and eat it when you want as opposed to having set meal times in hotels. Foreign food is obviously different to what you’re used to back home and this can be difficult for families with food-fussy kids. This is where having your own kitchen really comes into its own.

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about renting out their holiday apartments?
Don’t be afraid! If you’re prepared to put the work in it can be a really rewarding experience. Also, don’t think that it’s not possible to rent out for short periods of time.

It also has its advantages over long-term rental – it gives you more of a steady income. Since you’re renting out to tourists rather than long-term tenants, your flat generally stays in better condition as they’re off sightseeing most of the time, so the apartment sees less wear and tear.

I would also recommend building up a relationship with your guests and offering the personal touch – it really enriches you as a person. If I bump in to any of my guests in the street, I always stop to chat and see how everything’s going. It’s amazing how many fascinating people you meet.

What do you think are the best ways to increase the occupancy levels of your apartment?
I would say that you’re better to sort out any maintenance issues as they come up. Don’t put off fixing any problems until after the guests have left – sort it out there and then.

It never hurts to check out other owners’ properties on the website either. You never know, you might end up getting some inspiration on how to improve your own apartment.

Lastly, make sure you actually read the reviews your clients leave you – some of them include really good pointers.

Huge thanks to David for chatting to us and for the exemplary service he provides to ‘Go with Oh’ clients!



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