How is everyone? I hope you are all well and managing to stay sane throughout the craziness.
Wow! It’s been a whopping 11 weeks since our last update. We’re the world worst spammers!
At the start of September (how long ago does that seem now?!) it was my birthday, it is every year!
So I took a few half days off to explore a bit around our Aberdeen home.
We shared our adventures around the Aberdeenshire castles, beaches and mountains on our Aberdeen social media.
We even held a daft competition for fun to vote for the best photo for our social media.
And it was a dead heat between the too obvious super hyped up and Instagrammable Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven and my favourite by far, the underdog, New Slains Castle, Cruden Bay.
It was great to receive a rare Facebook review from one of our old guests.
A nice Brazilian family, who stayed at our Aberdeen 4 bed house this time last year for 2 months as his family relocated to the UK for the first time from the Middle East!
And we received this other lovely review from a beautiful family, returning home to Aberdeen from Houston in the depth of the COVID crisis this year.
I took the phone call for this enquiry (after they saw us via Facebook) in a service station car park in the Pennines just off the M6 on our way to the Lakes on holiday a day or 2 after the big lockdown ended!
And as you can see from their hand-written message when they checked out, they loved their stay in our 4 bed family self catering home.
It’s a great feeling knowing that you are helping families with nice places to stay while their young families adjust to new surroundings.
And I am grateful for the responsibility and opportunity to do that.
And thank those involved for the trust they place in us. We will never knowingly let you down.
There have been loads of new rule changes affecting self catering accommodation.
The crux for us being that our leisure market has been more or less decimated in both of our operating areas.
So we’ve stuck in and made the most of the business down time by:
- improving every one of our 4 Aberdeen apartments,
- adjusting the layout, etc to the COVID risks and revised guests behaviours/preferences (mainly replacing twin rooms with doubles as our most regular guests don’t want to share rooms),
- re-photographing and videoing our places, and
- doing our best to get word out to people about them and the benefits of BOOKING DIRECT with us.
Getting our places professionally photographed was well overdue on my to do list.
But we were still blown away by the quality of the new photos and videos of our Aberdeen properties compared to the old ones from my ancient mobile phone.
So in October we decided to go down to South Shields for the first time since July to give our properties the same treatment down there.
All or nothing is kind of how we operate.
We either do things right or not at all.
We asked the great online Shields ‘Sanddancer’ community to give our Shields Facebook page some support.
And they responded by liking our page in their 100s within one night which was fantastic and all helps us reach folk who may book with us in future.
Many of our bookings come from people who first see us through our Facebook page. So you can make a huge difference to our business.
Just before we drove the 5 hours or so south from Aberdeen, we paid this amazing place a visit.
A ‘slap up’ fish and chips supper washed down with Irn Bru in true Oor Wullie style was just the job!
Then off we headed into the horizon with our camper packed with tools, decorating gear and loads of goodies to make our Shield places nicer.
Our South Shields trip was for a supposedly working ‘holiday’ to make some improvements.
Then to get the same photographer down from Aberdeen, Adam from AXM Creative, to shoot our South Shields places at the end of the week.
But we didn’t stop working at all for 7 days solid so the holiday part will have to wait until we manage to get down again!
We also planned to do a few live videos on our Shields facebook page, but lack of free time meant it was limited to this one driving from the Town Hall to the ‘Big beach’ to eat our Saveloy Dips from Dicksons between photo shoots!
Lola’s room at our 4 bed, ’44 Hartington’ was redecorated, the bunk bed replaced with a nice single and a double sofa bed added to the living room which can now be used as a stand alone 5th bedroom.
We also freshened up our 3 bed and they were looking amazing but we were still absolutely stunned with the output of our hard work and the photo / video shoot.
We’re confident that they will help us market our great places for years to come.
Feel free to subscribe to our new Shields YouTube channel below and let us know what you think.
We also managed to undertake a viewing of a property.
The owner approached us about managing her new purchase as a serviced accommodation after reading of our landlord management services on our website.
It has 4 HUGE bedrooms, a really quirky layout and is in need of a little TLC for us to take it on.
We liked the ‘feel’ of it, which counts for a lot in my book.
But as mentioned above it is such an uncertain time.
Less business and leisure travel means less available guests.
So it intuitively appears to be the wrong time to be expanding by taking on another property.
An abundance of self catering properties popping up in the area, as everyone is becoming an ‘Airbnb expert,’ means that the supply has increased to feed this vastly reduced demand.
So only a mad man would take on a new place now, right?
Well, we’ve done our due diligence.
And for less experienced and less well connected operators, well, it may have been “a no from me!”
BUT through 5 years operation and with our well established NETWORK, brilliant REPUTATION amongst CONTRACTOR and LEISURE guests alike and our DIRECT MARKETING, which we do OURSELVES to reach our fantastic guests, new and old we are confident that can keep GROWING OUR BUSINESS.
We’re not talking about world domination here, just adding a nice property or two when a good opportunity arises.
Throughout our career we have always went straight to source, from the shipyards to engineering.
Just now instead of speaking to the ships captain it is approaching a guy digging up the road in Aberdeen.
Or instead of the Installation Manager of an oil and gas platform it’s someone stepping out of a white van in a supermarket car park you spot from out of the area to fill our empty places.
It’s all the same.
Providing a good professional service to the customer.
And it’s what we do.
Only now it is our guests in hospitality and our owners in property management.
And we believe that this is the only way to thrive, especially in the current climate.
Hard work and perseverance.
Nothing comes to you easy.
SO watch this space for the next place potentially being added to our South Shields portfolio.
Every single one of our owners to date have approached us after hearing what we do, and they all remain delighted.
So if you know anyone with a property in South Shields or Aberdeen who is disgruntled with their current situation (agent performance, high fees, tenants, voids, hassle, damage, maintenance burden, etc) for whatever reason and would be interested in a potentially long term agreement, maybe ask them to get in touch with us to chat.
Also whilst working in Shields we took a cracking 18 night booking for our Aberdeen 4 bed house from a ‘lovely’ young couple and one child…!
In a year of slim pickings it felt like dropping the jackpot on the one armed bandit in The New Mill, my old local as a kid after feeding it for hours!
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
Listen to those pound coins dropping into the metal tray!
So we celebrated with a wee drink in some of my favourite bars, The Marine and The Sanddancer.
On our last day, we left Shields around 7pm, after another non stop day working and landed back in Aberdeen after midnight!
The following morning I took a call from Greg, my heating engineer.
He was at our 4 bed self catering house for a pre arranged annual gas test with the guests approval, but they weren’t in as agreed.
I called them out of courtesy and went in with their blessing again to let the engineer in.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES when I opened the doors!
There was SHITE everywhere!
A car parcel shelf lying along the stairs!
Clothes discarded everywhere.
Drug smoking remnants left all over.
A smoke alarm covered and overidden with a white sports sock (whoever did this was pretty skilled in this art as took ages to get it off).
Heavily soiled nappies left lying in most rooms, heating on full belt, booze spilled, take away wrappers and food left everywhere, every bed used, bags of rubbish all over, carpets stained, and the back door left wide open!
And social mixing rules broken from our neighbours experiences of seeing them entering and leaving the property with other folk.
Pretty much every rule in our book broken! And a few laws for good measure.
And this was only 5 nights into their 18 night stay.
Top effort I thought from my younger party days!
I called the 3rd party who it was booked though, the guest voluntarily checked out early and the 2 week clean up op commenced.
Again, we were determined to turn this bummer of a situation into a POSITIVE.
We decluttered, replaced furniture, optimised and replaced beds, added more storage (acting on previous guest feedback), redecorated, refreshed soft furnishings, cleaned/replaced carpets.
After 2 weeks solid work the place was looking better than ever.
The photos and video shoot was booked in and and we loved the output.
Again, feel free to subscribe to our new Aberdeen YouTube channel and tell us your thoughts.
Thanks Jessica for leaving with your curly tail between your legs after your pig sty was discovered, and that’s being harsh on pigs.
And thanks for paying up for the damage without question.
But for the record you are not welcome back to any of our properties. And I hope that your next poop is a hedgehog. Haha!
So fast forward a little to now.
The governments fast changing rules are as clear as mud in some respects.
In Aberdeen we can take single household leisure bookings but in South Shields (a Tier 3 area) we can’t take leisure bookings right now.
But between 23-27th December all of this changes with the CHRISTMAS BUBBLE!
Accordingly with the rules being temporarily relaxed we have had a flurry of enquiries lately for the Christmas period.
Some from folk who are clearly missing the bars and clubs and looking to be naughty and have a bash at our expense.
Wrong answer guys and don’t try again. If you do somehow slip through the net we have measures in place, will find out and will throw you out so don’t even bother.
Some from folk who live away and want extended trips home for various reasons including returning from overseas for a few weeks, to care for elderly, etc relatives.
REALLY SORRY folks.
We would LOVE to be able to take this type of booking but we just are not allowed to take that type of guest and stay within the rules.
The ONLY South Shields leisure bookings we can take currently are as follows: Single/extended households travelling from another part of the country to be near their CHRISTMAS BUBBLE and they can only can stay between 23-27th December for this purpose.
We have always followed the rules here at Dwellcome Home, we have done throughout the whole of the crisis and we are not about to stop now.
We have good availability for bookings between 23-27th December for single/extended households.
We have a minimum stay of 4 nights, our prices are not cheap (because they are quality and impeccably maintained) and we take a high breakages deposit.
BUT they are super comfortable, spotlessly cleaned to COVID cleaning guidance, magnificently well equipped with 100Mbs broadband, NETFLIX TVs, well stocked kitchens, etc.
So for those leisure guests who need a nice place to stay in or around South Shields and Aberdeen between 23-27th December, please get in touch.
And all of the others we are allowed to host NOW like CONTRACTORS, RELOCATION and other EMERGENCY guests, we can not wait to host you all.
More details can be found on our website and message me there or on our Facebook pages if you would like to ask any questions or to book direct for best price and service guaranteed!
Just don’t book with a third party, okay?
Remember, they take a cut of our money and won’t look after you like we will.
Have a good run up to Christmas.
Thanks for reading and we’d love to hear what you thought of our latest update, we hope it made you giggle. Keep it positive folks.
PS – Thanks again for all of your support of our business.
For the comments, the likes and the shares on social media.
It all helps us reach more folk. And hopefully more bookers.
So if you want to share this post to let even more folk find us that would be cool.
And if you ask them to give us a like we would REALLY appreciate that 🙂