Got a second home that’s hardly used and wondering just how to earn from it? Su Aziz offers a solution
I’VE acquired a penchant for living in homes whenever I’m on holiday, instead of impersonal hotels. The main benefit to this is space.
For a reasonable price, I get a living room, kitchen, dining area, sometimes an extra bedroom and verandah or patio. Also, there’s something welcoming about fully outfitted, lived-in spaces.
Most of the time, the personal touches of an individual owner help me acclimatise to a new environment quickly.
As for the owners who put up their homes or second homes for rent to strangers for short-term lease, this arrangement makes sense and offers plenty of benefits, especially in monetary terms.
And that is the clincher in today’s global economic climate.
WHERE TO BEGIN
For a start, you may want to check out roomorama.com to register your property for short-term rent.
Its Spanish-speaking Italian owner Federico Folcia says: “Think of Roomorama as a one-stop platform for short-term accommodations all over the world, where people can rent an apartment or a house from a stranger seamlessly and safely.”
Started in 2009, Roomorama has 35,000 properties worldwide. It is a website that thousands of visitors rely on to experience a new way of staying at a travel destination.
“We’re pioneers in a new market and have given people confidence to rent from or to a stranger. We have enabled travellers to live like locals wherever they go,” says Folcia, 33.
What you may require is to be able to easily manage your availability from your computer or mobile device to decide when and whom to rent your property to.
Well, Roomorama has a 24/7 customer service team who can help, and this service is free, says Folcia.
HOW TO GET ON WITH IT
“To list a property, simply sign up, validate your email address and complete the template form with all the necessary information regarding your property and its rates,” says Folcia.
Then the Roomorama team will review your account and stamp its approval before it goes live.
“At this point, we may ask for further verification to ensure the legitimacy of your listing. This is to eliminate fraudulent listings on Roomorama and to keep our community safe and reliable,” says Folcia.
How much does Roomorama charge a property owner for its listing service?
Well, not a penny. It doesn’t cost a thing to list and manage as many properties as you like on the website.
SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS
The safety measures Roomorama practises to protect properties include encouraging the host to take a security deposit of typically US$200 (RM630) to US$500, which is refundable if nothing is lost or damaged.
Also, always use good judgement. Put away your valuables and give clear instructions to your guests on how to operate the items in your home so they don’t break them while trying to figure them out.
You can also ask your guests to provide more information about themselves before you confirm your property availability for them.
“Knowing where they are from and why they are visiting will give you a peace of mind,” says Folcia. “Of course, home insurance is always advisable.”
IN THE PIPELINE
Roomorama will launch an iPhone or iPad app in the next few months.
This means property owners won’t need an office space to work from since the app will allow them to list and manage their availability at any time they like, while on the go, explains Folcia.
Besides that, Roomorama has launched a Perks programme that offers benefits such as day passes to gyms, free car rental memberships and discounts at spas to members in all major destinations around the world.
“We’re the first to introduce a payment code system,” claims Folcia. And with this, a secure way of ensuring guests are protected from unreliable hosts.
Folcia explains: “When a guest pays for a booking, he gets a six-digit payment code from Roomorama.
Upon successful check-in, he will hand over this code to the host, and the host will use that code to redeem the funds from us.”
Another thing to remember is to have beautiful themes attached to destinations such as “sea lovers” or “history buffs” to woo travellers to your property.
This is exactly what Roomorama has done. Since it operates from four locations — New York, Singapore, Beijing and Cebu — plus representations in more than 15 countries, a guest will be spoilt for choice.
It has even collaborated with hownottobeatourist.com “to create a user-generated travel guide that tells travellers how not to look, act and live like a tourist.
This is an extension of our brand and philosophy because we’re encouraging travellers to live more like locals instead!” says the football-loving Folcia.
Charmingly, he has a dog named Pato, which means duck in Spanish. “We think of him as the Roomorama mascot. He considers himself one of the founding members of the company!” says Folcia with a smile.