This month short term lets have been splashed across the local paper for good and bad. Nothing can quell my enthusiasm for opening up properly on 12th April but have I slowed down too much to get back into business?
Over the Winter business has slowed to a snail's pace. We have hosted key workers and slightly longer bookings of 1-3 months to keep the business alive. In house cleaning has not been allowed during guest stays so a simple drop off and pick up of linen has been the order of service for longer term guests. Check-in procedures have become remote so meet and greet services are redundant and I recently noticed that some of my tourist brochures in the properties are dating from 2019…
If you want something done, give it to a busy person, I have morphed into the 'other' person who dithers around achieving perhaps 30% of the pre-Covid productivity that I thrived upon. How did my business ever manage to turn around 70 or 80 room changes a week when now I struggle to drop off and pick up 8 bags of linen on time, send out last-minute messages and forget to put bookings on my calendar?
I have grown accustomed to the lock-down lifestyle, social interaction is strenuous and zoom is tediously hard work. My business contacts are no longer engaged in motivating and exciting projects, a strangely fearful look in their eye if you mention future plans. Many have gone under, taken the opportunity to retire or changed tack. Doubts over the future market fuel arguments and bickering, as boredom bites, and our time is freed up to contemplate slights and resentments where before we would let it go to focus on the fun stuff of business.
April 12th…the date it all fires up again and people will be allowed to go on holiday to self-contained apartments and houses. The first lockdown was spent refreshing the properties, only to have them occupied by contractors without regular cleaning. I had better change those tourism brochures and get the cleaners in to refresh for the leisure guests. It is time to remember the 'little things' that make a leisure stay worthwhile: Decent toiletries, full kitchen inventory and directions to the nearest supermarket and restaurants. If the opening-up roadmap stays in place we will have a bumper Summer Season here in Portsmouth as my enthusiasm returns, 'making every stay count' as we did before this quiet spell.
Short lets have hit 'The News' twice in the last month, one good, one bad. Bad news of a large party at an Airbnb https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/portsmouth-party-airbnb-broken-police-19-people-fined-combined-ps15200-3118831
Police intervened and fines were issued, we all hope that this serves as a warning to partygoers.
More optimistically, yours truly as a representative of local business in the local campaign to improve tourism in 2021 https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/business/consumer/portsmouth-launches-tourism-campaign-called-wind-in-our-sails-to-attract-day-trippers-and-short-breaks-after-covid-restrictions-ease-3141703
Fingers crossed that, this time round, we will stay open and keep trading, in the meantime bring your family and friends to Portsmouth in 2021, there are some great serviced apartments available!
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.