When looking to generate contractor bookings, there are a few things you can offer as a host to ensure the highest rates of occupancy. It’s important to understand the needs of your guests, and as contractors have different needs from leisure guests, hosts will have the best chance of generating contractor bookings if they cater specifically to them.
Primary concerns for contractors include having a reliable and dependable property that is theirs for the duration of their stay, one that is affordable, closely located to their project, and one that doesn’t give them headaches. Having worked closely with contractors, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for hosts to generate contractor bookings.
Projects may stay the same, but the demands of that project can change over the course of its duration. Depending on the type of project, contractors will either book the property themselves, or it will be the business that books for their contractors.
When contractors book a property, they will often stay there for the entirety, whereas when businesses book a property, different contractors may come and go throughout the project. Sometimes projects finish early, sometimes they are delayed, sometimes they are understaffed and need to bring in additional contractors, and sometimes they’re overstaffed and need to downsize to remain profitable.
Having malleable room layouts that can be changed depending on the requirements of your guests will increase your chances of securing longer stays or repeat business. Many guests will enquire about your flexibility beforehand as this is not offered by all hosts, and by offering zip and link beds and sofa beds, you give the option to accommodate additional contractors if necessary.
As contractors will usually negotiate on a price per person per night basis, this will give them a lower price, and you will likely earn more to account for additional cleaning costs and potentially turn a greater profit. Further reinforcing this, flexibility was a key criteria highlighted by bookers in the State of Contractor Accommodation 2021 Report.
If you already own a property, you can’t change the location, but you can make it more accessible. As contractors often stay with vans, parking can be a bigger selling point than most hosts realise, because your guests won’t want to struggle to find parking at the end of a long day.
If you only have street parking or a small driveway, a good tip would be to speak to neighbours about renting their driveway space. It’s often very cheap, you won’t be committed to a long-term contract, and it’s an extra touch that will be much appreciated.
If you don’t have a property yet and you’re just weighing up whether it’s feasible to purchase a property to use as contractor accommodation, do your research. Desirable places to live and places that are popular for staycations aren’t necessarily going to be the locations that are most commonly booked by contractors.
By speaking to property managers in areas that you can afford, you won’t be able to gauge demand for contractors specifically, but you may be able to get a gauge of demand for other hosts who are buying for that purpose. If more are buying than selling, that could be a positive sign, but we’d also recommend speaking to specialist companies that specifically operate contractor accommodation, too.
In addition to offering the flexibility of property layout, we recommend flexibility in the types of stays that you can accommodate. Before booking a property for an extended stay, contractors will often try a property for a few nights or a week to see if they like it, and by having a minimum stay, you might risk losing these opportunities.
You might take an initial hit on short-term profit, but it’s rather common for a 4-night stay (Monday to Friday) to end up extending into a long term booking – either multiple weeks for 4 nights or including the weekends as well.
Contractor projects often take months or even years to complete, and if you make their lives easier, they’ll be more likely to commit long term. To ensure this isn’t taken advantage of and that you’re still available for longer stays, try permitting shorter stays only when booked a week in advance. Short term stays are often last-minute bookings, so you want to make sure your property is booked as much as possible without compromising the chance of a longer stay.
Make Their Lives Easier
Contractors often start early and finish late, so what they’re looking forward to most at the end of a hard day is to relax, which is why it’s surprising that hosts don’t always keep this in mind.
If you want to generate recurring contractor bookings, you should do everything you can to make their lives easier. Simplify your check-in process, make instructions clear, and don’t make them chase you for Wifi passwords by including this information in an email or have a welcome brochure for the guests to read when they arrive.
Specify what days rubbish is collected, if on street parking is free or not, and where to leave the keys when checking out. The fewer problems they encounter, the more likely they will be to stay with you again.
List Your Property on the Right Channels
Since they’re the most popular platforms, your first thought may be to list your property on Airbnb and Booking and to just wait for the offers to roll in. This is all well and good for properties that are let for leisure stays, but if you’re hoping to secure longer term stays with contractors, you need to cater for them.
If you list your property on the likes of Airbnb or Booking it’s likely that other guests will be staying during that time, especially in coastal and popular locations. It’s always nice to have additional channels to increase the likelihood of locking in a stay, but more often than not, you won’t be finding the long-term dependable guests you’re after.
Tying into the previous tip of allowing shorter stays, we recommend only allowing short stays to be booked a week in advance to reduce the number of problems your guests will have. The best place to generate contractor bookings is to list on specialist websites like Comfy Workers that focus entirely on contractor accommodation.
A final tip is to offer competitive rates, particularly for longer term stays. Guaranteed income is the best kind of income, so we suggest offering the best rates for longer stays. We recommend having three pricing tiers: stays shorter than a week, stays longer than a week, and stays longer than a month. How you choose to break down those prices will naturally depend on your profit margins, but you want to incentivise longer stays as that will reduce the amount of time your property is empty.