Self-Catering Accommodation: A Quick Guide for New Hosts

self catering accommodation

By The Hospitable Team

Over recent years, self-catering houses and apartments have become increasingly popular among travelers because they provide more space, privacy, and flexibility than hotels or traditional B&Bs. So, if you are considering starting a vacation rental business, operating a self-catering accommodation can be a viable option.

What Is Self-Catering Accommodation?

Self-catering accommodation is a type of lodging where guests are provided with the necessary facilities to prepare and cook their meals instead of relying on a restaurant or room service. Self-catering properties are rented out to guests for short-term stays ranging from a few days to several weeks.

These are usually comfortable, fully furnished houses, apartments, villas, or cottages. But it can also be a cabin, a chalet, a luxury tent, or something a little more quirky like a yurt, treehouse, or boat rental.

Although self-catering accommodations vary in size, style, and amenities, they often offer more space, multiple bedrooms, and separate living areas. That makes self-catering apartments, cottages, and cabins suitable for longer stays or group trips.

Self-Catering Apartments: What Should You Provide to Guests?

Self-catering properties typically come with a kitchen or kitchenette. They are usually equipped with essential kitchen amenities, such as a fridge, oven, coffee maker, microwave, and other kitchen appliances, utensils, and cookware. The dining area should have a table and enough chairs so all guests can comfortably eat together. Travelers also expect you’ll provide bedding, towels, toiletries, and free WiFi to ensure a pleasant stay.

How to Manage Self-Catering Accommodation Business Efficiently

If you own a property in a popular tourist destination, running a self-catering accommodation business can be very profitable. Aside from the financial benefits, many property owners also find it enjoyable that they have the opportunity to meet new people and welcome guests from all over the world.

However, being an STR host also involves a lot of responsibilities. You must list your property on major OTAs, update the calendar and prices on all your channels, communicate with guests, and manage bookings and cancellations. You must also handle cleaning and maintenance, check-ins and check-outs, restocking necessary supplies, etc.

Managing self-catering accommodation can be time-consuming, so savvy hosts use vacation rental software like Hospitable to streamline business operations. With Hospitable, you can automate 90% of repetitive daily tasks and put your business on autopilot.

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By automating different aspects of your hosting routine, you’ll have more time to create an inviting atmosphere to ensure a memorable experience for your guests and make them happy with their stay. This way, you can get more positive reviews that win you more bookings. Here’s what you can automate to save time and make your self-catering accommodation business more efficient.

Guest communication

Communication with guests is one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a short-term rental business. You need to quickly reply to inquiries from potential guests and proactively message your current guests during all customer journey stages to provide them with the necessary information.

That’s why it makes sense to streamline this process using vacation rental software with a guest communication feature. For example, Hospitable allows you to automate guest messaging from booking inquiries to check-out. You just need to create a list of message templates, personalize them with shortcodes, and set up message rules.

Hospitable’s system is powered by AI and can recognize guests’ questions on 20+ common topics. Our tool will quickly answer them on your behalf, using your pre-written responses. You can also take advantage of Hospitable’s integration with ChatGPT, which can help you create answers to unusual questions.

Check-ins and check-outs

If you live far from your self-catering house or apartment, meeting all your guests and handing over the key can be very challenging. But you can automate your check-ins and check-outs if you install a smart lock that operates by connecting to your property’s WI-Fi network.

Each guest can access your property using a unique code that expires after they check out. Then, you won’t have to drive to your short-term rental, and your guests will enjoy smooth check-ins and check-outs.

Managing smart locks is easy because they integrate with vacation rental software. For example, Hospitable has direct integrations with many popular smart lock systems, including Schlage, August, Yale, Igloohome, SmartThings, and RemoteLock.

Pricing

Setting the right nightly rates to stay competitive and maximize your profits is not easy. Your prices should be based on market trends in supply and demand, seasonality, and other vital data. However, manually analyzing relevant market data to optimize your daily rates requires much time and effort.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to get your pricing right. You can use a dynamic pricing tool for vacation rentals to automate the entire pricing process. Hospitable has integrations with advanced dynamic pricing tools that use AI to analyze market data and can recommend the best price for your bookings, helping you generate higher revenue.

Cleaning

Modern travelers prioritize cleanliness, so you must ensure your rental space looks spotless before welcoming new guests. Cleaning a self-catering accommodation requires attention to detail and can be highly time-consuming. That’s why it’s always better to outsource this task to professional cleaners who can do the job quickly and thoroughly. If you opt for Hospitable, you can create rules, and our system will assign tasks to your team automatically based on booking information.

Team management taken to the next level.

Assign tasks to your team automatically, send reminders, decide on the necessary level of access, and share calendars.

Noise monitoring

Unauthorized parties and excessive noise can make your neighbors unhappy and cause serious obstacles to your self-catering accommodation business. Parties also increase the risk of property damage, so the best strategy is to prevent them from happening.

Installing a noise monitoring system is an effective way to keep track of what’s going on at your property. Such devices are perfectly legal because they only measure decibel levels and duration of the noise and send you automated alerts if the noise levels inside your home exceed the threshold for a set amount of time. However, guests can still keep their privacy since noise monitoring tools don’t identify specific sounds and don’t record them. 

Self-Catering Accommodation: Some Examples

Let’s look at some examples of vacation rental properties that provide self-catering accommodation so that you can better understand what features and amenities guests expect.

self-catertering tree house v1

Treehouse, Washington, United States

This modern A-frame treehouse is located in the heart of the forest and surrounded by nature. It is fully equipped with all the amenities guests need for a relaxing stay. There is a kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, freezer, large convection microwave stainless steel oven, coffee maker, toaster, pots, pans, plates, cups, and wine glasses. Additional amenities include a hot tub, heated floors in the bathroom, a cozy king-bed loft, and a fireplace.

self-catertering boutique home

Boutique home, Wisconsin, United States

Built in the early 1900s, this beautifully landscaped and decorated boutique home is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the quiet, peaceful neighborhood. There are two bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a dining area. The beautiful kitchen features a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher, and barbecue utensils. It’s also fully stocked with pots, pans, and all the necessities to make any meal.

self-catertering chalet v2

Chalet in St Damien, Canada

With its refined Scandinavian style, this mountain chalet is the perfect spot for nature lovers. It has three bedrooms, a living room with a wood fireplace, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a dedicated workspace with WiFi in the mezzanine. Guests can also relax in the outdoor space and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature.

self-catertering villa v1

Villa, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States

This villa is within walking distance of the shore and only a short drive from Myrtle Beach’s attractions. It has two bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and two bathrooms. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher, a drip coffee maker, cooking essentials, and dishware. The living area has an open floor plan and a six-person dining table. There is also an outdoor dining area.

self-catertering boat

Houseboat, Florida, United States

This cozy houseboat offers adventurous travelers a unique opportunity to enjoy marina life. Although the houseboat is rather old, it has all the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay. There’s one bedroom with a queen bed, a living area, a bathroom, and a large galley with a full-size refrigerator/freezer, a two-burner stove top, and a microwave. Guests can relax on the upper deck and watch the wildlife in their natural habitat.

As you see, any type of property can be transformed into self-catering accommodation—a historic home in a quiet neighborhood, a luxury villa not far from the beach, a chalet in the mountains, or a treehouse surrounded by nature. But if you want to succeed in a highly competitive hospitality business, you need to offer more than just a place to stay and do your best to ensure that your rental space provides a home away from home experience.

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