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2020 Travel trends and how to respond to them

The travel industry is constantly changing and travellers are looking for very different things now than they used to be. It is important to understand this if you are renting out your property, as by keeping up with the trends, you can make changes to appeal to more travellers, thereby securing more bookings.

Here are just a few of the travel trends to expect in 2020 from Forbes, with our advice on how to capitalise on them for your Spanish holiday rental property to maximise bookings in 2020.

 

  1. Dual location holidays

According to Virtuoso, there’s a trend to visit one country, but stay in two destinations which have very different characteristics. This maximises the experience, without doubling up on the flights and the expense of travel. Property owners on the Costa del Sol can capitalise on this by promoting their proximity to cities such as Granada, Seville and Jerez. You can also share that we are just a 2 hour train ride away from Madrid, so for a two centre holiday combining culture, sun and cosmopolitan charm, the Costa del Sol is a great choice. 

Another way to promote your property to these kinds of travellers is to explain the diversity in this very small area and to say that every day can be different for visitors to the Costa del Sol. One day you could be enjoying the art galleries of Malaga, the next you could be walking the Caminito del Rey, then you can stroll along the seafront promenade in Marbella and enjoy the glitz and glamour of Puerto Banus. Tell visitors that they are just an hour from the famous Ronda gorge and that they can visit bodegas and try locally produced wine while they are there. Make sure they also know that they can whale watch in the Straits of Gibraltar, take a cable car to the top of the Rock and even spend a day kitesurfing in Tarifa. A holiday on the Costa del Sol epitomises variety and offers something for everyone.

 

  1. Reducing impact

Short haul flights and alternative methods of greener transport are growing in popularity. This is good news for the Costa del Sol, as we are easy to reach by car from the rest of Europe and are just a short flight even from Scandinavia and the UK. If people want to travel by train, we have the AVE from Madrid to Malaga and then a train line connecting Malaga with Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola. Make sure travel options are listed on your promotional materials and inform people of alternatives to flights where available.

 

  1. Mini-breaks

The trend for more trips through the year, but for shorter periods is expected to grow in 2020, as people juggle their holiday allowance and family responsibilities with their wanderlust. To appeal to this market, drop your minimum stay period to 3 days for example to allow people to visit for a long weekend. As the Costa del Sol is so easy to reach, you could attract repeat bookings with this policy and potentially increase your off-peak bookings as well.

 

  1. Travelling with pets

We all know that people love their pets and millennials don’t want to leave them at home when they travel. If you are happy to allow pets to stay in your property and can recommend good walks, dog parks and activities for pets and their owners you can open up a whole new market. Offer advice on when dogs can be on the beaches, leave details of vets and groomers and you’ll have very happy customers of the two and four legged variety.

 

  1. Vegan friendliness

There are more vegans, vegetarians and meat reducers who want their travel options to cater to their dietary requirements and support their lifestyle. If your property has easy access to vegan restaurants, markets selling organic fresh produce and you don’t have furniture or furnishings made from animal products, you can appeal to this market.

 

If you would like more advice on how to harness the 2020 travel trends to increase bookings, or would like to try and rent out your property short or long term, please speak to us.

We have been offering quality property management for property owners on the Costa del Sol since 2003. We have dedicated websites for short term and long term rentals and an exclusive agreement in place with Europe’s largest provider of privately owned holiday homes and arrangements with travel operators in the UK and Ireland to feed bookings to our owners. You can rely on us to reduce the stress of owning your Costa del Sol property, help you make extra income and allow you to enjoy your property while knowing it is being taken care of by the best people in the business.

Find out more about HomeCareontheWeb and how we can help you to earn more rental income on our website, or contact us today.

How to make your Spanish property more energy efficient

In December Spain played host to the COP25 climate summit. The summit was held in Madrid and brought together over 25,000 delegates from around the world. El Pais announced that during the two week summit the nations have been looking to reach agreement on how to tackle the effects of global warming and keep it within manageable limits. Read the full article

Inspired by the summit and knowing that everyone needs to do their bit, we wanted to share some advice on how to make your home more energy efficient. This is good for the environment, but also good for you, as you will reduce your energy bills and can save a lot over the course of a year.

According to the Green Home Guide there’s a lot you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Step 1 – Make sure your property is well insulated

Spanish properties are not made with insulation in mind and many have poorly fitting windows and no insulation in the walls. This can make it feel cold in the winter and encourage you, or your rental guests to put the heating on when it’s not really necessary. To stop this happening, you should do the following –

  1. Check your windows and look at whether they should be replaced. If they are old and leaky, you will be losing a lot of heat this way, so investing in double glazed windows can be a good idea. However, this is an expensive addition, so you could try adding some heavy curtains for use in the winter, as these can make a big difference.
  2. Use draft excluders under the doors to stop drafts entering and heat escaping
  3. Consider using rugs during the winter to stop the cold from the marble floors coming through. It makes the place look and feel more cosy.
  4. Plant trees and shrubs around the house to block the sun during the summer months and keep the house cooler, to reduce the need for air-conditioning

Step 2 – Look at the energy efficiency of your heating and lighting

Change your bulbs for low energy bulbs when they need changing, they cost a bit more, but last a lot longer, so it’s worth the investment.

Look at the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system and check that the air conditioning system has been serviced and cleaned as this can significantly improve efficiency. If it is time to replace your system, try to get the most energy efficient replacement possible, as we all know that air conditioning and heating uses a lot of energy and significantly increases bills when you have holiday rental guests.

Consider installing a solar hot water tank. Here in Spain, a solar hot water tank will give you all the hot water you need for around 9 months a year, and can save you a lot on energy costs. Utilising the power of the hot Spanish sun makes a lot of sense and can reduce your bills and your impact on the environment.

Here’s some more information on how to cut home energy bills and reduce energy use.

If you are inspired to make some changes to make your property more energy efficient, we can help. Our Costa del Sol property maintenance team can implement any changes for you, as we are your on-the-ground support system for anything you need for your property here in Spain. We can source energy efficient alternatives and get them installed for you and make recommendations on improving your property. Contact us and ask us how we can support you to improve your rental property and increase your rental bookings with our property management and maintenance services.

Promoting innovation and gastronomy at the World Travel Market

From the 4th to the 6th of November one of the world’s most important travel fairs took place in London. The Costa del Sol Tourist Board had a strong presence at the event, promoting the area to travel companies and tour operators to boost tourism and overcome the possible Brexit effect. They welcomed members of the Tourism Forum of the Costa del Sol to join the stand to represent as many types of businesses as possible and show the strength and breadth of the tourist offering here on the Costa del Sol.

According to a report in the newspaper the Diario Sur, the President of Tourism Costa del Sol signed agreements with experts in Big Data to ensure that the area continues to innovate and respond to tourists’ demand. Responding to the trend in gastro tourism, they showcased Malaga’s incredible local produce with an exhibition at a Spanish restaurant in Chelsea. The aim was to make alliances with travel companies looking for alternatives to traditional bucket and spade holidays and show that this area offers so much more than just beaches.

Also at the event, the British Association of Travel Agents and airlines including British Airways, TUI and jet2.com put many minds at rest by stressing that English tourists are still attracted by the tourist offering in Andalucía and on the Costa del Sol. They said that the British public are adapting to the uncertainty around Brexit but still travelling. He only expressed concern about whether the elections will make any impact on the traditional booking time for summer holidays in December and January.

The President of Tourism Costa del Sol stressed that “Andalucia is prepared to face any eventuality” regarding Brexit and other global changes and they are working hard to future proof the tourism sector. He is predicting a rise of 3.3% in tourism in the coming year and believes that British tourism will continue to grow, but that he is aware that they need to attract new travellers and promote different aspects of the Costa del Sol.

This is all positive news for owners of properties on the Costa del Sol who generate income from holiday rentals. Here at HomeCareontheWeb, we didn’t see a change in the levels of British tourists renting properties through us this year and we have more demand than supply in the long-term rental sector.

We feel confident that the market for holiday rentals and long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol will continue to stay strong. Our aim is to help owners who have property management packages with us to stay ahead of any downward trend with strong marketing both in the UK and in Europe to ensure that we are not reliant on any one market sector. We do this through an agreement with Europe’s biggest holiday home rentals company Novasol. They promote our properties via their 11 individual language websites and 1.5 million catalogues to 15,000 travel agents and this reduces the dependency on the British market for rentals.

If you have concerns about your holiday rental property, or would like to discuss how you can maximise bookings and earn more rental income for the 2020 season, please contact us.

Reassurances for British expats living in Spain

At the start of this month, the British Consulate has been doing pop-up sessions to answer questions about Brexit, living in Spain and how to access healthcare. They were in Torremolinos on the 1st of October and Mijas on the 3rd of October, trying to reassure people that their rights were protected.

The British government pledged that pensioners who are currently entitled to use the Spanish health service, will be funded to continue to receive healthcare in Spain for at least 14 months, until the end of 2020, regardless of what happens with Brexit this month. This has reassured many who were unhappy following the Health Secretary’s announcement that there would only be six month’s worth of cover for British expats living in Spain.

The advice remains the same, register with your Town Hall, apply for residency if you haven’t already and hopefully your rights will be recognised, even if the UK comes out of the EU with a no deal. There have been difficulties with getting residency appointments in some areas due to the amount of UK nationals applying, but the British Embassy Madrid announced on their Facebook page that extra staff have been put in place and suggested people try again to get an appointment.

If you want to buy a property in Spain, this should not be effected by Brexit, as you don’t need to be an EU citizen to buy here or invest in Spain. Property expert Susana Lajusticia has said there’s no reason why it would be different or more expensive to purchase property, nor should it effect your ability to rent out your property, as long as you comply with the rental laws in your area. The only thing that she says could change is taxes, as rates for EU and non-EU nationals differ. However, the UK and Spain have Double Treaty Agreements related to income tax for example, so hopefully it will be possible to make similar agreements after Brexit to allow for more stability and security for property owners. Read the full article

As a business we didn’t see a drop in holiday rentals from the UK this summer as expected and the number of long term rental clients from the UK has remained pretty much unchanged since the 2016 vote. We hope and believe that no matter what happens on the 31st of October, that Spain and the UK will come to arrangements to ensure that British residents of Spain can continue to live there and to make it as easy as possible to travel here. Tourism from the UK is too important to Spain to block this and so they should be incentivised to make a deal.

As many of our team are from the UK, but have lived and worked in Spain for many years, the uncertainty is unsettling. However, like migrants the world over, our status and rights will be subject to the changing political climate of our adoptive county (and country of origin). The one constant is that the rules governing our status change! Consequently, the best advice we can offer is to keep informed and respect the rules of the county that has welcomed us.

If you have any questions about how Brexit will affect you, as a property owner in Spain, renting out your property, or perhaps as a long-term rental tenant living here full time, please contact us and we’ll do our best to inform you of the latest situation and advice.

Spanish tourism increases on the Costa del Sol

It was reported in the Euroweekly News that more Spanish tourists travelled to the Costa del Sol this summer. Marbella and Estepona in particular saw a big upsurge in Spanish tourist numbers, with Estepona experiencing an increase of nearly 70% in tourists from within Spain comparing this July to July 2018.

According to the newspaper, this increase was also seen in other tourist areas on the Costa del Sol. “Marbella saw an increase of 20.9 per cent to 30,089 Spanish tourists, while Torremolinos experienced year-on year growth of 18.4 per cent. Antequera saw a 15 per cent rise, Malaga capital 13.1 per cent and Benalmadena 7.7 per cent.”

Marbella had its best July for 13 years, with a small increase in average room prices as well. Estepona experienced its busiest July on record in the town’s hotels, according to the Sur in English.

These figures are for the hotels in the area, as property management experts who help hundreds of property owners generate rental income, we have also seen an increase in Spanish tourists booking holiday rental properties. This is a great source of potential rental income for our clients, in addition to our large numbers of Northern European and British clientele. We haven’t seen the predicted Brexit effect this year, with the same amount of bookings from the UK as in previous years, so this is a very positive upward trend.

The increase in Spanish tourism reflects the improving economic conditions in the country which have been seen over the last five years or so, as Spain recovers from the financial crisis. It was reported in El Pais that unemployment fell in Spain in the second quarter, which would boost tourism and spending in general. Here on the Costa del Sol, there has been significant investment made in the hospitality sector, which is generating employment and more interest in the area from businesses and tourists alike.

This is all good news for owners of properties on the Costa del Sol who are looking to generate rental income. The holiday rental market already generates $1,437 million and is expected to grow by 4.2%, resulting in a market volume of US$1,694m by 2023 according to statista.com. We have seen steady growth in the holiday rental and long-term rental demand, as well as an extension of the typical high season and more off-peak bookings.

HomeCareontheWeb is looking for more properties to meet the demand and as property management and rental experts we can take the stress out of rentals. Please contact us to discuss renting out your property. You can also download our free guide with our secrets of successful holiday rentals to find out more about how it works and decide if it’s right for you.

La Cala and the Costa del Sol is building again

You can’t miss the reappearance of cranes on the horizon and the new developments which are springing up along the Costa del Sol. As we are based in La Cala in Mijas Costa we’ve been noticing it here more than ever and are delighted to see how many jobs are being created and the renewed interest in property in the area. There hasn’t been this much activity since the golden age of real estate at the beginning of the millennium and its being driven by demand from foreign buyers, as well as the reactivation of Spanish buyers.

A third of all the new development projects completed in Andalucia between March 2018 and 2019 were in the Malaga province according to the Sur in English. They add that two reports from a real estate firm and a valuation firm confirm the good health of the real estate industry in the Malaga province, both in terms of new properties being built and the increasing property prices. The Tinsa report showed that property prices here in Mijas have increased by 15.3%, but the company’s commercial director stressed that there’s a long way to go to reach the top prices seen in 2007. He also noted that lending controls and more gradual price increases protects the Costa del Sol from the real estate bubble that burst due to the financial crisis. Read more

The confidence in the Costa del Sol being shown by property buyers is being echoed by businesses who are investing in the area and creating more for the tourism sector and jobs for residents. Greek hotel chain Ikos are investing 150 million euros in a hotel in Estepona which is due to open in May 2020.  The Four Seasons group are opening a luxury hotel and private residences on the beachfront of Marbella, making an investment of 650 million to make this project a reality and there are many more businesses investing in the Costa del Sol.

We are very happy to see building projects spring up all around us in La Cala, as we’re seeing a large growth in demand for long term rentals throughout the year and holiday rentals in the peak season from April to September. La Cala is desirable because of its great beach area, community feel, nice restaurants, bars, amenities and the large weekly market. Tenants and holiday makers like the proximity to Fuengirola and Mijas Pueblo, the short trip from the airport and the great golf courses and leisure facilities nearby.

Our holiday rental clients love apartments in the La Cala Golf Resort, Dream Gardens and La Cala Azul. They like to be close to the beach, or within walking distance of the centre of La Cala, as well as developments with nice communal pools and gardens. Contemporary styling and open plan living is also popular, as well as great terrace space and opportunities for outdoor eating and socialising. Inland golf properties are also popular, as guests like the quiet, the views and the chance to be within walking distance of a golf course.

We are actively seeking more holiday rental properties in La Cala de Mijas to meet demand, so if you own a property, or are buying one of the new off-plan developments and thinking about renting it out please talk to us. The sooner we can list your property and get it promoted on our website, social media and out to our partners, the sooner we can get it rented out. Pop into our office in La Cala and let’s discuss how we can help you earn rental income.

Spain receives a boost by being named the world’s healthiest nation

As experts in holiday rentals and long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol, we were very pleased to see Spain ranked number one in Bloomberg’s Healthiest Country Index 2019. This has been widely promoted around the world and brought more positive attention on Spain as a great place live for a healthy and long life.

We expect this to have a positive impact on people wanting to move over to Spain permanently, as the index showed how good the public health system was and how, as a result of public health policies, rates of heart disease and deaths from cancer has significantly dropped. It also praised the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet on life expectancy and judged the country on many different variables which lead to a healthy life. Spain is expected to overtake Japan as the country with the highest life expectancy in 2040, further reinforcing Spain’s position as a healthy place to live.

Having lived and worked in Spain ourselves for many years, we’d say that there are a number of other factors about life here which makes it healthier than other nations.

  1. Access to great sports facilities, with a climate and culture which encourages getting active
  2. A relaxed attitude to life, which really reduces stress
  3. A culture which encourages family time and supporting each other

Demand for long-term rentals increasing

This positive news and promotion of the lifestyle benefits of Spain is further fuelling demand for long-term rental properties. Long-term rental demand has been growing for a number of years now, while supply has been decreasing, and this is causing significant price increases in the market – a trend we expect to continue. While competition in the short term let sector is very high, in many popular areas the demand is so high for long-term rentals that you can pick and choose your tenants.

If this sounds appealing and you’d like to earn rental income from your property, but have been put off from renting short term by the new rental laws, or the hassle of renting your holiday home, please get in touch.

We are actively looking for more long-term rental properties on the Costa del Sol from September onwards. Our dedicated Costa del Sol long-term rental website attracts a high level of visitors and we really need more properties to meet the demand.

With HomeCareontheWeb on your side, renting out your property doesn’t need to be stressful

HomeCareontheWeb are experts in property management and pride ourselves on caring for your property as if it was our own. If you rent out your property with us, we can take care of everything, from inventories and contracts, to rent collection and regular checks of the property. We can deal with any maintenance issues for your tenants, in your absence, and keep you informed about everything via our online owners’ area.

Please contact us and find out how we can help you start renting out your property long-term

Preparing your home for rentals

Here at HomeCareontheWeb we are property management and rental experts, with more than 15 years’ experience caring for our clients’ homes as if they were our own. Some clients simply like us to keep an eye on the property and deal with any issues that may arise while they’re away. However, the majority of our owners also want our help with generating income by renting out their property.

So, we wanted to share a few steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your home before you can start to rent it out and generate rental income.

  1. Decide whether to go short or long term

The first step in preparing your home for rentals is to decide what kind of rentals you want to do – short term holiday rentals, or long-term rentals. The long-term rental market is really booming and there is a definite shortage of supply, which is pushing prices up. However, this is most suitable for owners who don’t want to use their properties and are simply using it as an investment. Some contracts have breaks for the summer months to allow owners to holiday there themselves, but tenants usually want a 12 month contract. To find out more about long-term rentals download our free guide Home Owners Tips for Long-Term Rentals

If you want to use your property, but aren’t here often and can be flexible as to when you holiday, then short term rental is a good idea. Although there is a lot of competition in this field, properties rent well over the peak summer months, but tend to be empty outside the season, so you can use the property yourself. There is now regulation in this industry and you need to register your property, inform the police station when guests arrive and pay tax on your rental income, but this is still a good way to maximise the investment in your property.

Download our Secrets of Successful Rentals Guide to learn more about renting out your property.

Once you’ve decided how you want to rent your property then you need to prepare your property for when guests arrive.

  1. Make sure guests are informed

Create an information pack which helps guests to enjoy their stay to the full. This includes contact information for you or your property management company, instructions on how to operate things like the air conditioning, washing machine and dishwasher and any rules and regulations you would like guests to abide by. This information pack should also contain information about the local area, so your tenants feel right at home and know everything they need to so that living in your property offers the best possible experience.

  1. Protect your valuables

Guests will look after your property to the best of their ability, but it’s best not to leave important things at risk. Pack away any items of value (sentimental or financial) and any delicate items you wouldn’t want broken and store them in a safe place. Many landlords buy new but easily replaced packs of cups, plates and glasses from Ikea so there’s no sentimental value and if things get broken it really doesn’t matter.

It’s also a good idea to remove any highly personal items such as photographs and keepsakes and make your property neutral, as this will help guests feel right at home.

  1. Clean, clear out and tidy

Clear your cupboards and fridge and make sure you have all the essential items for a short term or long term tenant. Then deep clean everywhere and perform any small maintenance tasks you may have been putting off to make sure everything is perfect for your guests’ arrival.

Organize cleaners who can handle the change over after guests leave and gardeners, if necessary, to keep your garden in good condition for guests and make sure the property is secure. Appoint someone to keep hold of your keys so that cleaners, gardeners and maintenance people can get access. Then you are ready to welcome your first guests and start generating income.

If this all sounds like too much work, call in the experts!

HomeCareontheWeb can take care of all of this for you. Our experience and multi-skilled team makes this easy, and we have processes in place to remove the stress from you. We are able to find you rental clients, taking bookings, handle payments and deposits and organize all the people needed to keep your property in great condition for you and your tenants.

Please browse our website to find out more about our property management packages and our rental management services, or contact our helpful team to find out more.

Spain’s General Election Run Down

While most of our clients don’t live in Spain, they own property here, renting it out and paying taxes, so it’s important to stay up to date with the political situation. Spaniards went to the polls on the 28th of April after a snap election was called by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party). In this post, we will summarise what happened and how the political landscape has changed.

There was a very high turnout, of nearly 76% and PSOE won the election, with a 28.7% share of the votes. PSOE defines itself as “social democratic, centre-left and progressive”. Pedro Sánchez is leading the party and is the acting Prime minister. However despite the strong performance, the party has not done enough to get an absolute majority, therefore will need to make an alliance with more parties to form a governing coalition.

In the election, the Popular Party (PP) lost a huge number of seats, down from 137 to just 66 – their worst result in history. PP is center-right and led from the 2011 elections until 2018 when a corruption case brought down the government with a no confidence vote. Pablo Casado was named leader in July 2018, and the party swung further to the right, the dismal result in the current elections has brought his leadership into question.

Far right Vox secured 10.26% of the votes, lower than polls suggested, they enter congress, but will not play a decisive roll in the formation of a new government.

Cuidadanos is a centre right political party, opposed to Catalan nationalism. They improved their position significantly, up from 32 to 57 representatives, but have refused to go into coalition with PSOE. Left wing Unidas Podemos lost 29 seats in the election, but is looking to go into a governing coalition with the socialists.

Now the politicians are negotiating to form coalitions and the PSOE is the only party able to build a governing majority. However, they are also preparing for the local and regional elections on May 26th and aren’t in a rush to finalise their alliances until these elections are complete and the votes are counted. El Pais predicts a “long power struggle” and how the final political landscape will look remains to be seen. We will keep you updated.

Find out more on the El Pais in English website –

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/29/inenglish/1556519911_184823.html

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/30/inenglish/1556608489_985863.html

Rental regulation and tax changes in Spain

As all property owners renting out their property in Spain know, a new holiday rental law came into force in 2016, regulating the short term rental industry and adding in 2017 that owners also had to register passport details of all the guests and submit them to the police station. This change forced thousands of owners, who had not been declaring their rental income to register and start paying tax here in Spain.

The next step of this process to make the industry more transparent, and ensure owners are paying tax, is that property portals and estate agencies doing rentals have been obliged to pass their clients’ tax details over to the Spanish Tax Authorities from the 1st of January. They are being asked to file these retroactively, going back to January 2018, so it’s very important that all your taxes have been paid and you are properly declaring your rental income. Find out more

The government has also been trying to get involved with long-term rentals and passed a new law on the 19th of December to try and lower long-term rental prices and make the market more stable. However, this law only stood for 35 days, due to concerns about local governments setting a limit on rental prices in urban areas being an overreaching measure. This means that the law regarding rentals has gone back to the original law, which states a 3 years mandatory rental renewal plus one year tacit renewal. Experts believe that the government will revisit this topic during this year to boost tenants’ rights, but for now it’s back to the status quo. Find out more

If you have any doubts about renting out your property and the laws or regulations in place, please contact us. We are property management and rental experts, with many years’ experience helping owners maximise income from their properties and we can help you register your property and make sure you’re complying with everything in the right way.

HomeCareontheWeb is looking for owners who want to rent out their property for holiday rentals and long-term contracts for 2019, so please get in touch and find out how we can help you to start generating rental income.

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