VRS322 – Setting the Vacation Rental Standard Beside the Sea

There are thousands of small property management companies around the world run by passionate hard-working people who love this business and have massive experience of hands-on management.   Richard and Sophie Smith own Beside The Sea Holidays in Cambersands, a beautiful beach town in East Sussex, UK, and between them, they manage 43 beautiful homes.  Theirs is a masterclass in how to create a sustainable company through combining a love of hospitality with a deep knowledge of what their guests want in a vacation.

I first heard about Beside The Sea Holidays from Touch Stay’s Andy McNulty.  We were preparing for a presentation to the annual VRMA conference in Las Vegas in 2018 on Love Languages and their application to our industry, and Andy was delivering his part on ‘the guest journey’ – that period from booking through to post-stay – and how this management company from a small beach town in the south of England was crushing their competition.

So, I wanted to find out first-hand what makes BTS tick and how Richard and Sophie maintain their standards (and their sanity) with no permanent staff, and a four-year old just to keep things interesting.

First and foremost, they have a solid knowledge of what their guests want because they were once visitors themselves before moving full-time to Cambersands.  They used to bring Oscar (the dog) to enjoy the pet-friendly beach, so knew that their properties needed to welcome pets. 

It was also important to them to be provided with information on what was on in the area so they could plan their stay in advance, and of course they wanted a pristine property to stay in.

In this episode, Richard and Sophie explain their approach to the business which is 100% hands-on.  They personally meet most of their guests, deal with all their issues and manage all the administration without the help of any staff, and it’s clear they love every part of the job.

They share:

  • How they started out in the rental business
  • What stands them out from the competition in the area?
  • The importance of tech partners who understand their philosophy
  • How their workflow drives the business
  • Their tech stack and why it works for them
  • How getting great copy written converts those just looking into booking


Beside The Sea Holidays
Touch Stay
Guest Hook
Price Labs