Thursday, 21 July 2022

How to Become a Better Host for Your Guests this Summer?

July 21, 2022 - Traveling is all about the experience, and as a host, you too can do your part to make that experience unforgettable for your guests this summer in Croatia. Take a look at these tips that can help you become a better host this season!

There are those who say that Croatia sells itself and does not need strong advertising campaigns. On the plus side, it can give you peace of mind that bookings will eventually land as everyone wants a bit of Croatian summer. On the downside, this can make you overconfident and make you believe that doing the bare minimum is enough to succeed in the private hosting business. But once your guests arrive, you will surely want to do your bit to make their experience unforgettable. How? Here are some tips to be a better host for them.

1. Communicate with your guest in advance

While it is true that the current circumstances have increased the number of last-minute bookings, many tourists continue to book their accommodation weeks, or even months, in advance. I know that feeling of wanting to close your eyes, lie back and do nothing until they arrive. It's not the right thing, though. I have also been to the other side, and as a tourist, I have felt the uneasiness and anxiety of thinking that I will arrive somewhere I've never been before and I do not know how to get there from the airport, or where can I store my luggage since I will arrive before check-in time.

It is best to write to your guest as soon as they make the reservation. Give them peace of mind that, even if there are months or weeks to go before their arrival, everything will be fine and there is nothing to worry about. Confirm their check-in time, ask them how they will get to the city, and offer recommendations on how to get from the airport, bus, or train station to your accommodation. Also, if there are activities or tours in your city that require reservations, let them know. Not only do I recommend you write to them to confirm all their arrival details, but it is better if you respond quickly to their questions and concerns if there are any.

2. Try to meet them in person

In the most difficult times of the pandemic, most guests requested contactless check-in alternatives, but as the situation has improved over time, we have returned to the good old days when host and guest meet in person. Nevertheless, I keep walking through the streets of Diocletian's Palace and I see newcomers, lost, carrying their suitcases from one place to another, under the scorching heat, unable to find their accommodation. This happens very often in the old towns of Croatian coastal cities, and most owners prefer to provide the address and a password to enter the accommodation. While that can be beneficial for owners, in many cases it means getting off on the wrong foot and surely affects their guests' first impressions.

If possible, arrange with them a time and place to meet and, from there, show them the way to your accommodation. They will value that first gesture and it will also help them memorize the easiest way to locate their apartment. After a heavy trip, you will also want to help them with their bags, since you know the city well and you know that there are stairs and narrow alleys everywhere. Take the opportunity to talk to them, make them feel that they can trust you for anything, and at the same time give them a brief tour of the city, telling them a little about the history of the place. 

3. Get to know your guests

If you have the privilege of meeting your guests in person, I highly recommended that you take the opportunity to talk with them (respecting their privacy, of course). You can ask them what they plan to do during their stay and what kind of activities they want to do. Based on this, you will know what recommendations to give them. Make sure you know who you are giving tips to, as a solo traveler will not be the same as a couple or a family of five. For the solo traveler, you may want to recommend bars to meet people, the best romantic spots for the couple, and for the family of five a fun tour that they can equally enjoy together.

Also, knowing your guests well will help you filter your restaurant recommendations, since some of them may be vegan or have a specific diet. Don't be afraid to ask questions that will help you improve the experience of your guests during their stay.

4. Give them as many recommendations as possible

How to get to your accommodation or good restaurants around the city are a good starting point, but it doesn't hurt to go a little further and share more of your recommendations, especially in a country like Croatia where every city has so much to offer. Some ideas of recommendations that you can give them are:

  • Best tours in the city and surroundings
  • Islands to visit for a full day
  • How to get to the islands
  • Souvenirs to take home
  • Supermarkets nearby to buy groceries
  • Nearby parking lots
  • Nice beaches without crowds
  • Best ice cream shops
  • How to use public transport
  • What to do in case of emergency

5. Always do "something else"

At the end of the day, what appears on your website or on your Booking or Airbnb profile is what you offer, and it should be enough for guests to see that everything is in order for them to give you a good rating and review once their stay is over. However, there is no better feeling than knowing that, in cities where there are many apartments just like yours, you stood out as a host by improving the experience of your guests. How did you do it? Always offering something more. It doesn't have to be an expensive bottle of wine or paying them for lunch, but rather meaningful details. For example, leave some bottles of water in their fridge, help them carry their bags, suggest a particular dish at a restaurant, or even offer (if possible) a late check-out if their flight is in the afternoon.

It may not make you richer, but it may be the case that your guests are able to appreciate those nice gestures and that, in addition to giving you a good rating or review, they also feel encouraged to recommend your accommodation to family or friends, or even come back next summer!

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Record 1.6 Billion Kuna in Income Reported by Croatian Private Landlords

October the 12th, 2021 - September set an absolute record, with four times more income from Croatian private landlords who rent their accommodation out to tourists reported to the Tax Administration.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, experimental stories from the field and exact summary data shows that the post-season in Croatia this year well and truly exceeded the expectations of the past few weeks. The latest published figures of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), on arrivals and overnight stays in the first nine months, only confirmed this. There were 70 percent more arrivals and 52 percent more overnight stays than there were last year!

The last detailed picture of fiscalised receipts by activity/sector offers some clear indications of the financial effects of the strong growth of physical indicators at the end of the tourist season.

Four times more income reported than last year!

The Tax Administration claims that 1.6 billion kuna worth of fiscalised receipts were issued for accommodation services last month alone. Compared to last September, with a reported turnover of 420 million kuna, this is almost four times more. Moreover, September 2021's 1.6 billion kuna is also the largest ever fiscalised turnover for that month in that industry. In pre-pandemic 2019, 1.22 billion kuna was recorded in September, 1.19 billion was recorded back in 2018, and approximately one billion kuna was recorded two years before that. Apart from the Croatian private landlords who most directly reflect this truly excellent post-season, the data on fiscalisation in the catering and hospitality industry, primarily cafes and restaurants, also speaks volumes about it.

In September 2021, the catering and hospitality industry issued receipts worth a massive 1.9 billion kuna, which is an increase of more than 70 percent when compared to the same month last year, when they reported 1.1 billion kuna. If September alone is observed, this is a record number for the activity of preparation and serving food and beverages, because, for example, in that month back in 2019, 1.7 billion kuna passed through the fiscalisation system, 1.6 was recorded one year earlier, and a year before that, the figure stood at 1.4 billion.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Makarska Riviera Private Accommodation Owners Look Towards Season

May the 16th, 2021 - Makarska Riviera private accommodation owners are biting their nails in anticipation of the rapidly approaching 2021 tourist season which still has very many question marks dangling above its head despite the more favourable epidemiological situation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, yet another coronavirus-influenced Croatian tourist season is just around the corner. The epidemiological situation across the country is fortunately becoming much more favourable, the number of new cases of infection has been declining over recent days. However, there is uncertainty among private accommodation owners as the season largely depends on measures in other countries from which tourists typically come.

We often read about the situation for Croatian tourism, primarily from the aspect of large hotel companies, while the extremely important segment of those who rent out private accommodation to foreign visitors is very rarely mentioned. Slobodna Dalmacija examined the expectations and current state of reservations and the perspectives of Makarska Riviera private accommodation owners.

"We're totally ready for the season. Taught by last season, of course we're cautious. We don't expect madness from the reservations. Booking for this year mainly consists of reservations from Poland and Slovenia. It's obvious that the German market hasn't yet been definitively defined. If and when it opens, then that'll be something,'' said Makarska Riviera private accommodation renter Eleonora Filipetti.

"It's hard to be smart when it comes to setting prices. Currently, the poorer booking is a reflection of market conditions, vaccinations and measures, and the question is whether our product is too expensive or not. We'll play with prices depending on the interest,'' she added.

Makarska Riviera private accommodation landlord Pavo Boric revealed how they're preparing for the season in beautiful Tucepi.

"According to all the reservations we've received so far, I think that this season will be like it was in 2020, with the possibility of better realisation for September compared to last year. In terms of representation, for now it's dominated by reservations from Austria and Germany, and we've got a good number of bookings from them. There are 30 percent more Slovenians compared to last year, and reservations from Bosnia and Herzegovina have also started to arrive. The prices have remained the same as they were back in 2019, with previous guests having 10 percent discounts. I think that by lowering prices we'd lose out in the long run. We're being realistic with the prices,'' he said.

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Drop in Croatian Private Rental Numbers as Result of Coronavirus Pandemic

March the 7th, 2021 - The number of Croatian private rental owners has seen a decrease as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the stringent leisure travel restrictions that have come with it. Their Association is seeking measures to ease things for those in this business.

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes, in Split-Dalmatia County, the number of Croatian private rental owners decreased by as much as 11 percent, and in the City of Split itself, by almost 15 percent. This information was presented at the online session of the Family Tourism Association Section of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce - Split County Chamber.

Gordana Pitesa stated that a safe epidemiological environment is a prerequisite for the arrival of guests from abroad, and as such she recommended the Safe Stay in Croatia label to all stakeholders in tourism, which can be absolutely crucial for guests when choosing a place to stay.

At the moment, there are only a small number of reservations, said Pitsa, recommending that Croatian private rental owners place more emphasis on making sales and being more present on social media.

"A lot of work has been done by the national family tourism board, some of our proposals have been met and the importance of the board is that on the one hand it allows us to communicate with ministries and relevant institutions, and on the other gives Croatian private rental owners the opportunity to propose more measures and things in regard to doing business easier and better for them,¨ said the president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Martina Nimac Kalcina.

Nimac Kalcina reminded Croatian private rental owners of the proposals of measures to facilitate the business of private landlords that were sent to the relevant ministry at the end of February, such as the exemption from paying the first installment of the annual flat income tax private landlords must pay which due on March the 31st this year, the exemption from paying tourist tax and other such membership fees for the year 2021 for all those who deregister their accommodation capacities, provided that they did not have registered guests, accessing loans and more.

The session also discussed the need to organise additional coronavirus testing points for visitors, the need to speed up testing, the setting of a far more appropriate price for PCR tests for guests and the better facilitiation of the procedure, which they will continue to insist on because such things will govern tourists´ decision making when it comes to where to go and where to stay. The possibility of putting the categorisation process on hold, for example, for one year, was also discussed.

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Saturday, 27 July 2019

State Inspectors Discover 97 Private Renters Breaking Law So Far

From the 1st of April to the 19th of July this year, inspectors from the State Inspectorate carried out 651 inspections of private renters.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of July, 2019, since the State Inspectorate announced the heightened presence of state inspectors on the Croatian coast this year on the hunt for private renters breaking the law, 651 inspections have been carried out, and so far 97 violations of regulations have been found. This information was obtained by the competent body.

For alleged violations of the regulations, tourist inspectors filed ten indictment motions for initiating misdemeanor proceedings, issued fourteen misdemeanor warrants, issued 64 fines at the location of the misdemeanor, and in two cases, they seized items of property.

In 78 cases, inspectors merely warned offenders to correct any irregularities to make sure they didn't face punishment in the future.

As is already known, since the beginning of April this year, inspectors from the State Inspectorate have once again been carrying out thorough inspection activities in the field of hospitality services in households, such as private/family accommodation units, as well as the proper registration of the stay of tourists, including the billing and payment of the sojourn or tourist tax from the owners of houses and holiday apartments.

Since the abolition of the old Inspectorate back in 2014 until this year, inspections have been being carried out by customs inspections with inspectors from the Ministry of Tourism.

In addition to keeping an eye on private renters, these inspectors also control so-called ''weekenders'' in non-commercial accommodation which also have to pay sojourn tax, and will report the results of these checks at the end of the season.

Otherwise, the number of beds in 2019 has risen to 468,000, which is 10 percent more than there were last year, and about 23 percent more than there were back in 2017, the Croatian National Tourist Board's data shows.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Check Out Price of Most Expensive Airbnb Accommodation in Croatia

If you've ever visited Croatia and you're not the hotel type, the chances are you've used the massive private accommodation booking and reservation platform Airbnb. The company, despite having faced numerous obstacles from multiple countries around the world, has gone from strength to strength since its ''birth'' not so long ago, and after having entered the Croatian market a few years ago, its popularity among travellers who fancy a much more personal and local experience has done nothing but grow.

Airbnbs can be found all over the country, from the glitz of the Dalmatian coast and its many islands to overlooked Eastern Croatia, not to mention in the capital and in the rolling green hills of Lika and Gorski Kotar. The ''liberalisation'' of the market has opened many a door for those who feel that the classic hotel experience draws away from the authenticity of a destination, and in most cases, especially outside of the height of the tourist season in Croatia, you'll get a very good deal on Airbnb indeed.

That being said, there are many extremely expensive villas listed on the popular booking platform and many of them are located right here in Croatia. Let's take a look into the prices of the most expensive Airbnb listing in the whole country. Where is it located you ask? If the first thought that came to mind was Dubrovnik, then you'd be right.

As Novac writes on the 31st of May, 2019, tourist experts and those in the know point out that Dubrovnik's stunning Villa Eden is certainly one of the most luxurious pieces of accommodation in the Republic of Croatia offered by the world-renowned Airbnb booking platform, and that such accommodation can barely be afforded by any ''normal'' person. This Dubrovnik villa, located near the Sveti Jakov (Eastern) part of the city offers an uninterrupted and truly incredible view of the sparkling Adriatic sea and the UNESCO-protected historic core of Dubrovnik, which is only about five hundred metres from the villa itself.

Specialised portals for tourism and travel emphasise the intimate and luxury atmosphere it provides, coupled with the soothing sounds of the crickets, a classic Mediterranean summertime sound, are the blend of dream holiday. As far as the beach is concerned, it is only five metres away. Six bedrooms can comfortably accommodate up to twelve guests, and there are seven bathrooms in the house, so guests don't have to bother dancing around uncomfortably and waiting their turn.

The interior covers approximately 700 square metres, and there are also an impressive 7,000 square metres of greenery with a swimming pool. A wine cellar with some rare labels in it, a fitness and spa area and even a piano are all a part of this incredibly expensive Dubrovnik villa's package, not to mention a home library which can serve as an inspiration for rainy days. But let's be honest, rainy days are certainly not something you'd want if you're paying what this listing wants you to.

The price of an overnight stay in this villa stands at around 60,000 kuna during the season. For a week (seven nights), which is the minimum stay for booking Dubrovnik's Villa Eden, will see lovers of luxury have to shell out about 484,000 kuna, an almost incomprehensible price tag for a holiday.

Click HERE for photos.

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