pikl_admin, Author at Pikl

The top 10 UK staycation spots you should reconsider for summer 2021

With prospects of a holiday abroad looking increasingly unlikely, UK staycations are the hot topic in 2021. But, with so many Britons looking for a holiday, the top staycation spots are booking up fast and prices are on the rise. But Louise Birritteri, Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, has a solution.

“The UK is getting booked up fast for summer 2021, so holidaymakers need to get smart. The good news is that there are plenty of staycation spots that often get overlooked for no good reason.”

Louise has combed through thousands of destinations to find the places that provide the best balance of activities, natural beauty, and budget-friendly holiday-making. Here’s her list of top ten UK staycation spots that you should reconsider:

Margate

Maybe Margate isn’t currently knocking the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands off your list of UK staycation spots, but there’s a reason why Margate drew Londoners to its sands for hundreds of years.

For example, fans of museums will find a visit to Margate right up their alley. Kids and adults alike will love the Hornby Visitor Centre, a museum dedicated to all things Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you’ve got plenty more options, from the Turner Contemporary art gallery, through the carefully-restored Tudor House, to the local history found in the Margate Museum housed in the old police station and court!

For those sunny days where it’s best to be outdoors, Margate offers its Main Sands beach as well as Palm Bay. The latter is for those who want uninterrupted sand and sea, the former who like to accompany their sand castles with restaurants and bars.

Both the picturesque Whitstable and Broadstairs are also within easy reach of a Margate staycationer.

Lastly, anyone visiting Margate must visit the Shell Grotto, a breath taking series of underground rooms and passageways decorated with an astounding mosaic of 4.6 million shells. No-one knows who made it or why, but you’ll be glad that you saw it with your own eyes!

Torquay

You might think Torquay is full of Basil Fawltys, but you’d be mistaken. With sea fronts full of palm trees giving it an almost tropical feel, you’ll find plenty to fill a staycation. For the adventurous, there’s sea kayaking and jet skiing to be had along the beautiful coast. For the explorers, there’s the likes of Kents Cavern, a set of caves still home to the remains of mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. And those looking for a more relaxed break can enjoy the local spas and perhaps even the annual Agatha Christie festival.

Torquay also makes a good base camp for some of the spectacular attractions in the wider area. Rick Stein’s native Padstow, the stupendous Eden Project, and Dartmoor National Park are all within driving distance of Torquay, making it a perfect spot for a jam-packed staycation without the eye-watering cost.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s claim to fame last year were the photos of jam-packed beaches during the pandemic. And there’s a reason for that: Dorset beaches are spectacular! Thankfully, there are quieter beaches available

Bournemouth is surrounded by incredible attractions. Neighbouring Poole features a warren of independent shops to explore and a beautiful Quay to walk with an ice cream in hand. Or take the ferry out to Swanage to take a ride on the steam railway, stopping off to explore the beautiful ruins of Corfe Castle.

Dorset offers plenty for explorers, too, with Brownsea Island (where the cub scouts were founded), the stunning New Forest, and of course the Jurassic Coast to wander. There’s plenty to do in Dorset, and Bournemouth is a great place to stay while you explore!

Scarborough

Simon and Garfunkel once asked us if we were going to Scarborough fair. Perhaps we should. After all, the beach is fantastic, with plenty to do for families, and the harbour is the perfect spot to relax and watch the world go by. Visitors can take a quiet walk through Broxa Forest, or visit the Scarborough Fair Collection and take a look at its magnificent working collection of vintage cars, steam engines, and fairground rides.

Venture just a little further afield and you’ll find neighbouring Whitby, with a beautiful harbour of its own, as well as a stunning beach and a lovely abbey that’s worth a visit. If both Scarborough and Whitby aren’t enough beach for you, nearby Filey is home to another stunning stretch of sand and sea. The Bird Garden & Animal Park is also perfect for kids!

We can also recommend a visit to nearby Runswick Bay, a beautiful village that rewards wanderers of its narrow lanes with a charming pub and a cosy cafe when it’s time to recharge after walking the gorgeous sweeping coastline.

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth may have lost its status as a top UK staycation destination, but perhaps it’s time it was reinstated. This seaside town has a perfect balance of affordability, things to do, and surrounding attractions to be on your list of destinations this year.

Yarmouth itself features a beautiful stretching beach, paired with a stretch of amusements and restaurants, along with Yarmouth Pier itself. True explorers can even find a tiny museum dedicated to wind farm technology to go with its own spectacular wind farm.

Yarmouth is also superbly placed to enjoy everything Norfolk has to offer. Quieter beaches such as Caister or Horsey are just a short drive away, and the Norfolk Broads will be right on your doorstep, full of walks and boat rides perfect for beautiful sunny days.

For those looking for more urban adventures, the market city of Norwich is a stone’s throw away. You can spend a whole day exploring the market stalls, and the Norwich Lanes are a stupendous collection of independent shops full of treasures.

Tynemouth

If you don’t have Tynemouth on your list for a UK staycation, think again.

Visit one of the surf schools for an exciting new experience on the water, explore the markets or visit the beautiful attractions such as the Priory and Castle. Home to the spectacular Longsands beach, you might be tempted to spend every day amongst the sand and the sea. If so, we recommend visiting one of the surf schools; it’s a fantastic chance to enjoy the sea in an exciting new way!

For a quieter day, venture inland to explore Tynemouth’s indoor market or visit the beautiful Priory and Castle. Kids will love Tynemouth Park with its boating lake, dinosaur miniature golf, and a maze with treasure hidden everywhere for the kids to find!

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: where else in the UK can you enjoy all of this and a quick jaunt over to Amsterdam too? Book the overnight ferry to arrive fresh the next morning and spend the day exploring. That’s a UK staycation with a twist!

Eastbourne

Londoners might not think to rush to Eastbourne when the weather is nice, but they’re missing out. Less than an hour and a half by car, Eastbourne features award-winning beaches as well as the stunning South Downs, a national park filled with incredible walks and breath-taking views, including the sort of chalk cliffs that people think can only be seen in Dover.

We recommend a day trip that takes in the Seven Sisters just around the corner and then on to the beautiful Seaford Beach.

There’s plenty here for families, too, from the Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park to Fort Fun, a park of a far wetter nature! In short, Eastbourne is proof positive that you don’t have to travel the length of the country to find a staycation spot; there’s one right on the capital’s doorstep!

Blackpool

You might think there’s no more to Blackpool than the Tower and the Illuminations, but you’d be wrong. Anyone leaving Blackpool off their staycation bucket list is missing out on so much more.

Firstly, let’s not discount the Tower or the Illuminations themselves. The Eiffel Tower might get all the love, but the glass viewing platform at Blackpool Tower offers a stunning view (though perhaps not for those scared of heights!) And the Illuminations offer a different show every year, each seeking to surpass the last. You can spend hours marvelling at the displays, and kids especially will delight in the experience.

Beyond the tower and the lights, you’ll find plenty more in Blackpool. Families in particular will enjoy the Pleasure Beach, a fantastic theme park filled with rides for all ages, and the Sandcastle Waterpark offers even more thrills.

For days when you’re looking for a little less adrenaline, Blackpool Zoo is a good time for everyone, and Wyre Estuary Country Park, offering scenic walks, picnic spots, and special family-themed activities, is just a short drive away.

So, if you’re planning a family staycation in the UK, you can’t go wrong with Blackpool!

Llandudno

The beautiful spot in Wales is often overlooked when people talk about UK staycations, and we think that’s a very great shame. While it might not offer the family-friendly adrenaline of Blackpool, Llandudno is perfect for the UK holidaymaker who is looking for a holiday spot filled with quiet beauty.

For instance, the headland known as Great Orme offers views that are simply breathtaking. A cable car will take you to the peak, where you can enjoy picturesque walks. Alternatively, you can head down the Great Orme Copper Mine, which is part underground adventure, part museum, and all-in-all a fascinating walk back into the Bronze Age.

We can also recommend Angel Bay, which offers stunning views, peaceful walks, and a chance to see some seals! Happy Valley Gardens is filled with flora of all sorts of vibrant colours and varying shapes and sizes, not to mention nods to Alice in Wonderland in the forms of statues and dioramas (Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice, took holidays to Llandudno as a child).

Speaking of children, they’ll love the amusements and rides available on Llandudno’s incredibly long and beautiful pier! There’s so much there that you can spend multiple days exploring it. Llandudno also enjoys the dubious honour of being home to the smallest house in Great Britain, but don’t worry; the local rental properties are big enough to accommodate even the biggest families!

Bognor Regis

A Which? survey named Bognor Regis one of the worst seaside resorts in Britain, but there are plenty of reasons why travellers should think again before dismissing this beautiful seaside town.

For a start, you’re not going to find a sunnier place to spend your summer: Bognor Regis enjoys an average of 1,902 hours of sunshine per year! It’s perfect for families, too. The local Butlin’s is perfect for a day visit, and there are plenty of local attractions to fill the days. Hotham Park, for instance, offers miniature golf, a boating lake, a train and a nature trail, perfect for entertaining the little ones for hours.

And, of course, there are the beaches. Aldwick and Pagham are the best. They’re both shingle beaches and both perfect for quiet strolls. For those with little ones, we would recommend Pagham as that has an amusement arcade for when the little ones get bored of the shore.

Hidden treasures no longer?

Of course, now that we’ve published this list, these often-overlooked holiday spots won’t be available for much longer. If you’re thinking about a UK staycation this year, don’t delay. Book your place to stay now!

Oh, and if you’ve got a short-term rental property in any of these areas? Get it spruced up and ready now. Louise has some advice just for you:

“Firstly, provide guests with hints and tips about the local area. After all, you’ve got the knowledge that your guests need to have a good time! Secondly, take a look at your competition and make sure your listing really highlights the things that make your property unique. Finally, make sure you’ve got specialised insurance; you’d be surprised what isn’t covered by likes of AirBnB and Booking.com, so make sure you’re won’t be left out of pocket if something happens.”

Lousie Birritteri is Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, a Norwich-based provider of insurance to those letting property to holidaymakers through platforms such as AirBnB and Booking.com. She didn’t share her favourite staycation spot because she wants it all to herself, but she does quite like Llandudno.

PIKL SELECTED FOR PRESTIGIOUS TECH NATION FINTECH 3.0 PROGRAMME

This is the first year that insurtech companies have been eligible for the Fintech programme so it is even more prestigious that Pikl is in the first wave to be chosen. And, in recognition of the impact Pikl has made to the industry over the last three years, Founder and CEO, Louise Birritteri, has been invited to join the Tech Nation Board.

Fintech 3.0 is a growth programme run by Tech Nation for the best and brightest UK fintech and insurtech companies. It is designed to provide company leaders with the coaching, content and community they need to scale up, bringing together a network of purposeful founders and philanthropists, progressive enterprises and policymakers, influential funds and institutions in order to collaborate in building the technological innovation that will improve the future for the UK and beyond. Now in its third year, it was the first sector-specific growth programme that has been run with the two previous years’ having proved to be immensely successful.

Tech Nation’s aim is to fuel the growth of game-changing founders, leaders and scaling companies so they can positively transform societies and economies. The majority (around 80%) of its funding comes from the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which in 2019 was £7.1m. The rest is generated from sponsorship and paid-for educational programmes.

“We are delighted to have been selected. The competition to get on the Fintech 3.0 programme is fierce with hundreds of companies applying. This programme will definitely help us to scale up rapidly to take advantage of the growing market for sharing economy insurance.  There is a great deal of value to be gained from it especially getting to access to mentors who have been successful in scaling their businesses, expert training, invitations to join Government trade missions and building our profile nationally and internationally. I can’t wait to get going. And, to be invited to join the Tech Nation Board is a real privilege for which I am truly grateful.”

Louise Birritteri, Founder and CEO of Pikl

Pikl is one of only two companies from the East of England to have been selected and the only one in Norfolk.

“The UK’s fintech ecosystem is world-leading and as it matures further we are seeing a growing amount of fintech scale-ups. These companies have already achieved some incredible things and are targeting accelerated growth both domestically and internationally. Tech Nation’s Fintech programme supports companies like these to connect with other fintechs at a similar stage, learn from experts and expand their network. It’s a unique and valuable opportunity to learn in an open and intimate setting.”

Liam Gray, Programme Lead, Fintech

Tech Nation’s mission is to unlock the growth potential of 1,000 scaling tech leadership teams across the UK by 2022. Over the past five years, Tech Nation programmes have engaged nearly 2,000 businesses, including 600 companies via its growth programmes, already contributing more than £425m of Gross Value Add (GVA) for the UK economy. Last year’s Fintech programme cohort included Credit Kudos, PrimaryBid, Honcho Markets, ANNA Money and Goodbox.

To apply for the programme, companies had to fulfil certain criteria:

  • Be headquartered in the UK
  • Be a fintech or insurtech company
  • Be at the equivalent of Seed to Series A funding stage (If the company is self-funded, maximum annual revenues are £1.5m. Companies having raised series A can apply until a maximum of 3 months after they closed the round).
  • Offer a product or service to businesses and/or individuals (B2B businesses must have at least one active client or pilot. B2C businesses must have a product fully deployed in market already – no beta) 

New MGA Partnership

Pikl’s announces it’s new MGA, in partnership with First Underwriting, Accredited Insurance, and the Claims Consortium Group.

The partnership has been set up to provide Pikl with flexible underwriting capacity for a range of property and vehicle products. It will enable Pikl to operate a nimble product development approach allowing products to potentially be brought to market in weeks.

The “A” rated capacity will be provided by Accredited Insurance (Europe) limited, who have operations based in London, Malta and the US.  They are a subsidiary of Randall & Quilter Holdings (R&Q). This capacity will be accessed through Accredited’s relationship with First Underwriting.

Pikl will work closely with First Underwriting to develop and refine a range of new and existing solutions for the sharing economy, leveraging the expertise of the respective teams. This partnership will complement the existing partnership Pikl announced last year with Hiscox.

“I am delighted that we have launched the MGA and partnership with a group of credible and respected operators in the insurance sector. Both the teams at Pikl and First Underwriting have a great deal of insurance expertise and our collective skill sets will provide a powerful combination as we continue to scale. As we enter the next stage of our journey it was incredibly important for us to find the right partners who could work flexibly and at pace.”

“Our ambition is to be the market leader for Sharing Economy insurance products in both the property and vehicle lines. Our learnings from working in the property sharing market over the past three years has prepared us well to enter the vehicle sharing sector later this year. Thanks to the teams in both companies, this partnership will give us the complete flexibility we need to continue to be first to market with bespoke propositions for emerging markets.”

Louise Birritteri CEO and Founder Pikl

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Pikl who are developing innovative insurance products to cater for the growing and specialist needs of the sharing economy. It’s certainly a very exciting part of the insurance market that presents new and interesting challenges for insurers. Working with Pikl means that we have a partner that genuinely understands its chosen markets and will be well positioned to make the most of the opportunities it will present.”

Mark Bacon, Managing Director of First Underwriting

Claims Management will be handled by the Claims Consortium Group who are known for their flexible and bespoke claims software solutions and these products will launch with the Group’s custom ENOL solution.

“We are pleased to be working with Pikl and First Underwriting through our TPA offering, combining our collective expertise to deliver bespoke and specialist products to the market and the customer. We believe the future of claims is using innovative technologies to offer flexible solutions that suit the lifestyle of the modern customer and partnerships like this facilitate that.’

Jeremy Hyams, CEO and Founder of Claims Consortium

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Property.

This is the first in a series of articles in our ‘Getting back to normal’ series where we look at the measures you can take to get your short let, Airbnb listing or holiday let business back on track in the midst of this pandemic. Whilst the short-term letting industry patiently awaits the green light for the hospitality sector to be allowed to resume in the UK, new cleaning protocols are being implemented to ensure properties are kept virus-free to minimise the chance of spreading infection. With uncertainty around travel restrictions abroad it is widely reported that there will be a boost in ‘staycations’ following the Covid-19 lockdown, with people opting for short term holiday breaks within the UK. Now is the time for hosts to take steps to ensure they have sufficient measures in place to protect themselves. Here at Pikl we have researched some top tips for you to offer support and guidance during these unprecedented times.

When your guests start arriving again, it is imperative that you reassure them that the property will be correctly cleaned for their stay. A whole host of information relating to cleaning protocols and sanitisation techniques can be found online, however we hope you find this quick summary helpful.

  • The government’s website is a good starting point to keep up to date with the latest information. Check out their page on cleaning for non-healthcare settings including tips on how to clean using the right disinfectant.
  • Airbnb also has some useful information on cleaning protocols. You can use their checklist as a handy guide to make sure your cleaning protocols are consistent.
  • Give yourself enough time to clean your property thoroughly before the next guest arrives, which means you probably do not want to book guests on back to back days. A good time to allow in between guests is 3 days, giving you enough time to go over the property thoroughly and address any problems. This may mean less income but until the crisis is under control, being thorough can help reduce the changes of people (yourself included) becoming infected. All surfaces that guests encounter must be disinfected and be careful not to overlook “high-touch” areas such as door handles and light switches. Avoid making splashes when cleaning with liquids as this may spread any contaminated areas onto new surfaces.
  • Do not forget about cleaning upholstery in the property and pay special consideration to rugs, sofa covers, curtains and other porous fabrics when cleaning. Take care to remove any visible dirt and use appropriate cleaning products, and where possible cover the furniture with washable sheets. Keep the property well ventilated by opening windows when cleaning.
  • Help your guests whilst they stay in your property by providing hand sanitiser in each room to encourage guests to sanitise as they move around the house. Hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol is considered to be the most effective.  By also ensuring that your property is stocked with items such as disposable gloves, paper towels and tissues you can help to reduce the risk of contamination.
  • When you leave the property after cleaning, ensure that the entry areas are appropriately cleaned, including keys or keypads. If you are looking to minimise person to person contact, you could offer guests self-check-in or checkout options. The installation of smart locks where you give your guest a code to get in or key safes are possible ways of doing this.
  • When your listing is active again, be sure to make potential guests aware of your cleaning protocols. Clean properties may give guests confidence in booking your accommodation and help build trust.
  • When thinking about cleaning, do not forget about your own safety. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water once you are finished. You may want to have hand sanitiser on you in case this option is not available.

During the pandemic there will naturally be a strong focus on sanitisation and cleaning initiatives. Taking these into consideration will help to regain the confidence of guests when bookings resume. You may find that guests will be anxious about travelling after lockdown and want to know what you have done to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Robust cleaning protocols will reassure your guests that you value their health and safety whilst they stay in your property.

How to holiday let your property: 10 essential tips to get you started.

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

If you have a spare home or holiday home, turning it into a holiday let could give you a lucrative revenue stream. In this article, we discuss what a holiday let is, how to do your research, and how to get started.

What is a holiday let?

Put simply, a holiday let is a property that is let out to short term visitors that are on holiday. If you have an additional property located in a popular holiday destination then this could be an option for bringing in additional income.

How much effort can you put into it?

Between meeting visitors, cleaning, dealing with admin systems and logging accounts, running a holiday let can be a lot of work. Consider whether you have the time to dedicate yourself to these activities or whether you can afford to pay someone else to run it for you.

Is your property in a popular holiday location?

Luckily, this should not be too difficult to assess. If you live near somewhere like London, you probably know the answer already. Look at a map of your surrounding area. Do you live near any attractions or beautiful landscapes? Are there many hotels? Do you have many visitors during the holiday season? Take a look at popular holiday let websites and see how many listings are in your surrounding area. If there are a lot then the chances are that there is potentially significant demand. If you do not think your property is in a popular destination, do not let that put you off. You can still try and test the waters but do not be surprised if you do not pick up as many bookings.

Make sure your property is ready

Your visitors will expect the same experience in your home as they would in any hotel and so it is essential that it is kept clean and safe at a minimum. Check out our guide to being an Airbnb host for more useful information about this and how to comply with legal regulations.

Think about your audience

Type in ‘holiday lets’ or related terms in your area and have a look at the competition. How are the properties presented? How have they been marketed? Think about the type of people that might come to these properties and present your home accordingly. Your price and property description should appeal to these target markets as well.

How are you going to market it?

There are several places to market your holiday let but the easiest place to start with is a holiday let website. These will have specific target audiences that are already looking to rent out a holiday let.

Another alternative could be to start your own website. Given that this can be quite a competitive market however, marketing your website to get it in the top search results online or getting people to click on your ads is a lot of work and can be expensive. If you are planning on running the holiday let yourself then it may be best to outsource the marketing of the website to someone else if you can afford this. You may struggle to have the time to do everything otherwise. For people who cannot afford to do this, it may be best to just list your property on a holiday let website or platforms like Airbnb instead.

To maximise the number of bookings you get, consider listing your property on several holiday let websites (but do not forget to to sync your calendars to avoid overbooking).

Learn how to use the system(s)

As with any business, the key to running a successful holiday let is providing a service your customers are happy with. That said, most holiday let websites have their own review systems and way of promoting properties. To maximise your potential revenue, you may need to get used to how each one works. To start with, write a description for your listing and compare it with the potential competition. Pick the competitor with the most reviews. How does your listing stand out against the competition? Are your photos better than theirs? If they are not, the chances are that you will not get as many bookings. Get used to how each platform works, obtain more reviews and you should have a better chance of succeeding.

Consider a holiday letting agent

The benefit of using an agent is that they can manage practically everything on your behalf from meeting guests, taking control of paperwork, and looking after your property. A good agent should have local knowledge of your area. They can also help market your holiday let to maximise the chances of you getting better returns. Bear in mind that an agent will charge commission and you may want to consider how this could affect your profits. Whether you think it is worth it will depend on your appetite for time-consuming activities or your ability to market your property. If you think someone else would be better doing this and provided you can afford it, you may be better off appointing an agent instead.

Think about tax

You might have to pay tax on any income you earn. The first £1,000 of your property earnings is tax-free but regardless of how much you earn, it is important to consider the tax implications of running a holiday let before you start. If you plan to rent it out for most of the year, your property may qualify as a furnished holiday let. If you are unsure about tax, it may be best to consult with an accountant or HMRC.

Check your mortgage

A vitally important step is to check the terms and conditions in your paperwork. If your property is currently covered by a residential mortgage, your terms and conditions may forbid you from running a holiday let. There are specialist mortgages available so it is important to check you are covered and that you do not risk breaching the terms of your agreement.

Are you insured?

Before you start, you may want to check that you are covered by your insurer for having paying guests to stay at your property. Ideally, a specialist insurance policy designed to cover you for holiday lets will give you the most comprehensive level of cover. Check out our holiday let insurance guide for more information.

Supporting Our NHS

Pikl are pleased to announce that we have launched an offer of free insurance cover for hosts who are making their properties available to NHS workers through the NHS Homes scheme, during the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The NHS Homes scheme has been set up by the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) to provide free accommodation to key NHS workers, enabling them to stay close to the hospitals where they work. A number of property and hospitality companies that manage properties rented out by their customers have made hundreds of properties available for NHS workers to stay in.

The level of demand has been huge; to date, more than 500 properties have been booked by NHS staff.

Pikl is now offering free 90 day insurance cover to eligible customers who are housing NHS workers free of charge through the NHS Homes scheme.

Pikl CEO and founder, Louise Birritteri, said: “We all want to do our bit to support the phenomenal work that NHS staff are doing. The NHS Homes scheme is a great example of the short-term let industry coming together to offer practical and much needed help, so it was natural for us to say thank you to those homeowners who have pledged their properties to the scheme to offer them free insurance for the period that it’s likely to run. The cover will give homeowners the peace of mind that if any accidental damage, injury or loss occurs in their property, whilst NHS workers are staying, they will not be out of pocket.”

If you are a homeowner that is participating in the NHS Homes scheme and would like to apply for the free cover, you can find out more by clicking on the Pikl link provided on the NHS Homes website www.nhshomes.co.uk

What insurance do you need for holiday lets?

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

With more people looking to take advantage of alternative holiday experiences, letting out your holiday home to paying guests could be a smart way to bring in extra cash. Before you attempt to capitalise on this trend, it is important to make sure you are protected if something happens. Here are some of our top insurance tips.

Residential home or landlord insurance may not cover you

If your property was previously a home that you lived in, a residential home insurance policy is unlikely to cover you. If you previously let the property out to tenants, your landlord insurance policy may not be suitable either. It is best to check what you are covered with your current insurer before you let your property out. However, if you have not switched your insurance over yet, you may need to find an appropriate insurance policy that can cover you for holiday lets.

Check with your holiday home or second home insurer.

If your property is an additional home, you may already have a holiday home or second home insurance policy. You will, however, need to make sure this cover also includes insurance for claims caused by having guests in your property. A traditional holiday home or second home insurance policy are often designed to cover personal use of the property by yourself, friends, or family members and so cover for paying guests is usually inadequate. Cover for things like theft or liability insurance for injuries may be excluded if you let a paying guest into your home. In the first instance, it is best to check with your current insurer first and ask them if there is anything specific that you are not covered for.

You may need specific insurance for holiday lets

When running your property as a holiday let, one of your main concerns should be getting cover for any claims caused by having paying guests in your property if you want a high level of cover. A specialist insurance policy that can cover you for holiday lets may be the best option for you. Write down a list of things you would like to have cover for before getting quotes. A good holiday let insurance policy can cover you for things like:

  • Theft by a guest if you have let them into your home.
  • Legal cover and liability insurance for things like guest injuries and 3rd party damage.
  • Malicious or accidental damage by your guest.

What cover does Pikl offer?

Pikl provides specialist insurance for short-term letting, including cover for properties that are run as holiday lets. If you already have insurance elsewhere, we offer a ‘Top-Up’ insurance policy. Your insurer can still continue to cover you whilst our cover can insure your home for any claims caused by your guests. You will still need to let your insurer know that you are intending to do this but alternatively, we can also cover your primary property insurance as well as cover for your guests. Our insurance for when you have short-term guests can cover you for:

  • Public liability including cover for guest accidents involving bodily injury.
  • Legal cover to defend or pursue legal claims against guests.
  • Accidental, malicious damage and theft cover if caused by a guest.
  • Alternative accommodation for you or your guest if your property is being fixed as the result of a guest related claim.
  • Fire and escape of water damage caused by a guest.
  • Loss of keys and replacement locks cover if renting out your entire property.

The above is an example of some of the cover we offer. If you are not comfortable with the level of cover your insurer provides, getting a specialist insurance policy is a relatively straightforward way of covering this gap in insurance.

Pikl appoint Stuart Reid as chairman.

We are pleased to announce that Pikl has appointed former Bluefin and Gallagher boss Stuart Reid as chairman. Stuart most recently worked as UK retail chief executive officer at Gallagher, a role he left in October 2016.

Stuart will focus on sharing his experience and provide leadership to the board to help with the Pikl’s growth strategy and to help raise the profile of the need for specialist short-term letting insurance with consumers as well as the wider insurance industry.

He started his career in broking at Bishop Skinner before setting up Stuart Alexander in 1993. In 2005 he became managing director after buying out his partner. The company sold to Axa in 2007 and he was appointed CEO of the Bluefin Insurance Group in January 2008. He left Bluefin to join Gallagher in April 2015. Stuart has also been vice president of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and chair of the CII Broking Faculty from 2012 to 2018. He was deputy chairman of the British Insurance Brokers Association from 2014 to 2015. Reid, who has previously said he left Gallagher because he was not approved by the FCA, has been contemplating a return to the market since he was exonerated by the regulator in 2017. Stuart is also is well-known to the sharing economy market, having been involved with lobbying efforts that included representing the insurance industry at sharing economy talks and chairing meetings held at 10 Downing Street in 2014.

Stuart commented: “Being at the forefront of innovation in our industry is where I love to be and, with Pikl’s innovative products and approach to a new and blossoming market, I cannot wait to get started. “Without doubt, Pikl has identified a clear gap in the market. It not only has superb commercial potential but will also make a real difference to the millions of people who rent out their rooms, whole properties or even car parking spaces, effectively ring-fencing the valuable income they receive from the risk of theft, damage or liability.”

He explained that his main business focus for the next 12 months will be to provide a link between the board and the senior management to ensure that the strategy is carried out successfully. In addition, Reid said he will be speaking to brokers to “make sure they understand the business opportunities there are for getting into this sector of the market.”

Pikl CEO and founder, Louise Birritteri, said: “It’s a fantastic coup to have secured Stuart’s support. I have known him for many years and believe he will bring so much experience to the Board role, in helping to formulate and execute our strategy and obviously to take full advantage of his many industry contacts built up over his 30 plus years in the industry. “This is another significant step in the rapid growth of Pikl and provides us with the expertise and insight we need to scale up.”

Coronavirus (Covid-19 Update)

The spread of the Coronavirus is fast-moving and is disrupting life for many of us. We are closely following the advice from the government and Chief Medical Officer. As a regulated business we have a regularly reviewed business continuity plan. This has been updated in light of the current circumstances. 

Our Service

The Pikl team will be working from home as of 17th March 2020 until further notice. Being primarily an online and phone-based business, customers can still contact us as normal if they need advice, to buy one of our products or help with a claim – we plan to be providing a full service to customers during this exceptional time.

We are employing video and phone meetings as far as possible for contact with our business partners and are only having face to face meetings in exceptional circumstances.

Your Pikl insurance policy

We wish to point out that our products are not designed to cover the insurance perils associated with this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, therefore your products do not provide any cover for: 

  • Guest cancellation
  • Property deep cleaning
  • Liability for transmitting any contagious or infectious disease, virus or illness

Guest Cancellation

We suggest that hosts check on their booking or marketing agent’s website in the first instance to check the stance on cancellation policies for booked stays. Guests should be directed to follow government advice here for further information.

As a business primarily working in a market closely linked to tourism, we are expecting to see a considerable knock on impact on our customers’ needs over at least the next 6 months. We have already seen consumers cancelling pre-booked holidays and delaying booking new holidays and this will no doubt have a large financial impact on those individuals and businesses who manage short-term lettings. We are watching keenly to see how the government will respond to support the short let market to ensure businesses can survive the current climate. 

Take care and keep safe

The Pikl Team

Why use Airbnb?

Estimated read: 10 minutes

Airbnb has exploded in popularity worldwide due to its ability to offer personalised, authentic experiences that hotels can’t offer. If you haven’t already taken advantage of this phenomenon already, we provide some top reasons why you should consider listing your spare room or property online.

Earn extra income

You don’t need an office and a warehouse full a stock to make money. All you need is a room spare to start earning extra cash. Some key benefits include:

  • Covering the short-fall in your rent. Maybe you need a roommate or your rent is too high. You can list your property on Airbnb at anytime and doing so is a great quick cash injection, even if you only plan to do it occasionally. If this situation applies to you, make sure you get consent from your landlord for doing this.
  • If you are looking to make serious cash, it’s possible to do this through Airbnb depending on your circumstances and how much you want to earn. If you live in a popular location then it is possible you could get high demand for guests looking to stay at your property. Have a look at Airbnb listings in your area, which could give you an indication as to how popular it is.
  • If you are just intending to use items already in your house (e.g. bed linen, furniture etc) then there are very few additional start up costs to consider when listing your Airbnb. This is unlike some other businesses, where some level investment is required before any money comes in.

Higher returns.

Letting our your room or property via Airbnb could be more profitable than through traditional means such as through a landlord tenancy. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Charging a daily rate. Like a hotel, the rate you would typically charge a guest is higher than if they were living there all of the time.
  • Peak times. During the holiday season, you can charge even more and reasonably expect guests to pay this provided that you are not too out of step with what other Airbnb hosts in your area charge.
  • Airbnb is still an emerging market. Unlike the traditional landlord market, which has landlords competing against each other for tenants, the Airbnb sector is less established.
  • If the house you are listing is a luxury property and has the relevant ‘wow’ factors, guests may be willing to pay more money to stay there. Have a look on Airbnb to see if there are any such properties in your area.

It’s worth bearing in mind however that there are several factors that could affect how much income you could earn over the year. Check out our Airbnb vs landlord guide for more information.

It’s a great alternative to hotels.

Some Airbnb properties can have an advantage over hotels for users looking to:

  • Rent out an entire home.
  • Find accommodation at a cheaper price.
  • Have a more authentic local experience.
  • Stay in convenient locations.
  • Find houses that have novelty value.
  • Have a more personal experience.

If you think your home could fit one of these descriptions, you could be missing out on a potentially lucrative revenue stream. Think about what makes your place unique. What does it offer that a hotel can’t? Write down a list. If you can’t think of any good ideas, try to cast your mind back to when you stayed somewhere great that wasn’t a hotel. What made your stay special? What could you do better? If you can create an experience for your guests that is difficult to replicate elsewhere, guests will keep coming and you might have a potential full-time business, if that is what you are looking to do.

It’s flexible.

You can list your property as many times as you want on Airbnb and if you get someone else to manage your property such as a co-host or a host management company, you won’t even have to be there on a regular basis. This makes being an Airbnb host a flexible business that can be attractive to many individuals including:

  • Stay at home parents. If you have a spare room or annex, you can work from home, look after the kids and still have income.
  • Travellers. If you go on holiday and the house is empty, you could bring in extra cash whilst you are holidaying elsewhere.
  • Remote workers. If your goal is to work remotely, you can do this as long as you can get or hire someone else to manage the property whilst you are away.
  • Landlords. If your property is in between tenancies, you can list your property on Airbnb and fill that gap in income.
  • Self employed workers. One of the risks of working for yourself is that your income is vulnerable if you only have one revenue stream. Rather than putting all of your eggs into one basket, it makes sense to diversify where you get your money from and Airbnb is an easily accessible means of doing this.

You can host unique experiences

Do you know how to cook and would be interested in holding courses teaching other people? Do you have a unique skill? Airbnb allow hosts to hold ‘Airbnb Experience’ days. Hosts that do this hold events or classes that go beyond the usual class atmosphere and put the guest in the shoes of the host’s world. You don’t even need to share their home to do this. All you need is a skill or hobby that they want to share with the world. Top reasons to consider hosting your own experience are:

  • Unique selling points. If you can host a unique or quirky event for guests, you’ll attract more of them and may even get more positive reviews.
  • Personal touch. You’ll be connecting with guest in a completely different way and get to know them better.
  • It’s fun. Running an Airbnb doesn’t have to just be about the mundane tasks of cleaning, meeting and greeting. Host an experience for something you are passionate about.

To start with, have a look on Airbnb’s website and see what kind of things are on offer. You will attract more guests to your experience days if you are able to stand out from the crowd. What knowledge do you have that sets you apart from everyone else? Don’t be afraid to let the world know! Once you’ve come up with your idea, you’ll need to submit it to Airbnb for approval.

Meet new people

Airbnb doesn’t have to be about making money. It’s also a great way of making friends. If this is your goal, consider renting your room or annex rather than your entire property. Here are some tips to make sure that both of you enjoy your guest’s stay:

  • Make a meal for your guest. If you are a good cook, why not make them a local meal?
  • Give your guest a tour of the local area. Immerse them in an another culture.
  • Think about the type of guest your want to stay at your property. If you have a particular type of person you want to stay at your home, this should inform how you present your property and describe your listing.

Travel the world

Once you have done Airbnb for a while there is a good chance you will have made friends with people all over the world. You will potentially reap benefits from this including:

  • Returning the favour. If you have made friends with guests, why not visit them in their country?
  • Meeting people from different cultures can give you a new perspective on things. If you do gain some insights, you may want to use these to improve your guest experience. You could even travel to an Airbnb in another country to see how things are done differently elsewhere.

Even if you don’t want to travel, meeting people from different cultures can be an enriching experience and it can be fun too!

Low start up costs

The great thing about running an Airbnb is that you may not have to incur any large additional costs just to get up and running when you start out. If you want to experiment with Airbnb but don’t want to spend a lot of money, here are some handy tips to get you going:

  • Search classified ads or websites such as Gumtree for second hand items such as furniture on the cheap or even for free.
  • Items such as televisions and mirrors are bulky but guests are likely to want these kinds of things when they stay at your property. You might be able to find some great collection only deals at local locations on websites that sell secondhand items.
  • Guests often expect items that they get in hotels such as tea and coffee but these things don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Many supermarkets have value brands for these items that are much cheaper. If you can source packaging from elsewhere, you can still give these items a personal touch without the appearance of being cheap.

Learn about business

If you are already doing it and having fun, you may not have realised that Airbnb is a business just like any other. To be successful and make a money from it, you will have to learn how to:

  • Make your customers happy. Part of doing this is to understand what your guest wants, listening to feedback and constantly striving to make their experiences better.
  • Keep a record of income, expenses and costs. Not only will you need to do this for tax reasons, you will also need to do this to make sure more money comes in than goes out.
  • Deal with problems. Like any business, not everything will run smoothly. Guests may complain, things could break or bookings could decline. Learning how to overcome such issues are invaluable skills that you can put to good use in any future business venture you choose to embark upon.

Taking things further

There are many great reasons to become an Airbnb host. If you are looking to take things further, check out our guide on being an Airbnb Host. Before you list your property online, it is also important you speak to your insurer first to make sure you are covered. Our Airbnb article for homeowners and our guide for landlords can give you some important tips if you are not sure if you will be covered.