Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Rescuing Seri Bukit Ceylon
Seri Bukit Ceylon was once a success story in Kuala Lumpur when it was completed almost 10 years ago. The Ascott group own 48 out of the total 200+ units and they run the whole block as their Somerset brand with 96 units inventory. The occupancy since then was fantastic as I tried to book apartments for my friends in the past, they used to be running at almost full capacity.
Ascott still owns the 48 units in Seri Bukit Ceylon Residences and they are now run as corporate leasing units. There were a further 22 units in Seri Bukit Ceylon leased back from individual owners which were operated as corporate leasing from year 2006 till management contract ends 31 May 2011. The units since then were returned to owners and subsequently, we saw rentals affected and many have to drop their rent by more than 10% in order to secure tenants.
I was fortunate back then as I had a long term tenant occupying my unit. However, I am not so lucky this time as my unit was recently vacated. The rentals board set up downstairs by the management is now plastered with vacancies.
I turned to vacation booking websites such as airbnb and ibilik. With these, I managed to secure sporadic short term bookings from 2 nights all the way up to 3 months from January till September and I expect more to come in. On average, with an occupancy rate of just 20%, I am getting about RM2,500/month gross for my 1 bed-room unit, a far cry from the RM3,500/month I used to earn. And this is very tiring, having to check-in and check-out guests, do maintenance, cleaning and changing the bed sheets. However, it is extremely rewarding and has good potentials too.
1st of all, I see potentials because as I book more guests in these websites, I get more reviews (all of them good) and I get even more bookings. I expect my average earning to exceed RM3,000 and may even get higher than RM4,000/month towards the end of this year. However, the biggest problem is the overlapping dates which means I have to reject bookings i.e. sometimes, I have already received a booking for a 1 week stay. Then later someone else wants to come in and book a 1 month stay resulting in me having to reject it because it overlaps the 1 week booking by 1 day. If I have more than 1 unit to play with, it will be possible to accept more bookings.
Secondly, it's very rewarding because so far I have met so many nice travelers from all over the world. We have become friends and some made it into my facebook so we can keep in touch.