Meet our wonderful Senior Account Executive Emily Khatib, who has been shortlisted for the 'Rising Star' award at this year's Bristol Property Awards!
Hello! I'm Emily, I'm 23 years old and I grew up in Surrey. I moved to Bristol in 2016 and absolutely fell in love with the city! I'd never felt happier than strolling around the streets of beautiful Clifton and taking in the gorgeous architecture around me, and after a few months here I knew I didn't want to settle down anywhere else. Having spent so much of my life in grey Central London, Bristol's plethora of gorgeous, colourful architecture and well-kept green spaces was a welcome change. I have been working for Quarter since June 2019, transferring to Air360 (Quarter Short Lets) in September that year. Although this was my first time working in Property Management, I very quickly started to enjoy the more creative side of the role, including visiting properties and exploring how different property owners have chosen to furnish and market their homes, and working with various booking platform listings and helping to make creative decisions such as listing titles, descriptions and photos - something I soon discovered I had an affinity for. Alongside my role as Senior Account Executive for Air360, I am training to be an opera singer - perhaps this is where my appreciation for architecture has come from, performing in various theatres, churches and large-scale concert venues around the country in my spare time. It is this creative side of me that has been allowed to thrive in my current role at Air360, and although Property Management was never the plan, I can definitely see myself pursuing this career path for a considerable time!
What do you enjoy most about working with Air360?
I love that I have had the opportunity through my role at Air360 to really discover Bristol's hidden gems; there are so many tucked-away parts of the city that I would never have found if I had not had the chance to visit so many quirky and colourful properties on a weekly basis. Meeting new people has always been my favourite part of work, so I thoroughly enjoy being able to meet and connect with so many different people in varying professions, making interesting connections and bonding over a shared interest in the feisty enigma that is the Bristol property market. Learning about what makes each client so passionate about living and letting in Bristol only furthers my love for the city.
Aside from my role itself, the team I work with at Air360 are amazing. There is such a strong sense of community and friendship in our workplace; something I know is not found everywhere and that I am very grateful for.
What does an average day in the Air360 office look like?
Most days I work from home, holding zoom meetings in my house and chatting with owners of properties across the city! Much of my time is spent building and designing listings for booking platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com, arranging the photos and writing the descriptions in order to market the properties in the most attractive way possible. I find these design aspects of my job very therapeutic, as they give me a chance (amidst the day-to-day goings on) to let my creative juices flow freely.
On the occasion that I make a trip to the office, my days are filled with visits to many different properties and parts of Bristol. Some days are spent meeting with property owners to discuss their plans for their property, on request providing professional advice on how best to furnish and decorate their apartments. Other days are spent photographing new properties - photography is something that I really enjoy, so it has been great to have a chance through my work to further develop these skills and put them to good use for some of our listings!
What do you think makes an ideal short term let?
This is a question I quite often get asked by those looking to let out their properties. Of course, having a great location is a big plus - guests love to book the centre of Bristol, the Harbourside, Clifton Village - but most areas of Bristol are very attractive to guests of some variety, because there are such good transport links and so many points of interest around the city. Guests might be looking for a quirky flat in Stokes Croft, surrounded by boutique shops and vegan cafes; other guests might be coming to Bristol for work and requiring a place a little further out with parking and a bit more space. Most properties can be made suitable for short term let, and I have seen properties all over the city do very well, provided they are furnished and decorated to a good standard so they can be "photo ready" for an impressive-looking listing.
When it comes to furnishing your property, the most important thing I tell prospective property owners is to decorate it as if it were your own home. Guests who choose to book Airbnbs/short term lets are usually wanting to appreciate the personal touches, so they can feel like they are really experiencing a home-away-from-home. If you would design your own house to be cosy and cute, with classy satin curtains and colourful flowers, then design your short term let property that way! The same goes if you would prefer to stay in a sleek, glassy and modern property - let your imagination take you where you want to go and follow your instincts when it comes to decoration.
With regards to the running of the business, having a good relationship with your management company - and a solid line of communication - is the most important thing. Knowing that both parties are pulling their weight to make sure that all guests are having a 5 star experience is all the basis that you need to have a winning short-term-let property! Guests who feel that their stay is in safe hands are much more likely to leave good reviews, encouraging other guests to come and stay at your wonderful place.
What are your ambitions for the next year?
Despite a very strange couple of years, with my help Air360 has been growing and developing rapidly - doubling in size since January 2021 when I started this role - and I would love to see the company expand and grow to take on more properties in and around the Bristol area, where we have the capacity to do so! This year we have reached further than ever before, taking on larger properties in Gloucester, Clevedon, Barrow Gurney and Compton Martin; all of which have performed brilliantly, so I would be keen to take on some more traditional "holiday lets" such as these, in scenic areas just outside of Bristol. We have also recently been trialling the idea of a luxury provisions pack idea for guests, exploring the idea of providing those checking in with bottles of wine or little gifts as part of their arrival - this has been going very well so far, with a rise in review ratings reflecting this, and this is something I'm very keen to explore with the team further, perhaps offering multiple package options for property owners who wish to go the extra mile to cater for their bookings.
As for my personal ambitions: I plan to further my understanding of the Bristol short term letting market, building on my knowledge of achievable nightly rates and estimations for what each property could earn under our management, especially for lesser-known parts of the city. Property consultancy is definitely something that I would like to pursue further - the market in Bristol changes so rapidly that you can never spend enough time studying it; tracking its growth and changes over time.
I am very grateful to have been shortlisted for this award, and I am so proud of all of us at Air360 for our other nomination too! I couldn't have made so much positive change to the company without the support of such a brilliant team, and I am proud to be representing our company in the Bristol Property Awards 2021. The awards ceremony takes place on Friday 12th November 2021 at Ashton Gate Stadium. Best of luck Emily! Photograph credit to Lucy O'Neill Photography