How a waterfront apartment became an award-winning business.

Bernadette Bautista is unlikely to have trouble finding friendly faces should she ever travel to the United States or Australia.

She has standing invitations to catch up with many people in those countries - all from those who have in turn enjoyed her hospitality here in New Zealand.

Bautista owns an apartment on Auckland's Prince's Wharf, a property which has become popular with international visitors not only for its central location, spaciousness and waterfront views, but for Bautista's hospitality and friendly nature.

But not only has Bautista's apartment proved popular, it has also meant she has been able to turn it into a thriving business.

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"So far Bookabach has worked out very well for me - without the constant income I just wouldn't be able to afford to own a waterfront home like the one I have," she says. "It has enabled me to enjoy a much better lifestyle."

Bautista says she loves being her own boss, seeing the business grow and having the flexibility to fit it around her lifestyle – all of which she says she would never have been able to do without the income from her Bookabach guests.

Her style has been key to getting many repeated bookings (some guests return to stay three times) and has helped her make new friends around the globe, many of whom have invited her to look them up on her own travels.

The property, one of more than 11,000 throughout the country available to holidaymakers on Bookabach, won the 2015 Golden Piwa Bach of the Year (Best City Category) as voted by guests. It also has a five star Bookabach rating.

Being there to roll out the welcome mat ensures her guests settle in and have everything they need.

"One week before they arrive I email the guests and arrange a time to meet at the apartment," she says. "We exchange numbers just in case there's a flight delay or something and if there is I can reschedule.

I know that not all owners do this but it's something I've always done and the guests really appreciate it and I think it's key to my high ratings and good reviews."

She says it's great to be there when guests open the door for the first time and is often happy to sit down and enjoy a drink with guests when asked.

"They see the big deck and the incredible view of the waterfront and say 'oh wow - this is exactly like the website'.

"As part of the welcome I tell them about restaurants, supermarkets, local attractions - those sort of things. They really appreciate the personal touch and prefer it to googling for the info - although of course they can do that as well if they prefer. I can also answer any questions they might have about the apartment while I'm there."

Bernadette Bautista. Photo / Supplied.
Bernadette Bautista. Photo / Supplied.

The apartment's glowing online reviews often mention Bautista - "Bernadette was a wonderful and helpful host," said one earlier this year.

Bautista, who's based in Birkenhead, always wanted a waterfront property but figured the only way she could afford one was to get help in paying for the maintenance and costs by renting it out.

When she saw the apartment in 2015 she fell in love with it and knew that it was perfect for her needs and, most importantly, that travellers would love it too.

The process of listing her property was easy - with the Bookabach website providing everything she needed to rent out her property.

"Getting a good description and honest photos is key - that's what draws guests in, but it must be an accurate reflection," she says.

Listing with Bookabach is free, with payment only required when a booking is received. No annual commitment is required.

As well as the location Bautista says travellers appreciate the apartment's spaciousness and value for money (it's currently renting for $378 per night).

"A hotel with similar specs (two bedrooms, two baths, four beds) in the same area would cost $700 - $800 per night and the room would be a lot smaller without many of the facilities I offer," says Bautista.

"I think the key thing is that I always picture myself as the guest and ask myself – 'what would I want in my holiday accommodation?' and I go out of my way to provide that."

Bookabach, provides everything you need to rent out your property for the first time. You'll gain access to an exclusive set of tools that enable you to optimise pricing, bookings and communication and receive educational material on how to market your property to high-quality travellers. You'll also be eligible for $1m Liability Insurance cover for bookings accepted on the platform.

If you are interested to see how much your home could make click here and receive an instant estimate of your property's rental potential based on nearby comparable rentals.

Bookabach is powered by the world class technology of HomeAway, a world leader in the holiday rental industry.