Do you have a villa with pool in Puglia and are you thinking on rent it to tourists? Would like information and useful advice on how to rent it? Or you don’t have it yet, but are you willing to invest in villas with pool in Puglia, and therefore want to know better the market and the competition? Well then this article is for you.
Villas with pool in Puglia
- Concentration of villas with pool in the Murgia dei Trulli
- Differentiation of the offer
- Number of bathrooms and bedrooms in the villas for rent
- Amenities of the villas for rent
- Reliability perceived through reviews and instant booking
Puglia in 2019 was the favourite region of Italians for their summer holidays, and confirmed this trend also in 2020, the year of COVID-19, with very high tourist flows. As expected, in 2020 there was a tourist demand mainly made up of Italians. However, following the opening of the borders, even many foreigners (Europeans) came to Puglia to spend their holidays. On the other hand, the arrival of non-European foreigners was almost absent.
In this pandemic global context, private villas undoubtedly constitute one of the most sought-after options thanks to the isolation and privacy that they guarantee unlike, for example, camping, hotels and B&Bs where there is still some sharing of space. And if tourists rent a villa with a swimming pool, then they have an additional advantage because, if they want, they can do without the crowded beaches.
The COVID-19 pandemic had also many consequences on villa rental management actions, from the sanification of the villas between one arrival and another to the check-in and check-out procedures. On this page, we have collected the actions that Puglia Paradise has adopted in contrast to the pandemic.
1. Overview of tourism in Puglia
The tourism that develops in a specific destination is inextricably connected to the characteristics of the territory. Therefore, both the type of tourism (experiential, cultural, seaside, rural, etc.), its features (long/short duration, seasonal, etc.), as well as the type of accommodation facilities (villas, camping, apartments, hostels, hotels, etc.) depend on what that particular territory has to offer and on its morphology.
From this point of view, Puglia, since it is a very large and varied territory, embraces and offers almost all forms of tourism. Consider, for example, the beautiful towns such as Bari and Lecce, where cultural and event-related tourism has flourished in recent years and many apartments in historic centers have been transformed into B&Bs or holiday apartments. Not to mention seaside tourism, the flagship of Puglia with wonderful beaches. Within seaside tourism, depending on the area, we can find areas with more mass and youth tourism (especially in Salento) where campsites and cheap apartments in the villages flourish; or a more exclusive and familiar seaside tourism, such as on the coast between Ostuni and Monopoli, where beautiful resorts or villas in the hinterland stand out.
Tourism in Itria Valley and in the Murgia dei Trulli
In Puglia, however, we find another type of tourism that does not fall into these two. We are talking about the highly refined, exclusive and slow tourism of the Murgia dei Trulli. This is a rural area roughly corresponding to the Valle d’Itria plus the corresponding stretch of the Adriatic coast. It is highly experiential tourism and visitors who choose this destination usually choose to stay at least for a week.
The main target is families with children, but also older and younger couples. Although there are some exceptions (B&Bs, Alberghi diffusi, etc.), the accommodation that has gained more ground in this area is certainly the private villa with swimming pool, also thanks to the existence of the Trulli, unique and traditional buildings that lend themselves beautifully to being transformed into private villas. Private villas with pool in Puglia are ideal for families with children who want to experience a holiday rich of privacy, relax, charm, nature and at the same time be able to take daytrips to get to know the beautiful surrounding area.
In this article, we are first using AIRDNA Data to analyse the features of this particular tourist offering – a private villa with pool in Puglia (Valle d’Itria). Then we will move on to see in detail everything that needs to be done from an administrative and fiscal point of view to be able to rent a private villa in Puglia.
 The POR (Regional Operational Program) 2014-2020 of Puglia, which is the authority that suggests, based on the characteristics of the territory, on which tourist products a specific destination should focus, has indicated for the Murgia dei trulli and Valle d’Itria destination: 1) Luxury and exclusive tourism 2) Seaside Tourism 3) Rural tourism. It should be noted that this is the only destination in Puglia to have luxury and exclusivity as a priority product to be developed.
 The Albergo Diffuso, an innovative concept of hospitality and accommodation, was invented and implemented in Italy in the 1980s to revive beautiful historic Italian villages off the beaten track. In English, it could be translated as “Scattered (or widespread) Hotel. This is a hotel that is not located in a single building but is made up of various apartments and units scattered throughout the historic center of a small village.
2. Airdna Data analysis
AirDNA, in collaboration with Puglia Paradise, carried out market research on the tourism offering of Puglia in 2019. AirDNA tracks the performance data of 10 million holiday homes on the Airbnb and Vrbo OTAs, analysing their features, occupancy rates, revenue and prices. Let’s see the results.
2.1 Concentration of villas with swimming pools in the Murgia dei Trulli and Valle d’Itria
In Puglia, as at December 2019, there were 98,199 listings for private houses for rent online in the non-hotel sector (therefore excluding hotels, camping, Alberghi Diffusi, etc.). Of these listings, 15,717 are villas and 5,637 are villas with swimming pool. In percentage terms, we can easily calculate that villas with pool in Puglia represent 5.7% of the total online listings.
The surprising and relevant data is that 2,300 of these villas are concentrated in the area called Murgia dei Trulli which includes the Itria Valley (also known as the Valley of the Trulli) and the Piana degli Ulivi Secolari, which is the coastal stretch from Polignano a Mare to Carovigno. Well, for those unfamiliar with Puglia, it is a very small portion of the region, just 4% of the whole Apulian territory.
Therefore, the first result of the study is that 40% of villas with pool in Puglia are concentrated in a very small portion (4%) of the regional territory, which confirms how suitable this area is for this type of accommodation and how competitive the market is in this area, with the resulting increase in the quality standards of the offering.
2.2 Differentiation of the offering “Villas with pool”
The first feature of the offering of villas in this area is the differentiation. In fact, we are facing an incredible variety of accommodations attributable to the label “Villas with pool”, not only for the presence of the Trullo Villas (which in any case also differ from each other because it is practically impossible to find two identical ones) but for the presence of more or less modern villas, farms, rustic farmhouses, and other types of villas that have distinctive characteristics.
This element is very important for pricing. In fact, in normal conditions, we would be led to think that the higher the market competitiveness, the lower the prices. Here, in the presence of such a diversification of the market, prices do have an impact on customer choice, but they are at all the determining factor.
Regarding this, it is useful to analyse one last data. In the 5 years preceding 2019, villas with pool in Puglia have increased with an average rate of 12% against a lower increase in tourist flows (in 2019, 4.4%, as shown in the graph). This leads us to think that villas with pool in Puglia will have increasing competition and therefore, in order to guarantee high rental performance, it will be necessary to invest in amenities as well as obviously in the quality of the service.
Let’s see these characteristics in detail.
2.3 Number of bathrooms and bedrooms in the villas for rent
The following graph informs us of the percentage of villas with swimming pools according to the number of bathrooms and bedrooms respectively and are useful for understanding what competition our rental villa has to contend with. For example, if our villa has 6 bedrooms, it will reasonably compete with villas with 5-6-7 bedrooms and so on.
In the following graph, we analyse the distribution of the bedrooms’ / bathrooms proportion. Since it is well known that the number of bathrooms is a very important feature when choosing a villa (especially if it is rented not by a single family but by several couples or families) we can deduce that if our villa has a number of bathrooms equal to or greater than the number of bedrooms, it will definitely have a significant advantage over villas with fewer bathrooms.
2.4 Amenities of the villas for rent
In the following graph, we have included the list of the 14 amenities most sought after by customers, with the number and percentage of villas with swimming pool that own those amenities.
Well, similarly to what has been deduced above: if our villa has a certain amenity, such as a dishwasher, it will have an advantage over the villas with pool in Puglia that do not have a dishwasher, which represents 54% of the total, and therefore – most importantly – will have to resort less to lower prices than the latter. Next, you will also find the percentage of villas with pool in Puglia that accept and do not accept Pets.
 They were calculated by analysing the search filters most applied in OTAs, specifically Airbnb and Vrbo.
2.5 Reliability perceived through reviews and instant booking
The graph below shows the percentages of villas with pool in Puglia according to the number of reviews. If our online listing, for example, has more than 10 (very positive) reviews on the same internet portal, it will exceed 90% of other listings of villas with pool for rent in terms of reliability. Read our tips to increase and optimize rental perfomance through 5-star reviews!
With regard to instant booking, it probably does not affect the perception of reliability as much but we believe that not giving the possibility to book a villa immediately online but only after a request to the host (characteristic of 46% of the listings) is certainly a sign of lack of professionalism and could discourage the guest from booking.
3. Renting a villa with pool in Puglia: tax and administrative fulfilments
Are you an owner of a villa with pool in Puglia and want to know what to do to rent it?
Below you will find all the information you need to rent your villa and fulfil all the obligations that Italian and Apulian law imposes.
As already mentioned in other articles, in recent years have greatly increased real estate operations called “buy to let”, ie purchases of villas with the aim of renting them to tourists.
In Puglia, as well as in other Italian regions, this significant increase in real estate sales has also seen the participation of foreigners, who took in the purchase of a villa two advantages: have a second home to enjoy and make a profitable investment by renting the villa while it is not being used.
3.1 What is short term rental?
The first important thing to highlight is that Italian law does not consider short term rental a business activity, i.e. it is not necessary to open a VAT number. Furthermore, rental contracts for tourists, unlike traditional rental contracts, have no duration limits. Given their temporary nature, the rental period can be a few days or weeks. However, if the duration exceeds 30 days, this contract must be registered with the Revenue Agency.
The legislation expressly provides which services can be considered attached to the lease and which, therefore, can be offered to the guest within the short term rental. These additional services are as follows:
- Supply of towels and linen
- Change of towels and linen at the end of each stay
- Cleaning of villa at the end of each stay
If besides these services you decide to offer something else, such as breakfast, or guided tours, in this case this falls within the business and it is necessary to comply with the law.
When renting a villa with pool in Puglia for tourist use, it is also recommended to take out insurance that covers not only the risk of fire and theft but also accidents or personal injuries that may occur on the property, especially in the presence of swimming pools or other amenities that may present a danger.
3.2 What taxes to pay?
From 1 June 2017, specific tax legislation was introduced for short-term rental contracts, i.e. leases of residential properties located in Italy for a maximum duration of 30 days, stipulated by individuals outside
their commercial activities.
This allows short-term leasing contracts to fall under the flat rate called “Cedolare Secca”, a type of taxation that is normally reserved for long-term leasing only. This flat rate tax is 21%.
If short-term lease contracts have been stipulated with the intervention of an intermediary, also through the management of internet portals, the intermediary itself will withhold from the sum received from the client an amount equal to 21% of the rent. This amount will then be paid to the revenue agency by the same intermediation agent, who, in this way, replaces the owner in the payment of rental taxes.
Another requirement concerns the fulfillment of the regional or municipal legislation on tourist rentals. In this case, many municipalities have adopted a tourist tax, which varies in amount and method of payment depending on the municipality. Therefore, reading the regulation adopted by your municipality is certainly useful to avoid possible future notifications.
Following an ordinance of the Puglia region, from 1 July 2020, it came into force the obligation to indicate and publish the Structure Identification Code (CIS) for all accommodation units. This will serve to monitor the tourist offer and to avoid, as was often the case in the past, that many owners advertise their rental property on the OTAs without fulfilling tax and administrative obligations.
In the section of our website dedicated to the owners of the villas we manage, you will find useful information on tax and bureaucratic issues. Check it out!
3.3 Alloggiati Web
In the case of tourist rentals, it is also necessary to register your property on the online portal of the State Police Alloggiati Web to communicate the data of your guests: both those of residents in EU and non-EU countries, as required by law. To register on the portal, it is necessary to contact the Police Headquarters to request the forms for enabling the service.
After installing the security certificate on your computer, it will be possible to communicate presences directly online, for which you will need some information about the guests present in your villa, such as Name, Surname, Identity document number, etc.
The guests’ communication is not necessary when the rental has a period of more than 30 days, since in this case the contract must be registered with the Revenue Agency and this already fulfills the obligation of Public Security.
3.4 Mediation agencies
If the villa’s owner turns to a mediation agency for property rental, this must be a professional in the field, who owns the requirements of Italian law, such as it is an authorized travel agency or a real estate agency. It involves entering into a mandate agreement and receiving the income in some cases already net of taxation.
The advantages of relying on an intermediary are many: from the delegation of administrative and tax fulfilments to the possibility of benefiting from the visibility and promotion of the agency. However, an important distinction must be made.
There are two types of mediation mandates:
- with representation: the intermediary works on the owner’s behalf; thus all the responsibilities and obligations are in charge to the owner
- without representation: the intermediary works on its own and takes in charge of all the legal, administrative and tax obligations.