In the summer of 2020, during the peak of Covid, Nicky Bright thought it was the end. The mother-of-two from Cardiff was going through a divorce and had lost her job, then her car and her home falling into the clutches of the bank.
She was devastated and bankrupt in one of the UK’s worst economic times and, without government help, took matters into her own hands by renting out her family home while staying with friends and family.
Renting out his five-bedroom family home was more successful than he imagined. And, by renting out a family caravan and helping other Airbnb hosts and owners improve their rental listings, he made more than £1 million in his first 18 months of business.
Since he had no experience in short-term rentals, he used Eviivo as their property management platform, allowing their listing to appear for free on all OTAs including Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia.com, and Vrbo.
In the first few months, he earned an average of £400 a month. Furthermore, when he rented his caravan, he turned over £50,000 in the first year.
Nicky Bright (pictured) went from losing her job, car and husband to running a successful rental business and becoming a millionaire in 18 months.
Nicky rented her family home while staying with friends and family. He was more successful than he imagined. In the image on the right, an exhausted Nicky attends to work matters
That’s when she used her passion for interior design (her “dream job”) to make even more money and created a website to showcase her talents.
After her success, Nicky, 52, began reaching out to property owners on Airbnb, searching for listings that looked “awful” along with “awful reviews” with the aim of transforming them.
He charged a fee to design, set up and manage them, including photography, interior design, video content and anything that would make a better impression and generate more revenue for the owner.
Pictured is Nicky’s house after a messy Airbnb purchase.
Nicky reached out to property owners on Airbnb, looking for listings that looked “awful” along with “awful reviews” with the goal of transforming them. He charged a fee to design, configure and manage them. Shown above are two of Nicky’s designs.
Nicky said: “A holiday rental or Airbnb is like Tinder – you have three seconds to impress potential guests.”
“I love the challenge of a failing business and seeing the owners’ faces in shock and thinking ‘wow’ after turning it around.”
Nicky earned an extra £20,000 a month by “rescuing” these properties.
Word of mouth in the short-term rental industry began to gravitate toward her. Nicky said: ‘I’ve had emails and phone calls from homeowners from Sweden to America, telling me they’d seen the transformations I’d done. I would help train them, let them know the best ways to improve their listing and design and increase profits.’
The bailout of holiday rentals and Airbnb has finally expanded to pubs.
She said: ‘I took a commercial pub and turned it into an Airbnb. Two pubs I rescued were going bankrupt. I went in and hand painted the furniture, mirrors, tiled tables and bar, giving the pubs a new life for a different type of pub guest – now guests who rented them could ‘run’ their own pub during the weekend and brew your own pints in an experience for your friends and family to enjoy.’
Nicky expanded his letting business by “rescuing” failing pubs. Above is The Waterfall Country Escape Powys, which was previously a working pub.
The listing describes The Waterfall Country Escape Powys as “the perfect place to hire families and groups”.
Above is Valley View in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, another property Nicky manages.
Nicky said: “I love the challenge of a failing business and seeing the owners’ faces in shock and thinking ‘wow’ after turning it around.”
In 2022, it found itself managing 17 properties, from Cardiff to Pembrokeshire.
“All of these properties were underperforming,” he said. ‘They were losing money and had low standards. I took over and now they are all fully booked and receiving awards from booking platforms and even recognition from the Welsh Tourist Board, which I loved!’
He uses Eviivo to market Nicky Bright Holidays and Eviivo Mobile, a short-term rental app that allows you to check and monitor all your listings and manage your business from your phone. “You can’t grow in this industry without a platform like Eviivo,” he said, “as it has all the benefits and tools in one place.”
Nicky now has 21 properties under his belt, with 10 coming on board this year in the spring.
Their properties showcase their unique interiors, such as a beautiful hammock hanging from the ceiling in one property and a pet-friendly “dog hotel” area in another.
At her properties, guests can purchase items she personally picked, such as chandeliers, floral pillows and lamps. “If you like it, you can buy it,” Nicky said.
His success allowed him to personally start purchasing his own properties, worth a total of £1 million, in just two years. She is still in shock at how she went from broke to owning a property, earning a million pounds every year, living a wonderful life and having the dream interior designer job she always wanted.
Some of Nicky’s properties have been recognized by the Welsh Tourist Board. Pictured is The Old Stables, a property in Pembroke, Pembrokeshire.
Nicky now has 21 properties under his belt, showcasing his unique interiors (above)
Nicky said: ‘We were homeless. I was going through a terrible divorce where I had to force my children to live at their friends’ houses while I rented the family home to survive. I was hitting rock bottom and I can’t believe how everything changed in less than two years.
“I would go to the bank and they would scratch their heads and tell me they have real estate investors with 30 or 40 years in the business who are getting 10 percent returns, while I was getting 3,000 percent.”
She has a close relationship with her children, who were 16 and 19 when her divorce began. They weren’t happy with the situation at the time, but ‘now I’m their biggest inspiration!’
He added: “People will tell you it’s not possible to do what I did, but it is possible.” I am the proof. I don’t have anything. I had no choice but to succeed and it was the best thing that happened to me. I have a new life and I am happier now than when I was married. I feel great. I feel like I’m 16 again.’