Dave Cordner, Founder of Central Belfast Apartments puts the spotlight on Belfast Live

Last name: Dave corder

Company: Apartments in the center of Belfast

Role: Founder and Managing Director

What are you doing (in 10 words or less)? Creation of Central Belfast Apartments which manages Airbnbs for real estate investors

Three main attributes you need for the job: Attention to detail, friendly personality and a passion for Belfast.

Path to this post: I used to help my parents with their Airbnbs when I was younger and learned the ropes that way – I was responsible for cleaning, meeting and welcoming guests. I have a passion for Belfast and have loved sharing it with visitors to the city. I was addicted!

In 2014 I bought my first apartment and realized it was something I wanted to do full time. Following this, I established Central Belfast Apartments in 2016 and started managing other people’s properties. I am extremely proud that until Covid hits our portfolio of managed properties has doubled in size every year.

What is your dream job (current position except)? Being a professional footballer would be pretty cool.

What are you most proud of (in terms of work)? How I have used the adversity of the pandemic to grow and improve myself and the business so that we come out on the other side in a much stronger position than we entered. After the initial shock, I decided I was going to focus all of my energy on being positive. On controlling things that I could control and think about in the long term and the big picture.

What are you most proud of (in life)? My two sons. It’s amazing to watch them grow and develop. Be courageous and independent. They are both so much fun and also very curious about everything. They inspire me every day to keep pushing and improving.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business and how have you adjusted? The start of the lockdown and travel restrictions were among the worst days of my life. We had £ 100,000 of confirmed bookings canceled within a few days. We lost about half of our apartments as a few of our big clients took them back and rented them long term due to travel restrictions and uncertainty about the future.

I have always felt such a responsibility to our clients, and I am very grateful to those who stayed there and were able to see the big picture and the long term opportunities. Once the reality of Covid kicked in, I got to work making sure we came out on the other side in a much better position. We updated our branding, got two new websites – centralbelfastapartments.com and belfastairbnbmanagement.co.uk. We’ve started producing some amazing video content featuring Belfast and Northern Ireland to try and keep us front and center in people’s minds as a post covid destination. I also started to work on myself and my state of mind.

What lessons did you learn about yourself during the lockdown? May in the darkest days I do not back down and back down, but take massive action to keep moving forward. I think so many business owners have discovered how resilient we can be.

Who is Northern Ireland’s brightest business brain? Bill Wolsey is a hospitality giant, and I have immense respect and admiration for him.

What would you have liked to invent? Airbnb. Such a disruptive business model now copied by Uber, Just Eat, etc.

Favorite app on your phone: My Notes app is where I save all the new ideas I have that I don’t want to forget. I’m also a big fan of TikTok right now, it’s addicting!

Besides Belfast Live and yours, what is your favorite website? Probably the Premier League fantasy football site. I’m in a very competitive league with my friends and they hate that I beat them every year.

If you were spending the day in Belfast, where is your dream breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks? Café Conor for breakfast, Little Wing for lunch, and Yugo for dinner. Then back for a few drinks in my local The Doyen on Lisburn Road.

Where is your hidden gem in Northern Ireland? Not a hidden gem for locals, but for tourists I would definitely recommend Cavehill. It doesn’t have the same coverage as our other world class attractions, but it is an amazing place and offers a unique perspective of Belfast.

Where is your favorite place in the world? Belfast of course! Barcelona come second. I love the food, the culture, the architecture and of course the weather.

How would you describe Belfast to someone who has never been there? I could go on and on about this! I have such a passion for this city. As a destination we are still a bit of a hidden gem so you won’t feel completely surrounded by tourists like other cities like Dublin, London etc.

There are world-class things to see and do right in the heart of the city that will appeal to all ages and groups. We have a bustling city center with fantastic bars and restaurants. A short drive away are stunning beaches, stunning scenery and mountains to explore. The list is endless… .all of our first-time visitors say the city far exceeds their expectations.

In 10 years, I would like … See Belfast as one of the hottest cities in the world to visit. For us to reach our potential in terms of tourism and investment which did not exist here for 30 years due to the unrest. As a city and a destination, we are just getting started. I want to see a peaceful and prosperous city for my children to grow up.

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