Holiday letting is a competitive business, and sometimes all it takes is the slightest difference for a potential guest to choose one place over another.
However, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that your holiday let stands out and gets lots of bookings. Even if your let is popular with holidaymakers already, there are always ways to boost its appeal and potentially bump up the income you receive.
In this article, we cover some of the ways that you might be able to earn more from your holiday let.
Decorating your holiday home may require some thought. You don’t want it to appear dull, but then again, too much of a personal touch could turn off potential guests who don’t share your tastes.
Remember that besides the cost, photographs of the rooms are usually the first thing people see when looking at a holiday home listing, so you’ll want to make a good first impression, with subtle but attractive colour schemes and comfy-looking furniture. Think of holiday homes you have stayed in before – they’re probably universally appealing.
Removing family photos and other personal items from the property is important too – you want guests to feel at ease, rather than as if they are living in someone else’s home. If you are keen to include some art on the walls, choose simple pictures or scenes related to the area, such as local landscapes. If there are bookshelves, find some cheap books to fill them up.
2. Make it suitable for all seasons
A holiday home is unlikely to be filled all-year-round. The majority of holiday lets have a seasonal appeal, meaning that business might boom over the summer, for example, and dry up in the colder months.
However, no matter the time of year, there are always people planning to get away from it all. If you can find a way to give your property more appeal in the quieter months, you could see bookings increase. Holiday properties with an open fireplace earn 14% more on average, for example, because winter bookings tend to increase. Or, you could put together a games room or home cinema for rainy days.
Alternatively, iIf your property is overseas in a particularly warm climate, such as the Mediterranean, you should be sure to have air conditioning installed.
3. Install a hot tub
Whether you’re a fan of them or not, hot tubs are one of the biggest draws for holidaymakers, boosting average earnings for holiday properties by an enormous 54%. This is another feature that can make your property more enticing in any season of the year.
A good quality wooden hot tub will set you back a few thousand pounds, and you will of course need to have space for it. Once installed, the hot tub does need to be maintained, and ongoing costs will include electricity, water, chemicals and any replacement parts, but this generally won’t set you back more than £25 a week, or £2-3 a day. It is recommended that you get your hot tub professionally serviced at least once a year, which can cost between £150 and £200.
There are also certain health and safety regulations you’ll have to follow to maintain a hot tub and keep it free from common infections. These are detailed in a guide by the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) called HSG282 – you can read more about these guidelines and download a PDF copy here.
While a hot tub is certainly a luxurious extra, remember that – like the holiday let itself – it’s a long-term investment, meaning that the financial benefits will most likely come with time.
4. Review your advertising
Advertising is everything in a market as competitive as holiday letting. If you are letting through a property management company, it will often sort out advertising the property, but if not, then it’s important to provide a listing that looks professional.
If you haven’t already, getting professional photographs of the rooms in your property is important. Low-quality photos that don’t show enough of the house will be an instant turn-off for most holidaymakers.
Of course, you don’t just want a listing that looks nice – you want one that showcases what is unique about your let compared to the alternatives. If you have made any improvements or additions to the home to boost its value, mention them in the listing. People will only take you up on a higher price tag if they can see what they’re paying for.
Be comprehensive about the perks of the property and the nearby area, and make sure the copy is well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Have a look at other listings if you are unsure about the best way to go about writing one.
5. Invest in entertainment features
Small additions to a holiday home can make a big difference, so stocking up on gear that fits the kind of holiday people are coming to your property for can really make it shine. For example, if you own a seaside property, why not buy some beach toys and snorkelling gear?
Most holidaymakers these days will expect quick, reliable internet connection and a TV in the property. If you are willing to throw in some streaming services, that may also add to its appeal.
If you want to go further, consider turning a room in the house into a games room with board games and a pool table.
It’s likely that not every guest will use all of these things – but including them is a reason to bump up the price tag, and will make the let feel more luxurious as a whole.
6. Make it dog-friendly
For many families, a property that won’t allow pets is an immediate dealbreaker. One third of UK dog owners will only holiday in dog-friendly properties, meaning that allowing dogs could make a considerable difference in the number of bookings you receive. You might hesitate if you are worried about wear and tear or extra mess to clean up, but most of these families will be willing to pay extra for the trouble.
If you’re still uncertain, you can lay down certain rules, such as asking that guests keep dogs out of certain rooms.
Autumn and winter breaks prove especially popular with dog owners. For example, lots of people relish going to the beach in the cold if they can bring their dog along. So making your property dog-friendly can be another way to boost its appeal in the off-peak season.
7. Spruce up the garden
If your property boasts a garden, don’t let it go to waste. A well-kept lawn and blooming flowerbeds help make a garden much more inviting, as can garden furniture or even a barbecue. If you have the space and budget for it, consider retiling the patio or building a deck for guests to enjoy.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out our article 13 cheap and easy garden design ideas.
8. Include cots and high chairs
Equipping your holiday let with a cot in one of the bedrooms and a high chair in the kitchen (or keeping them stored in the property to be brought out if needed) can be an enormous help to parents holidaying with babies. This is another way of potentially opening your let up to people who may not have considered the property otherwise.
9. Listen to feedback
Whether it’s given to you directly, via your property manager, or posted online, constructive criticism should always be taken as a positive rather than a bad thing. Reasonable feedback from customers can provide a really helpful basis for improving your property and making the overall holiday experience better for future guests. A fix can be as simple as clarifying something on the listing or buying an extra item for the property, but no matter how big or small it is, you should always at least consider it.
10. Extra touches go a long way
These extra touches probably won’t go front and centre on your listing or justify notching up the price too much, but they can make your guests feel far more comfortable and establish a rapport that makes them more likely to return in the future.
- Buying a gift basket for each new set of guests never goes amiss. Even better if it’s from a local shop, as that immediately creates a connection between the guests and where they are staying.
- Including a few basic groceries – such as coffee, tea, a loaf of bread, pasta, cereal, and a pint of milk – is a great gesture, particularly for guests arriving later in the day who don’t want to rush right out to the shops.
- Leaving a note or booklet for guests, including information about the property, how to use appliances, and information about the local area, is easy to do and does a lot to build trust.
- Letting guests check out later in the day is highly appreciated, as it gives holidaymakers extra time before they have to leave. This may not be feasible if you want the property cleaned the same day, however.
What you can do to improve your holiday home will depend on its size and location, as well as your own budget and time constraints. You can use these tips as a guide and work out which ones suit you and your holiday let the best.
If you haven’t bought a holiday let but are thinking about it, have a look at our articles Holiday let or buy to let: which is better? and Five things to consider if you are thinking about buying a holiday let for more information.
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