Some Important Facts about Running Your Holiday Home

“We’ve been with Welcome for almost 10 years and have never looked back.  Welcome provide us with so many customers we secured 50 weeks last year and our second let secured 43 weeks.  They’ve been so successful we’re currently converting our third property for letting.”
Alan and Nicky Hughes, Malvern, Worcestershire, UK (Property Ref. W7164)

Today’s holidaymakers rightly expect high standards in the properties they rent, and our experience shows that meeting or exceeding customer expectations is the best way to maximise the income your property generates.  Guests who really enjoy their experience are far more likely to return another year, and they’re also far more likely to spread the word and recommend your property to others.

Style
Style is a very personal thing, and what works best for you isn’t necessarily what works best in the letting market.  Appropriateness and subtlety are key, so try to create a simple ‘look’ that’s in keeping with the property’s age, location and character.  Expensive, painstakingly colour-coordinated décor is to everyone’s taste, and it’s also difficult and costly to maintain and unlikely to generate enough additional income to justify its expense.

Keep it clean
Visitors expect clean and freshly aired properties with sparkling windows and spotless appliances, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.  You’ll need to make time to regularly and thoroughly clean your property, or budget for a reliable cleaner.

Gardens and pools
Gardens are a real selling point, particularly for families and pet owners, but they must be kept in great condition. A private area, garden furniture and barbeque are all attractive features worth mentioning in your promotional materials, but you should avoid any property with a pond or those whose only water source is a well.

A heated indoor swimming pool is certain to boost bookings in any area with a cold climate, but you should remember that it’s likely to be expensive to run and that safety and maintenance will be entirely your responsibility.  The same pros and cons apply for outdoor pools in warmer regions.

Bathrooms
Nobody likes queuing for the toilet, so properties sleeping six or more guests should have at least two of them.  Bathrooms should be tiled, well decorated and supplied with fresh towels.  If your bathroom doesn’t feature separate units, then a shower-over-bath will suit visitors in a rush as well as those who like a long relaxing soak.

Sleeping arrangements
Whenever possible, a mixture of double and twin-bedded rooms works best, coordinated bedding, fresh linen and solid beds with decent mattresses and all essentials.  It’s also important to make up the beds before your visitors arrive, no matter how many people are staying.  Finally, we advise against saving space by using bunk beds because this is likely to restrict your bookings to school holidays: most adults prefer not to climb a ladder into bed!

Heating
To make sure your property is warm and comfortable in the colder months, its essential; that it features a modern, safe and efficient central heating system.  Open fires are lovely and they certainly add to the romance, but they’re only appropriate as supplementary heating.  AGAs and similar solid fuel systems will create the added complication of providing both sufficient fuel and detailed instructions for visitors.  Coin-operated electricity meters are very off-putting and really mustn’t be used.

Double-glazed windows and well-insulated lofts are recommended to help minimise your environmental impact and energy bills as well as reduce the risk of winter freeze-ups.  In warmer regions, air conditioning is something more and more holidays look for in a rental property.

Key factors
It’s no fun getting lost after a long journey, so please make sure your property is well signposted from the road and, ideally, lit up at night.  You should make sure there’s plenty of parking space available, and two sets of door keys for guests, as well as spares for yourself.

Pets
With almost 22% of all holidaymakers taking their pets away with them, excluding pets from your property may drastically restrict your potential bookings.  Also, please remember that you’re obliged to accept assistance dogs even if you choose not to accept pets generally.

“Once our children had married, we had the time to indulge our long held desire to develop a portfolio of holiday cottages near our home in beautiful Northumberland.  We decided to work with English Country Cottages as our research showed that the service and support they offered was far superior to any other company.”
Maureen and Trevor Ledger, Northumberland, UK (Properties, MOL, MOF, MQF, MQK, MOE & W41406)