The decision to let out your property to holiday makers is not one you should take lightly. Undoubtedly, there’s money to be made this way but there are also many pitfalls along the way and lessons to be learnt before you can confidently call yourself a successful landlord.
Assuming you already own a suitable property in the UK or abroad, in a potentially lucrative location that gets some visitor traffic, how can you turn your house into a self-catering holiday business?
Do your market research
Even if you know the local area well, there’s plenty of homework to be done before you can welcome your first guests.
Start by researching the local holiday lettings market online to check out existing holiday accommodation and see what the competition is offering, how much they’re charging and who they’re targeting with their marketing, and what features are most popular with guests.
Next, gain a fresh perspective by putting yourself in the shoes of a tourist visiting the area:
- What do they think is most special about the locality?
- What are the best local amenities – beach, country walks, vibrant nightlife, family entertainment?
- What features could you offer that might resonate with prospective visitors – easy parking, child friendly interior, wood burner, garden, hot tub?
Market your holiday home
Nowadays, most holiday accommodation is booked online meaning you cannot afford to ignore vital digital marketing channels.
You’ll need to build a website for your property, however getting found on the internet is becoming increasingly difficult in a crowded market and will require additional marketing help to have any chance of success.
Another marketing route is to list your holiday business with a well recognised directory or online agency to increase your visibility, take the stress out of marketing and offload some of the bookings process too.
All that’s required is a description and some great photographs to show off your property and the site will do the rest.
Choose your platform according to your target market – from holiday villas in the South of France to rentals in Andalucia to quirky self-catering accommodation anywhere in the world. Of course, if you want the most general reach, there’s always Airbnb.
Prepare your property
Getting your holiday home ready for guests is all about tuning into your target market. Once you know what people expect to find, give it to them. Better still, exceed their expectations.
Modern guests are looking for quality so your first job must be to ensure that the property is in an excellent state of repair and that all furniture and furnishings, fixtures and fittings are of a good standard.
Unless you are going for the luxury market, there’s no need to splash out on designer items, but junk shop finds and second hand items simply won’t cut it.
Go for comfort and quality – don’t skimp on the mattress – and choose a room décor that is universally appealing without too much of your own taste and personality on show.
Importantly, take interior design inspiration and advice to make sure that the property has plenty of visual appeal, both inside and out. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, especially if prospective guests are looking and booking online.
Charging the right price
Clearly, the trick to a successful holiday rental business lies in getting the financials right. Many rookie landlords are struggling to decide on the correct price levels to charge their guests – too high and people will book with the competition, too low and profits will suffer.
The right price must reflect the property itself and any financial commitments on it, its maximum occupancy, local demand including seasonal variations, and the competition.
What’s more, turning your property into a holiday let doesn’t just end with interior design. There are lots of little practical details you need to make decisions on:
- Who is going to do the cleaning
- Who will handle the changeovers and welcome new guests
- Who will be the local keyholder… all of which have a financial implication
It’s a fine balance that needs constant reviewing in order to achieve optimum profitability levels.
Thanks to Annie Button for this amazing guest article about going back to basics and looking at the preparation for creating a successful holiday let business.
Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and useful tips through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications.