A holiday cottage is a lifestyle investment that many of us aspire to make. A holiday home can be both a bolt hole and a valuable source of rental income, especially during the school holidays when weekly charges can be up to three times higher than those in the buy to let market. But gone are the days when it was enough to present a clean house with inoffensive furniture and a lever arch information file on the kitchen table. Nowadays guests expect the five-star package, with a fast internet connection and wide screen TV as standard, and a grocery unpacking service prior to arrival preferable. So, if you’re planning on going down the holiday home rental route, what should you bear in mind to maximise your generated income?
- Cast the net as wide as possible by making your property dog friendly.
- By and large, potential guests browse and select their holiday cottage based purely on photographs, so display as many as you can on a user-friendly website. It’s worth holding out for a sunny day to take pictures, and switch on all the lights for interior room shots.
- Include everything guests need to feel at home. A coffee machine in the kitchen, a good sound system and luxury toiletries and candles in the bathrooms will make all the difference.
- For year-round rentals, make sure the heating is sufficient. A log burner and a basket of logs will cheer the hearts of walkers coming in from the cold.
- Make sleeping arrangements as flexible as possible. Young children love the novelty factor, but teenagers will often recoil at the idea of sharing a double bed. Zip-linked beds that can be unzipped to make two singles are worth their weight in gold. If you’re looking to attract families, baby friendly features like a high chair, cot and stair-gate are winners.
- The local area is often the main reason people will be considering staying in your property, so bring the outside in. Hampers of local produce or works of art by local artists will add character and atmosphere, and help achieve the all-important goal of encouraging repeat bookings.
With good management, rental income will cover the running costs of the property with the added benefit that with everything constantly checked and maintained, it’ll be a home from home for when you can clear the diary, jump in the car and head there yourself.