Top 10 tips for rental success from HomeAway.co.uk
Firstly ensure you are allowed to let your property on a short-term basis and that you understand applicable taxation laws, as you must declare income earned from holiday lets. You also need holiday rental liability insurance and ideally a booking contract to confirm details of the reservation, deposit/refund/cancellation policies and terms and conditions of tenancy.
Furnish for rentals
Keep furnishings simple and avoid clutter; invest in a lockable cupboard to store away personal knick-knacks. Ensure the property meets health and safety requirements, and consider what practical items guests will expect. Luxury furnishings and unique features such as log fires and hot-tubs can give you an edge and enable you to charge slightly higher rates.
Have a local representative
Ideally you should have someone to 'meet and greet' your clients. You will also need a cleaner and someone on hand locally to deal with problems. One person can often fulfil all these roles – ask fellow holiday home owners or your property agent for recommendations.
Know your market
Know your target audience and research the price of comparable properties and alternative accommodation in the area. What type of tourists visit the area and what will they be looking for? Know your seasons and run offers to attract off-peak travellers.
Having your own website to refer guests to is great, but there are millions of websites online so you need to advertise somewhere you will definitely be seen. Magazines are one option, but reputable holiday rental websites are a cost-effective way to get exposure to millions of travellers and manage booking enquiries.
Set the holiday scene
Great photos and descriptions really help set the holiday scene and sell a stay in your property. Take time writing so carefully prepare every shot. Make beds, set tables, and turn on fires, for example. Guests will want to see exterior shots, outside facilities and view, plus photos of every room.
Provide a prompt, professional service
Set up auto-replies for booking enquiries containing further details of your property and travel options, and have a standard email prepared to send with your booking contract. If your calendar looks out of date, or your rates aren't clear, you will miss out on enquiries.
Stick to weeklong minimum stays in peak periods if you wish, but be flexible at other times to attract those taking short breaks and buying cheap flight deals.
Provide comments from past guests
Positive testimonials from previous guests will help sell your property. Leave a guestbook at your property for feedback and to gather positive quotes. Look for holiday rental websites with reviews, as travellers prefer sites where they can read comments from past guests.
Go the extra mile
Little extras can make all the difference – include a welcome pack of basics and local goodies, either included in the price or on request for a small extra charge, and provide a file with useful information on local attractions, activities and transport.
Top 5 tips for making your property more 'rentable'.
1. Furnish your property for rentals and add 'USPs' - keep furnishings simple and neutral and avoid personal clutter. Add 'unique selling points', such as log fires, hot-tubs, BBQ's and hammocks, depending on the destination.
2. Include great photos and descriptions - set the holiday scene in each shot to really sell a stay in your property; make beds, set tables, and turn on fires, for example. Avoid having people in your photos.
3. Run special offers off peak - run special offers, such as '3 nights for the price of 2' during your shoulder and off-peak seasons.
4. Be flexible - regarding duration of stay and check-in/check-out times to attract those taking short breaks and who want to organise their holiday around cheap flights
5. Go the extra mile - include a welcome pack of basics and local goodies, and provide a file with useful information on local attractions, activities and transport.