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 nick-nacks.
- 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 holidaymakers.
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 holidaymakers and manage booking enquiries. To reduce the impact of seasonality, advertise with a holiday rental website that provides international visibility like HomeAway.co.uk.
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 If your calendar looks out of date, or your rates aren't clear, you will miss out on enquiries.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 holidaymakers 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.
Is holiday rentals for me?
Holiday home owners market their holiday home for a number of reasons:
• Offset mortgage and running costs for the property
• Earn short term rental income from a property waiting to be sold
• More flexibility than residential letting, where longer rental contracts are common
• Higher rental income by renting a property per week to holidaymakers.
Making your property available for holiday rentals isn't the easiest decision to make and it requires consideration. It is important to remember that when renting your property to holidaymakers, you retain full control of when the property is rented, the rental income charged, for how long and most importantly who to.
If you are interested in learning more about holiday rentals, visit our Rentals zone for various useful tools including a rental income calculator, free downloadable guides and sample contracts - all designed to educate you.