Just because you love your holiday home, that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone else will too. Every holiday home will have annual periods where they’re vacant, but here are our top tips for ensuring that you make the most of your investment.
Cater for a target market
Different people look for different things when booking a holiday home so don’t try to be all things to all people. We suggest picking a target market and trying to appeal to them and their direct needs or expectations.
If you’re targeting families, for example, ensure that the home has cots, high-chairs, toys, board games and anything extra that might make the life of the parents easier – remember it’s their holiday as well. Safety is paramount so safeguard the cleaning product cupboard and upstairs windows by installing child locks and if you have a swimming pool, make sure it is fenced off. Mow the lawn and make the garden fit to play in.
If you’re going for the luxury market then buy big fluffy bathrobes and quality towels and toiletries. Ensure that the décor is reflective of the market too, with the overall ambiance, classy furnishings and accessories such as candles, wine coolers and wall art often making a big, memorable impact.12
However, when considering your target market, it’s interesting to know that over a third of holiday home bookings require the home to be pet, in particular dog, friendly.
Meet a required standard
A positive experience will very often lead to repeat business (an essential element of owning a holiday home) or at the very least referrals, so aim to exceed expectations wherever possible.
Nice bedding, working amenities, internet access, powerful showers and a dishwasher are essential. Above all, ensure the house is clean – it’s a basic but crucial requirement that is overlooked more often than you wish to believe.
Also it’s a holiday HOME, not a place to dump all the old furniture from your house. Your guests will want an environment that they feel comfortable in and that they can instantly relax and feel at home in. That’s not going to be achieved if the sofa’s stained, the mattresses dip in the middle or the kettle looks like it’s been taken from a building site.
You don’t have to have expensive furnishings and accessories, but they do at the very least need to meet a required standard. You have to look at your holiday home as a business to succeed. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your guests and anything you’re not happy with, the chances are, they won’t be either.
Welcome packs and added extras
Almost a continuation from the above point, it’s often the little things that make the difference and make the experience a memorable one that your guests are going to want to repeat.
Create a little welcome pack for your guests with instructions on how to use the appliances, and a local guide catered for your target market i.e. for families; suitable walks and family excursions. For the luxury market provide an overview of local fine dining restaurants, wine tasting experiences, anything that will appeal to them and enhance their holidaying experience.
Provide the basics. Your guests may have travelled for hours to get to you so having tea, coffee, sugar and milk upon arrival will be much appreciated. It could be taken one step further with a homemade cake, a small bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine. Again, it’s about creating an experience and making your guests feel special and appreciated.
The saying ‘a picture can say a 1,000 words’ is very true and very relevant when advertising a holiday home, so you must ensure that the photography portrays it in the best possible light.
You have to make your holiday home look appealing so it goes without saying, remove all clutter and ensure the place is clean and tidy. If possible, take photos on a bright, sunny day when natural light is at its best – sun sets the scene for a perfect holiday so it’s easier for potential guests to visualise themselves there. Set the scene before taking the pictures, so lay the dining table with some local produce complete and a bottle of wine, put some vases of flowers in the rooms; make your home look homely, bright and inviting. Try and get as much of the room in the picture as possible as little snippets of rooms do little to invigorate the imagination.
Include photos of local area. Maybe there’s a beautiful beach near your home, a local food market or unique architecture you could take some photos of. This again should be tailored to your target market.
If you get all of this right then you’ll certainly be on the right track to making your property a true business and a sound investment.
See the different types of holiday homes we have available at our ‘Holiday Home Types’ page.