7 steps to holiday letting success
1. Know what customers are looking for
The expression “Location, location, location” was coined by British property tycoon Lord Harold Samuel and, whilst it is as applicable to holiday letting as it is any other type of property, investing in the right features can transform a great holiday home into a truly outstanding place to stay.
Added extras such as hot tubs and home cinemas are indeed eye-catching to guests but investing in the essentials can also reap financial rewards through increased bookings and higher prices. One of our owners saw revenue increase by 49% by simply following our recommendations and upgrading the kitchen.
2. The price must be right
Like all goods and services, the market dictates the price someone is willing to pay to stay in your property at a certain time of the year. Getting this right is key to maximising your return. Price too high and your property will sit empty, price too low and your peak weeks will be snapped up quickly, leaving you to wonder how much more could you have earned.
Gone are the days when the prices were fixed at the start of the year and published in brochures. With 24/7 booking you can see demand almost instantaneously and change your prices to react accordingly. This doesn’t just mean putting prices down or offering deals to fill voids, it can mean increasing prices too if you start to see a spike in enquiries.
3. Image is everything
Photos are often the guest’s first impression of a property; therefore, their quality is paramount. Professional standard photographs are the minimum requirement to showcase your holiday home at its best.
When it comes to presenting your property, the images should be ordered and captioned correctly for optimum impact. It is likely customers will browse the photos before reading the description, so you not only do you want to highlight what makes it unique, but you want to consider the journey you take them on at this initial stage.
4. Get your property seen
With more and more bookings being secured online, a user-friendly website is essential. But that is only half the battle, you also need to break through the noise and be seen above the competition, by the right audience, at the right time. You can have the most intuitive website, but for conversions to happen you need to drive the right traffic to it.
Search engines have become increasingly sophisticated in how they choose to rank websites to deliver their users the most relevant results. Investing in PPC (pay-per-click) is a sure way to target the right customers and bring in new website visitors. However, by producing valuable content and marketing it effectively there is still ample opportunity to rank organically too.
Our approach is to do both and to do it well. We have dedicated teams for content and performance who ensure our site is optimised, our content is of the highest quality, and that we are bidding on valuable keywords which, combined, give our brands maximum visibility.
5. Providing excellent customer service
Despite the growth in booking online, the role of the traditional reservation team is still vital to providing a personable and trusted service. We know this to be true as we saw an average of 6.8 enquiries per standard booking between January and October 2017. Digital is still unable to compete with people when it comes to showing the necessary compassion and understanding that customers expect when booking their holiday.
Providing an approachable customer service that keeps response times to a minimum is a full-time role that is time-consuming and inconvenient if you take it all on yourself. Our reservations team are available seven days a week to take calls, respond to emails and monitor social media messages. We believe every contact counts, and unlike other listing sites we manage your enquiries so that you aren’t against the clock to reply and you never miss an opportunity to secure a booking.
6. Remove the hassle
At holidaycottages.co.uk we work closely with our owners to make sure their ownership is simple and at best hassle free. Our dedicated portal was designed to provide our owners with everything they need to review the financial performance of their property, manage their booking calendar and even access exclusive discounts we have negotiated with complementary suppliers. From marketing your property to managing the entire booking process, our system also automatically informs your caretaker and cleaner of each arrival, so you don’t have to.
Our owners also benefit from our industry knowledge, we know what’s trending and when to capitalise on it. As an example, short breaks are currently a popular holiday type so, because of this, we are focused on ensuring our owners are informed and take the necessary actions to secure bookings.
7. It’s the little things that make a holiday special
Make someone’s holiday memorable from the moment they book with you and you will be rewarded. Whether you are an independent owner or listed with an agency the same rules apply. As soon as they come across your property online the tone is set. From there, offer a seamless booking process, easy payment options and almost instantaneous replies to enquiries.
When your guests first arrive, a few surprise items in their welcome basket is a great way to exceed expectations. Essentials in the fridge, a handmade cake or a few carefully selected local delicacies will be most welcome. It is likely your guests have travelled a fair distance to your property, so make them feel at home and you may receive positive feedback which not only helps future bookings but is a key indicator that you’ve been a great host.
We’re here for you from the very outset and our help and support starts even before you welcome your first guests. Whether it’s advice on the type of property or the location, guidance on layout or furniture, or assistance with some of the legislation that covers holiday letting, we are on hand.