Second Home or Second Stream of Income? 6 Ways to Get a Steady Flow of Guests to Your Holiday Let

Ways to Get a Steady Flow of Guests to Your Holiday Let

The prices of property in some of the UK’s most sought after holiday destinations have soared. In fact, in 2019, according to Hamptons International, the average property price in Salcombe, Devon, was nearly £706,840- up 33% in the past 10 years. A similar story is told in the Cotswolds, with prices rising by 52% to an average of £427,740. In Rock, on the Cornish Coast, the average property is £477,940- around £6,000 more expensive than London’s (Financial Times).

But what do these property prices mean for second-home owners? Or rather, those looking to explore the benefits second homes have to offer? On the one hand, it’s clear that popular demand for residence in the UK’s most scenic locations is on the rise. This remains true for holidaymakers- both domestic and international travellers. On the other hand, the most lucrative holiday letting destinations come at a reflective cost. That’s why it’s imperative to have a continuous stream of guests to cover these costs and generate the highest returns.

Holiday let mortgages are an attractive option for second homeowners in scenic and touristic areas. They’re becoming increasingly profitable and much-anticipated investments for many. A comprehensive holiday let mortgage guide will explain the in’s and out’s of holiday lets. Become familiar with the differences between landlords and tenants V’s holiday lettings before listing grandma’s derelict cottage on Airbnb.

Whilst your profitability largely depends on getting guests in, it’s equally vital to keep the cost of running your second home low. Green building and energy efficient appliances, like solar panels, are key to maintaining a well-lit, operational and functional home in the long run- minimising environmental impact and lowering long-term costs. It’s also a great selling point to prospective visitors.

How to get a continuous flow of guests

Having liaised with a holiday let mortgage broker and getting your property ready for the general public, you’ll need to think strategically about how your property will work for you in the weeks and months of which you aren’t occupying the property. There are a few things you can do to ensure maximum exposure and maintain regular bookings.

#1. Advertise your holiday let

The best way to let potential holidaymakers around the UK and abroad know about your property is to advertise it well. This extends to the surrounding areas too, as well as your property. In some cases, what you provide in your advertisement will constitute most of the information potential visitors will receive.

Sell the neighbourhood to guests by focusing on seasonal events and tourist attractions. Do your own research on local markets, festivals and celebrated conservation areas, for example. Think about why people tend to go on holiday in the UK. For British landscapes, to relax, to explore other regions and to escape from the city and take part in communal village life.

With these selling points in mind, be sure to advertise your holiday let by honing in on what your target market is looking for.

#2. Take professional photographs and video tours

The digital world in which we live has provided us with ample capabilities to connect from afar and showcase our properties in the best virtual light. Photographs sell a holiday let, so your photos should be high-quality, edited fittingly and delivered to holidaymakers expectations.

You won’t be the only person advertising online. Competition is rife and your photographs are a way for you to differentiate yourself from other local holiday lets. They will probably be the first point of contact between your property and potential visitors; and first impressions matter. Regardless of the state of your property, if the listing above yours has photographs of better quality, angles, lighting and scenery; you may well lose a potential guest to another property.

Stage your home to suit the preferences and uses of your target market. A holiday home for two should be presented as such. Including attractive pressed linens and a dining table set up for two, for example. Virtual video tours will give your listing a competitive edge. You won’t need a professional videographer for this but a steady hand and an awareness of space is essential.

#3. Pay attention to home staging

Throughout your advertisement, across online, print and in-real-life viewings, your property should be perfectly staged. The process of staging a home is common practice in Real Estate to sell a house. In fact, separate companies and individuals make a living out of the home staging profession. However, it’s not as common in the holiday letting business.

By neglecting the style and presentation of your holiday let, you could be contributing to gaps in enquiries that should be converted into bookings. Rather, holidaymakers expect their holiday residence to be staged in a particular way – whether it’s a hotel or holiday let. Failing to meet these expectations could result in prospective holidaymakers looking elsewhere.

#4. Write a killer brochure

Whilst a picture may speak a thousand words, the power behind clear, succinct and informative copy is key to driving conversions and closing rental deals on your holiday let. Your brochure online and in print should have at least 6 key features of your property and an additional 6 key features of the surrounding area.

Information drives people to make purchasing decisions and so, book holidays. Give your target market all the information they need to make well-informed decisions like as to whether they should enquire. Pique at their interests by describing period features in your property, or perhaps its proximity to a local farmers market. If you don’t tell your prospects, someone else will.

#5. Know where to advertise your holiday let

If you want your property to remain at maximum capacity, barring your odd holiday here and there, you’ll have to advertise it in the right places. From word of mouth to shop windows, you’ll soon realise that you have many options. Here are your best ones.

  • Holiday let websites– do a search based on keywords you are targeting, including your region, and see which sites appear. Read T&Cs for each site before making a listing and explore the services they offer as well as fees and charges. Many will charge an annual subscription fee, whilst others will take 3-15% commission.
  • Your own website– a bespoke website with effective marketing could help you maintain a fully booked holiday let through the year.
  • Social media– creating social media accounts for your holiday let is free to do and can attract an array of visitors. Social media content is also shareable; giving your property a wider audience. You’ll also have direct access to your target market to engage with them and answer questions effectively.
  • Word of mouth– an extremely cost and time-efficient way to gain more prospects and keep the bookings flowing. Encourage guests to leave reviews and recommend your holiday let to friends and family.
  • Local press– ads in local community magazines and newspapers are ultra-effective for older generation target markets. Those who are most likely to negate the online space and turn immediately to in-print advertising shouldn’t be neglected.
  • Shop windows– postcards and photos in shop windows can easily yield a few bookings.

#6. Charge the right price

Charge too low and prospects will wonder why your holiday home isn’t inline with local properties. They’ll assume there’s a catch and proceed with an alternative booking. Charge too much and holidaymakers will turn to a more competitively priced property.

An effective pricing strategy can ensure you’re charging the right price and remaining competitive. The market is constantly changing and demand will always affect prices. In recent times, the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed travel restrictions abroad. Interestingly, a study revealed that 24.9% of respondents said they’d prefer to holiday in the UK until there is a Coronavirus vaccine. Whilst 17.76% say they prefer Staycations in the UK regardless (BBC). Such external forces have seen an immediate spike in the cost of Staycations in the UK.

By staying committed to keeping your holiday let at full capacity throughout the year, the costs of buying and maintaining a holiday let mortgage is covered. The benefits of owning a holiday let are then materialised into using your own holiday home with lower costs, as well as generating a second stream of income all year round.