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Gitcombe Retreat, Cornworthy

With over 25 years’ experience marketing and managing an exquisite collection of holiday cottages in South Devon, we have put our expertise to the keyboard to bring you our Holiday Letting Advice guide.

No matter what stage you are at in your holiday letting journey, our aim is to ensure you enjoy a hassle free experience. So, we’ve summarised the key points on everything you need to know to make your holiday let a success.

Holiday letting advice from Coast & Country Cottages

Use the quick links below for specific details or continue reading for the full article.

Where is the best place to buy a holiday home?

Linham Barn, Kingsbridge

As with buying any property, location is critical. If you would like your holiday home to be busy all year round and secure a good return on your investment, then it makes sense to select a popular location with an active tourist market.

Location is key

Our research shows that the most popular properties for staycations in 2023, are located:

  • Close to the beach
  • Have shops and supermarkets nearby
  • Include an outdoor space or garden

In addition to these, the most popular amenities holidaymakers are looking for include nearby walking and cycling routes, a pub within walking distance and located near the coast.

South Devon is a region with plenty of these desirable attributes to choose from. With beautiful beaches, vibrant towns, and villages as well as endless unspoilt countryside, it’s the ideal holiday destination for all generations. From towns like Salcombe, Dartmouth, and Torbay, to beachside villages like Hope Cove and Thurlestone, each of these locations has something different to offer your potential guests.

Who is your ideal guest?

The location of your holiday let will influence the type of guests who books to stay. It is important to understand who your target audience is and what is most likely to influence their decision to book.

Our 2022 reports have shown us that our properties were booked by:

  • 40% couples
  • 31% families
  • 27% adult groups
  • 2% solo travellers

Considering seaside locations can be perfect for families, whereas small apartments in the middle of a bustling town may be more suited to couples, these factors should be considered when selecting the best place to buy a holiday home.

Get expert local advice

Our property experts are located in the South Hams, and have a wealth of local knowledge and experience when looking for desirable properties in the area. A great example of this in towns such as Salcombe and Dartmouth, are that those properties with a parking spot book quickly, as do those within a short walking distance of the town centre. If you’re buying in a beachside location, a sea view will also allow you to charge premium rental prices. Whilst properties near a town may traditionally have achieved more year-round bookings, some of our most successful holiday lets are those in remote locations.

For more information about other influencing factors, read our informative articles on what to know when buying a holiday home in Dartmouth and what to know when buying a holiday home in Salcombe.

Naturally, it is worth doing your own research to identify if there is a niche that isn’t being filled in the local area. For a closer look at the best places to buy a property, read our insider’s guide on where to buy a second home in South Devon.

Be flexible to encourage bookings

Linham Barn, Kingsbridge

While the popularity of UK staycations is clearly here to stay, you must also be aware of the increasing pressure on potential guests’ budgets, which has been coined – the ‘save-cation’. Making sure that you maintain an element of flexibility will encourage bookings and increase your holiday lets income potential.

Review your pricing

Whilst it may seem obvious, a key factor to consider is the rise in the ‘save-cation’ holiday trend directly relating to the cost-of-living crisis. It’s important to balance generating income with remaining competitive in the market.

Holiday cottages priced too high are at risk of losing bookings, but setting it too low could mean customers may be wary of the standard of property. Optimising your pricing will allow you to achieve the right balance of bookings and income.

Accept short breaks

Our data shows that demand for flexible holidays is a trend that’s continually growing. In 2022, 37% of all bookings were for short breaks. With demand for this type of holiday increasing, making your property available for short breaks exposes it to a larger market. Offering short breaks all-year round opens up the likelihood of more bookings, especially through the winter months.

Embrace last minute bookings

Similar to short breaks, being open to the prospect of accepting last minute bookings is a must. The uncertainty of the times we live in, coupled with the ease of booking last minute getaways, has meant that flexibility with accepting late bookings is essential to maximise annual occupancy.

Owners that consider accepting last minute bookings are likely capitalise on this growing trend. Last summer, there was a 76% increase in last minute breaks. Adopting an overall flexible stance with regards to your bookings will open you up to this target audience and entice an entirely new segment of travellers who would otherwise have opted for another property.

Hot Tub at Gitcombe Retreat, Cornworthy

The addition of desirable features and amenities give a holiday let a distinct advantage over other properties as well as the opportunity to increase your rental rates and secure more bookings.

Cater for pet-friendly holidays

We love dogs, and it’s no surprise that so many of our returning customers do too.

Choosing to make your holiday home dog-friendly can cater to a wider audience, and potential for increased bookings and higher revenue. Properties accepting pets earn on average 4 extra bookings and 18% more revenue per year.

We understand that allowing pets into your holiday home may seem daunting, so our team are available to offer advice on this and our blog should I make my holiday let dog-friendly offers more information to put your mind at ease.

Create a luxury holiday let

In light of ever increase demand for self-catering accommodation properties across the UK and in particular South Devon, creating a luxury holiday let which stands out from the crowd can help maximise your rental income and ensure lucrative and consistent year-round bookings. Research suggests that guests are looking for lavish accommodation which offers a touch of opulence and a unique five-star experience.

Set your property apart with premium amenities which will exceed guests’ expectations. Whether this is as simple as furnishing your holiday let with high quality interior decor, or the latest tech and entertainment.

Luxury amenities continue to be popular with holidaymakers, with bookings for properties with hot tubs up 104% according to our parent company Sykes Cottages. Providing sought after facilities like a swimming pool or log fire, going above and beyond to delight your customers will position your holiday home apart from the competition.

Electric charging point installation

Electric vehicles are revolutionising the way we travel and as of December last year there were over 660,000 battery-electric cars on UK roads, plus a further 445,000 plug-in hybrids. The installation of an electric charging point seems the logical step forward in providing a convenient solution for guests to charge their EVs while staying at your property. Creating a practical option for guests to charge their vehicles will help your property stand out above the competition and allow guests to make the most of their time on holiday.

Consider your environmental impact

Considering the current climate, it’s worth noting how environmentally friendly your property is. Eco-friendly and sustainable living has gained unprecedented momentum. In our recent survey, 26% of Brits said they were more likely to consider a UK break due to concerns for the environment, and 20% said they were specifically trying to book more sustainable holidays.

Adapting your holiday cottage to be more eco-friendly will not only go a long way in reducing your running costs, but it could increase your property’s desirability to guests.

It’s worth considering installing a smart meter, not only to help you monitor your running costs, but also to prompt guests to consider their energy usage.

Similarly, leaving a note in your welcome book of suggested energy saving techniques can be effective. For instance, asking guests to shut doors and windows to reduce heat loss, and encouraging them to be mindful of their energy and water consumption, for the sake of the planet.

We would recommend regularly reviewing your property’s insulation, glazing, heating and boiler systems, and lighting, to make sure you are running your home as efficiently as possible.

Read more in our comprehensive guide on how to make your holiday home more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Do I need specialised holiday let mortgages and insurance?

Holiday Let Advice from Coast & Country Cottages, South Devon

Did you know that a holiday let requires a specialised mortgage as well as insurance? These are important things to consider if your property is not your main residence and is being let out to guests on a self-catering basis. Understanding which mortgage you qualify for as a holiday let depends on specific criteria. For a far more detailed look into the requirements of qualifying, read our holiday let mortgages guide.

Holiday let insurance is different to that of your standard home policy. In the same way you are required to a get specialised mortgage, renting out a home to guests will mean you need a different insurance to that of a traditional scheme. The nature of renting out a short-term holiday let means that there are unique elements that a property is exposed to compared to a main residence which is occupied throughout the year.

Not only does renting a holiday let commercially mean you could potentially be exposing yourself legally and financially if guests are injured, but also any damage or loss or earnings to your property. Every holiday home is unique and so are its insurance requirements, so be sure to read our holiday let insurance guide for advice.

Holiday Let Advice from Coast & Country Cottages, South Devon

Understanding that a holiday let is subject to specific legal requirements is a top tip to be conscious of. These rules and regulations are in place to not only protect your guests, but you and your holiday let business.

What are the holiday let tax rules?

Furnished Holiday Lets have a unique classification with taxation which could means they gain from certain benefits and allowances. A Furnished Holiday Let is classified as a commercial trading business by the UK government and will need to meet the certain criteria in order to qualify for special tax advantages.

  • Your property must be run with the intent of making a profit.
  • You must meet the availability and occupancy requirements to qualify as a Furnished Holiday Let.
  • Your property must be furnished with the intent of making it a self-catering accommodation for guests.

If your property meets these and other required criteria, there are favourable tax benefits which will certainly make your venture more profitable, and enable you to create an appealing, marketable holiday home. Read our guide to Furnished Holiday Let tax to make sure you have a detailed understanding of what is required.

Must I pay holiday let business rate or council tax?

If you own a second home or holiday property, you will either need to pay holiday let business rates or council tax. This currently depends on the amount of days your property is occupied for each year. To find out the difference between holiday let business rates and council tax, and which one you’ll need to pay, be sure to consult our article on the topic.

Ensure the health and safety of your guests

A crucial factor to consider is effectively upholding and managing a good level of health and safety. This is important not only for the wellbeing of your guests, but also to reduce your liability in event of an accident. Ensuring that your property is compliant and a safe environment, will allow both you and your guests to relax in the knowledge that potential risks have been eliminated.

We’ve provided plenty of additional guidance and useful information for owners to help understand what holiday let legal requirements are needed. Read our blog on holiday let rules and regulations: legal requirements for letting a holiday home for a comprehensive look at all the relevant areas that must be adhered to.

How to get your holiday let ready for bookings

Holiday Let Advice

There are many things to consider when welcoming guests to your property. Examining what it is they are looking for and making sure all the details and small touches are thought of will not only delight your customers but lead to rave reviews and repeat bookings.

Creating a well-presented and spotlessly clean interior is a crucial part of your holiday lets success and key to making guests feel welcome, happy with their booking. Holiday let cleaning, housekeeping and laundry are some of the most important elements to consider. Especially when planning your property changeovers and preparing your holiday home for guests.

Today’s guests are discerning and expect not only a property to be spotless, but that you provide all the essential amenities and in full working order. Make sure that you have all the necessary items you need by referencing our useful holiday let inventory checklist.

First impressions are invaluable when preparing your home for guests, therefore providing a comprehensive welcome pack is one of the easiest and most effective ways to show your hospitality to guests. It’s the chance for you to distinguish your home from others and a great way to quickly answer all your guests’ questions, ensuring an enjoyable, hassle-free stay.

Read more about how to create the perfect holiday home guest information pack as the perfect opportunity to extend a friendly welcome and ensure your guests get the most out of their holiday.

What’s the easiest way to manage a holiday let property?

Holiday home management is one of the most challenging yet vital elements of running a successful holiday let business. From managing bookings, to cleaning, maintenance and changeovers, all of which are integral to running your holiday let business.

Depending on how involved you would like to be in running your property, finding the right holiday home management agency for expert advice and support can make all the difference to help you achieve success. There are a myriad of things to consider, so we have written a comprehensive guide explaining holiday home management: choosing the right service for your cottage to help you understand what’s involved in letting a holiday home.

One of the benefits of choosing a letting agent is that they often have local offices, close to the holiday homes they manage. Choosing a holiday home letting agency in South Devon like Coast & Country Cottages who have local offices in Salcombe and Dartmouth can be extremely helpful, especially if you don’t live close by.

Thinking of letting your South Devon holiday home?

Gitcombe Retreat, Cornworthy

Letting your holiday home should be enjoyable and we are here to help make it so. If you need advice at any stage, whatever the problem, please do not hesitate to call or email us. No query is too small and we are delighted to help.

Thinking of letting your South Devon holiday home? Coast & Country Cottages have been taking care of holiday homes for over 25 years, and are pleased to market a portfolio of over 500 properties in South Devon. At Coast & Country Cottages, we help to take the hassle out of holiday letting for our property owners.

If you would like to find out more about letting your holiday home, call our experienced team on 01548 843773 (option 2) or visit our Let Your Cottage page to request a free Owners Guide today.

Click here to request an Owners Guide

*Statistics provided by our parent company Sykes Cottages