How to run a successful holiday rental business

Q4 2017

Investing in a holiday let gives you the freedom to run a business from home in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, here’s our guide to running a successful holiday rental business.

Many people dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a new life in the country. But even if you’re retired, you may not want to give up working just yet. Homes with an adjoining holiday let can generate a good income and allow you to live in your dream location. Alternatively, you may look at a holiday let as an investment, either to generate income or to take advantage of capital growth.

Whether you’re considering a new business venture or a second home, we look at what you need to consider if you’re thinking of investing in a holiday let.

Decide on the primary purpose of your business

This affects what type of property you go for, where you buy and how you run your business. If you want a holiday cottage that you can use during school holidays and let out at other times of the year, then your approach to choosing a property will be very different to someone whose primary goal is to generate income.

Choose the right location

As with buying any property, location is key. If you want your holiday let to be full all year round, then you need to choose a popular location with an active tourist market. It’s always worth checking out the competition to see if there is a niche that isn’t being filled in the local area.

For example, Church and Corner Cottage is located in a small Rutland village, close to Stamford. Nearby Burghley House and Rutland Water make it a popular area. There’s plenty of holiday accommodation but a lack of luxury self-catering properties, a gap which this cottage nicely fills.

Make sure the property suits your target market

You also need to decide who your ideal customer is. If you have a large property, then your target market is likely to be families. Whereas a cosy, one-bed cottage can be marketed as a romantic retreat.

As with any business, if you want to command top prices, then you need to offer a high-quality product. This may mean spending a bit extra to upgrade the existing fixtures and fittings and install fast Wi-Fi or offer special touches such as a welcome hamper of locally-sourced food.

For some people, renovating and upgrading a property is part of the fun. But if you want to get up and running immediately, your best bet is to choose a property that’s designed to be run as a holiday let.

Church and Corner Cottage is a recently renovated three-bedroom property with the flexibility to be let as a single unit or two completely self-contained cottages.

It’s fully fitted out with bespoke kitchens, Artisan of Devizes limestone floors with underfloor heating and Perrin & Rowe bathroom fittings. Not to mention all the technology expected of a premium holiday let, including high-speed Internet, USB charging points and integrated Freesat TVs. With the option to include furniture and bedding in the purchase, the property is ready to let from day one.

Be prepared to work hard

More work goes into running a holiday let than you may realise. But if you want to take a more hands-off approach to managing your property, there’s always the option to subcontract some or all of the work out to others.

There are many property sites and marketing professionals who can help you market your business online. Hiring local staff to help with cleaning, gardening and greeting guests takes the burden off you and boosts employment in the local area.

Other great letting opportunities

If you fancy escaping to the country and investing in a holiday rental business, check out these ready-to-let options.

  • Mary’s Cottages is an established lifestyle business in Elgol on the beautiful Isle of Skye. The five-bedroom house and four thatched cottages are ideally situated to take advantage of the surge in popularity of weddings at nearby Loch Coruisk.
  • This converted Welsh stone barn with stunning views over Harlech beach has two cottages and a leisure complex in addition to the main house. It’s location in Snowdonia National Park and local amenities draw visitors to the area.
  • Knockbrex Castle, close to the Solway coast, is a great niche investment. The seven-bedroom castle is perfect for large groups or small weddings and there are two additional cottages in the grounds.