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These are exciting times! You're starting to get your first bookings and you're really keen to make a great impression on your guests. But how do you go about doing this? And why is getting off to a good start so important?

This is the third and final part of our advice guide on how to successfully earn income from a holiday home letting. To read the first part, click here, or the second part, click here.

Now you’re letting, build a reputation and work to generate repeat custom

According to marketing experts it’s seven times more difficult to attract new customers than repeat. In other words, the difference between a modestly successful holiday let and a really successful one can be down to guests that come back. Remember, too, that these guests are more likely to book early, so you don’t have to worry about discounting. They tend to leave glowing reviews, and they’ll be another important marker as to how profitable your holiday property is. To get those reviews and repeat customers, you need to consider:

  • Presentation and “the little things”: Now think about how you can stand out from all the holiday properties similar to yours. Guests demand clean and tidy – “walk in” condition. What can you add on top? We advise our owners to leave welcome packs – essentials of bread and milk, tea and coffee for example. Some put out fresh flowers. People remember small gestures. Think about what you might find welcoming if you’d just reached your holiday destination after a potentially long drive.
  • Work with guest reviews: You cannot hide from reviews online, so don’t try to. Hurtful and untruthful reviews are very rare. Remember people see the same things differently, so what you may consider “unfair” might be a valid opinion in someone else’s eyes! Note criticism and use your judgement about reacting to it or making changes. In the main, if your holiday property meets the “promise” made in the marketing, you won’t have a problem. Leave cards to encourage guests to leave reviews on your agent’s website (if they allow them) and high-profile portals like TripAdvisor. People are slower to praise than they are to complain! Remember, most people enjoy their holidays and many like to relive special moments through reviews. Encourage them to do this!
  • Manage the numbers: Most of our holiday homeowners do their own bookkeeping. They tell us they enjoy keeping a watch on the numbers! Those that live locally like meeting their guests, too, but for many other owners “watching the numbers” can be the biggest amount of work you need to put in. Remember, an agency is only there to help you find paying guests or help you manage the logistics. They can advise you on getting the property ready and services in place, such as cleaning and maintenance, but it’s you that provides the personality and the finishing touch.
  • Learn as you go: Like anything in life – business or hobby – we learn as we go. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Even if you don’t get public reviews, make sure you get feedback from guests. Act on it if necessary. Make sure you maintain your property to a high standard – let it slip and so will your income. Keep on top of lifestyle trends.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when thinking of letting a holiday home. For some people it brings immediate gains, personal as well as financial. For many it’s about a long-term investment and with it a long-term commitment. If you know what’s involved from the start, holiday letting can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

If you’d like free, impartial advice, call North Wales Holiday Cottages on 01492 582492 or email us here.