The most important factor in having a holiday cottage is making sure guests are able to find you, in today’s world means having a good online presence. AirBnB, holiday cottage agents and having your own website are the most popular avenues.
I use all 3 and below I’ve listed some information that you may find helpful.
If considering using AirBnB, I really recommend purchasing ( from Amazon ) the AirBnB booklet which takes you through the process of uploading your cottage and all your relevant cottage information to their site. AirBnB is basically like owning your own holiday cottage website where you control rates, photos, calendar etc. Once you have uploaded your details, they then promote your property on-line along with other holiday properties in your area. The booklet also offers great marketing and sales advice for getting the most out of your cottage listing.
AirBnB handle all relevant correspondence between both guest and host from the initial enquiry to the important ‘departing guests comments’ and including payments for a reasonable commission.
Their help line, which I have used on various occasions is excellent, though be patient, since Covid, they have less staff.
I find AirBnB particularly popular with short stay / weekend guests and it’s a great source of income.
Holiday cottage agents
Most holiday cottage agents require full certification of amenities including yearly gas / electrical / chimney sweep and liability insurance. A representative from the agency will inspect your cottage before agreeing to promote your business, highlighting to you areas which may need addressing. They then grade your property accordingly – the higher the grade the higher the rental price.
Their commission is usually higher than AirBnB’s but they handle all correspondence, payments and the representation of your cottage on their website. They also usually invest heavily in ‘google optimisation’, so their website can easily be found on the front page of a web listing e.g holiday cottages in Suffolk
Most holiday cottage agents focus on more long term, weekly holidays which is a good source of income.
My own website
I invested in my own website for many reasons, the obvious being – not having to pay agents commission on the holiday rentals that come via that route.
Having my own website is a financial investment but it does give me complete control with changing photos, uploading new information, rates etc. as well as being able to handle guests, including any complaints directly – this is where my previous hospitality background comes is useful.
If considering having your own website do take into account the amount of time you will need to spend on social media ( Instagram / Facebook / blogs etc), which, if used correctly, will really help to maximise your bookings.
If you plan to sell your holiday cottage business one day then having your own website which will comprise all the relevant bookings data etc will help the purchaser to carry on running the cottage as a business, should they wish to do so.
I would recommend using a professional website designer who can also set-up and guide you through the world that is social media.