As holiday let managers in East Sussex for more than a decade, here at Beside the Sea we’ve seen our fair share of missteps (and even made some of them ourselves, once upon a time!). We’ve outlined some of the lessons we’ve learned as holiday homeowners and as holiday property management service providers, so you can dodge them yourself.
Holiday property management mistakes
The holiday rental marketplace has moved on significantly since the late noughties. You’ll find fewer long forgotten about annexes suddenly brought to market and many, many more freshly licked with paint and beautifully furnished homes away from home.
If you’re still finding your feet in the holiday let space, learn from the mistakes others made and make the most of your holiday home investment in East Sussex from the get-go.
1. Skipping professional photos
You know those late afternoons when you get back from the beach and sink into your sofa, a cool breeze and golden sunlight through the windows? And have you ever tried to capture the beauty of that moment on a smartphone? It’s getting easier as the tech improves, but it’s still tough to do!
Photographers, however, have a keen eye for lighting, camera angles, and high-quality lenses that can come a bit closer to capturing the magical moments guests can expect to have in your home.
After all, guests haven’t had a chance to get to know your property and make memories there as you have. So while your home is likely particularly beautiful to you—as someone who knows and loves it already—your photos are your guests’ first impression.
And at that stage, looks are everything. Guests also have dozens of other properties aiming to capture their attention. If you don’t have eye-catching images, they will likely turn to other, more visually appealing options.
In holiday property management terms, clean, well-staged, well-lit properties, captured with a professional eye, simply perform better. If you make one adjustment to your marketing this year, make it professional photos.
2. Furnishing with secondhand items
It’s difficult to say “goodbye” to that much-loved sofa. So why not put it in your holiday rental, where others can enjoy it? There are plenty of reasons why not, actually!
Most importantly, even budget-conscious guests want to feel that they are being offered a quality, thoughtfully considered holiday. A mishmash of worn-in furniture doesn’t exactly convey that attitude of hospitality.
Remember: many of your guests are familiar and comfortable with hotel-style accommodations, which offer clean-lined, neutral-toned furnishings and décor. On the other hand, second homes with secondhand furnishings (and family photos and mementos) can make guests feel as though they are intruding on someone else’s property.
We’ve seen this time and time again in our holiday property management experience. It is statistically proven that homes including affordable-yet-sturdy furnishings and a clean, uncluttered design perform (and photograph!) better than others.
3. Confusing your family’s needs and wants with those of your guests
Maybe you never bought an indoor dining table because your family likes to eat out on the patio. Or maybe you were willing to keep your outdated kitchen appliances humming for a while because you don’t cook at home that often. Or maybe you’ve furnished your bedrooms with two bunk beds for your grandkids, instead of doubles or queens.
It makes sense that your holiday home suits your needs. However, as a holiday let property owner hoping to prosper in the market, you have to consider your guests’ needs first. Most holidaymakers require indoor dining, modern and in-good-working-order appliances in the kitchen, and at least two adult-sized beds.
Of course, in some instances, this does mean a bit of upfront investment in new appliances, furniture, and so on, but these investments will quickly pay for themselves. From a holiday property management perspective (with our business hats on) it only takes is one booking from someone who would otherwise have passed over your rental because it was missing these crucial elements to cover the outlay costs.
4. Not communicating your unique selling points to your ideal guest
Related to the above point, you have to understand your guest demographic in order to succeed. Families, multi-generational reunions, couples, friend getaways, weekend jaunts with the dog—each of these groups have different need and wants in their holiday.
Consider the ways in which your East Sussex holiday rental is particularly suited to meet those needs and wants. Its distance to the beach, its fenced yard for dogs, its high-end mattresses, for example. And be sure to communicate those unique perks in your holiday let listings.
5. Not running your holiday let professionally
When you consider that holidays are much longed for and often saved for, and that they certainly eat into hard earned disposable income, your guests are going to have expectations. While you’re no more a mind reader than anyone else, presenting and managing your East Sussex holiday cottage in a manner that acknowledges that someone else is parting with money to stay there, is really the bare minimum expectation.
All of the above points feed into this notion of holiday property management, plus respectful, helpful and timely communications with your paying guests.
For more information about the holiday let market in East Sussex, join our homeowner mailing list for periodic updates and helpful content. Or learn more about Beside the Sea’s holiday let and property management in the area – we’re based in Camber Sands.