Holiday letting out of season – the secret to success

Andy Soye of Character Cottages on why the Cotswolds is an ideal place to let a holiday cottage all year round, not just during the summer months

"I would like to purchase a holiday let property as an investment but I’m really worried about the winter months – will there be enough bookings to cover my mortgage and other associated costs?"

Holiday home owners who consider letting their properties often assume that the Cotswolds is primarily a summer destination for visitors, which can leave them concerned about the prospect of being without bookings during the off-peak months in the winter.

Excluding the Christmas and New Year weeks, which always generate prime bookings, the off-peak season runs from just after the half-term holiday in the last week of October, right through to the following March. To many owners these four months can seem like a long time, when they perceive that they will earn little or no income from their asset.

It is easy to forget, however, that booking a holiday in the Cotswolds “out of season” is actually an extremely attractive idea. Holiday homes with open fires and cosy furnishings, welcoming country pubs, long walks in the clean crisp air and picturesque villages in beautiful rolling countryside all provide the most wonderful setting for perfect weekends away.

Due to its location in the heart of England, The Cotswolds is also easily accessible from both the north and the south, and is less than two hours by train from London’s Paddington station. This accessibility, combined with the charm of the region, ensures that beautiful holiday cottages get a steady flow of bookings all year round.

The key to maximising the number of bookings out of season is to continue marketing your property effectively, no matter what time of year it is. At Character Cottages, we maintain our marketing expenditure consistently throughout the year, rather than just focusing on peak months, so that interest is constantly generated and bookings are taken all year round. 

We have also devised a dynamic pricing system, so that prices typically reduce the closer the date gets to an available booking slot. This has been a very successful strategy for our owners and has allowed them to generate profitable income in months when some people perceive it to be too quiet to be able to make any money.

Another aspect of being successful out of season is making sure you are flexible to guests’ requirements. For example, at Character Cottages, wherever possible we will happily modify standard booking slots, offering prices for any start and end dates, therefore offering a high quality, tailored service to guests.

If you are planning to let your holiday home, there is absolutely no need to wait until the spring or summer to get started. It can take less than four weeks to get a well presented property completely ready to let, so there is still plenty of time this year to start benefitting from the off peak market. You can rest assured that, even out of season, your Cotswold property will be very much in demand.

Andy Soye and Mat Faraday are the co-founders and owners of Character Cottages, an independent company specialising in the holiday letting of luxury properties in the Cotswolds. To find out more about their services visit www.character-cottages.co.uk, email letmycottage@character-cottages.co.uk or telephone 020 8935 5375.