Ask the Experts: Is Holiday Letting Hard Work?

  • Character Cottages

I work full time. Is holiday letting hard work and how much involvement will I need to have?

When comparing holiday letting with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) you might think that it will be a lot more work. But, if you employ a good holiday letting agent this doesn’t have to be the case and the rewards can be far greater.

Many holiday letting agents offer a tiered service, where you can be as involved or as absent as you wish. For example, here at Character Cottages, we offer three services; marketing and pricing, housekeeping and a full property management package.

Marketing your property online can be a lot of work and whilst it is easy to generate an income from a property, most owners operating their own marketing channels do not maximise their income or optimise the performance of the holiday let. Answering enquiries, responding to feedback, processing bookings and security deposit payments can all be time-consuming, whilst setting, adjusting and monitoring prices without the data from a large portfolio of similar properties is extremely difficult. Paying a commission to a holiday letting agent will, of course, increase your overheads, but an established company with a good reputation will almost certainly be able to generate a far greater level of income for you, and will handle every aspect of the enquiry, sales and booking process so you don’t have to.

Managing housekeeping yourself can certainly help to keep costs down. However, before making this decision you should always consider every aspect of the role and the costs associated. Having bedding and towels professionally laundered can be costly, whilst being available to clean and ready your property 7 days a week can be a bind. Holiday lettings agents such as Character Cottages often charge a fixed fee for a changeover, where time, laundry and cleaning products have already been factored into the price.

Property management, guest services and being on call 24 hours a day is a big commitment. Guests will, on occasion, require assistance at unsocial hours. They will sometimes require pacifying after an issue with a stay, want a forgotten belonging returned to them, or just need an acknowledgement to a lovely email of thanks following a wonderful experience. It is also highly recommended that maintenance tasks are kept on top of, over time small maintenance jobs can stack up and collectively become a bigger issue. Arranging tradesmen around guests stays can be tricky and time-consuming, to say the least, whereas a well-structured property management service will take away all of this hassle. Different companies charge for this in various ways. At Character Cottages, we charge a simple monthly fee and in return, we deal with all of the work. 

It is sensible to assess your personal commitments, the costs and the value of your time before deciding whether holiday letting is for you and whether enlisting the services of a professional agency is sensible. It is also a good idea to talk to a reputable holiday letting agent before making a final decision to establish how their services are structured and whether there are any hidden costs.

If you’re looking to generate a second income from a property, a holiday let could be the perfect investment. You can make a healthy profit and have somewhere for your family to escape to for weekends and holidays. 

Tom Burdett is Managing Director 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 or telephone 01451 600 844.