Successful holiday letting in or out of season – Tips from the experts!

Holiday letting experts, Andy Soye & Mat Faraday, impart advice on maximising a return on your Cotswold holiday property whatever the time of year

"With new tax legislation coming in, short-hold letting is certainly not as profitable as it once. I am tempted by the potential higher returns of the holiday let marketplace, but I am worried that it will be empty for half the season. What’s your view?"

Buy-to-let investment owners who consider letting their properties to the holiday marketplace often presume that the Cotswolds is primarily a summer destination for visitors. This can leave them concerned about the prospect of being without enough bookings to offset mortgage payments during the off-peak months.

In more detail, not including Christmas and New Year, which are always extremely popular and generate prime bookings, the off-peak season runs from the week after October Half Term through until March, so without any specific holiday letting market knowledge, I can understand why some owners might be worried about this time of year.

What many people forget is that booking a holiday home in the Cotswolds in or out of season is actually an extremely attractive idea. Unlike places such as Cornwall, the Cotswolds is easily accessible from both the north and the south, and is less than two hours by train from London’s Paddington station. Most importantly, the area retains its charm and appeal all year round whatever the weather. Holiday homes with real fires and cosy furnishings, welcoming country pubs, walks in the clean crisp air and picturesque villages in beautiful rolling countryside all provide the ideal setting for perfect weekends away. 

The key to maximising bookings is to continue marketing a property effectively and make sure your prices match demand at any given point in the calendar. At Character Cottages we maintain our marketing spend 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 ensuring that prices typically reduce the closer the time gets to an available booking slot. This has been a very successful strategy for our owners and has allowed them to continue to generate profitable income in months when some people perceive it to be too quiet to be able to make any money. 

Another important aspect of being successful in or out of season is making sure you are flexible. It’s as simple as doing what you can to accommodate the wishes of anyone interested in making a booking. For example, at Character Cottages, where possible, we will happily change start and end dates for late bookings, therefore offering a high quality, more tailored service.

There’s no doubt that there is opportunity in the holiday market all year round if you have the right kind of property but if you are planning to let your second home, don’t wait to get started.

It can take us less than four weeks to get a well presented property completely ready to let so there is still time to benefit immediately from the holiday let marketplace when the current tax benefits for short-hold letting come to an end this April, especially going into a period of peak 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 email them at letmycottage@character-cottages.co.uk, visit www.character-cottages.co.uk or telephone 020 8935 5375.

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