Ask The Experts - Holiday Lets: Going Green

I want to give my holiday property a green update. How cost-effective is this?

Whilst energy-efficient or eco-friendly may not be a major part of a guest’s decision-making process when booking a UK holiday let, making your holiday property more sustainable makes good business sense.  

Carbon-cutting your holiday let can reduce the costs of running your holiday home business, directly impacting your bottom line. This spare cash can then be redirected to the more indulgent things that really do matter to guests, like replacing worn linen, repainting a scuffed wall, or installing a wood-burning stove to encourage those cosy winter lets. 

Certain green renovations will help you win new guests, as well as boosting loyalty from existing customers. For period properties, introducing energy-efficient improvements can help attract year-round bookings, making your property more appealing over the colder winter months, and will encourage those all-important low season visits, many resulting in revisits during the peak months. Some simple green upgrades can give your holiday let real distinction, helping you stand out from the competition. Reinvesting the savings can, in turn, boost the rates you can charge. Win-win. 

Low season is an ideal time for making renovations to your holiday let and, in fact, a good maintenance schedule goes a long way towards ensuring your property is energy efficient. The roof and windows are the biggest culprit when it comes to heat-loss, so check for insulation and consider improvements to the windows. Secondary glazing or replacement double glazing can improve heat retention as well as reducing drafts. 

There are other improvements that guests won’t see and don’t immediately spring to mind, but draughtproofing and insulation will make a huge difference in how comfortable your property is for guests, as well as saving you money on energy bills. Quick fixes include applying draught excluding tape to your letterbox and external doors, making sure radiators are not blocked by furniture, so there is plenty of space for heat to circulate. Rugs on wooden or stone floors give a cosy feel, as well as stopping draughts, and thermally-lined curtains not only keep heat in, but provide darker rooms, ideal for a good night’s sleep. 

You may think that it is difficult to make period properties that are filled with original features, character and charm entirely eco-friendly, but the fabrication of 16th and 17th-century properties showcase some of the best eco-credentials. It is just a case of being true to the original design when planning your renovations. For example, when freshening up the decor, environmentally-friendly paints are available that won’t suffocate original stone walls as heavy chemical paints can, allowing the property to breathe. House plants can also help with aeration, as well as creating a pleasant ambiance for guests. 

Our data shows us that guests choose a property based on its style, presentation and individuality. Using local artwork adds a ‘sense of place’, as does sourcing local goods, such as shower and bathroom products. Sourcing locally can make good business sense with mutual benefits and also adds to that boutique, cosy, local feel. Stock your home with eco-friendly cleaning equipment and opt for a zero-plastic approach, using airtight containers, rather than individually wrapped items. Include information on recycling in your welcome pack, as well as information on exploring the area car-free and using public transport. 

On the subject of cleaning, you can upgrade appliances to eco-friendly versions that don’t use excessive power and water. Energy-saving light bulbs, smart controls and setting lamps on timers all make good business sense. Outside, a water butt in the garden can be used to water plants – and installing an outdoor car charging point is very popular these days. These small and inexpensive changes will improve your guest’s experience and your bottom line, whilst doing a little bit for the environment.

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, 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.