The changing nature of holiday letting in the Cotswolds

Andy Soye & Mat Faraday consider the impact of recent economic and political changes on the Cotswold holiday letting market

"I have a lovely cottage in the Cotswolds that I’ve been thinking of holiday letting, however with all the uncertainty around, including Brexit and changes in the market, I’m worried that now may not be the best time – what is your opinion?"

There is no doubt that there are a lot of factors driving change in the holiday letting industry at the moment, however for owners of high quality cottages in areas such as the Cotswolds, a lot of these factors should have a positive benefit.

One of the big events recently has been the “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, which is making many people nervous about the future prospects for the UK economy. From a holiday letting perspective, however, the fall in the value of the pound relative to other currencies is very positive for the UK holiday industry, making it cheaper for overseas visitors to come to the UK, and more expensive for British people to go abroad.

A very important trend in the holiday letting industry over recent years has been the demand from guests for much higher standards of holiday cottage, whereas in the past holiday cottages were often viewed as the “cheap and cheerful” option. Nowadays many well-heeled travellers want to vary their holidays, potentially spending part of their time in a stylish hotel and part in a luxury holiday cottage, furnished and presented to the same high standards. Fairview Cottage in Longborough, marketed by Character Cottages, is a great example of the luxury style that many guests are now seeking and are willing to pay for.

This trend has recently been recognised by all the major online travel agents, with, for example, Expedia buying HomeAway, so that they can package holiday cottages with hotels, flights and car hire. At the same time, travellers have become more demanding, expecting to be able to book a holiday cottage instantly, just as they can do with their flight, car hire and hotel.

Looking at these trends overall, it is clear that high quality, UK based, instantly bookable holiday cottages are in a very strong position to capitalise on increasing levels of demand. In order to maximise your opportunity, the starting point is to present your cottage in a contemporary style that appeals to the modern traveller and to use professional photography, to really showcase the property on a website with large, high resolution images – there is no point having a beautiful property if it is not shown off in the best possible way.

Once you have a well presented cottage, the next challenge is to ensure that your pricing is optimised, to take account of factors such as seasonality, length of stay and market demand. In particular, the modern traveller does not want to be locked into old fashioned patterns, such as week only bookings in summer, therefore it is absolutely critical to understand how to price booking slots that allow visitors to start and end on virtually any date, without losing income from a fragmented calendar.

Finally, to maximise the performance of your well presented and optimally priced cottage, it is important to work with a partner who can provide both a local and a global marketing strategy, and, in particular, who is able to offer customers a genuine instant booking facility, rather than leaving them waiting once they have booked all the other parts of their holiday.

At Character Cottages, we are experts in the Cotswold holiday letting market. From our formation we have been specialists in marketing modern, contemporary cottages, and can show you real examples of the styles that drive the highest levels of performance. We provide free professional photography, to ensure your cottage is perfectly showcased on our website, and we have developed a market leading proprietary pricing system, specifically designed for the demands of the modern traveller, which maximises your profit whilst minimising wasted booking slots. Last but definitely not least, we invest heavily in very effective local and global marketing strategies, and our stylish website provides the essential instant booking option that customers now demand.

Andy Soye and Mat Faraday are both qualified Chartered Accountants and are the founders of Character Cottages, one of the leading luxury holiday letting businesses in the Cotswolds.

Telephone: 020 8935 5375


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