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Advertising your holiday let to maximise income
A holiday home in a desirable location can be a valuable asset, whether it’s a cottage, villa, chalet, static caravan, or apartment. It can be worthwhile when it’s occupied by paying guests. However, when it’s empty you’re missing out on income to support upkeep costs, and you could be missing out on a potential return on your investment.
That’s why it can be essential to ensure your holiday let has plenty of bookings. In this article, we provide a guide to help market holiday homes successfully.
Start by researching
Do an internet search for properties similar to yours and for rival holiday homes in your area. Read the descriptions on the first page of the search results for inspiration when writing your own. Looking at the competition can also provide a good steer on the prices you should be charging.
Know who you’re advertising to
When marketing your holiday home, make a realistic assessment of who your property will appeal to and what might convince them to make a booking. Is your target audience walkers, wild swimmers, or surfers? Should you promote mainly to families with small children or couples fancying a romantic break?
Focus on your best features
Once you know who you’re targeting, make sure they know about the features that might appeal to them. Keen walkers may welcome a dog-friendly property, for example. They might appreciate a safe place to leave muddy boots as well. Romantic couples might be more interested in a hot tub, a decadent bathroom, or spectacular views at sunset.
However, it’s also key to make sure your holiday home appeals to a wide audience. If you’ve got a hot tub on the veranda, a chef-standard kitchen, and a four poster bed, for example, you’re ticking different boxes for different people. You might also get more business as a result.
Places to advertise your holiday let
Unless your target audience is unlikely to use the internet, it’s clear that you need to advertise your holiday let online. But where exactly? Consider the big platforms that will get your property in front of as many eyeballs as possible. There’s nothing to stop you from being on several sites at the same time. Listings are free on plenty of these platforms, so you only pay them when you get a booking.
Since it was founded in 2007, Airbnb has grown into a global phenomenon. It currently lists over four million hosts, who have welcomed over one billion guests1. Among the current listings on Airbnb, there are around 90 thousand cabins, 2,800 yurts, 2,600 treehouses, and 1,600 private islands. There are also 300 lighthouses and 140 igloos listed2.
- There’s no listing fee, so it’s free to advertise your property on Airbnb
- Most hosts pay a flat service fee of 3% of the booking subtotal3
- Guests are billed automatically, and you receive the money as soon as they check in
Booking.com offers more than 28 million accommodation listings, including over 6.6 million listings alone of homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay. According to its own figures4, more than 1.5 million nights are reserved on Booking.com every day.
- Listing is free
- Commission is between 10% and 25% per booking4
- Check-ins are automated and you get paid once the guest is checked in
Vrbo and Homeaway
If you’ve heard about either of these platforms and are wondering which is most suitable for your property, there’s no need to choose. Expedia group re-launched HomeAway as Vrbo in 2020 in the UK.5
Vrbo stands for ‘Vacation Rentals by Owner’. Unlike Airbnb, it only features whole properties. It doesn’t promote spaces that guests share with the homeowner or other guests. And, unlike Booking.com, it doesn’t advertise hotels. So, while Vrbo is much smaller than the other two platforms, it still offers a massive global reach. Best of all, it’s entirely focused on your type of property.
- Listing is free
- Fees to owners aretypically 8% per booking, made up of a 5% manager fee and 3% for payment processing6
- Vrbo takes the payment, and you get paid one business day after the guest checks in
Make the most of social media
According to Statista, 57.6 million people in the UK use social media. That’s 84.3% of the population.7 Clearly it can be useful for getting your message to the vast majority of potential customers.
It’s also wonderfully interactive. You can have a conversation with anyone who takes an interest in your property, answering their questions and addressing any doubts or concerns.
Wondering which social media platform to focus on? Facebook has the advantage of letting you feature longer descriptions. If you want to attract younger visitors, they’re more likely to be on Instagram or TikTok.
Advertise on the platform that reaches the demographic you’re targeting, rather than just sticking to the one you use yourself.
Secure as much repeat business as possible
Another big advantage of using social media is that you can keep in touch with guests during and after their stay. Building such a relationship might help to tempt them back for repeat visits. You could also offer them a discount if they were to book again.
It’s worth taking the trouble to give visitors a great experience to encourage happy customers to come back regularly. They might also be more likely to recommend you to their friends and relatives.
One simple way to give people an experience they want to repeat is to provide a visitor information pack. Tell people where everything is in the property and the surrounding area. Suggest activities and places to visit locally too.
Learn from feedback
Feedback from guests is invaluable. Even the greatest holiday let can be improved. So, listening to people who have spent time in your property can be a great source of the information.
Listing your holiday home
A picture used to be worth a thousand words. Nowadays, that’s probably a conservative estimate. Make sure you exploit the ‘wish you were here’ effect with pictures that make the property and its surroundings look irresistible. It may be worth hiring a professional photographer to create an image with a ‘wow!’ factor. Also, don’t limit yourself to still photography. Online video content can really bring your holiday let to life.
Well-chosen words matter, too. Highlight the features that make your holiday home stand out. Keep descriptions short and clear, and don’t forget to mention local attractions as well as features of the property itself. You’re selling an experience, not just a place.
Get suitable insurance
Advertising an attractive holiday let successfully can bring plenty of bookings. That’s good news, of course, but more guests can increase the likelihood of mishaps and damage. That’s where we come into the picture at Intasure.
Our holiday home insurance can help protect properties from the everyday risks associated with letting to different guests throughout the year. Finding suitable cover for your holiday let can help with issues such as damage, theft, and liability.
Get your quote online, or speak to one of our friendly UK-based representatives by calling 0345 111 0680.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.