How to maximise your income when others are scratching their heads
The profit you make from any property investment depends on the strategy you use to maximise its potential. This includes holiday let property. It amazes me how many holiday let properties I see that are empty for so many weeks of the year. That’s not the market or the weather’s fault; that’s bad planning and bad investment strategy.
In this article, you’ll learn the strategies used by intelligent holiday let investors to boost year-round income from their holiday let properties. These build on the simple strategies to maximise your holiday let property income I described in a previous article.
Know your low season
To create strategies to boost year-round income from a holiday let property, you must know when it is likely to be in less demand – your low season. Properties in the south of the country and on the coast are likely to be quieter in the winter months. Those in the snowy peaks of Scotland are likely to be in greatest demand during the ski season. Other times that could be considered low season might include school terms or regular reduction in flights to the local airport.
Know who your low season guest is likely to be
To get your holiday let property rented during its low season, you need to market it effectively. To do this, you need to know who you are marketing to. It could be that your property is ideal for different guests at different times of the year. Family adventure holidays during the summer, and a romantic couple’s hideaway in the winter, perhaps.
Highlight things to do locally
Knowing your likely guest, you can start to build a portfolio of what there is to do locally to appeal to them. Couples might like to know about relaxing country walks and hidden pubs with warming log fires. Tell families about the local beaches, indoor children’s adventure facilities and theme parks. Highlight shopping centres, local theatres, music venues and the variety of restaurants close to your holiday let. If a major wedding venue is near, position your holiday let as a base for wedding guests.
Think outside of the box, be creative, and put yourself in the shoes of your target guests. A great way to do this is to surf reviews of your property and other properties nearby. Find out what it is that holidaymakers look for when they take a break in the area where you own your holiday let.
Add extras to appeal to your target guests
Now you know your target guest and what they want to do while they stay in your holiday let, it’s time to put your property ahead of the rest. You can do this by adding little extras that other owners might not consider. Here are a few ideas:
- High-speed Wi-Fi
- A welcome pack including breakfast and an evening meal
- A bottle of champagne and chocolates for couples
- Logs for the log fire
- A discount ticket for the local restaurant or spa
- Wellies for winter walks (don’t forget the umbrella)
The above are low-cost additions, but how about stretching to install a hot tub, which appeals in both summer and winter?
Update your web copy and marketing blurb
Now, get creative on your website and marketing copy. Think about when people will be booking, and update your web copy to highlight everything that will appeal to your target guests. Add enticing photos, and make sure your testimonials match the marketing you are doing.
Market for those special days
If you are marketing your property as a family holiday home, you could be missing a trick in February. Valentine’s Day is a great time to sell your holiday let as “A romantic getaway, complete with log fire, a bottle of champagne, and a box of truffle chocolates. Close by to a fantastic restaurant, just a short walk away in some of the most romantic countrysides in the county.” You get the idea.
Other times where you could use specific marketing include Christmas, New Year and Halloween. And what about local festivals, fayres, sports events, and so on? There is plenty of scopes to sell your property to holidaymakers. A little effort could pay handsome dividends.
Offer incentives and reward loyalty
In low season, your guests are likely to be searching for a bargain. There are plenty of incentives you could offer, including:
- A discount on the regular price
- Three nights for the price of two
- Transfer to and from the local airport or railway station
Use your knowledge of previous guests to undertake the easiest marketing of all – market to people who have previously stayed at your holiday let and posted good reviews. Offer them a discount to return during your low season.
Another strategy is to become involved in national sales periods. Send an email to your list of previous guests and offer them a great deal on Black Friday, or as a New Year sales drive, end-of-season getaways to fill up spare weeks, and so on.
Accept mid-week or long weekend breaks
During your peak season, it’s likely that holidaymakers will want to book full weeks or fortnights. During other times of the year, you may need to be more flexible. Offer mid-week and long weekend breaks, which allow people to take their unused vacation days from work at your holiday let property – never miss out on booking again because your timetable doesn’t dovetail perfectly with that of your guests.
Run the numbers to let profitably
As a holiday let owner, your aim must be to make a profit. These strategies should help you to fill up the periods when your property is in low season. However, there is one caveat: don’t let at any cost. Always run the numbers and ensure that all your lettings make money. If letting during some weeks of your low season doesn’t make financial sense, then block off those weeks.
Instead, use your holiday let yourself for a quick getaway, or use the downtime to undertake essential maintenance work as you prepare for your next peak season lettings.
Live with passion