No, you don’t need a holiday home business plan.
(Unless you’re looking for finance from a bank, and that’s a different thing altogether.)
Not the type of plan that springs to mind when you say ‘business plan’:
a tedious, stuffy, rigid, form filling, business plan.
But you do need a plan for your holiday home business (and there’s a difference).
Your plan needs to be more organic, something that will grow with you.
A plan that builds solid foundations that will underpin your holiday home business and its future growth.
Foundations that will create a quality holiday rental (that’s how you maximise your profits).
And these foundation stones aren’t just centred around money. Although the end result is to earn as much as you can.
Your holiday home business plan needs to include 4 key areas – Mindset, Money, Makeover and Marketing.
Brainstorm, write down, narrow down, journal monitor and track your plans. It needs to be meaningful and actionable by you
Let’s look at each in turn for the sort of things your not-boring, and ever so practical holiday home business plan needs to include.
This is so often overlooked yet it’s really important. This is about how you think and behave and how you approach your holiday rental business. It runs through the very heart of everything you do and you run through the very heart of your business, so you need to get it right from the start
You have to think mid-term. Making short term decisions and only focussing on the short term will not win out.
Think profit per booking; quality over quantity. Your costs are the same to welcome each set of guests, so make each booking count. Ditch any focus on low value bookings, just for the sake of getting a booking. This is a mindset shift, that will reap benefits mid term.
You need to adopt a guest focussed approach and to want to create a memorable holiday experience for your guests. They are not purses, but real people.
You need to think quality in every aspect. For example when furnishing your holiday home, using an old sofa with an “it’ll do mindset” won’t work. Nor will half hearted customer service.
For your plan: Write down your thoughts, how you want to serve your guests, what you want them to say about you if asked, what type of business owner you plan to be, where you see your business in 5 years, what will make you a successful holiday home owner?
You’re doing this to make money so you need to take stock of your expenses and know your figures. Even though you don’t need an official financial business plan, you’re not allowed to bury your head in the sand when it comes to your finances.
You also need to learn how to ask for money, decide your refund policy, whether you’ll take security deposits. And will you offer online payments?
For your plan: Track all your expenses and work out how much it will cost you per year to run your holiday home business. Include the bigger items such as mortgage repayments, insurance, utilities. Include all details too, down the the liquid soap by the basin.
Once you know your costs you know your break even point ie the minimum you need to earn each year. You can now set your prices to reflect this; make them stretching yet realistic.
Creating a quality holiday home is about being ‘better than average’. Makeover is about getting your holiday home to stand out; so when guests see it online, they just have to stay there.
It’s the way that your holiday home is styled and presented. Use home staging techniques, to make the best of what you’ve already got. Very often it’s small tweak that are needed. And this doesn’t mean spending a lot, but savvy spending. Spending on quality mattresses yet buying furniture from oak warehouses rather than expensive furniture stores for example. Painting a feature wall to add some detail to the room, to stop it looking bland.
And providing extra touches to make a guest feel welcome and their stay with you enhanced. So they come back for more! Yet these extra touches need not cost you much.
For your plan: what extra touches can you add, what will they cost you, how can you add wow to each space, what needs revamping/replacing to add wow factor?
Most new holiday home owners jump straight to Marketing. And it’s not uncommon for owners to think this is the only area they need to focus on.
It’s important, but must sit side by side with Mindset, Money and Makeover.
You’ll have to decide where you want to list your holiday home. Getting your own bookings is what I want you to do, but appreciate at the start you’re likely to want help from agencies and listing sites to get you going. Still do your own marketing alongside.
Focus initially on your ideal guests and how to get your message seen and heard by them. You haven’t got the resources to talk to everyone in your marketing. And that would be waste of time and money anyway, as not everyone is interested in staying with you.
You don’t need to be on every social media platform, pick one or two initially. And master them; use them effectively and efficiently. And you need a website to showcase your holiday home and its area at its best. I always recommend a WordPress website as this will grow with your business. So often cheaper websites are set up, only to need changing six months down the line.
If you want to know more about getting started with your holiday home website, click here <<website blog for beginners>>
Blogging and email marketing are two other tools for you to use, to reach out and build relationships with guests.
This could have been my shortest blog – Do I need to bother with a business plan could be answered in one word – no. At least not the kind you were initially thinking about.
It’s about not rushing off gung-ho, about thinking quality over quantity from the start. Have a profit per booking outlook and taking control of your own marketing. This is what will bring your holiday home success; not a stuffy business plan that you need to stick too rigidly because you think you have to!
Good luck with your exciting new venture.