As a holiday home owner are these 5 things losing you money?
1. Spending on advertising that’s not working
Spending on print advertising, memberships of tourism organisation, accreditations. The list goes on!
It can be tempting, in particular when you first start out to pay out money left, right and centre for advertising, listings and services that quite frankly you don’t need.
Take a strategic approach. Think quality over quantity. Before you commit, consider who is their demographic? Are YOUR future customers going to see your advert. If yes, then you must constantly monitor the success of this advert or listing and know how long you’re tied in for. Diary it in and do not renew if the return on your investment hasn’t been there. Don’t just be somewhere because you think you should be. And don’t just automatically renew.
2. Having too complicated a booking system
You’ve done all the hard work, guests have found you and they’re ready to book with you. But you can still lose them and their money at this stage if your booking procedure is too complicated.
When they arrive at your website, is it obvious where they need to click to “Book Now”? Make sure this CTA (call to action) is highly visible on every page of your website, not just your home page as they may well have reached your website via another page.
Once they’ve reached the Book Now page what do they have to do? Are the next steps clearly explained. Can they book online? Do they have to print off, fill in and post/scan back to you a booking form? Do they have to read and sign a detailed rental contract?
You must be careful not to put too many barriers in the way of guests booking. Taking bookings online and with a “click here to agree to our booking terms and conditions” disclaimer during the booking process simplifies and speeds up the booking process. And you’re covered too as they have agreed to your booking terms and conditions.
Having a too complicated booking system can turn possible guests away and lose you bookings. Keep it simple!
3. Taking low-value bookings from family and friends
Perhaps when you first purchased your property you didn’t take paying guests. Therefore when friends and family asked if they could stay with you for a nominal fee, you immediately accepted. This nominal fee was certainly better than nothing and helped pay the bills. But it’s different now. You’re running your holiday home as a business and although you and your family still stay there, you can’t allow friends and family to stay there so easily and certainly not for the bargain price they’d expect. Not an easy conversation to have but you need to explain that you’re running your holiday home as a business now. Yes they can stay and yes you can give them a discount but it will be nowhere close to the discount you could previously offer. Don’t feel bad, it’s your holiday home and your business!
4. Relying too heavily on agencies and listing sites for your bookings
Think how much money you could save if you took all the bookings yourself, via your own website. Imagine not having to pay that 20% agency fee or that £500 annual fee to one of the big listing sites. You need to adopt a “listing site/agency independence” strategy. I don’t mean unlist immediately but take a mid-term approach and commit to small steps day by day to make this happen. Set yourself monthly goals and targets and work strategically towards this.
If you’re a new holiday home owner, this may involve building your own website if you don’t already have one. It means taking to social media, using it effectively and understanding how to get your holiday home found on Google. A big learning curve, but you can do it, and mid to long term it will be worth it! Not only will you earn more but you’ll be in control of your own holiday rental business and that can only be a good thing.
5. Not spending on styling your property
Your property needs to stand out to attract guest’s attention. You need to avoid being “bland, beige and neutral” like most holiday homes on the market. By investing in a one-off styling spend you can do this.
Spending on styling doesn’t mean a brand new everything. It means adopting a few clever home styling tips such as adding a focal point to each room. Or add a feature wall, in a contrasting paint colour behind the master bed and then using that colour in accessories to dress the room (eg scatter cushions, a vase, in the artwork). Modernise your dated kitchen units with a coat of paint and new handles. By not investing to make your property stand out, you are actually losing money as your holiday home will just blend into the background, guests will not notice you and will pass you by. Not something you want to happen at all!
Losing money in these ways is not good. Time to stop these money haemorrhages right now!
If you need any help with styling your holiday home, to stop losing money because your property looks a bit average and doesn’t stand out from the crowd, then I can help you.
Book a Styling Review only £49 and move from styling woe to styling wow with my bespoke advice. Click here <<Styling Review>>