When you’re a new holiday home owner and are just starting out, your focus is getting the basics in place

And that’s a good thing.  All businesses need solid foundations from which to grow.

Better to take your time and get this right, than to rush into taking guests before you’re really ready to.

The following 4 things will happen to you at some point and I know how they will make you feel.

I can almost guarantee it ! Maybe not all at the same time but at some early stage of life as a holiday home owner.

1.   You’ll wobble over your pricing

Where on earth do you start with your pricing? Plucking a number out of the air often seems like the best bet!

Or do you look at a neighbouring cottage and base your pricing on that?  Then once you’ve set your prices, you’ll worry no one will book as they’re too high.  But at the same time you don’t want to go too low as you’re underselling your offering.  You’re in it to make money after all!

Why not ask an agency or management company for advice, surely they’ll know the local market? They’ll advise you on the best price. Think again! Their focus is on occupancy rate, selling as many weeks as they can. Their first priority is not you and your profit margin. It’s theirs!

When pricing be confident in what you’re offering. Look at hotel pricing as a benchmark. Even the very basic is £50 a night all year round. And this is basic. No kitchen, lounge, space, privacy etc.  And your holiday rental can accommodate 2, 4 or more, so what might seem expensive, once broken down per person per night isn’t expensive at all!

2.   You’ll wonder where all your guests are

You know how lovely your holiday home is. You know what a fantastic area it is to holiday in.  So why can’t other people? Why aren’t they queueing up to stay?

This is not the reality. (Unless you’re totally under-pricing in which case a queue of guests is not a good thing).

You’ve listed on some main listing sites as a short term measure but still you’re struggling to be seen.

To make this happen, you need to take action. You need to get out there and be visible. This can be done in your local area offline by making links with other local businesses and joining local tourism bodies.  It can be done online too, via social media and your website.  You need to spread the word and sell the benefits of a stay with you. How a holiday with you will make your guests feel. What can they do, see, explore and experience while on holiday.

Make your website the hub of your marketing activity and drive traffic to it at every occasion.

Spreading the word locally and on social media doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a persistent and consistent approach: just keep showing up!

And once you get guests, bookings become easier as you convert them into return guests.

3.  You’ll soon realise that there’s more to it than just bricks and mortar

Yes, there is!  And likely you’ll feel there’s a lot more to setting up your holiday rental business than you first thought.  With so many decisions to make and things such as your insurance, your pricing, your cleaning routine, your social media to sort out, it can feel overwhelming.

You’re a business owner now, from the moment you first open your doors, ready to start taking paying guests.  And very likely it’s just you (or possibly your partner too).

You have to wear all the hats, keep all the plates spinning.  You have to be the finance department, the marketing department, the sales department, the customer relations department, the maintenance department, the IT department!

Brainstorm all you need to do and make lists.  Then break them down into manageable tasks: monthly, weekly, daily.  And establish a routine that works for you.

4. There’ll be ups and downs

You’ll feel ecstatic when the first few bookings come in and elated when you get a good review. At the same time it’s very easy to feel deflated when you don’t.  And disappointed when there’s no review left. Or worse a negative review (despite your best efforts bending over backwards to please those awkward guests).

It’s how you deal with the downs that counts and that drives your future success.

You may be plugging away at Facebook, but just can’t get any interaction. Then you’ll have a breakthrough. It might be you do something differently or one of your page fans that has been watching you from afar, decides to book with you. Result!

You have to take the rough with the smooth. I’m sure I’m not the only experienced owner to say that the positives way outweigh the negatives.

If these things are happening to you right now, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I imagine even experienced owners reading these will be nodding too.  We’ve all been there at some point.

My advice is to smile, grit your teeth and push on through!

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