Even big hotel chains are looking to the self catering industry for tips on running their business.

Time for us holiday home owners to feel a bit smug!

Guest blog by Jay Williams from De Vere hotels:

While hotels and holiday homes have many things in common, when you consider the detail they are actually a very different offering from one another. Each have positives and negatives that lead people to either prefer to choose one all of the time, or vary depending upon their travelling requirements for a particular trip.

That being said, hotels can certainly learn a thing or two from holiday home owners.

These owners are on the ground day after day and understand their customers in a way that hotel owners can only dream of.

This allows holiday home owners to constantly improve their offering.

Here are just a few things that hotel owners can learn from holiday home owners:

The personal touch

For hotels to offer a personal touch they have to heavily invest in data and customer relationship software. While that can certainly improve the personal touch it is never going to match actually knowing your customers well.

Holiday home owners speak directly to each person who books with them and that can mean they can tailor the service to each individual.

For example if a guest expresses they are booking a holiday in order to relax and get some quiet time then you know not to bother them.  Whereas if a guest expresses they want to learn about the local area and meet people then you would be more inclined to pay them a visit.

No matter how hard hotels try it would be difficult for them to offer this level of personal touch.

Local insight

Hotels generally offer guides about the local area and offer help at the reception desk. But holiday home owners generally go much further than this. They put together a detailed folder such as things to do in the area, takeaways and walks. Combine this with the owner’s local knowledge.  This is an unbeatable level of local insight that can be offered to every customer.

Welcome treats

The higher end hotels are working hard to improve their welcome treat offerings. I’ve had personal experience of welcome treats from holiday let owners. These include freshly baked bread and chilled prosecco for a birthday stay. Hotels still need to up their game in order to compete with such personalised welcome treats.

The feeling of home, privacy and space

For many people who regularly make use of holiday rentals they can be a home away from home.

Over a few visits you get to know the place that you’re staying and develop a fondness for it.  Whereas if you’re staying in a hotel it’s likely you’ll be staying in different rooms and meet new staff each time you visit.  So the feeling of familiarity and comfort never really develops.

And when you’re staying in a holiday home you feel a sense of privacy and space.  That you just don’t get in a hotel.


You could fly half the way around the world and stay in a hotel that is exactly the same as one back home. Whereas holiday homes nearly always reflect the culture that they are set in.

This gives you an authentic experience of the place that you are staying that some hotels just can’t offer. So if you want to ‘live like a local’ then you couldn’t get any closer to that than renting a holiday home.


things that hotel owners can learn from holiday home ownersJay is part of the community team at De Vere Hotels, responsible for engaging with their community and beyond, sharing tips learnt from serving thousands of travellers each year.  As well as having a love of all things travel Jay is a keen cyclist, science enthusiast and lover of self-improvement.