So half term has gone – and Christmas is not far off. What are your thoughts?
- You are fully booked
- You could do with earning a bit extra in the final few months of the year.
Whichever of these applies the Christmas and New Year are definitely an important period in the holiday letting calendar. You might have a regular clientele and you want to keep them happy. You might want to increase your prices but recognise that you need to up your game to be able to do so. It’s always worth having a review of things in the lead up to the festive period. In this blog I want to share some tips for making the most of your holiday let at this time.
Identify Your Aim
This blog isn’t all about the latest decorating trends for Christmas although that will feature later. Before I talk about solutions I want to mention problems. Are you happy with the way your holiday let business has performed this year? Has it given you what you wanted it to? If it has done, that’s brilliant, you can scroll down and enjoy the tips for this year’s decorating trends. If you are disappointed in any way then, before taking action, the first thing to do is remind yourself of what you wanted from the business and try to analyse why it’s fallen short (you may need some advice from a business coach on this). Here are a few challenges that you may have experienced or be facing.
First Time Festive Period?
The festive period is important for any holiday let business and presents a great opportunity to earn additional revenue. If this will be your first Christmas/ New Year running a holiday let you might be uncertain as to how best to make the most of this opportunity. The rise in popularity of getting away for Christmas and/ or the New Year continues to grow. The prospect of getting away and not having the hassle of hosting Christmas is very attractive. If you are part of a large family widely scattered over a wide area, arranging a few days in accommodation that is roughly central for everybody makes sense. It might be that a family gathering away presents more opportunities for people to combine sharing time together with having time on their own.
If you have started to receive reviews that, either directly or indirectly, suggest that your holiday let is looking a little frayed round the edges then this is obviously a matter of concern. You want repeat bookings and you also want potential customers who are thinking of booking a stay to be impressed by the reviews. Potential customers will be influenced by what previous guests have said about it and people’s expectations these days are very high. If you’ve taken over an existing holiday let you may not have realised that the property was perhaps not quite up to scratch or appreciated how high people’s expectations are.
Need More Bookings?
Staycations have remained popular this year with disrupted travel and some holidaymakers still nervous about holidays abroad. If you are a new holiday let owner and this is your first season then you may well not have had much of an indication of your likely revenue. If you have taken over an existing holiday let then you will have had access to information about previous revenue but, given the strange circumstances of the last few years, previous takings may not have been a very accurate reflection of this year’s business. If you have created a completely new holiday let then research may have given you an impression of what similar properties have been renting for but, again, this may not give you an accurate picture. If you are looking for your holiday let to provide you with a reliable income then there is still an opportunity to generate further income before the end of the year if you consider other potential customers. However for the holiday let owner there may be some difficulties in preparing your holiday let for the coming festivities.
What do you do if you live some distance away from your holiday let? It might be difficult for you to travel to do the preparations yourself or you may be unable to take the time off to do the work. You may be unfamiliar with what is going on in the local area that guests might be interested in or where to source local products. This could be case if you either manage the accommodation yourself or use the service of an agent. How would it feel if there was somebody close to the property who could take charge of it all for you?
Perhaps you’re not that far away from your holiday let but let’s say that you’re hosting your own family festivities, you’ve got relatives coming to stay and in addition you may be wishing to invite friends round for drinks or a meal. There are all the preparations involved such as
- Shopping – for food and presents
- Wrapping presents
- Writing Christmas cards
- Attending the kids Nativity …
Does the thought of all this, plus the prospect of having to get that holiday let ready put your head in a spin? Wouldn’t it be simpler to get someone to come in and prepare the holiday let for you so that you can concentrate on your own Christmas preparations?
A Great Experience
If you’re looking to attract more guests over the Christmas period or you want to improve the reviews of the guests who are already booked in, what do you need to do? Based on my own experience of staying in holiday accommodation I want to have a fantastic experience and I think this is even more so at Christmas. As a guest you want something that is better than home, you want to feel special. As the holiday home owner you need to give that first class customer service. Take things to the next level.
Dressing Your Property For Christmas And The New Year
As with any other time of year how you present your property will depend on your likely guests – is it a family or a couple escaping for a romantic break? Is your property in a town or city or is it rural? Interiors magazines and homeware stores and departments are full of themed displays which will give you inspiration for different looks. Don’t forget to check out stores local to your holiday let for locally produced accessories and other items that you can use to dress your property. As a guest, there is nothing I enjoy more than seeing products that have been sourced locally whether it’s food or textiles. Here are a few trends to consider.
Decor Theme 1 – Nostalgia
A traditionally themed look will never go out of fashion and evokes a quintessential Christmas. The colour palette is red, gold and green. A snowy artificial Christmas tree is your starting point. Nutcracker toy ornaments are very popular this year and introduce a hint of nostalgia. Paper and wooden tree decorations adorn the tree whilst an array of Christmas themed cushions in velvet add a luxurious touch. Try hanging stockings in velvet or felt if your property has a mantelpiece.
Decor Theme 2 – Natural
Decor that is inspired by nature is another trend that has timeless appeal. Particularly if your property is located in a rural area you may wish to take inspiration from its surroundings. Opt for a colour palette of greens (olive is a change to emerald) copper and bronze . A real Christmas tree has that wonderful scent that we associate with Christmas. Use decorations and accessories made from natural materials.
Decor Theme – Opulence
Who doesn’t love a bit of luxury? Your guests want to feel pampered so what better way to create the feel than create a space with a touch of opulence. Think rich jewel colours – gold, purple, deep red and peacock blue. Faux fur in the form of throws and cushions feels luxurious and cosy. Metallics such as gold, brass and copper also hint at opulence and can be introduced in the form of a tray for serving drinks or a dish. For your tree opt for a traditional green either quality artificial or real.
I have mentioned in previous blogs about using local events or local attractions in order to gain more bookings and also to elevate the experience of your guests. Over the Christmas and New Year period think about what activities your guests are likely to be enjoying.
For example, New Year’s Eve they may well be wanting to have a celebratory meal. Are there any local businesses that would offer a catering service that you could partner with and maybe negotiate a special rate with that company. Imagine giving your guests the opportunity to have a catered event which is hassle free leaving them to enjoy the evening and enjoy local produce. Partnerships like this work both ways because local businesses can recommend you and perhaps have a supply of business cards that they handout or marketing materials that they display.
Put yourself in the shoes of your guests. What would you want if you were staying away? If you would like some help with preparing your holiday let for the festive period call me on 07745 876182 or to book an exploratory call click HERE. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North Wales and the North West.