Wow, you can’t ignore the fact that Christmas is looming. The garden centres, Christmas displays are here and the Christmas cakes, mince pies, and puddings are appearing in the supermarkets. If you are the owner of a holiday let you are probably gearing up. An increasing number of people are choosing to get away over the Christmas period whether for Christmas itself, New Year or the days in between (now known as Twixmas) There are a number of reasons for this
- Reset. People simply want a change of scene. As the saying goes “a change is as good as a rest “
- Something Different. They want a different experience. If they are a city or town, they might want to escape to the country or country dwellers want a slice of City life
- Family get together. These days it’s common for families to be scattered across the country and so it makes sense to pick a location that is roughly central for everybody. It might also be the case that no family member has the space to accommodate the whole family.
Preparing for Christmas is a great opportunity to take stock. 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 decor tips below. 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. The festive period can give you the opportunity to address these issues.
Are your reviews slipping? The holiday market is very competitive, guests have a lot of choice and reviews that fall short could be damaging your business. 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 this year you may not have realised that the property was perhaps not quite up to scratch or appreciated how high people’s expectations are.
If you are a new holiday let owner and this is your first festive 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. You always want to be considering ways in which you can extend your letting season, although location is an important factor here. Don’t forget the importance of the images. It’s important to invest in professional photography to showcase your property and make it stand out.
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. As referred to in the intro, the rise in popularity of getting away for Christmas and/ or the New Year continues to grow. Do check out the competition and if you have a data base why not ask guests who have stayed with you what they would want. Take the opportunity to remind guests of your property and ask for input, they will usually be glad to help, especially if there is a small gift you could offer as a Thank You.
Do you manage your holiday let? What do you do if you live some distance away from it? Yes you have someone to do changeovers and to deal with emergencies, but what about any refresh you undertake or seasonal changes? 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 events in the local area that guests might be interested in or where to source local products. 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 you still don’t have time, there are other priorities. These could be Christmas activities you want to undertake with the children, you want to have a few friends or the neighbours round for drinks, and you might be hosting Christmas. 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? You might not be interested in interiors. 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?
The Great Experience
If you’re looking to gain more bookings for the festive 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 to feel special, to have the magical experience. As the holiday home owner you need to give that first class customer service. Take things to the next level and make your property stand out
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? If you aren’t sure how to dress your property then homeware departments, garden centres and interiors magazines are full of different options. You should be able to find a style that is appropriate for your property. 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. The move towards shopping locally is very popular. As a guest, there is nothing I enjoy more than seeing products that have been sourced locally whether it’s food or textiles.
In a rural location a traditional country cottage theme will never go amiss. Colours are red and green and utilise natural materials. Lots of cosy textures such as wool, velvet and faux fur are perfect for snuggling. Christmas shaped serving dishes and some Christmas themed crockery (Top Tip – it doesn’t have to be a whole set) work well. In this setting the stockings and snow globes add a nostalgic touch.
In a city centre apartment or modern property, a more contemporary look fits better especially if the the decor is sleek and white. Damson is a popular colour trend at the moment so I’ve suggested accents of damson combined with cinnamon to add warmth. Natural elements such as the pine garland and wooden Christmas tree ornaments are a good way to contrast with modern sleek decor.
I am a big fan of using local events or local attractions in order to gain more bookings and also to elevate the experience of your guests. Collaborating with local businesses is a Win Win. Over the Christmas and New Year period think about what activities your guests are likely to want to enjoy and assemble of folder of details of local attractions and events to give alternatives according to the weather. Think of an experience that they could enjoy that would be a real treat.
For example, for 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.
Take the time to analyse what exactly you want to achieve during the festive period. Drill down to exactly what you ideal guests are going to be looking for when they stay in your property. Put yourself in their shoes and go the extra mile. What would you want if you were staying in your property?
If you would like to learn more then call me on 07745 876182 to arrange a free no-obligation chat. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales