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sykes cottages podcast inside holiday letting

The first episode of Sykes Holiday Cottages’ Inside Holiday Letting podcast will discuss exactly what is holiday letting, and why now might be the right time to invest in a holiday let.

Discover everything there is to know about how to buy a holiday let and what you need to consider when doing so, as well as the advantages of using a holiday letting agent to help you along the way.

We also go into detail about the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the UK holiday sector, the recent UK staycation boom and just why now could be the perfect time for you to invest in a holiday let.

Listen to Episode 1 of Inside Holiday Letting here: 

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Podcast Transcription

Presenter

Welcome to Inside Holiday Letting – a podcast series from Sykes Holiday Cottages. Today’s episode asks the question, “What is holiday letting, and is now a good time to invest and build a business?”.

Joining us in this episode are experts from across the country, and we’re all online and socially distanced. And I’ll start by handing over to our team of industry professionals to introduce themselves:

Vanessa Warwick

Hi, everybody. Thank you very much for inviting me along to be a guest on this podcast. My name is Vanessa Warwick, I’m a full-time residential landlord and I’ve been investing in property since 2004. I’m co-founder of the Property Tribes forum, which is one of the busiest and most engaged property communities in the UK.

Bob Atkinson

Hi there, I’m Bob Atkinson, I’m an independent travel expert. I cut my teeth working for everybody from Thomas Cook to British Airways and Monarch Airlines, through to the MoneySuperMarket group with the price comparison brand TravelSupermarket. And, over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to do a whole range of work in the UK travel industry. In recent years, I’ve contributed to the BBC with things like Rip Off Britain and Watchdog, ITV’s This Morning, various BBC and other commercial channel radio shows, really concentrating on on advice – “How can people make the most of their money when they’re traveling on their trips and their holidays?”.

Rachel Brennan

Hi, so I’m Rachel Brennan. I am Sales and Operations Manager of Sykes Holiday Cottages, so one of the market leading booking and marketing agencies in the holiday let sector, and I have over seven years of experience within the holiday let sector there. I quite regularly go up and down the country to farm shows and trade shows, speaking to our property owners and telling them the great benefits of getting into holiday letting and how they can really boost on revenue and income.

What is holiday letting?

Presenter

Let’s just get down to basics here. What would we say defines a holiday let, and how does it differ to a long-term let?

Rachel

So, a holiday let is typically let out to holidaymakers, and it’s let out for a short duration, so from anything from a couple of nights to a few weeks. The maximum duration that Sykes would let out property for is 28 nights.

A long-term let is typically let out to tenants, and this is more where it’s becoming their main residence for maybe 6-12 months, so more of a permanent fixture.

Holiday lets are typically furnished and finished to a good standard as well, because a lot of people out there are wanting to go to a property of their dreams. You know, they’re wanting to go to a property that they can only dream of owning potentially one day, and some features that they don’t have in their own home.

The benefits of holiday letting in comparison to long-term letting is that there’s less wear and tear on your property, you know that your property’s getting cleaned on a regular basis and thoroughly between every guest stay, and there’s better maintenance there. And that’s all just providing you better protection for your investment, really, especially when it comes to potentially selling that unit. As well, you get the added benefit of regular access to your property, and you can get to use that property from time to time yourself.

What defines a holiday let from a tax point of view?

Presenter

And Vanessa, what about the tax implications on a holiday let?

Vanessa

HMRC have a very definitive definition of what constitutes a holiday let. They state that you must let the property commercially, as a furnished holiday accommodation, to the public for at least 105 days per annum.

Also, I guess there’s the definition from a mortgage lender’s point of view. If you need to take out a mortgage, you would require a specialist holiday let finance. As well, from an insurance point of view, you would require a specialist holiday let insurance. So, it’s very, very different to letting out to a long-term tenant. It’s very much regarded as a trading activity, rather than investment, and for that reason it has a number of favourable tax benefits as well.

Who are the dominant figures in the UK holiday letting industry?

Presenter

Rachel, how many holiday lets are there in the UK at the moment? Is it a number that’s going up?

Rachel

Yeah, so there is around 300,000 properties in the UK that we believe are holiday letting on some scale. Now, some of that may be part of a of a unit, maybe some rooms as well as entire properties as well. Now 19,000 of those are already letting with Sykes up and down the country there as well, and that number is going up each year.

Presenter

Is it a fractured market, or are there dominant players in the industry, such as do-it-yourself letting, agencies and online letting?

Rachel

There are a number of players in the market out there, and they’re ranging both in speciality and in size, from big to small, to local, to national agencies. However, there are some clear leaders within all of those markets. It’s important to understand the specialities of the different platforms, especially when you’re choosing who to let with, just to ensure that they can cater for all of your requirements.

The likes of Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, Expedia, they’re all becoming household names, and they all offer an online marketing platform for property owners, but they do offer a limited customer service. A lot of that customer interaction is being left to the owners to cater and to accommodate that. So we’re talking about customer interactions such as: Obtaining payment, security deposits, responding to customer enquiries before and during a stay, collecting of feedback, the cleaning, the property management and customer complaints.

That’s when you can look at agencies who can offer a fuller package for you. So, as well as marketing your property, they are booking agents as well. They are taking a lot of that customer service away from you, but also being able to offer management and maintenance packages as well for you. In terms of their specialities when you’re looking at those online platforms, they specialise in last-minute breaks and they specialise in short breaks. That’s a reason why Sykes, ourselves, we do partner with all of those that I’ve named there, and many, many more – there’s over 500 partners out there that we let with because we know their value in really increasing and optimising on income and booking levels for our property owners.

Someone like ourselves specialise in longer duration. If we look at our average duration, it’s actually just over 6.1 at nights per stay, so we operate very much on “a week is king”. You only have one 52-week calendar, so you have to make best use of that. Typically, those online platforms have been operating with hotels where there’s multiple properties or multiple bedrooms – some of our owners only have the one, so they really have to optimise and and make the best use of that 52-week calendar. That’s where our speciality comes in, to make sure that we can get those week-long stays, and of course those short breaks and last-minute breaks to support that.

The other thing with ourselves is that we’re market-leading and when it comes to pricing. We have market-leading revenue management teams in-house, where they’re watching rates, watching the market and watching customer behavior throughout to make sure that every owner is optimising on their income and rental weeks per stay, as well as offering unrivaled customer satisfaction levels.

One thing that springs to mind when we talk about market-leading is the British Travel Awards. It’s an award event that happens every year, it’s voted for by customers and by owners and that is where they do vote for the best self-catering holiday letting agencies out there, we all go up against each other. Sykes have won that eight years in a row, so it’s satisfaction and recognition that just means we’re doing something right out there.

What is a traditional holiday let?

Presenter

Bob Atkinson, if I can turn to you. When people think of a holiday let, they might think of a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales or the New Forest or a beautiful little bijou residence overlooking the Cornish coast – is it that sort of traditional view, or is it all shapes and sizes, and nationwide?

Bob

Well, what you just portrayed there is a bit like your chocolate-box cottage, right? And that’s what so many people think of when they think of a holiday let, but it can be so many different things. The sheer number of people who come and stay in UK cities, both as UK domestic travellers, and, in more normal times, overseas travellers coming and visiting the UK, and they stay in apartments, studios that are often rented out on these platforms like Airbnb, it goes from one end completely to the other.

Holiday letting takes place all over the UK, it isn’t just in those traditional cottage-style locations. Although, having said that, somewhere like Cornwall, which you would kind of think of as being a real cottage-style location is right up there as one of the most-searched and most-stayed in locations for people searching this kind of accommodation. But don’t be fooled by this kind of little country cottage, thatched roof kind of stone look and feel of a place. It really is everything from those traditional things all the way through to real high-end, high-spec, custom, modern properties built in those kinds of locations that attract investors into this market.

These investors range from people with so much money to burn it’s untrue, all the way to people who’ve got just a few thousand and they’re looking for something that they can perhaps invest in as a second home that they can have as a holiday for themselves, but also that they can make an income from by letting out. But it really is everything – a bit of everything all over the country. Of course, there are locations that are are going to have much higher demand than others because surely when we go away on holiday, people want to go to specific places quite often.

What type of people holiday let?

Presenter

Vanessa Warwick, just taking on what Bob said there, who is holiday letting? Is it the retired? Is it the empty-nesters? Is it the young professionals with a bit of money? Is there a typical sort of person who is holiday letting?

Vanessa

I’m not sure that there is, I think it appeals to a lot of people for many, many different reasons. A lot of people like the thought of having a second home that they can visit at weekends, or summer holiday breaks, or Christmas, or whenever. And, I think that desire will have been greatly amplified because of what people have experienced during COVID-19 lockdown – people’s priorities have changed in life a lot over the last year, for obvious reasons. I know that we’re seeing a huge trend towards second homes, because people want that place to escape to where they can get outdoors, and so on.

So there’s that element, then there’s the element of somebody who might be thinking of retiring to the seaside, and they buy a property now to rent out for 10 or 20 years, knowing that they’ve bought their dream retirement home and they’ll be able to go there when they’re ready to in the years ahead.

Or there’s somebody like myself, who is a combination of both. I bought my seaside retirement home in 2006, I’ve been renting it out as a holiday let until such times as I move there permanently, and I also have other holiday lets, which are just much more from a business point of view.

They can appeal to anyone and everyone, and I think as these podcasts will be exploring, they are going to increase in popularity, hugely over the coming years. I truly believe that we are entering what I’m calling a ‘golden era for holiday lets’.

How many Brits own holiday lets abroad?

Presenter

Bob, of course, we must not forget the huge ownership of foreign properties for holiday letting by Brits as well. What sort of numbers are we looking at there?

Bob

No, indeed. I know Rachel touched on that before; I think it’s estimated that there’s something like 300,000 or so holiday let properties here in the UK. But, Brits own something like 5.5 million second properties of which a proportion are used for UK holiday letting, many are used for long-term letting, which is another way of making money on those, but of course, a huge number own property overseas. Something like 800,000 Brits have property interests overseas, of which around a 500,000 are in the EU. So, going to the likes of Spain where you’ve got your little apartment or your villa and going back and forth constantly, places like The Algarve, they’re really, really, hugely popular with Brits, and have been for many years ever since the days of the timeshare, which many will remember back from the ’80s and ’90s. They’ve had a lot of checkered press over the years, but it’s what helped get many people into owning property overseas.

But yeah, it’s something Briton’s really, really love. I saw a survey not so long ago, this year, issued by Park Leisure, who are one of the big UK holiday companies offering caravan parks etc, around the UK. They had done a survey where they’d asked Brits whether they aspire to own a holiday home in the UK, and of the respondents, 77%, that’s over three quarters of Brits, said they have an aspiration to own a holiday home in the UK.

That just plays back to what Vanessa was saying there about, potentially, this is a golden era, people want to do it. Whether they can afford to do it, and whether they can find the right property to do it as well is another matter. But people certainly want that, it’s a dream. It comes back to everything to do with holidays. Holidays for people are their dreams, they want to have them, they want to enjoy them, they don’t see them as luxuries anymore. And for some, holiday letting is going to be an ideal way to be able to do that.

Why do people want to holiday let?

Presenter

Rachel, what are the drivers for those wanting to holiday let? Why do they want to get into property in the first place, do you find? Is it a business-type scenario, or is it a nest egg for the future, a property for them to retire to like Vanessa alluded to?

Rachel

It is a mix, and each owner has their own motivations to holiday letting. We do have those who are looking at it purely from an investment perspective, those who are doing it as part of a pension plan, a better return on their savings, to improve on their savings. For others, it’s land diversification, it’s farmers who are looking at their unused land, thinking how they can make additional income from that. Or, potentially, somebody that’s looking at a derelict barn conversion, for example, and thinking, what can they do there? We have lots of people that have part of their houses, so wings of their houses, or potentially an annexe on-site that they’re looking to do. And some people get into it for a career change, they want to manage that property themselves. And others, it’s a social aspect, it’s a way of meeting other people, especially when they are in retirement – it gives them almost a new purpose.

Interestingly for me, is that 75% of our owners are actually new to holiday letting when they come on board with us, so you don’t need to be a pro at this. It’s something that you can get into from scratch, and we can help you learn along the way, we can give you all of our successes and make sure that you’re on the right foot.

I completely agree with Bob with the Park Leisure quote, we had a little look at different age bands and into their aspirations of holiday letting, and when we looked at 18-year-olds to 24-year-olds, 44% of them said that they had an aspiration to owning a holiday let in the future. So, I think we’re looking even at a new generation, a new wave in the future that I don’t think there’s any signs of this slowing down. And that was about a 13% increase year-on-year as well, so that is becoming more and more popular. As Bob said, it’s not this luxury anymore, it’s something that’s within grasp, it’s within reach that everyone wants to sort of piece of the cake really.

Does holiday letting help the economy?

Presenter

Vanessa, holiday letting is a good investment, not only for yourself, but also, you’ve got to think a bit wider – it’s a good investment for the country as well because it’s giving money back into the economy and helping it.

Vanessa

It most certainly is. I would say, in just my opinion, that I think it’s good to have a small portfolio of standard occupancy buy-to-lets first, before you diversify into holiday lets, unless you’ve got very other significant income. The big difference between a standard buy-to-let and a holiday let is, obviously once you have a tenant in situ in a buy-to-let property, they’re paying the rent month-on-month. With a holiday let, it could be void for longer periods, and you have to be able to cover those void periods if you have a mortgage on the property. So, the way I got started in holiday lets was, I built my portfolio of single occupancy lets first, so I had a nice net cash flow month-on-month, and then towards the end of my portfolio building phase, I then diversified into holiday lets. So, if my holiday lets are void, then my standard buy-to-let property income covers the mortgages on those properties.

That’s how I did it, it’s a very good investment, and particularly now, because of this ‘golden era’ that I’m going to keep referring back to, but also because of the tax benefits. For standard occupancy buy-to-lets, five years ago, a new tax regime was introduced called ‘Section 24’ (Finance Act, 2015), which is an extremely onerous and draconian tax. It essentially means that you can’t reclaim your mortgage interest against tax. It’s gone through now into its full rollout, and you can get a 20% tax credit, but for a lot of people, it’s pushed them into a higher rate tax bracket, or if you’re already a higher rate taxpayer, it’s made the tax just absolutely ridiculous and not worth really doing buy-to-lets anymore.

So, for that reason, a lot of people have turned to holiday lets because, as I mentioned earlier, they are regarded by HMRC as a trading activity, and they have much more favourable tax conditions, so they are a very tax-efficient investment.

And yes, you’re absolutely right, they do bring money into the local economy. People coming on holiday want to dine out at restaurants, they want to go and get their souvenirs, and visit local attractions and all that good stuff. So, they’re a hugely important part of the UK economy, and I think they actually deserve more recognition for that.

Presenter

Yeah, it’s been the fastest growing sector, hasn’t it – tourism, since 2010? And by 2025, the tourism industry in the UK is set to be worth over £257 billion. I mean, that’s a lot of money.

Vanessa

Yes, it really, really is. And, as a holiday let owner, I go out of my way to try and support the local economy and community. For instance, for all of our holiday lets, we’ve used local artist’s artwork on the walls in the holiday let, we use local produce in our welcome packs and that kind of thing. I don’t want to be this remote person that has no interest or investment in the local community, I want to be actively supporting the local economy by doing those little things that I can do to assist.

Is now a good time to invest in a holiday let?

Presenter

Bob, we’ve had the staycation boom, but since then, as well, we’ve also had to deal with a pandemic and, some people might say, Brexit as well. Is it a good time to be investing in holiday letting, considering what’s been happening to the country over the last couple of years?

Bob

I think certainly in terms of demand from people for holidays in the UK, then, yes of course, demand is through the roof.  Last year, we were faced with a whole range of restrictions at different times of the year as to whether you could go away, whether you could go overseas etc, and all that did was push a lot of people to choose to holiday in the UK, because they felt they didn’t really have a great deal of other option at that point if they definitely wanted to have a break. So certainly, through the peak periods of last year, such as the summer school holidays, supply really was low, things were very heavily booked up. And so, if you’ve got a property and it is available for you to rent out as a holiday let, you are going to be pretty much guaranteed to be able to rent that out, certainly through the very, very busy weeks. And, you know, people want their trips, they want a holiday, they feel they want a change, they feel that they want to get away at some point this year. And those who are willing to go away this year and are willing to travel, whether that be in the UK, or when they’re allowed to overseas, they will go.

But the UK is going to have a bumper year for tourism once those doors are open. Not just for those people who are letting properties out, it’ll be all sectors: Hotels, caravan, parks, camping. I mean, I went camping last year, I’ve never been camping in my life! But I went camping in the UK last year. I invested in a tent and I am going to get my money’s worth out of that tent this year when I can get a chance to go away. But yeah, in terms of demand, the demand is there. So, if you have a property and it’s the right kind of property and in the right places, and it’s done out well, you should be able to rent that out without any real issues. I guess it’s just deciding where that’s going to be and how are you going to do it?

Vanessa

The other very attractive thing about UK holiday lets is that you get in your car, you drive there, and then you’re there. There’s no going to the airport, queuing, which can be quite a challenge if you’ve got young children, you know, flight delays, you don’t have any of that kind of hassle – it’s very straightforward. And, as we come out of a COVID lockdown, some people naturally still have concerns about the virus, and a holiday let is almost like a self-contained isolation pod, isn’t it? You can go there with your little bubble and stay there, and it’s very, very simple and straightforward, no hassle of travelling really, just get in your car and drive. So, I think that is also making holiday lets very appealing as well.

Bob

Yeah, very, very much so. There is that section of the population who are very mistrusting of going out in the open and meeting up with groups of people. So, having that self-contained property works really, really well. And yeah, of course there’s going to be people who, the first chance they can get of going on a plane and go overseas, they’re going to do it, and, you know, good luck to them. Go and do it and enjoy it, because that’s part of the wide range of things that you can do in life. But, the UK, these kinds of properties this year, it’s where the demand really is, over and above everything else where you can, for want of a better phrase, isolate yourself. And then you choose to opt in and out of the local services, depending on how you feel, but you’re still getting that holiday, that’s the main thing. It’s that holiday away from home in somewhere that is probably aspirational to you.

Do people in the UK still want to own holiday homes abroad?

Presenter

Rachel, what about the overseas holiday homeowner? The events of the last couple of years in the UK, in terms of what’s been happening in Europe and pulling away from Europe, has that put people off investing in a holiday home overseas, or is this still a demand for that there too?

Rachel

Dealing with the UK only, of course we’ve seen a huge influx of owners that would typically have probably looked overseas, or they have had properties overseas, and then they’re looking to now expand into the UK. If anything was to continue, I think they’re seeing that last year, people fell back in love with the UK, they fell back in love with what Britain has to offer. People experienced, as Bob said, getting out in the beautiful nature that is actually on your doorstep, with your camping tent, the people want a piece of that action, people wanted to get in on that. So, I was sort of having a look for us, as I said, some of that overseas interest has switched over to actually owning a property in the UK and the sort of added benefits to that as well.

Bob

I’ve owned property overseas myself, and, certainly at the moment, if I was to still be in that position where I was owning it, I would find incredible challenges; how I look after that property, how I service it, I would be having to use overseas agents or rely on people overseas to be able to do a lot of that stuff for me. I wouldn’t be able to just either fly or ferry, depending on where this location was, just back and forth, because our travel is restricted at that moment, we’re not able to do that. And also, the ability for us to be able to earn income, if we chose to rent that property out overseas again, would also be very, very limited, as the markets for people to travel, certainly in places like Europe, is very, very heavily restricted, and is likely to be restricted for a while to come.

So, I think this option between overseas and UK – when it’s here in the UK and it’s on your own soil, it’s probably a lot more easier to deal with, than it is when you’re having to deal with somewhere overseas, which you aren’t easily and readily able to visit and go and check out.

How have holiday let consumer demands changed in recent years?

Presenter
Vanessa, what sort of change in demands by consumers have we seen on their holiday lets? What are they looking for now, which is different to say 5-10 years ago?

Vanessa
I think that’s a very good and pertinent question, I think that expectations of guests have risen very significantly. I always recall my elderly parents went to a holiday let near Woolacombe Beach, and it was a very sad, shabby, little cottage that hadn’t had much work done on it, and the mattress was so lumpy and lopsided that my 82-year-old father fell out of bed. This was 10 years ago, and those properties just will not cut it in the current marketplace, consumers have very, very high expectations.

Rachel and I have discussed this before actually – we feel that people want to actually stay somewhere nicer than their own home. And they have extremely high demands in terms of cleanliness, which is only being reinforced by the last year or so. My belief is that people expect to walk into a holiday let, find it extremely well-equipped of an extremely high standard, in very, very good condition décor-wise, and to look like nobody else has ever stepped foot in that property before them – that is what the market demands, in my opinion, that is the standard that I do my holiday lets to myself.

So, Bob alluded to it earlier, that people are going on holiday, this is their dream – it’s what they look forward to, it’s their escape. And as holiday let owners, we have a responsibility to make sure that they have an absolutely wonderful time. That’s one of the key things that I enjoy about being a holiday let owner, is getting these fantastic reviews from my guests, saying what a fantastic holiday they had at my properties. That is just the icing on the cake, really, for me, that I get that kind of feedback. So, yes, things have changed in the past 5-10 years, I would say, the game has changed, the bar has been raised higher, but I only regard that as a good thing,

Bob
People want a bit of a ‘wow factor’, don’t they? We’re a society, these days, that live on social media, and people want those places that they can pop up those Instagram photos of, of these amazing properties, whether they be tiny, little, one-bedroom places that just have that something extra, all the way through to really big impressive houses.

I was lucky enough to visit a property in the last a week or so for some work that I was doing for a client, and this property, when you walked into it you thought, “Oh okay, it seems quite nice”. And then you went through to this kind of enormous, open-plan, kitchen, dining, living area with a log burner in it, all these wonderful appliances in the kitchen, it was all sleek and shiny, beautiful fixtures and fittings, great big bi-fold doors and those Velux light things to let the light in – your mouth just dropped, it was awesome. And you think, “Wow”, I would love to come and take a break here. And, of course, you look outside and there you go – it’s got a feature, like a hot tub.

It’s these kinds of real ‘wow’ moments, and features like hot tubs or games rooms within properties, that, when you go away as a family or as a group or with your friends, whatever it is you’re doing, and you go and stay somewhere like that, you think, “Oh, wow, I wish we could do this at home”, “I wish I could have that home”. And where people have got some features like that at home, that’s what they expect when they go somewhere, they’d like a bit of ‘wow’ on their breaks. And if people doing holiday letting can provide that, then that’s when they’re going to get those bookings continuously. They’ll fill the place and they’ll get those all-important reviews as Vanessa mentioned there, you know, you’re a landlord yourself, you get a great review – that makes you feel good.

Do holiday lets offer a good rate of return?

Presenter
So Vanessa: You make an investment, you want a return on it, are there great rates of return?

Vanessa
If you get it right, and we’ll be going into more detail on how to do that over the course of these podcasts. But, essentially, I’ll give you a very, very rough guide; typically what you would achieve for one month on a single occupancy let, you will achieve for one week on a holiday let at high season.

So, as a for instance, one of my holiday lets, if I did it just as a single occupancy to a tenant, it would rent out for £850 a month, but as a holiday let, it rents out for about £895 a week during the high season. So, if you build up that occupancy, yes, it can be extremely good returns for your investments.

How do you cater for the high customer expectations?

Presenter

So Rachel: As the consumer becomes more aspirational, the bar has been risen, but the challenge is there for the holiday homeowner, and it’s one that they’re going to relish, isn’t it?

Rachel

For a homeowner and a property owner, the main sort of aspiration that you have is to ensure that your customers, your holidaymakers, have the best experience whilst they’re at your property, and our homeowners take so much pride in that. Even when we look at some of the tax benefits that Vanessa was alluding to earlier – there’s things like capital allowance, which means that you can deduct some of the cost of fitting your property out to this luxury standard that we’re talking about here, against your pre-tax profits. So, there is benefits in you going all-in at the start and getting your property up to that fantastic standard.

When we look at our customer base, we have about a quarter of our customer base that are looking for that quirky property, something unique – it’s really time to think outside the box, and we certainly have properties that tick that box. We have double decker buses that are Harry Potter-inspired, we have railway carriages that you can have your morning coffee, I’ve seen converted helicopters before today.

So, it really is time to sort of get some inspiration, think outside the box. Long gone are the days when it is just about that traditional cottage, they’re still popular, but so are some unique experiences. We’ve got another quarter that are looking for character, they’re looking for history, but the most popular property type, and it has been for a number of years, is the luxury properties, as both Vanessa and Bob have been advising you, and the luxury features of those open fires and the hot tubs. Even with COVID, that that’s actually changed some of the features that customers are looking for – thinking about that bathroom-bedroom ratio, and making sure that people can have their own space when we’re thinking about that cleanliness, especially if you are going away with other people.

Well-equipped kitchens – the UK has fell in love with home cooking again, and baking – it really needs to be that home away from home. So, you’re thinking about your egg cups, you’re thinking about your pizza cutter, your ice cream scoop, you’re thinking about everything that they’re potentially going to need. WiFi is another one that has always been very, very popular, but now more than ever. You have the children checking in on their social media, going onto Netflix accounts and Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Also, you have people working from some of these properties that just fancy a change of scenery, people are feeling a little but locked in by the same four walls. So, they’re maybe going to some properties and actually having a little bit of extra time where as soon as 5:30 hits, they can actually go for a lovely walk, or they can go to the coastline and walk down the beach.

And as Vanessa said, it’s, it’s all about that ease. There’s no worry of checking in, and going through all of the bag checks and, I’ve been there before where you’re there with your luggage thinking, “Please, please, please be under the 20 kilos!”, you’re putting on five jumpers to make sure that your suitcase isn’t over. Here, you can pack your car up to the brim and you can take everything for the children.

My sort of fun fact is that we actually took away more dogs than we did children last year, so make your property cater for your furry friends too, not just your children. So, we’re looking at any outdoor space there, or even a lawned garden, a patio, anywhere that there is some outdoor space, and just making it comfortable for absolutely everybody. That’s a huge benefit of staying in the UK, that you can actually take pets with you. Looking at the data, just by accepting a pet, you’re increasing your revenue by over 11%, just by accepted a pet at your property. So, it’s quite a big difference for not much an outlay.

Then lastly, my other point was just on contactless entry, so all the key safes are located. It’s the ease of you just arriving at your property at any point, whether it’s after work, you haven’t got specific time to check-in, but you haven’t got to worry about handing over the keys or meeting somebody. It’s just a nice, easy way that you’ve got a code, you’ve got the password to get in to your key safe, and then you can let yourself into your property as and when you please. That contactless entry has certainly been a sort of popular feature at the moment, as well.

Conclusion

In summary; it’s a growing market, there are great rates of return on an investment, you’re contributing to the national wellbeing with holiday homes, and of course, it’s driving income into those areas of the country with perhaps low forms of other employment – so, it’s a win-win.

Thank you very much for joining us, Rachel, Vanessa, and also Bob as well.

In the next episode, we’ll look at: Getting your property ready for the market – the size of property, features, fixtures, and fittings, managing the property for changeover, cleaning and maintenance, running costs, and of course, insurance and safety certifications as well.


Let your property with Sykes and earn up to £125,000 per year*

  • Join over 15,000 holiday properties already working with Sykes Cottages
  • We welcome over 26 million web visitors a year
  • Many of our owners achieve more than 45 bookings a year
  • We specialise in turning your holiday property into a profitable year-round income for you

*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.

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