Welcome to your May Owner Q&A! Rachel, Sales and Operations Manager for Property Recruitment here at Sykes Holiday Cottages...
After 17 years in the army, Emma-Louise Long, who is now a fully qualified canine first aid instructor, was looking to start her own business to complement her lifestyle change.
After living at the charming West Cottage she now lets it out as a holiday home. Set in a stunning position near Loch Lomond, it is hugely popular with holidaymakers, with only one week remaining last year.
My husband and I first visited Loch Katrine in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park 15 years ago and fell in love with it. We then spent the next few years looking for our own little getaway there and eventually moved into West Cottage in 2010. In 2017, we moved back to England for work, however we wanted to keep the cottage so we can still holiday in it, and open it up as a holiday let so people could experience how beautiful the area was. We’re big dog lovers (we have our own border terrier, Herbie!), so we knew the property had to be pet friendly.
It was quite a lot of work initially, as we had to replace the cottage’s very old kitchen and bathroom, as well as doing some general decorating throughout, but we did this gradually over two years whilst we lived there.
We finished last year with only one week left not booked, so it’s been far better than we expected! This year is continuing to prove to be successful – as of May 2019, we have received 32 bookings for the year.
I love receiving feedback from guests; we’re really into hill walking in the area so it’s great to hear about where our guests enjoyed and sharing their recommendations.
We mainly get couples or two couples travelling together, sometimes families. I would say about 75% of the groups that stay bring a pet with them. We’ve had guests from Portugal and Germany.
We want to keep adding to the property and improving our guests’ experience. Our next plan is to add some decking to the front to create a BBQ area, and we know we’ll also probably replace the windows at some point.
To be honest, we didn’t know where to start so we needed some help! We searched on Google and found Sykes. Their Property Consultant, David, came out to visit us before we’d started the renovation and immediately he gave us a lot of confidence.
We’ve had a very good experience with Sykes. We received great advice on what people are looking for and what they like, so they gave us confidence from the start that we knew what we were doing. Working with Sykes has been a partnership – we both succeed together. We’ve had a lot of help and support and everyone I’ve spoken to has been really friendly.
For more information on holiday letting with us, read our post on the 8 benefits of holiday let management with Sykes Holiday Cottages.
My top tip would be to give Sykes a call before you start getting into it. We had no idea where to start before we met the Property Consultant and then everything just sort of fell into place after his visit.
I’d also say that considering your location is important. We’re lucky as the property is accessible to the city but it’s also rural enough to feel remote. It’s the best of both worlds.
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