The question of whether or not to ask your holiday home customers for a security deposit is commonly debated....
“We also implement a dynamic pricing system, which means that during off peak months we offer last minute discounts”
Andrew Soye, a Director of Character Cottages, says: “Many owners are worried about not being able to generate enough bookings during the off-peak season over the winter. Not including Christmas and New Year, or the week of the Cheltenham Races, which are always extremely popular and generate prime bookings, the off peak season runs from the week after schools have October Half Term through until Easter. This seems like a long period for owners to earn little or no income from their asset.”
“It is easy to forget that booking a holiday home in the Cotswolds out of season is actually an extremely attractive idea. The region is easily accessible from both the north and south, and is only 90 minutes by train from London’s Paddington station. Most importantly, the area retains its charm and appeal all year round, whatever the weather. A house or cottage with a roaring fire, the opportunity for beautiful walks, and villages tucked away in picturesque valleys, provides the setting for a perfect weekend away.”
Mat Faraday, also a Director of Character Cottages, commented: “For this very reason, we find that whilst property owners see fewer week-long bookings out of season, there are a very good number of bookings taken for long weekends. Most of our properties sell more than 90% of their weekends throughout the off peak season. Our performance out of season is strong and home-owners should not dismiss the income available to them during these months. For example, one of our most popular properties is Hainault House, which sleeps eight. Out of season weekend prices for this property for a Friday to Monday let start at around £610.”
“In order to maximise bookings out of season, we believe it is a matter of continuing to market a property. At Character Cottages, we focus on maintaining our marketing spend throughout the year, so that interest is constantly generated and bookings are taken no matter what the season.”
Andrew added: “We also implement a dynamic pricing system, which means that during off peak months we offer last minute discounts. We aim to take as many bookings as we can for all our properties and, rather than having them lie empty at weekends in the autumn and winter, we have devised a pricing scale so that if a property remains available during certain dates, the closer it is to those dates, the less expensive it will be. This has been a very successful strategy for our owners and has generated them continued income during what are perceived to be less lucrative months.”
“Another aspect of being successful out of season is making sure you are flexible. It’s as simple as doing what you can to accommodate the wishes of anyone interested in making a booking. At Character Cottages, if possible, we happily change start and end dates for late bookings, therefore offering a high quality, more tailored service. As a result, we end up taking bookings for most available weekends and we maintain a good average monthly income for our owners.”
Mat concluded: “If you are planning to let your holiday home, there is absolutely no need to wait for a particular time of year to get started. It can take less than four weeks to get a property completely ready to let and to start generating valuable income. Whether in season, or out of season, your Cotswold property will be very much in demand”.
About Character Cottages
Character Cottages is a specialist holiday lettings business established to help second home owners generate substantial profits, whilst still enjoying the benefits of owning a country retreat. Our mission is to enhance the traditional holiday let process, by providing guests with first class customer service, flexible length breaks and flexible start dates, in hand picked, luxury country homes.