Preparing a property

The best holiday homes are selling a dream With the credit crunch, airport misery and the weakening pound, the attractions of self-catering holidays in Britain take on an even rosier hue. The key to success in holiday letting remains constant quality. Making the interior and exterior of a holiday home a winner is not simple, although simplicity is important in design and furnishing. There is a long list of dos and don’ts. A holidaymaker expects a home from home, at least, and hopes for a place that charms and wows his family or friends. If your holiday home looks like it ought to be featured in a glossy magazine, you’re getting there.

Good design makes a home more efficient and therefore comfortable. Holiday homes require less storage space, but must have plenty of floor space, and light, to regularly accommodate a full house of guests. Somewhere to store suitcases would be useful. The maximum number a house sleeps must determine the size and nature of the dining table, its chairs, the sofas and armchairs. Space is a luxury few can afford at home: deliver it stylishly in a holiday property and it will delight, wooing repeat bookings and many new ones.

D├ęcor can lend a home an instant look. For letting success, so long as it’s in keeping with the building’s style, the colour scheme you choose might as well be tastefully adventurous, although pale, light-enhancing shades often make themes work better. Don’t be outrageous – you have to appeal to people with many tastes and preferences, so violet ceilings are out, event though they are your own favourite. Plain and practical is the best recommendation for a carpet or floor covering. Soft furnishings and curtains should be warm, of good quality, and washable so you can keep them in tip-top condition. Curtains should exclude the light, especially if the property has direct sunlight.

Furniture is best when solid and attractive, clean and easy to keep clean. Lighting, in all rooms, is crucial. There should be lamps, as well as ceiling and wall lights. Low energy bulbs are highly desirable on ecological grounds and to keep your electricity bill in check. Open fires and woodburners are loved by most. They should be laid, and left with enough logs or coal for the first night, at least, plus information on where to buy or get more. In the kitchen ask yourself if you would want to cook with the utensils you provide. Have a full inventory of utensils, pots and non-stick pans which are new or look new and of course they should be spotlessly clean. The most suitable crockery is white (nobody objects to white) and, as with glassware and cutlery, it should be practical and replaceable. Insects can be a problem in some locations and guests may not be used to them. You can’t control the world of nature but a kitchen fly-killer machine will help.

Heating and hot water systems should be easy to operate and available on demand. Good electrical equipment (fridge, freezer, cooker, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine) is essential. A sizeable television, plus DVD or video player, is a must, and a radio/CD player is appreciated, as are one or two games, a few recent coffee-table magazines, fresh flowers, a handful of standard provisions, a welcome bottle of wine perhaps (if licensed), and certainly a house information folder that’s instantly visible. Internet access, if you can provide it, will appeal to a substantial number of people who cannot wrest themselves completely away from work or their social networking website friends. Paying guests, rightly, will not forgive inefficiency, important omissions, failures of equipment or – while living in your property on holiday – any signs of indifference to their needs and expectations.

Don’t forget the outside of the property either. Weeds, debris, insecure fencing or gates that don’t work are unacceptable. Clearly, a nice garden or patio in a sunny spot is a big plus. Keep the grass cut, provide garden chairs and a table, and if a barbecue is acceptable (consider the neighbours) have one available. Outside lighting, particularly where there are steps or tricky routes to the parking, is important. Solar-powered garden lights are good.

Cleanliness is next to godliness, an old saying goes. And it couldn’t be truer in holiday-let properties, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you deal in quality and are attentive to detail in your holiday home, any hiccups or disappointments that holidaymakers might have will become solvable slips or forgivable exceptions to the good owner’s rule of making things right for the customers, and always caring.

Based on an article by Helpful Holidays, with thanks.

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