Holiday Lettings Money Back Guarantee

HolidayLettings is now offering a Money Back Guarantee for new advertisers to the website. Should your advert attract less than 20 booking enquiries through holidaylettings.co.uk in your first 12 month advertising period, they have promised that they will credit you back the full amount of your first year’s advertising subscription. To qualify you should email them to confirm that you wish to take up the guarantee within 14 days of the start of your advertising contract. There are terms and conditions on this offer and I would strongly advise anyone taking up the offer to read them and be familiar with them.

Have a look at their why choose us page to find out more.

How to get more exposure on HolidayLettings.co.uk

As an optional extra, as an advertiser on Holiday Lettings you can optionally add extra services to get extra attention to your property when you need it the most.

What’s a Late Deal?

We all know that the holiday market is booking later than ever. Late Deals are a highly effective way for homeowners to fill last minute vacancies through our dedicated Late Deals search section, which attracts in excess of 100,000 searches per week in peak periods.

What’s an Early Bargain?

Early Bird Booking Offers – These are a great way for new advertisers to kick-start their first year’s letting income by promoting the offer of a discount to those who book early. My own experience with early birds is lots of enquiries but not so good on the bookings side, every destination will behave differently though.

What’s a Spotlight?

Displayed on rotation, Spotlights are seen over 100,000 times a month on the left hand side of every search results page, providing an extra marketing boost for your property which will heopefully net you more enquiries and more bookings so before you know it you’ll have recouped your subscription fee. You can choose a spotlight for 3, 6 or 12 weeks.

Morairaway Scandal – Time for a bonding product ?

The Morairaway villa fraud in Spain

Police in Spain are investigating the case of Morairaway.com – a fraudulent villa rental company which advertised and took bookings for high end villas in Moraira, Javea about 80km north of Alicante. It seems many families from all over Europe have paid thousands of Euros for bookings with Moraira – for villas that have never even existed. The website has been taken down and there is now no way to get in contact with the “owners”. It seems as if the fraudsters used leading holiday home rental sites including holidaylettings.co.uk and holiday-rentals.co.uk to get initial leads for their properties and sent out receipts and booking confirmations containing arrival information.

What can people affected by the Morairaway.com fraud do now ?

Those that have booked with holiday-rentals may be covered by a rental guarantee which covers travellers for up to £3300 / €4000 that they may have paid to Morairaway or other fraudulent rental advertisers but not for flights, car-hire etc. To be eligible customers must have registered their booking for the scheme before they sent payment and they must have sent payment by credit card, PayPal, cheque or direct bank transfer.

People that have not booked through holiday-rentals or are not eligible for the guarantee should check with their banks / credit-card companies / paypal to see if they can reclaim any payments made to Morairaway. Customers should also seek alternative accommodation. Thanks to the publicity on this case I hope that some holiday companies will be offering deals for affected holidaymakers. We shall see.

The police station in Denia, from where the crime is being investigated can be reached on (00 34) 9 6578 3851

Questions raised by the Morairaway Case

How many more of these cases will come to light in the future, and on what scale ? Sad to say, but will there be copy cat crimes thanks to the publicity of this case ?

Is it time for the holiday home rental industry to develop an industry wide consumer protection system such as the rules governing package holidays (ATOL) and the leading bonding system for travel agencies (ABTA) ?

Make your holiday rental property stand out

Top tips to make your holiday rental property stand out

Make your holiday home stand out.

Make your holiday home stand out.

  1. Why not add a fun extra to your property – an ice-cream maker, espresso machine, Belgian waffle maker, popcorn popper, smoothie maker, bread maker or even karaoke machine? Guests love playing with gadgets they don’t have at home. Get one of these and watch the booking enquiries roll in!
  2. Make sure you always have a few decks of cards and a board game for a rainy day or an evening in.
  3. Stock up on a selection of books – fiction, guide books on the local area and local cookbooks – plus DVDs.
  4. Consider offering a grocery-stocking service, or providing details of local grocery delivery services. Have your guests email a grocery list for their stay and stock the kitchen prior to their arrival.
  5. Grow herbs, vegetables or fruit in the garden outside your property. This will add a nice touch and attract foodies who pride themselves in preparing authentic dishes using local ingredients.
  6. If you own a luxury or high end property (or want to reposition your home as one), consider offering in-house spa services to your guests. Look for local masseuse and beauty therapists you could team up with. Or if you own property in a holiday rental market where many travellers go for spa getaways (e.g. Barbados), you may be able to increase your rentals by targeting this segment.
  7. Offer to teach guests a new skill or suggest them to try a new activity at your property – yoga in Marrakech, cookery classes in Tuscany, belly dancing or carpet weaving in Turkey are just some of the options. If you can’t teach them yourself, contact locals with speciality knowledge and skills to do the job.
  8. Learn about the nearby vineyards and local wines produced in your area and market it as a wine destination and publicise that you can help guests organise excursions. Speak to the local suppliers and see if they would be happy to offer your guests a discount in return for you publicising their business.
  9. Be a tour guide – offer to take guests to nearby museums or galleries and give them a personalised private tour, or find locals who could do this for you.
  10. Create a games room at your property – kids will love it and parents will get some valuable me-time by the pool. This is especially a good idea if you have plenty of space, I can remember really appreciating the games room – including table tennis table – in the games room of an old farmhouse in The Dordogne we rented in Summer 2007.
  11. Do you have an exercise bike, treadmill or any other unused sporting equipment stocked up in your garage? If so, consider relocating it to your holiday home. A private mini-gym will appeal to health-conscious holiday-makers – or those of us who always promise ourselves to get fit while on holiday, but never actually get round to it!
  12. Suggest your home as a wedding venue. Many people marry during the off-peak periods in autumn, winter and spring, and while you may think: “Oh no! Not in my home”, think of the revenue that you might be able to get from a wedding booking. You could potentially make all sorts of extra money or anyway, new friends by putting the wedding planner in touch with local caterers, a photographer etc etc. You never know some of the guests might like your property so much they make a booking.

Thanks to Holiday-Rentals.co.uk for help with this article. Have you got any tips you would like to share ? Please leave a comment. If you would like to contribute an article please get in touch.

Second Home Occupancy

According to various sources recently, on average holiday home owners are leaving their properties vacant for something like 70% of the year. I have read a range of comments from 50 weeks to 9 months.

Apart from the obvious potential for a burglary and thus the need for adequate insurance this reflects the huge potential of the holiday home rental market on the supply side.

Obviously there are some people who for differing reasons have a holiday home they never visit or even let out to others, while there are other holiday home owners who aim for 100% rental occupancy and probably get somewhere near that. Some properties are in resorts where due to the market and flights from the UK it wouldn’t be realistic to expect more than 6 months occupancy. Greek islands and Bulgarian beach resorts are on this list. The figures will also differ according to how much personal use people get out of their holiday home this can sometimes be governed by how far away the property is and whether or not weekend breaks are feasible.

While many second home owners are renting their holiday homes out of necessity ( due mostly to the fall in the value of the pound meaning higher maintenance and mortgage costs ), there is still a huge latent capacity of bedstock that could be utilised by DIY holidaymakers creating their own holidays thanks to the continued rise of the low cost airlines. At some stage an increased number of holiday homes made available for rental by owner to holiday makers through rental sites like HolidayLettings.co.uk and Holiday-Rentals.co.uk will surely lead to an over supply situation meaning disappointed advertisers or low rental income ? As a holiday home owner looking for rental income this just means you have to be on your toes and one step ahead of the game. Our website is here to help.

If you are a holiday home owner, I would be very grateful if you would take a moment to leave a comment. How many weeks of the year is your holiday home empty for ? Do you think the holiday home rental market will reach an over supply situation ?

Holiday Home Rental Performance Guarantee

To follow up with the Holiday Rentals Offer Code we published yesterday, we have also been sent another very interesting offer – a rental enquiry guarantee where you can get your money back if HomeAway Holiday Rentals don’t manage to generate 20 enquiries for you in the first year. Please visit Holiday-Rentals.co.uk/advertise for more information.

Here are the terms and conditions of the guarantee:
  • You must be a first time advertiser with Holiday-Rentals.
  • You must use the promotional code given when placing your order.
  • Rental rates must be displayed for at least 1 year in advance.
  • Availability must be confirmed or updated at least once every 2 weeks.
  • Properties that receive 20 booking enquiry emails or more via Holiday-Rentals.
  • (as displayed in your account) will not be eligible for a refund.
  • Your area must receive an average of at least 20 enquiries per property per year.
  • Your property must be available for rent at least 7 months a year.
  • Your property must not be a timeshare.
  • The enquiry guarantee is not valid if the property is sold during the subscription period or is leased on a long let basis for more than 3 months.
  • Our Guarantee is only valid for the basic subscription fee of £189 (ex VAT).
  • Notice must be given before the end of the first years subscription.
  • Refunds will be given at the end of the first years subscription.
Like the discount code this offer is listed with an expiry date of 31st May but may be extended.
The offers cannot be used together so it’s the 15% discount or the performance guarantee.

Surge in holiday home rentals continues

Over 1,500 new holiday homes were added to holidaylettings.co.uk in February 2009 with around 20% of those new villas and apartments being located in Spain according to a report for holiday home rental

The increase in the number of homes advertised with holidaylettings suggests to me that

  • People are having difficult selling their holiday homes
  • People are struggling with their Eurozone mortgages
  • Holidaylettings is cementing it’s position as leading portal for holiday rentals by owners
  • People are looking for new income having less job security than previous years.

Holidaylettings have analysed their booking enquiries and reckon that :

while the summer holiday is still the priority for those seeking a holiday home to rent this year, last minute enquiries for ski and half term breaks in February were up 34% compared to the same month last year. Similarly, early indications show that Easter will have the same impact on April bookings.

Again this shows partly holidaylettings dominance and excellent position in search engines and increased branding (including on airlines) but also that more people than ever are looking to build their own holiday and stay at a holiday home instead of a hotel.

HolidayLettings has also revealed the impact the strong Euro is having on booking enquiries:

“Enquiries for accommodation in Turkey, sent during February, were up 65% year-on-year. Croatia experienced similar demand with booking enquiries up 73%.”

My own question is : Will the surge in availability of holiday homes to let at a time of weakness in the economy create sharp discounting by holiday home owners desperate for some income ?

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Holiday Home Rental Tips for Owners

More holiday home rental tips for owners of a holiday home :

  • Prioritise getting the high-value weeks booked, and be prepared to do deals. In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a recession on, which means people will have less money to spend on holidays. You are also competing with a growing number of owners.
  • Market your property to specific groups. “The romantic-breaks offer is a good year-round one for smaller properties,” says Sylvia Blomeley, senior property consultant at Toad Hall Cottages. “People want detached cottages somewhere pretty, where there are good walks or views.” An open fire will add to the appeal, as will a large hot tub if you can squeeze one in.
  • Invest in contemporary furnishings: there is no shortage of discounts at stores right now. Choose wipe-down leather sofas or designs with removable covers, such as those at Ikea.
  • Listen to the letting agents’ advice: if they tell you to put in a flatscreen television, then do so. In a tough market, such details can be all-important. The more expensive the property, the more holidaymakers will expect the latest high-tech equipment.
  • Read up on tax law. Revenue & Customs treats holiday lets more favourably than ordinary buy-to-lets – and even allows you to offset any loss you make against your income as a whole. At the same time, you must follow certain rules: the property must be furnished, available for a minimum of 140 days and actually let out for at least 70 of them at a market rent (which means no mates’ rates). They can be let for longer-term occupation (more than 31 consecutive days), but not for more than 155 days a year. Confused? Go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and search for “holiday lettings”, or consult an accountant.

These holiday home rental tips I spotted at an article in The Times aimed at UK second home owners.

5 ways to attract more holiday home bookings

Tips to achieve better results when renting out your holiday home

Look after your guests – So they come back or if they don’t their friends do. This means you or someone you trust is available to help them during their stay if they have any questions. It can even mean you phone the property (probably not more than once though) just to check if everything is OK and if they your guests need any info. A guest book is useful as guests tend to leave useful info for future guests – and it can often be things you never would have thought of !

Great beds
– you will see this at many hotel chains these days. Hotels are competing on the quality of their beds or pillows. Many hotels have a pillow menu offering a choice of pillows. Many people are cautious about holiday home rentals because they fear the beds could be the cheapest possible. If you have great beds make sure your customers know about it. If you don’t, consider upgrading your bedding. It may prove a worthwhile investment.

Free Wi-fi - if you do have an Internet connection, get a wireless router and advertise free wireless Internet. A lot of people travel with laptops or smart phones and will be happy to think they can check their emails or even do some work while they are at your holiday home. This could be the reason that your property gets the vote over another one.

Gym – OK so it’s unlikely that your holiday villa or apartment has it’s own gym but use your local knowledge to see if it’s possible to use a nearby gym and buy a day pass – do the research for your customers, and provide distance to gym and costs and the renters may choose you.

Tickets to attractions – if there is something in the local area that has a very wide appeal then get some tickets and advertise them as free e.g. with every rental over 7 days, or for all booking before XXX Jan. It may be you have local knowledge of how to source the tickets cheapest or can negotiate a bulk purchase

I hope you found these tips useful, you might also want to look at my tips for renting out your holiday villa or apartment. If you have any tips please do leave a comment. Thanks for reading.