When it comes to holiday letting, savvy marketing is paramount to success. There are two main routes: you can either work with a professional or go it alone. The former remains a strong and stable option, while the latter can help you to save money, although the amount of work shouldn’t be underestimated!
From social media and showstopping photography to old-school print, in this article we’re going to share some methods to market your holiday home.
While it will cost you, taking the professional route to marketing is undeniably the most effective strategy. Let’s not forget that the money you spend can be seen as an investment in your business (indeed, it’s a business cost and so should be tax deductible), with a high chance that the product will pay for itself by generating a healthy amount of bookings and great exposure… much more than you’d get from going it alone!
You could take the leap and do the entirety of your marketing with a professional, putting everything into their hands while you sit back and take care of the rest of business. In our view this is a sensible route for new holiday let owners, especially for the first couple of years, as there is so much you can learn about the process by working closely with a professional.
That being said, don’t forget that if you would prefer to stay involved, but are wary about doing everything yourself, you could hire a professional for specific tasks, including…
Whilst there are plenty of ‘off-the-shelf websites’ you can buy and configure these days, you also have the option of getting a designer to make a professional website for you, and even a copywriter who can create an attractive description of your holiday let. This could include hiring someone to help with your search engine optimisation (SEO), letting them provide the keywords and phrases which will help people to find your website.
But let’s get real here – your website, no matter how smart and attractive it might be, is highly unlikely to be found on page one of Google’s organic search results for key terms such as ‘holiday lets UK’ or ‘luxury holiday cottages’, as these search terms are extremely competitive and the major holiday letting agents spend thousands making sure their sites appear in the top search results! We often meet owners who say that their site ranks really well and you can find it on page one. While that might be true when you search for very specific words such as ‘Hainault Cottage Stow-on-the-Wold’, that is not the sort of search term your guests will use when they start looking for a holiday let, as they will have no idea of the name of your cottage!
Notwithstanding the above, your website remains a critical part of your overall marketing strategy, and provides a valuable and attractive means of providing your guests with key information and resources such as local shops and restaurants, and things to do with the kids.
Managing social media is a job in itself these days, what with uploading posts and stories, interacting with others, finding the right hashtags and groups to target, the list goes on. Not only is it time consuming, but it also requires understanding of the various social media platforms, so if you’re clueless or just uninterested, perhaps it’s time to consult an expert.
To continue on the subject of social media, we cannot express how important it is to be present across the various sites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even TikTok – it’s not all about dance moves!
It’s becoming more and more common for people to head to social media when they’re researching something on the internet. We’ve all done it, whether we’re checking out a trendy new bar, want a peek of a restaurant’s menu, or trying to choose the most deluxe spa to visit. So, it makes sense that holiday homes should also have good social media presence; what better way to showcase your property than with a feed of glorious photos?
Specifically, we’re talking about making your holiday home ‘Instagrammable’. For younger guests especially, your holiday home’s attractiveness will be determined by its Instagram feed; it could even be where they begin their search for a cottage, searching for hashtags and locations to find the perfect place. Staged photos of your home’s best features will go miles towards tempting people to book. Think glasses of red wine resting by a cosy log fire, a delicious breakfast spread complete with Cath Kidston crockery, or a spectacular sunset behind the garden, these pictures will get ‘likes’… and hopefully help bookings!
If you don’t want to go with a professional holiday letting agency, it’s still worth signing up to a platform such as Airbnb, which is a go-to for many people booking their holiday. Even though it’s not your own website, it’s still important to create a standout listing with excellent photographs and a clear, comprehensive description of your holiday let. Airbnb is a saturated site to say the least, so your listing needs to shine!
This is especially important for cottages that sleep two-four people, as there are so many of these smaller properties all competing for bookings.
Set the scene
When it comes to good marketing, professional photography is essential – there’s truth behind the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’! If you go with a letting agency, they are likely to provide a photographer and if not, it’s highly advised that you find one to do the shoot. You’ll want nothing but top-quality images and ideally even a ‘walk through’ video, which together will create the best possible picture of your property.
Floorplans are extremely useful too, as guests really want to understand the layout of a home before making their decision.
Go to print
While the internet and social media are generally people’s first choice when searching for holidays, it’s important not to forget old reliable methods of marketing, either. Flyers and leaflets work well to complement your online marketing, with the option to post them through doors, or display them in shops, eateries, and local attractions. Indeed, in recent years we have seen a return to the old placard-on-the-wall approach, with characterful cottages baring signs clearly stating it’s a holiday let to passers-by.
Once you’ve designed a suitable advert, you can also choose print marketing. Magazines such as Cotswold Life or Country Living are great for reaching your target audience if you own a countryside bolthole, or titles such as The Resident if you own an urban retreat.
As you can see, there are plenty of choices for your holiday let marketing. Whether you want complete control of the task, or are happy to delegate, it’s important to consider your options.
For more information about how HCM can help you get finance to start your journey, contact us, or complete our five-minute initial assessment to request a free consultation from one of our mortgage experts.
The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of writing, based on our research. Rules, criteria and regulations change all the time and so please speak to one of our Consultants to confirm the most accurate up to date information. Nothing in this article constitutes financial advice. You understand that by clicking any external links on this page that you will be leaving the website of Holiday Cottage Mortgages and we cannot be held responsible for the content of this external website. Please always consult your accountant or solicitor for all financial, taxation or legal matters.