Owner Case Study: Burgate

Owner Case Study: Burgate's Old Rectory Cottage

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Burgate's Old Rectory, Suffolk - Case Study

Burgate’s Old Rectory Cottage
Burgate, Suffolk

Sleeps: 4
First letting through The Travel Chapter: 2017

Katie and Kevin Gunn live in Burgate, Suffolk with their children and two Bedlington terriers. Kevin commutes to London daily where he works within the financial sector, while Katie runs the holiday cottage. She is also a family magistrate in Norwich.  


When Katie and Kevin bought their house in north Suffolk, just across the Norfolk border and close to the market town of Diss, it came with a cottage that was in a poor state of repair. Realising the costs of repair were high, the couple decided to take down the building and replace it with a new, purpose-built holiday let. 

With this blank canvas to work with, a priority when designing the new property was to make the most of the stunning rural views, so floor to ceiling windows were installed in each of the property’s main rooms. They also installed under floor heating to keep the property toasty all year, hard floors to help with the cleaning and pet friendliness and a couple of additional touches such as the wood burner and hot tub that they knew from research would be popular with guests.  

Burgate's Old Rectory, Suffolk - Case Study

Conveniently, Burgate's Old Rectory Cottage is just across the drive from Katie and Kevin’s main house which, says Katie, is “handy both for turnover day - but also for being on hand if our guests need anything.”   

She goes out of her way to make the visitors feel welcome, describing the most rewarding part of the process as the final moment when the property is ready, the fresh bread and homemade brownies are made, the flowers are on the table, the beds are crisp and inviting and the key is in the door. 

“We have many returning guests.”  

The guests clearly appreciate Katie’s efforts to keep standards high and reward them with all-important repeat business. She has also been pleased to see that the cottage attracts a wide variety of holidaymakers, from families to older couples who appreciate the convenience of single floor living. Lots of dog owners too - all key to maintaining high year-round occupancy. 

Burgate's Old Rectory, Suffolk - Case Study

The range of activities available nearby is an obvious factor in the property’s appeal to visitors with different interests.  For example, “Some enjoy the many walks and local pubs, some stay in much of the time reading, doing puzzles and using the hot tub.” Others venture further afield, taking the opportunity to explore an area with no shortage of options; the coasts of Suffolk and Norfolk, historic towns like Norwich and Bury St Edmunds, a zoo, a steam museum, a camel park and GoApe High Wire Adventures to name but a few. 

“Others enjoy exploring the area which is jam-packed with things to do.”

Katie does point out occasional challenges, for example when visitors leave the property untidy. Also, having a holiday property on the doorstep can be a bit of a tie when it comes to your own holidays. However she says, “We have just returned from a three-week family trip and the team we left behind did a fantastic job. Anything is possible with lots of planning and care."

While the couple is very proud of their property, they recognise the hard work necessary to give guests a quality experience. So when it comes to turnover days, for example, “You have to either be prepared to do the turnover yourself (with help) or train others up to a really high standard to maintain quality.”

However, it’s clear that holiday property ownership has met the couple’s expectations. Katie says that she’s been amazed at the cottage’s popularity and is pleased that it has been full almost constantly since it went onto the market. Many things have contributed to this but she feels it is probably, “a combination of the location and views, the hot tub and wood burner and the fact that we accept dogs.”  

Burgate's Old Rectory, Suffolk - Case Study

She is also very glad that they chose to work with The Travel Chapter to let their property. The couple considered several companies and sought advice from many quarters. Ultimately they settled on The Travel Chapter for, “The strong marketing, the weekly payments and the provision of a local point of contact. “ 

“The Travel Chapter have been great from the very beginning. We are happy to pay for a job well done.”

Katie understands why some owners might question the need to use a holiday letting agent but says that the benefits are clear; “Without The Travel Chapter’s marketing, the property would unlikely be so full and there would be considerable hassle in setting up websites and managing all the admin.” For her, the bottom line is very simple; “We are happy to pay for a job well done.”

Overall, Katie has no hesitation in encouraging others who are considering taking the step, saying, “I would recommend a holiday let to anyone looking for another income stream.”  

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