How to start holiday letting

How to start holiday letting

Back to Owner advice

Download a free letting guide and discover more about how we can help deliver letting success for you.

Or read on to discover more about how to start holiday letting.

Setting up a holiday let

If you are just starting out on your holiday letting journey, you may be feeling daunted by taking a leap into the unknown.

As always in any new situation, knowledge is power, and we’re here to help.

The situation you’re in may determine the path you take – for example if you are looking into buying a holiday let, the world (or at least the UK!) is your oyster, so you can take your time and ensure that you make the right purchase. Alternatively, maybe you own a property already which you’re interested in converting into a holiday let.

There are different considerations for individual situations, but to give you a few pointers we’ve outlined our top tips to help you out if you’re looking to start holiday letting.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

Ask advice

One of the best ways to start is to contact a reputable holiday letting agency to ask for their advice on running a holiday let. We are more than happy to impart our knowledge, we’ll even come out on property viewings with you if you’d like us to, and provide projections for revenue and bookings. We can talk over money matters and answer any questions you may have.

This helps to ensure that you start out on the right foot as you are setting up your holiday let – as you would expect, it’s much easier to make a return on your investment if the property you purchase has good potential.

Do your research

do your research

If you are unfamiliar with the area you’re looking to let in, or even if you live there, you’ll want to find out about the local holiday letting market. Go online and seek out the competition, take a look at the availability calendars to get an idea of how much they’re booked up, and scrutinise what they’re offering guests.

You’ll hopefully get a good idea of what features are popular with guests (hot tubs, romantic cottages, sea views etc.) and feel more able to view potential holiday homes with a critical eye.

It’s also useful to seek advice from other local sources, especially if you are considering letting in an unfamiliar area. Pop to the pub and strike up a chat with the locals – if you’re in a popular tourist area it’s likely that you’ll find someone who owns (or knows someone who owns) a holiday let and can provide you with a few pointers.

Preparing your property

prepare your property

Modern guests are looking for quality, there’s no two ways about it. In most cases, the first they’ll see of your property is the photos online, so you’ll need to make sure that these really sell it. Take a look at our Owner Advice page for articles on decorating and furnishing your property.

Try not to put too much of your own stamp on the décor – the idea is to make the property universally appealing. That’s not to say you can’t make the most of character features, or introduce some quirky style, just don’t go overboard and steer clear of displaying family photos!

At this stage you will want to make sure that you are complying with all legislation and rules regarding furnished holiday lets. Read our article ‘Legislation Made Easy’ to check you’re on the right track.

When everything is in place and you’re on the brink of opening your doors to your first guests, have a chat with a financial advisor regarding insurance – you want to make sure you’re covered in the (unlikely) event that your property or guests are harmed during their stay.



You may be a long way away from considering the small details just yet, but it’s handy to keep them in the back of your mind for when the time comes. It’s likely you’ve already thought about whether you’d clean the property yourself, or employ a cleaner or caretaker to look after changeover days for you.

Factor in any associated charges when you’re working out the income you’ll receive from holiday letting. If you are in need of recommendations, feel free to give us a call as we can put you in touch with local individuals or companies who can help.

Installing a key safe is an excellent way of providing flexibility for clients and means that you won’t find yourself called out at 2am to let in a guest whose flight was delayed four hours!

Within the property, you’ll need to make sure that all guests are catered for, so, for example, if your maximum occupancy is ten, you should have ten dining room chairs, beds to sleep ten people, enough living room space to seat ten comfortably, ten sets of cutlery etc.

The perfect price


Many people starting out in the holiday letting business worry about what price to charge their guests. Too much and people will be put off booking, but charge too little and it can have the same effect. The price you charge should reflect demand in your area, competition, the assets of your property, maximum occupancy and also seasonal variations.

It’s a very fine balance which needs constant reviewing to achieve the optimum pricing levels. Here at we have a team of Property Managers who are responsible for constantly assessing the performance of your property. They’ll analyse booking levels and will make tweaks to pricing when necessary to help deliver the best income.

Marketing your property


Some property owners decide to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to marketing, and while this can be a recipe for success in some cases, for the most part it can be a lot of hard work for very little reward.

Nowadays, most holidays are booked online, and with so much competition out there, your property will need to be highly visible to succeed. Listing with a well-recognised agency such as ourselves takes the stress out of marketing, and indeed the whole process of holiday letting. We’re able to offer fantastic online exposure, whereas your private website may not even reach the 10th page of Google for searches such as ‘holiday cottages in Cornwall’.

Why does this matter? Well, the more web traffic directed towards your property, the more chance it has of being booked. Once you’ve been letting for a while, all being well, you’ll find that your annual bookings will be boosted by recommendations and return guests.

If you'd like more advice on holiday letting, get in touch with our friendly team today and visit our Let your cottage pages for more information.


To get your free comprehensive owner's guide or to talk to one of our local experts