business rates

business ratesBusiness rates for self-catering accommodation are unfortunately on the rise. If you have more than 13 beds you could be facing the biggest increase. The new rates will come into effect on 1st April 2017. The business rates revaluation have been highlighted in a recent report commissioned by The South West Tourism Alliance. This informative report highlights those with a rateable value above £12,000 may be hit with bills of between 43% and 71% higher than in 2010.

This news is disappointment to those working within the self-catering accommodation industry. It comes at a time when the Government has acknowledged that rural and coastal businesses are under pressure and in need of greater support.

We take a look at what the business rates rises means for holiday homeowners.

Who is set to be hit the hardest by the rise in business rates?

The government has hit those with the largest turnover hardest, leaving larger complexes facing the biggest increases; a self-catering business with 10 cottages that sleep six people may see a 71% increase on the business rate costs.

These new rates neglect to take into consideration the running costs of these complexes, including greater staffing levels, maintenance expenses and of course, the fact the majority will already be over the compulsory VAT registration limit.

Tables provided by The South West Tourism Alliance indicate that more than 36,000 local accommodation providers will be effected, with the bulk of those offering 1 to 4 bed spaces, and potentially paying in excess of 30% more than they were in 2010.

The effect of business rates rises

By this point owners will have set their prices for 2017 and in some cases for 2018 too. As a result, there is likely to be little room to manoeuvre when it comes to passing these costs on.

Once the full impact of the rate increases has been felt, and taking into consideration the current rate of inflation, it’s almost inevitability that prices will need to rise. This is particularly disappointing at a time when the weak pound against the Euro has made the staycation an increasingly attractive economic option for domestic travel.

The new report also highlights the large impact that the rates will have on many communities. The South West in particular has many which are reliant on seasonal tourism. Any potential drop-off in occupancy as a result of higher costs will also hit associated trades and services.

There can be no better time for us to all come together in order to collectively promote cottage holidays. We have a great product, let’s make sure everyone knows about it.

You can read the full report here: SWTA – The Impact of Business Rates rises in the Self-catering Sector

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Require a quote for your holiday apartment, cottage or complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Drone Photography for Holiday Homes - Uppermoor Farm Cottages

Drone Photography for Holiday Homes - Uppermoor Farm CottagesHave you ever wondered what it would be like to gain a truly unique view of your holiday home or holiday cottage complex? To take to the skies and give those visiting your website a real feel for the fantastic location in which your cottage nestles?

If a photograph speaks a thousand words, the boundless opportunities aerial video provides cottage owners to illustrate the bigger picture and areas of natural beauty in which so many are situated are limitless.

If you’re considering adding aerial film to your marketing arsenal here are just a few things you’ll need to be aware of…

Drone Photography for Holiday Homes – How does it work?

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), also known as ‘drones’, have become increasingly popular for producing eye catching promotional videos.

They are commonly able to fly up to 400 meters high, providing you with potential views and film of your holiday cottage from a very rare perspective.

Selecting a Supplier

There are plenty of suppliers on the market so getting the right one for your cottage is essential. Always ensure you gain more than one quote, and all quoting on a like-for-like basis.

A professional drone photographer will be able to show you their portfolio of previous work enabling you to select one who’s eye for a good panoramic will show off your self-catering holiday letting property to it fullest potential.

Your quotes should take into consideration the following areas:

The Permissions you’ll need

As they’re taking to the skies your supplier will need permission from the Civil Aviation Agency (CAA). Permission to fly will be required as they’re flying on a commercial basis, and because the flight will likely be within close distance to people, vehicles and other houses / cottages in the area.

Make sure that your supplier will be sorting out all of the necessary permissions prior to your agreed date for filming. Also that all costs surrounding this are covered in the quote they provide you with. You’ll also need to ensure that they are carrying the correct liability insurance for the photography services they are providing.

The Time of the Year – Battling the Weather

It stands to reason that your holiday cottage is going to be looking it’s best during the summer months. Wind (above 20mph) and rain could put a real dampener on your video and potentially stop a flying day all together.

Make sure you have an agreement with your supplier. It should cover what happens if your flying is interrupted or cancelled due to inclement weather. Ask how quickly they’ll be able to book you in again if the weather does scupper the best laid plans.

Think about editing costs

It’s not just about the flying; the end video will need to be edited and supplied to you. Editing video can be a time consuming process, so make sure your supplier is factoring this into their quote.

It’s also a real talent so take a look at their previous work. Even ask if it’ll be the same person editing and putting yours together. You want your end video to do your cottage justice and this’ll enable you to guarantee the quality you’ll be getting.

Technical Considerations

The first question to ask is how quickly your video will be completed and supplied to you after filming day. The summer months will be busy with bookings so you’ll want it to be completed as soon as possible.

If you’re not a technical wiz kid, will they help you upload it to a player?  The two most common players are YouTube or Vimeo, both will be able to be easily embedded on your website for everybody to enjoy.

Here’s a great example of how drone video photography can be combined with still photography to produce stunning results. Click this link to view – Uppermoor Farm Cottages video flythrough.

We wish you every success with your new video!

Do you have any thoughts or experience of using drone photographing for holiday home marketing? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. Looking for more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Holiday Cottage

Holiday CottageRateable Values: Your Holiday Cottage

If we said 140 days to you would this seem a long period of time?

That’s a little over four and a half months or in terms of the tourism season, approximately the length of time between this year’s Easter Sunday and the return to the classroom of many children across the country in early September.

The vast majority of holiday cottage owners in England will have their properties available during this period and beyond. As a result the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will assess them for a rateable value. A process which is used In order to establish the level of business rates for holiday cottages.

What is a Rateable Value?

The rateable value of a property is a professional assessment of the annual rent your holiday cottage could obtain. It’s a key factor used by your Local Authority to calculate the level of business rates you should be paying.

If your holiday cottage is let for more than 140 days in a financial year then it will be assessed for a rateable value.

What is taken into consideration when calculating the ratable value of your holiday cottage?

When assessing property such as offices, shops or other industrial premises there is a wide range of rental evidence from which Local Authorities can compare, contrast and establish rateable values.

The VOA explain that because very few locations have this level of rental evidence for holiday cottages they often need to use other methods in order to establish a ratable value, such as the gross receipts your cottage takes during the valuation period. This allows them to build a picture of the potential income your cottage could make and in doing so, establish what someone would otherwise pay in rent for the property.

They may also take into consideration the type, size, location and the quality of accommodation your property provides when making calculations.

How is this information gathered?

If you have a holiday cottage that should be rated then you’ll need to complete a ‘Request for Information’ form.

The V06048 form has been designed specifically for holiday cottages and self-catering units, with the questions designed to take into consideration differences in tariffs, marketing, levels of service and other factors such as quality of furnishings.

The overall aim of the form is to establish the income you gain from the property and the level of expenditure required to achieve that income.

What do you do if you believe that your rating is wrong?

If you believe the ratable value of your holiday cottage is incorrect you should contact your local Valuation Office. If you’re still unsatisfied with your rating you’re able to launch an appeal, which is known as making a ‘proposal’ to alter the rating list.

You can make a single appeal to the rateable value of your holiday cottage during the ‘life’ of the rating list, which usually lasts for five years (the current list runs from April 2010 to 31 March 2017).

To appeal against your listing you can visit or by obtaining a form from your local Valuation Office. Other points to note are that non-domestic rates or business rates are an allowable expense and therefore tax deductible for income or corporation tax purposes. Any owners accommodation should remain subject to council tax.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance for holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home please give us a call on 01237 429444.

From the news – source Travolution

Holiday Cottages Group (HCG), the UK’s number one holiday cottage rental agency with more than 10,000 properties in the UK, is launching its first TV campaign in three years. The advert will premiere on Boxing Day and run throughout quarter one.

Holiday Cottages Group has reported sales of domestic holidays are up by 12 percent on 2008 and following this success it is looking to strengthen its position further in 2010.

The campaign promotes the cottages4you brand and aims to highlight the benefits of a self catering holiday by focusing on the experiences guests take home with them. Customer research carried out by HCG showed that the main features of a cottage holiday were relaxation, freedom and enjoying being ‘back with nature’. The scenarios depicted in the 40 second advert reflect these feelings and capture the essence of a cottage holiday.

The creative approach will be carried across all marketing channels including direct mail, email and website design. London Underground card panels, newspaper display and online display will also feature within the campaign.

You can see the first cottages4you advert from Saturday 26th December.

Read more here

Mark Lavington, Director of Boshers Ltd | Specialist Holiday Home Insurance advisers, comments; “HCG’s high profile marketing campaign highlighting the benefits of UK holiday cottage vacations is likely to have a knock on effect, thus hopefully increasing web traffic and enquiries for smaller bespoke  holiday letting agents who maximise their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns during Q1 of 2010.”