Holiday letting tips

Holiday letting tipsAs a holiday home owner there’s so much to think about; from guest safety to website photography and Facebook posts to the internal fixtures and fittings. Or even who’s doing the changeovers and mowing the lawns before those guests roll up the driveway.

The good news is that we’re here to help. We talk with holiday homeowners and letting agents every day giving us an insight into many aspects of holiday letting. As a result we’ve put together some of our most useful articles containing holiday letting tips all in one place.

No matter if you’re looking for ideas on how to cut electricity bills or keep the visiting kids safe in the garden, here are some of our top holiday letting tips when it comes to getting the most out of your holiday home this year….

Keeping your guests safe – checks to make before the peak season

You’ll undoubtedly want your guests to have a great time in your cottage and that means that they’ll also need to have a safe time. There are a number of checks and processes you should have in place and these should always be done prior to the busy summer season.

Here are a few checks that you need to tick off the to-do list as a priority:

How to make your cottages dog friendly

There are nearly nine million dog owners in the UK and almost 40% of visitors now want to take their pet with them on holiday. If you’re looking to make the most of this continually growing market or want to fine-tune your cottage to welcome our furry friends then here are some great pointers…

Engaging with the growing green tourism market

It’s not just a welcoming cottage for our trusted canines that piques potential booking interest, as more and more of us are becoming driven by sourcing eco-friendly accommodation. A whopping 58% of English consumers surveyed by VisitEngland indicated they’d want to stay in green accommodation with awards or environmentally friendly practices. Here’s how to communicate your green credentials and a few ideas to grow them, too…

How to make your cottage a haven for families

If you’re welcoming young children into your cottage this year, you’ll need to answer all of the needs that your paying parents arrive with. Here are just a few ideas on how to make your cottage perfect for each family, no matter what the weather….

Keeping children safe on outdoor play equipment

If you’re welcoming children to your cottage then it’s certainly not uncommon to have an outdoor play area for them to enjoy. Ever wondered what you need to do in order to keep them as safe as possible whilst playing on your outdoor equipment? Here’s our guide on everything you should be doing in order to minimise the risks of an accident…

How to make a first impression

Your guests will only ever walk into your home for the first time once. It’s therefore vital you achieve that wow factor which will leave a positive lasting impression. Hampers are an easy and popular welcome gift for guests and, if used well, can start someone’s holiday off on the right foot. Here’s how to get the content right whilst also catering for those with allergies and those who like a tipple!

How to get your property photography right

A photo speaks a thousand words, so getting them right is definitely a priority! Here’s our guide to make sure your images are immaculate. Also included are some elements you might not have thought of until your photographer has made his way home!

Increase bookings by promoting your cottage as a destination

Visitors spend 80% of their time outside of your cottage, yet the average cottage website has 80% of its content focussed on what’s inside. Here’s how to promote your destination and experience in order to grab people’s attention and bookings…

Become more energy efficient

Energy bills across the UK risen considerably; by up to 10% this year and for some by more than 30% in the past 30 months. Being energy efficient is becoming increasingly important, not only to prove your eco credentials but also to keep costs down. Here’s a few ideas on how to do just that…

Electric vehicle charging points

The UK is going electric when it comes to cars and the growth continues to be exponential.  In 2012 there were just 2,254 electric cars sold in England. Fast forward to 2015 and that figure was hitting 30,000. Last year? Near 60,000 electric plugin cars were sold. If you want to welcome this growing trend of traveller then here’s all you need to know about your electric hook-up point….

Getting your insurance right

We’ve been working with holiday home owners for more than 30 years and we’re specialists in making sure that cottages across the UK have the insurance in place that they need. For more information on insuring your holiday home or cottage complex please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429 444.

Airbnb hidden cameras

Airbnb hidden camerasWhen it was founded in 2008, very few people could have envisaged how quickly and large Airbnb would grow. It is now home to 31 offices across the world. Airbnb has welcomed more than 400 million guests since its launch and has listings in a staggering 161 countries.

With growth can often come problems, the most recent is potentially one of the most worrying for would-be guests. That’s because there’s been an increasing number of reports of guests identifying and locating hidden cameras within Airbnb properties. While some of these have been hidden in common household appliances such as fire detectors; others have made their way into plant pots and television veneers.

Although such spy craft would be more commonly found in the pages of a James Bond novel, it does highlight a very real and significant problem for Airbnb and those using the platform to enjoy a break away; namely a very severe invasion of privacy.

So where does Airbnb stand on hidden cameras in their properties? And importantly where can UK holiday homeowners find guidance on the use of CCTV in UK holiday lets?

Airbnb’s stance on recording equipment and hidden cameras in properties

Airbnb indicates that it’s fine for a property owner to have cameras, or recording equipment and devices within the property. Stipulating as long as they’re highlighted to guests within the ‘House Rules’. Here’s their exact wording:

“If you’re a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you indicate its presence in your House Rules. We also require you to disclose if an active recording is taking place. If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund.”

So what’s the real issue?

The issue, as with many areas of Airbnb, is one of regulation and safeguarding. At the moment cases of hidden cameras and recording equipment are only being highlighted and brought to public attention by paying guests that are thorough enough and technically savvy enough to conduct a scan. They are not being identified by the platform itself. This issue then permeates into policing; if there are hundreds of thousands of transient and sometimes short term listings, how do you regulate and proactively police what’s inside the property without reliance on the paying guest?

The answer is that it’s incredibly difficult and, until that changes, the risks of hidden equipment within these properties may be a tricky problem to solve for one of the largest online property platforms in the world.

Please note it is illegal in the UK to use spy cameras in areas where subjects may have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as holiday homes.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

Second Home suitable for holiday letting

Second Home suitable for holiday lettingIf you’re thinking about buying a holiday home, or already own a second home, there are plenty of benefits to opening your doors to visiting tourists. We take a look at a few of the benefits of holiday letting your second home that await those taking the plunge…

Gain a return by holiday letting your second home

Gaining a return on your investment will ultimately be a decisive factor for you so we’ll start with some good news; the demand for self-catering accommodation is on the rise and it has been for several years!

Latest figures from Visit England indicate the average occupancy level for self-catering accommodation is around 31%, representing an increase of four percentage points over the last year.

Want the even better news? That figure increases to 42% during the peak summer period, when you’ll be able to charge a premium on your weekly rental (sometimes in excess of five times winter rental rates).

Enjoy potential tax benefits of holiday letting

A key benefit when it comes to holiday homes, as oppose to renting out other types of property, is that if you let out a furnished holiday home in the UK, your rental income can be treated more advantageously for tax purposes than from other rental income.

These benefits can include tax advantaged pension savings, 100% Capital Allowances on the first £250,000 of capital expenditure incurred, and Capital Gains Tax reliefs should you come to sell your holiday home in the future.

For a more in-depth take on the tax benefits of owning a holiday home please take a look at our Furnished Holiday Letting blog post here:

How to qualify under the Furnished Holiday Lettings Tax Rules

The married couples or civil partners team

Many holiday homes in the UK are purchased and owned jointly by married couples or civil partners. If you’re looking to buy with your spouse or civil partner then profits from furnished holiday lettings can be allocated in any proportion you wish, irrespective of your actual shares in the ownership of the property.

Help the local economy

Holiday homes play a vital role in supporting the local community through visitor expenditure and job creation (particularly during peak season).  When visitors stay in your property they’ll inevitably spend the majority of their money within a ten-mile radius, allowing for local shops, pubs, restaurants and service providers to thrive.

Remember you can have a holiday too!

If you’ve bought the perfect property one thing you’ll also want to do is enjoy it! Letting your property out as a furnished holiday let means that you’ll also be able to visit and stay in your own property from time to time, allowing you to have a break in your very own holiday home. Holiday letting your second home to guests will give you the added benefit of the property having a lived in feeling when you arrive for your own holidays by helping to avoid long periods when the property is unoccupied. Indeed it’s a good idea to experience holidays in your second home as your guests would, viewing it from their perspective will help you decide on improvements that’ll make your property even more desirable.

Won’t it be a lot of work?

Owning a holiday home needn’t be a stressful experience. There are a large number of holiday letting agents and property management companies who’ll be able to look after the entire needs of your property, from housekeeping and maintenance, taking payments and dealing with potential disputes, to marketing your holiday home and generating bookings.

Their ability to generate bookings for your property can be particularly vital if the property has not previously been let as a holiday home. You’ll be able to benefit from their database of customers and gain a quicker return on your investment. A quality holiday letting agent will also give you guidance on the legislation that you’ll need to abide by when holiday letting your second home. For more information on how a holiday letting agent can help you please have a read of our blog post here:

Ten benefits of using a Holiday Home Letting Agent

What about home insurance for holiday letting?

Owning a holiday home comes with its own unique set of insurance requirements, which will be different to your own home.  At Boshers we specialise in offering insurance to holiday homeowners and have been doing so for 25 years.

We speak to holiday homeowners every day; we get the industry and we know how best to support them. How do we do that? By identifying the things that you may not have thought of and understanding the insurance you need.

If you have any questions about insuring your property please speak to a member of our team – they each have an average of more than 20 years experience in dealing with holiday homes!

As holiday home insurance specialists we understand the needs of holiday letting owners and our policy includes valuable property owners liability cover for letting your second home to paying guests. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 

Coponis - the welcome pack app for holiday let guests

Coponis – the welcome pack app for holiday let guests

Impress your holiday let guests with a welcome pack app. takes the traditional ‘Welcome Information Pack’ provided to guests at self-catering accommodation and utilises technology to put that information (and much more) straight into the hands of the guest prior to their arrival.  This gives the guest clear and succinct information to enhance their stay, even before they make their trip.

Coponis’ first concern is to make sure that every guest has a stay that is as safe & comfortable as possible; whilst empowering them to make the most of their time at the accommodation by presenting them with all the information they could need, at the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse.

In providing information to guests in a clear, concise and easy to navigate format – exactly when they want it – the need for them to contact owners or management agents is reduced.  This not only enhances the guest’s experience hugely but also frees up the property owner’s and manager’s time.

Setting up a property on Coponis is smooth and straightforward for the property owner/manager, with step-by-step instructions to help with all levels of computer experience.  Once it’s set up they can completely manage all their customers’ stays simply and smoothly from then on.  Scheduling & inviting guests via the Coponis dashboard is quick and easy.  Once a guest has automatically received their own unique login details (on the Apps (Apple & Android) and/or on the website); they then have access to all of the Safety, Property and Local Information that they could possibly need.

Coponis not only helps the guests to find and access their accommodation, it keeps them safe, comfortable and happy, with instant access to all the facilities of their surrounding area.  In return, this frees up significant amounts of time for the owners/agents, puts everyone’s minds at rest (including Insurance Companies!) and ensures not only returning guests but reviews of customer satisfaction that will increase numbers of bookings.

Impress your holiday let guests with a welcome pack app and give them access to:

  • The property address
  • Directions to the property (if via the App it uses GPS to locate them and gives them a tailored map)
  • Information about their stay: including check in times, terms & conditions, rules etc
  • Where to park if they are travelling by car
  • The weather where they are staying
  • How to gain access to the property
  • How to use and operate equipment such as the heating system, the DVD player, the oven
  • How to deal with quirks, e.g. the back door which sticks so you have to lift and twist it to open…
  • What facilities are at the property
  • Where to eat, drink, visit, get cash out, shop, fill up the car, watch a film and more
  • Who to contact during the stay with any issues or compliments!
  • What to do in an emergency including how to escape if there is a fire, where the first aid kit is, how to turn the water off if there is a leak etc

Coponis founder, Dan Whiting, says “Having run a holiday let management company we saw the issues that owners and guests face and wanted to create a tool to cater for both their needs.  The safety of the guests and the properties is the main concern but we have developed the site and Apps to enhance the overall experience by providing all the information the guests need”

From initial testing of the system the feedback from guests and owners has been tremendously positive with all guests saying that hey want their next self-catering accommodation to have Coponis.  Owners saw a vast reduction in queries from guests (74% reduction) and an increase in guest review ratings on sites like TripAdvisor.

Although Coponis has plans to go international, initially they are pushing the launch nationally following a successful trial in Bath with The Bath Holiday Company.  Katie, manager at The Bath Holiday Company says “Not only has Coponis made me, as a manager, feel secure that our guests are safe & happy, it is also a great marketing tool.  Knowing that they can make the most of their stay in terms of places to visit, finding places they need (e.g. banks, pharmacies, grocers) is a huge asset to our business that gives us the edge over anyone who doesn’t have Coponis.  More guests coming back, happy customers and fabulous reviews from satisfied guests.”

Through it’s innovative use of digital media, Coponis places guests at its heart, engaging and informing them, thus resulting in a safer and more enjoyable self-catering holiday experience. We would like to wish Dan well with the launch of Coponis, he is keen to make this a success so whether you own a single holiday let or run a holiday letting agency managing hundreds of properties find out how you can `impress your holiday let guests with a welcome pack app’ give Dan a call today on 0207 018 7535.

For more information please visit:

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red wine stained carpet in holiday home
red wine stained carpet in holiday home

Damage by holiday let guests – who pays?

Whilst letting your holiday home you expect an amount of general wear and tear such as scuffs on walls and the odd broken piece of crockery which you no doubt absorb into your general running costs. Occasionally your holiday home guests may cause more serious damage either accidentally or with malicious intent.

Damage by holiday let guests – who pays?

You’ll be wondering the best course of action to return your holiday home to its previous condition, to cause as little disruption as possible to forthcoming lettings and limiting your losses. In this article we delve deeper into the holiday home insurance frequently asked question, “Damage by holiday let guests – who pays?“. This may mean a holiday home insurance claim, although there are other options you may wish to explore first.

Holiday home booking conditions

An essential measure is to have in place holiday home booking conditions which hold the person(s) booking the holiday home responsible for the costs of any breakage or damage in or to the property. Communicating these terms clearly will focus your guests to treat your holiday home with the respect it deserves whilst enjoying their stay.

Security or damage deposits

There has been a move away from security or damage deposits in the holiday letting industry, although where used these can allow small sums to be recouped easily by withholding that proportion of the deposit. However if the loss or damage is greater than the security deposit the difference must still be sought from the guests who sometimes are confused, thinking the deposit in some way limits or waivers further liability.

Guests may have liability cover under their own travel or home insurance

For low value losses or damage you may well take the stance that you would rather absorb the cost than upset the relationship with your guest. For higher value losses where your guest has admitted liability, you may well wish to settle with them direct for replacement or repairs. Indeed the guests themselves may well be insured for such damage under the liability section of their own travel or home insurance policy on which they may choose to claim.

Holiday home insurance including accidental damage caused by paying guests

vase damaged by holiday home guests

Damage by holiday let guests – who pays?

Accidental damage rendering your holiday home unavailable to let, where the guest is not cooperative, or instances of malicious damage you would be best to put the matter in the hands of your holiday home insurer so that damage may be put right as quickly as possible with least disruption to future lets. This highlights the importance of having a policy which includes cover for accidental damage to your holiday home buildings and contents by paying guest and does not exclude malicious damage by them: You will be liable for the holiday home insurance policy excess and your insurers will recompense you the difference. Your insurer will not only work with you to minimise disruption, under subrogation they assume the right to recover the damages reimbursed from the party responsible, where financially viable to do so.

Additional guidance on damage by holiday let guests – who pays? and holiday home insurance advice and quotations are available from the Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Team on 01237 429444 or for further information visit holiday home insurance.

You may find the following holiday home insurance articles of interest:

Treating your holiday let to a maintenance check will help keep your holiday home safe for you and your guests and reduce the risks of holiday home insurance claims.

  1. GAS AND OIL SAFETY – Do you have Gas or Oil fired appliances? If yes; arrange for a registered gas or oil engineer to service your appliances in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and to carry out annual safety checks as applicable. Inspect and test your Carbon Monoxide detectors.
  2. SWEEP CHIMNEYS – have your chimneys swept if you have an open fire, gas fire, stove, woodburner. As well as reducing the risk of chimney fires, keeping your chimney clean will prevent blockages and the build up of poisonous carbon monoxide in your holiday home.
  3. ESCAPE OF WATER – Mains water tap – ensure you can turn it off and on. Check for dripping taps – repair them if necessary. Check your loft space, water tank and pipe lagging. If unoccupied, programme your heating system in order to maintain a minimum temperature to prevent burst pipes and water damage, or turn off the water and drain the system.
  4. UPDATE RISK ASSESSMENTS – Have you updated your risk assessment? Record your results. Include a visual check of portable electrical items, checking for damage such as fraying power cables. If in doubt have your portable items inspected by a qualified electrician or replace them with new ones as necessary.
  5. STORM DAMAGE – Inspect the roof for signs of slipped slates or tiles and have repairs carried out where needed.
  6. FIRE SAFETY – Have you checked your Smoke Detectors and replaced the batteries? Diary for periodic checks.
  7. FLOODING – Have you cleared your drains, gutters and down pipes to keep them free of leaves and debris?
  8. SECURITY – Repair broken fences, gates and boundary walls.
  9. SLIPS AND TRIPS – Have you considered cleaning garden paths to remove build up of moss, lichen and algae, which can often be slippery?
  10. FURNITURE – inspect your furniture to ensure that it is sturdy and fit for purpose. This should include your garden furniture which you should consider storing undercover for the winter to prevent it rotting or degrading in the cold weather. Replace as necessary.

Boshers Ltd have compiled this list as an aide memoir for owners of commercially let holiday homes in the UK. It is not designed to be exhaustive and Boshers Ltd will not be held responsible for errors or omissions.

Boshers are Independent Insurance Intermediaries and have been arranging specialist holiday home insurance for owners of commercially let UK holiday homes since 1990. For further information and quotes visit or contact the holiday home insurance team on 01237 429444.

Holiday Let Restoration Projects Sought By Holiday Cottages Magazine. Are you thinking about turning an old barn, brewery or bakery into a holiday let? Or any other pre-1945 building? If so, and you would like free advice on the project, read on.
In conjunction with Robert Hill of the Historic Building Advisory Service, Holiday Villas and Cottages are planning a new ‘house doctor’ series that welcomes questions from readers about any aspect of planning, building or related matters, and which may interest other readers. In addition Holiday Villas and Cottages are looking for one proposal where an owner is considering a conversion or restoration project that could be used as a case study. If you have either a particular question or a property that has an interesting background and needs expert advice and opinion, please e-mail details and images to info@merrickspublishing quoting ref: Boshers Blog. Should you require advice on holiday home insurance in connection with a conversation please contact Boshers Ltd who will be happy to advise you.  
Click this link to read an article about Historic Holiday Homes in a recent issue of Holiday Villas And Cottages Magazine.