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.

holiday letting property images

holiday letting property imagesMore than 400 million people login to the photo sharing app Instagram every single day, and as a result one thing that a growing number of us will take for granted is the ability to quickly and easily edit our photos, add a filter and improve their quality, all with just a few flicks of our finger on a smart phone screen.

It’s not just reserved to our own personal photos either; many of the photographs gracing glossy magazines and daily papers are now enhanced to ensure they’re looking their best.

This is however no modern phenomenon; the process of enhancing photos has actually been around for decades, but is now becoming increasingly common in estate agency, and more recently in the marketing of holiday letting properties.

So what are your options when it comes to making sure that your photos really are doing your holiday cottage justice?

Why would you need to enhance your holiday letting property images?

The online world in which we market our cottages is becoming increasingly instantaneous; more than 50% of all traffic will now arrive to a cottage site from a smart phone.  People want information and they want it quickly; this places a perennial pressure on the instant impact that a great photograph can make.

A photograph really can make or break an online booking decision.

We also need to bear in mind that the great British weather won’t always play ball; how often do cottage owners book in that professional photographer only to be scuppered by dark skies and rain?

So what can you do to make your holiday letting property images as good as they can be and just how much can they be altered to do you justice?

What sort of thing might you want to change?

It’s important to state here that you’re not going to be able to alter things beyond recognition, nor are you going to want to when it comes to managing the expectations of paying guests.  There are, however some aspects that can be tinkered with in order to tip the booking balance in your favour.

Interior issues

Getting great photos of the interior rooms of a property is notoriously tricky and why a specialist professional photographer is worth their weight in gold when shooting them. A photo enhancing service will be able to easily adjust exposure, shadows, colours and the saturation of your photo.

Rooms can essentially be made to feel as light and airy as they are in real life, which is great if the rain clouds arrived along with your photographer.

Handling those rain clouds

Once they’re finished inside, you’re still going to want some external shots of your cottage. A blue sky adds something to every holiday home, and the good news is that the sky can easily be changed to slightly sunnier times.

Visitor cars and other large objects

For most cottages, you’ll want to take your photos in the summer when the leaves are green, the grass is cut and everything is looking at its very best. There-in lays an age-old problem; how do you take the best photos you can when there are guests around?

Issues such as cars parked in the drive, children’s toys scattered across the lawn or wetsuits splayed across a fence are all things that will detract from the perfect picture. The good news again is that these can be edited out of your photo by enhancing services, providing you with the perfect combination of taking a photo at the best time of the year, whilst not having to worry about your guests.

There are a number of photo editing solutions and services out there; as always make sure you get a few quotes to ensure you’re getting the best possible price, and also ask to see some examples of their previous work (including before and after shots). 

If this all sounds like too much trouble all good holiday home letting agents will be able to offer these services as part of their package. This tends to be either in house or by using professional freelance photographers and editing services.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how we can help and support your holiday home business call us on 01237 429444.

360 degree video

360 degree videoFor a long time, holiday homeowners have faced a similar problem; how do you do the interior of your property justice with photography? How do you encapsulate the views, the local surrounds and everything outside your cottage?

Whilst you’ll all know the importance of professional photography in promoting your holiday home, how about taking it a step further?

360-degree videos are becoming increasingly popular, and they’re certainly impressing the guests…

What is 360 degree video?

For those of you not familiar with it, 360 degree video is a relatively new technology which is gaining rave reviews, particularly for its use on mobile phones. The user can simply tilt their phone in the direction they’d like to view and the scene they’re viewing will tilt in the same way, just like virtual reality.

It takes the standard photograph or video and really brings it to life. With internal photography very tricky to get right, this adds a literal extra dimension to your property.

The benefits

We’ve already mentioned that these videos are great on mobile and this is a big bonus, as that’s likely where more than 50% of your website visitors are coming from.

If your holiday cottage is in a particularly competitive tourist area the chances are that visitors are going to be looking at a number of different properties; this is a great way to make yours stand out from the crowd, and to engage with visitors beyond the traditional flicking through of images.

Also consider how you can use it seasonally; more and more holiday homes will be trying to boost bookings all year round. 360 videos, particularly of the exterior of the property and surrounding area could be just the thing to entice people in the autumn, winter and early new year. What better way to demonstrate just how magical your cottage looks when surrounded by autumn colours or covered in snow?

The final thing we would say is that early adopters always stand out; whilst some have adopted this technology in the tourist sector, it’s far from common so if you’re looking to stand out in a crowd there’s no better time than now.

Your options

There are a few ways to create a 360 degree video of your holiday home. Whilst they have their pros and cons, you’ll not be surprised to hear that the more expensive option will see your life being easy, and the cheaper route is going to be harder, time consuming and perhaps a little tedious unless you’re technically minded.

  1. Stitching panoramics

If you’re feeling creative, the first option is for the budding DIY enthusiast.

You’ll need to set up your camera in the center of the room (make sure you use a tripod to eliminate wobbles) and take panoramic shots from one end of the room to another. Upload the images to your computer and stitch them together using video software (available from the internet). If you’re using a PC, Windows Movie Maker will do the job.

You’ll then be able to upload this video to YouTube or your website as a standard video.

Please note viewers will not have any control of moving left/right/up/down.

  1. 360 Degree cameras

Option number 2 can be pricey, but the end product is interactive and will most likely look a lot cleaner. YouTube have recently added a 360 degree video option, but only 3 cameras are compatible with it. These are the Ricoh Theta S (£299.99), Kodak SP360 (£384.99), and IC Real Tech ALLie (£503). With these cameras you just have to set them up in the middle of the room and hit record. It will then film 360 degrees around the room seamlessly.

Once you’ve done your filming, simply upload to your computer and follow YouTube’s instructions here.

When the video has been correctly uploaded (it can take up to an hour), you will notice that there is a pan button in the top left of the video. Viewers can use this button or the arrow keys on their keyboard to rotate the camera and view different areas.

3. Use a professional to create your 360 degree video

3D Property VideosAs with everything, you get what you pay for so if you’re looking to really promote the quality of your holiday home using a professional is likely to be the preferred route, albeit at a cost. You’ll have to weigh up the return that you are likely to receive in increased bookings in return for your investment in a 360 degree video. If you use a holiday letting agent to promote your holiday home speak to them about your options, they may well have a solution.

One video professional whose work that has caught our eye recently is Luke Power of Property Videos who is using the latest Virtual Reality (VR) technology to create truly immersive property tours like this one of a stunning 6 bedroom holiday home in Cornwall (click the link and scroll down to explore the 3D interactive tour). .

Holiday Home Security

Whilst promoting your holiday home with a 360 degree high definition video will no doubt help you attract more bookings, we must consider the fact that opening your home up for all to see could potentially attract the wrong attention. Whilst burglaries are relatively few and far between it pays to consider your holiday home security.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Managing holiday letting guest expectations

Managing holiday letting guest expectations

The build up to a holiday can be an exciting one for your guests. In anticipation they’ll have created a number of expectations in their mind about the quality of the accommodation, the local area and the experience they feel they’re likely to enjoy.

How are these expectations formed, and what can you do in order to effectively shape and manage your holiday letting guest expectations?

With visitor expectations rising year on year this is becoming an increasingly important part of owning a holiday cottage and ensuring that your guests go home happy that each of their expectations have been readily met or even exceeded.

We discuss a few areas you can use to make sure that your customers know exactly what they’re getting…

Website copy

This can be an area that is often neglected so when was the last time you wrote, reviewed or updated yours?

When someone visits your website they’ll be doing so with a list of things you’ll need to fulfill in order to gain their booking; some of these will be conscious and others, sub-conscious.

They’ll have things that they’ll need from their accommodation (for example a certain number of rooms), they’ll have things that might be desirable and add something extra (for example a hot tub), and finally fears or worries (for example being somewhere too remote and without local shops).

By working out what your visitors need, want and fear, you can then effectively answer these through each of the pages of your website.

In doing so you’ll be answering all of their questions, and creating a clear picture of what they can expect. You’ll be managing their expectations by increasing their knowledge of your cottage. For more information on improving the copy on your holiday home website listing see our previous post:

Website photography

Whilst words will tell them everything they need to know, photos will give them a real feel of what to expect.

You’ll probably already know that photographing the interiors of a holiday home is a tricky business; lighting and making the rooms seem as large as real life are just a couple of the common barriers holiday homeowners will have faced when trying to get the perfect shot.

Consider investing in a professional photographer to ensure your rooms, and other areas are done justice and give a realistic expectation as to what someone can expect.

Also, make sure you have a wide range of photography; both inside and outside, to ensure that nothing is left to the imagination (which is where expectation and reality begin to part).

For more information on eye catching photography for your holiday home website listing see our previous post:

Communication with guests

Whilst expectations can be built and shaped through your website communication, they will continue to evolve during the run up to their visit.

This could be as the result of previous experiences both good and bad, so it’s important you continue to communicate with them and let them know exactly what to expect.

This can include information about their welcome pack, when they can check in, what they’ll need to bring with them and what’s already provided.

The more information you’re able to give them, the better you’ll be able to manage their expectations.

Welcome information folders are an important tool when for communicating useful information to your guests. For more information on welcome folder content ideas and why it’s important to keep them fresh see our previous posts:

It’s the little things

Whilst you can manage the expectations in the run up to a guest’s visit it’s still the little things that count. Think of elements you can add to their stay that may now exceed their expectations; have you considered adding something special or seasonal to the welcome pack? Perhaps hooking up with another local tourist business to offer them a special discount? Or even a pre-decoration service if they’re coming for a special occasion?

Adding and exceeding guest expectations could mean more repeat bookings, so once you’ve shaped them, make sure they have the stay they expect and so much more!

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. 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 Let Bookings

Holiday Let BookingsSo that’s it, the temperatures are beginning to fall, the school holidays are a distant memory and those visitor numbers have subsided. It’s time to take a deep breath and begin to prepare for next year. Even if your website has proven to be a real winner this summer, competition is fierce and there are plenty of things you can be doing to make sure next year exceeds your expectations.

Drive Holiday Let Bookings by maintaining contact

Your visitors have gone home; it may now be several months before they consider booking their next break away. How do you maintain contact with them in order to make sure they’re thinking of your holiday home when it comes to making that decision?

It’s been proven that if you’re in regular contact with guests, they are far more likely to book with you again.  Email marketing and social media are the best ways of doing this. If you don’t already take email addresses, or encourage visitors to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter then ensure you plan to have these mechanisms in place for your next surge of summer visitors.

If you already have a fantastic Facebook fan page or an ever-growing list of emails you’ll need to consider our next point.

Develop a content plan to increase bookings and reach

Content is key, but what this doesn’t mean is you need to spend an all-consuming amount of time writing blog posts. Remember, everyone else is creating content so yours needs to be of high quality and not quantity.

Making sure that you have consistent content going out will ensure the regular contact points mentioned in our first point are achieved. In turn, having a plan in place will make sure you devote the time to produce it, and give you the focus to realise results from it.

Review your target market

So if we’re saying content needs to be quality and not quantity, what exactly is ‘quality content’? Everything you do should invariably be linked to your target market. It’s success and the engagement you’re able to gain from it is linked to whether or not it interests the people that are seeing it.

It is relevance that makes your content quality.

Before you put together your content plan, think about who it is that stays at your holiday home; how old are they? What are the interested in? What will they want to do when they’re in the local area?

Placing them at the center of everything you produce will ensure it delivers results.


We’ve already mentioned that content shouldn’t become time consuming, and photography will ensure it isn’t. A picture paints a thousand words, and this is great news for holiday homes.

Photography should form an important part of your content plan; make sure you’re continually snapping that camera lens, and that you’re always updating your website with new imagery. It’ll make sure it’s fresh, inviting, and generating the bookings you deserve.

Review advertising on other sites

The end of the summer is a sensible time to take stock of any advertising you’ve been running. You should review the performance of any online memberships or advertising you’ve undertaken, whether good or bad.

Use Google Analytics to review the referral traffic from the sites, and cross-reference this with the number of bookings you’ve gained.

Drop the ones that aren’t working, and focus more of your time on generating that content and creating contact that engages.

If you’re a holiday cottage owner who finds marketing your cottage to time consuming, don’t worry, holiday home letting agents are there to take the strain:

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

You may also find the following posts of interest:

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 home photography

holiday home photographyIf a picture really is worth a thousand words, what is your holiday home photography saying about your holiday letting property? In a marketplace in which decisions are increasingly made quickly and online can you afford for those words to be the wrong ones?

We take a look at things to consider when photographing your holiday home, and provide a few top tips along the way.

When was the last time you updated the photography on your holiday home website?

When we’ve got a favorite photo it can sometimes be hard to say goodbye. However, like all of us and as much as we try to resist, photography does age so it’s important to make sure your photos are always up to date, just like the rest of your content. What impression does it give to the person visiting your website if it’s not kept fresh and updated from time to time?

Prepare the room

Preparation is key. Allocate time for preparing your holiday home before you take photos. Plump the cushions, clear the clutter, dust the drawers; whatever it may be your cottage should be looking its best before you start shooting.

Look at the lighting

Lighting; a cameraman’s best friend and the biggest challenge you’ll come up against when photographing inside your holiday home. Get it right and a room remains bright and breezy, get it wrong and that lovely room can quickly descend to dark and dingy.

If you’re taking photos during daylight hours the light inside a room can be anything up to eight times darker than the natural light outside of your holiday home.

There are different views as to whether the best photos are taken with the lights on or the lights off; if you are in a darker room ensure all of the lights in the property are on. This will make the room look inviting and warmer, along with filling in any areas that may be particularly dark, such as corners of your room.

If the room is blessed with natural sunlight try photographing without artificial light; take a look at the results and only then revert to internal lighting if you feel the room looks too dark.

The best time of the day to take your photos

Whilst you’ll want as much light as possible to take your photos, as far as photography is concerned, not all light was created equal. Too much and you’ll risk making the bright areas of your room too bright and the dark areas even darker; this is called over-exposure.

To avoid this issue it is best to steer clear of times of the day when sunlight is shining directly into the room.

Adding photos to your website

The bigger the file size of your photos, the longer it will take for your website pages to load. This can be annoying for visitors, who’ll be left waiting, and is also a ranking factor for Google, meaning it could have a direct impact on where your website appears on the search engine.

When you add photos to your website make sure they’re not too large. If a professional photographer has taken them for you ensure you ask for web ready versions to use on your site.

If you’re unsure of the size your photos need to be, speak with your website developers, who’ll be able to guide you not only on the best size to fit that particular page.

We look forward to seeing your new photos and hope they do your property the justice it deserves!

If you have any thoughts or experience of photographing your holiday home for best effect please feel free to leave a comment below.

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