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Investing in a property for a holiday let

One of the key factors you will need to consider when renting a property as a holiday let is how many bookings you will achieve.  It’s much harder to fill a holiday cottage in the colder months or out of the holiday season.  Achieving a high number of bookings is critical to getting a return on your investment.
Not all properties get a high percentage of bookings and here are some things to look for when deciding which property to buy as a holiday rental:

Property types

  • Detached cottage or house – some renters will pay a premium for a detached property and this will help your return on investment.
  • Semi-detached cottage
  • Terraced cottage
  • Bungalow
  •  Apartments generally  will achieve the lowest levels of occupancy.  There are exceptions to this rule for example if they are situated in a heritage city centre such as York, Edinburgh or London
  • Holiday complexes and courtyard developments will vary depending on local factors
  • Unusual or interesting properties with something that will make them truly unique – for example a  thatched roof, windmill, oast houses, castles or other type of quirky building

Features and facilities

There are facilities that are very popular with renters which you should consider depending on the market you are aiming for

Pets welcome

Many people want to take their dog on holiday with them and often will accept a small additional fee to do so.  Accepting pets to make your [holiday cottage pet friendly] will widen the appeal to pet owners.  However, allowing pets may also put some people off booking if they have concerns about animals in the house.  There is also the risk of damage from the pets.

Short breaks

Allowing your property to be booked for a short break will help you achieve a higher number of bookings especially in low seasons as it will appeal to time poor couples and families looking for a cheaper getaway for a few days.  However,  you could be missing out on a full weeks or fortnight booking because your property has been let for a long weekend in the middle. 

Fuel and power

Including fuel and power in the rental price will help customers feel at ease booking with you and most customers will expect this to be included in the price.  Coin meters and having to pay extra for power and fuel will put people off booking your property.  The drawback of doing this is that some customers may abuse the free power but the vast majority will not.

Linen and Towels

Many customers will expect fresh linen and towels to be included in the rental.  Whilst this will add to your costs it will improve the guest satisfaction as it is something that they expect.  If its not something you provide it is very important to ensure that it is made clear to them prior to arrival.  Some cottage owners make a small charge for linen and towels but this can lead to dissatisfaction and higher expectations as to the quality of the bed linen and towels.

Open fire or log burning stove

Something we have mentioned earlier is the difficulty in getting a high number of bookings outside of the peak holiday season.  This is critical to profitability and an open fire or log burning stove will add instant appeal for people looking to book in the colder winter months.

Walking distance from a pub

For many cottage renters being close to a pub is important as it is not only a place to socialise in the evening it is a unique opportunity to experience the local life.  A pub is also seen as a place to get good quality food at a reasonable price and a place to spend an evening.

Close to sea and rivers

Coastal cottages and properties located near a sandy beach often get a higher number of bookings compared to properties inland.  Sandy beach’s still popular among families in the summer and warmer months.  With the vast network of beautiful coastal walks a property located near the sea has a charm that appeals to potential holiday makers.


Adding a dishwasher to your property will add appeal to all groups of cottage renters as it removes a chore from the holiday.  Its unclear whether a dishwasher commands a premium price but it certainly helps holiday makers choose when looking at similar properties

Washing machine/tumble dryer

Young families will want the ability to be able to wash clothes especially for longer holidays.  If your property is being targeted at families then including a washing machine / tumble dryer with the property will certainly be an asset.

Four poster bed

There is something aspirational and romantic about booking a holiday cottage with a four poster bed. This is particularly relevant for smaller cottages targeted at the romantic short break market.
We hope this has given some insight as to the types of holiday property that will help get a higher volume of bookings and therefore give you a greater return.  If you have anything to add please do let us know via the contact form and we can update this article.