Jan 14, 2013

Ensuring the success of your holiday home venture

With an increasing number of people opting for British staycations, a holiday home might be a great investment - especially if it is situated in one of the country's favourite tourist destinations.

If you have decided to buy a property or convert a second home for this purpose, there are naturally many factors to consider; including the decor, market and how much to charge, to name but a few.

Ultimately though, for your holiday home venture to be a success, just two basic elements need to be fulfilled: meeting your guests' expectations and your own peace of mind.

1) Meeting your guests' expectations

Your obligations as a holiday home owner start with the advertisement: you must make sure that your website and any other marketing material provide true representations of the actual property and its location. Include as many photographs as possible and a detailed description which includes features like steep, narrow staircases or uneven floors, so that people with mobility problems or young children are aware. To avoid disappointment, make clear which groups your property/ holiday is suitable for, as it's unlikely your home will be able to accommodate all. 

You are obliged to keep the property clean and in good running order, with appliances and furnishings that meet legal standards - which is as much for your own good as it is your guests'. Replace worn items and paint tired-looking rooms, as this will also make the property more appealing.

Naturally, it is essential that your property is cleaned in-between arrivals, so you'll need to schedule in enough time between departures and arrivals to do so. After all, how many times have you been away only to find your accommodation is dirty? How despondent were you? Don't let your guests' experience this.

Exceeding expectations is in the detail. Leave a welcome pack which explains how the heating/oven/washing machine works, provides local information and suggests things to see. Put out fresh towels, replace toiletries; maybe even leave a bottle of something bubbly as a nice touch. Respect your guests' privacy by maintaining your distance, but leave your contact details in case of an emergency.

Remember these points and your guests should leave happy, hopefully recommending you to their friends.

2) Your peace of mind
Of course you hope your guests enjoy their stay, but most holiday home owners can't be happy until they know that their property is safe, respected and most importantly, protected. Therefore, obtaining comprehensive holiday home insurance could help you sleep more soundly at night. What should you look for, not simply in a policy, but in an insurer, too?

To ensure your property, house contents and garden are adequately covered against accident and incident, it's essential that you seek out an insurance partner who will not only listen to your individual requirements, but provide you with the right product. This will mean that if the unexpected happens, your investment is soundly protected.

When selecting an insurer, it's a good idea to choose a company that is based in the same region as your holiday home; a partner that possesses local knowledge of the area and is easily accessible - which are all valuable assets. You would additionally want a policy which can be tailored to your specific requirements, as a one-size-fits-all insurance approach simply won't do.

Developing and maintaining a relationship with your holiday home insurer is important, as they will be able to provide you with advice, guidance and inform you of any regulatory amendments. This will help ensure that your operation is safe and legally compliant.

Ideally, the company's insurance experts would physically inspect your holiday home. That way, you can be sure that every aspect of the building is taken into account and is reflected in your insurance policy - providing peace of mind.

Ultimately, your insurer should instill you with the confidence to let your holiday home happily, enabling you to then meet your obligations. If this can be achieved, there is no reason your venture shouldn't be a success.

Finley Talbot is a student with an interest in law and insurance. Other than studying, he keeps himself up to date about anything and everything related to insurance. In his spare time, he loves to catch up with friends and a game of squash.

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