New Holiday Let ... What Do You Want?(65 Posts)
We are just in the process of finishing our holiday let and would like to ask mum's net what they would look for in 4 or 5 star accommodation. We are aiming for prices from 500 to 1000 per week.
The cottage is in a rural location in SW Scotland, 3 bedrooms. 1st bedroom is a twin with blackout blinds as well as curtains, hairdryer and bedside light, plenty of hangers. We may put a tv dvd player in here for dvd's....
Next bedroom is a double with two bedside lights, hairdryer, plenty of hangers, Jack and Jill NetSuite shower/toliet with master bedroom...
Master bedroom with sky free view tv, king size bed, hairdryer and hangers.
Jack and Jill ensuite has shower, toilet, sink and kardean flooring as well as one new toilet roll.
Egyptian cotton bed linen throughout, 2 pillows per bed plus duvets. Black out blinds in all bedrooms and hall windows.
Family bathroom with shower over bath, kardean flooring, 1 bath towel per person, 1 hand towel for each bathroom as well as anti slip mat and bath mat and one new toilet roll. Each bathroom has soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion provided.
Living room with patio doors, multi fuel stove (for central heating too but oil heating as well), first fuel (firelighters, kindling, coal and logs) provided, corner sofa for four, double sofa, kardean flooring, reading light, coffee table, sky free view, DVD player, range of dad's, books and information folder.
Open planned kitchen with tumble drier, washing machine, dishwasher, at least 12 of basic crockery and cutlery. Microwave, sky free view tv, table for six, lots of cupboards, basic stuff provided including cleaning materials...
Secured garden area at rear with hot tub for six, four bathrobes and disposable slippers. Indoor drying room. Buckets and spades, indoor games, travel cot and highchair available on request.
Looking at welcome basket with local wine and beers, milk and bread....
Have I missed anything?
Sounds great! I always get annoyed when there isn't any cleaning stuff, cling film etc and dishwasher tablets are rationed - as if we'd steal them!
Personally, I'd not use 'provided' shower and hair stuff as I prefer my own. I'd prefer a good supply of loo rolls instead! I also take my own towels, simply because I have sensitive skin and don't know what owners might wash them with, but that's just me!
I do like to see some basic supplies in the kitchen as long as they are in containers that are hygienic or can be replaced between guests- eg sea salt and pepper in grinders, a small bottle of olive oil, maybe a few basic spices or even- luxury- a garden or patio with some herbs in pots. I like to cook when self catering and hate having to buy loads of little things like herbs and spices.
Sounds great. I would say make sure the kitchen has all the basic utensils like tin opener, bottle opening rings, cheese grater, etc and some serving bowls etc especially if rural location. I hate starting dinner and realising something I need like a measuring jug or scales are not there. . It might be just me though. Cooking nice food is fun for me
Need more pillows. Two per bed is fine on singles but you need four on a double/king. And some spares in a cupboard with spare blankets in case people are cold!
Just another thought; what are you providing for the log multi fuel stove? Is the CH on a fixed timer or can guests tweak it?
My big gripe with rural northern properties can be if the house is cold. We were also dismayed that the owner of a rental we'd use for many years started being mean over logs for the burner. The house was very cold (only night storage heating) and we needed the log burner on to get any warmth in the lounge. They provided one bag of logs but then said we'd have to pay / buy elsewhere more. In all honesty, considering it wasn't cheap, we didn't like the hassle factor of having to load a bag of logs into the car . If your house has good central heating this won't be an issue, but I'd rather have logs supplied over winter months than shampoo and shower gel, if you want the truth.
Include a steel for sharpening knives in the utensil drawer.
Consider supplying wellies (perhaps by a back door, and with obvious mat or other place for them to go to encourage people not to track mud through the place)
Have a swop and share bookcase. And leave some board games or packs of cards on it too. People may well not use them - especially with good telly/wifi available) but it's somehow nice to see them there.
ensure pillows/duvets are not artificial - or offer a choice. In this price bracket I would expect natural fillings in the bedding - although you may want to offer an anti allergenic option.
Loads of matching tea towels ( not your cast offs)
Matching dinnerware (again not cast offs)
Could you make the 2nd bedroom double into a zip and link so you have more flexibility for larger families or mixed groups sharing...
Just provide all the toilet roll -its not expensive.... and bin liners so people actually put the rubbish out where it is intended to go...
2 pillows per person
Extra blanket available for each bed
3 loo rolls per bathroom
Don't put alcohol in the welcome pack , most people don't drink it ( we have a holiday let )
Coffee ,tea biscuits are what's needed , maybe a small fruit bowl ?
Don't bother with toiletries except hand wash soap
Welly rack ?
Lots of good ideas. I provide 4 toilet rolls, (only one bathroom though) bath and hand towel per person plus hand towel in the bathroom and one in the kitchen, washing up liquid, handwash, dishwasher tabs, washing machine tabs, fabric conditioner, kitchen roll, cling film, foil, cleaning materials, rubber gloves, electric sweeper, dustpan & brush.
Apart from handwash, I don't think it's worth providing toiletries.
I send a list with everything on it so people know what they don't need to buy/bring.
Nearly everyone comments on the cleanliness. That's what I'm most interested in when I rent a cottage as well.
Oh, and I don't use feather pillows. Some people are allergic and I've just discovered that feathers are likely to involve a lot of cruelty.
Good luck. Just be prepared to find out that not everyone will appreciate your efforts. Most do, though, and I can't see any point in not getting as near to perfection as you can!
More towels I would say. Decent Wi Fi if possible and a good selection of DVDs.
Really surprised that people don't drink the wine.
I agree about non-feather pillows and duvets. One DC and DH have allergies and we used to take our own pillows at times to avoid a ruined holiday.
-Rubber gloves (new pair each let , please - cost is peanuts to the owners.)
-Oven glove (clean- we've had filthy ones in some places)
-Consider an apron (but again, freshly laundered)
-Bleach / toilet cleaner in bathrooms and NO disgusting loo brush.
-Cleaning stuff for bathrooms (surprised how many owners think you don't ever want to clean the bath or shower if using it for a week or two.)
-Waste bins in bathrooms (for san stuff etc)
-HOOKs on bathroom doors or at least somewhere to put your clothes, dressing gown etc.
Coffee press, maker of some sort, NOT a sodding capsule thing. Proper coffee in welcome basket, much more use than beer tbh.
Agree about toiletries. New soap at basin is enough.
Clear bins for recycling. Hate it when this is overlooked as if it doesn't matter because you are on holiday.
Your place sounds lovely. Best of luck with the new business
Agree with CJosephine, we have shelves also in bathroom for your own 'stuff'!
Cost of most extras is peanuts, but you'd be amazed at how much they add up to per booking. Plus constant renewal of bedding, towels etc.
Add in general running costs, (Council tax, water, power, WiFi etc) and advertising costs and you don't end up with a lot of the booking fee.
I don't count my time - on changeover day, it takes me a good four hours to do my 'perfectionist' cleaning, (and it's a small, 2 bed cottage!) then there's admin, laundry, windows, gardening and other maintenance outside of changeovers, so you won't get rich.
It is lovely though when people walk through the door and say, wow! They ask if it's just been done and I say it's been running 7 years. And in those 7 years I've only had about 3 really bad lots of guests.
Sounds as if you need to increase your prices Teeny!
We've thought about buying a cottage and renting, but due to location we'd have to pay for cleaners etc. Would it not be better for you to pay someone £40 to clean and send laundry out to a company?
Provide much more toilet roll than that - there is nothing worse than settling into a holiday home and then realising you're going to have to locate a shop to buy more loo rolls. I would only want to take loo rolls with me on a camping holiday, not somewhere costing £1000p/w!
Also, seconding the knife sharpener. Or regularly checking knives. We have a holiday home that isn't rented out, but is shared with all family members, and we all make sure loo roll/bin bags etc are stocked up before we leave each time, but we never change the cutlery. The knives have probably been in there about 20 years now and it's more productive to use a spoon to cut potatoes now!!
I'd far rather have a week's worth of toilet rolls than shower gel, shampoo etc which I wouldn't use. Also at least two hand towels per bathroom per week, we wouldn't use the same one all week at home. Racks in showers so you can put your shampoo etc bottles in there not have to stand them on the floor.
Not interested in a welcome basket beyond a pint of milk in the fridge, but enough dishwasher tablets for one per day and a bottle of washing up liquid plus plenty of bin bags are good.
Yes to a loo brush please, I want to be able to keep the loos clean.
I think it's vital to buy quality stuff. I HATE having to cook with crap, blunt knives. I'd rather have decent sharp knives than smellies in the bathroom or DVDs to watch!
Also, I wonder how many owners actually use their rentals just to see what they are like? Might be preaching to the converted OP but using a kitchen to see how it works rather than just being 'designed' is an eye opener. I've stayed in loads of houses and although many look beautiful the layout of where the cutlery etc is stored and lack of real worktop space can be a pain. I have walked literally miles around kitchens cooking meals due to poor layout.
Ditto for bathrooms. They may look great, but is there a shelf for your washbag, a space for your soap, a hook for dressing gowns or clothes, and enough rails for hanging towels to dry?
I've stayed in so many lovely houses but often think 'If only the owner had lived here for a week, they'd re-think the layout of the kitchen etc.'
I would definitely provide a good supply of dishwasher tablets. I love people who use the dishwasher! It's almost impossible to wash and dry glassware in particular by hand without leaving the odd fingerprint or smear. Fine if it's your fingerprint, but I always end up rewashing at least some of the glasses, crockery, cutlery, pans etc.
And tell guests it's fine to leave the dishwasher running when they go. It stops them being helpful and putting stuff back in the cupboards wet. Plus you can be reasonably certain that the stuff in the dishwasher is clean so you only have to scrutinize what's in the cupboards.
I wouldn't be able to find a cleaner who would be as fussy as me, especially here in rural Devon, Josephine, and when I'm stripping, washing and ironing the bedding, I can check for marks and (yucky) stains so there are advantages to doing the laundry myself.
One thing I'd like to ask is if guests would prefer a few decorative bits on the dressing tables, or would they prefer it clear so they have maximum space for their own bits? Opinions differ in this house. It does look bare with nothing, but as a guest I like space. Can't convince the rest of my family though!
We sound well suited Teeny! We always use the dishwasher and leave it running when leaving.
I'm glad you are so fussy over the bedding and cleaning. I won't return to one property we stayed in (many times) because we were always asked to strip the beds on leaving. That's fine. But we saw the horror of horrors of a mattress cover ( very stained) which appeared to have never been washed for ages.
I don't know how owners can leave mattress covers on that are clearly stained. Sorry if this sounds a bit OCD!
I don't mind a few nice knick-knacks. I'd be happy with artificial flowers in a vase or pot (ie an orchid) or a photo frame with a local view or something. But maybe just one rather than a load of clutter.
Offer a bed linen/towels/tea towels as an option (with a refundable deposit ). Some people prefer to use their own. A friend has a property that she uses as a holiday let and her last lot of towels were ruined (it looked like the guests had been rubbing down a dirty dog with them)
Not OCD at all to expect clean mattress cover!
Thanks for knick-knack-advice!
cows573 have a look at the Lay My Hat forum. It's for Holiday Cottage Owners and is very useful. www.laymyhat.com/forum/
Do you mind me asking who you are advertising with?
As an ex-cleaner of holiday lets-please make sure everything is super solid and resistant! People are (probably unintentionally) rougher on unknown taps, shower fittings, cupboards, doors etc. I often had to contact the owners and arrange repairs...
If you are providing bedlinen and towels have a plentiful supply of spares-some stains are very difficult to remove! Also mattress and pillow protectors are a must! And a second set for each bed in case of disasters ☺
I don't mind a few nick-nacks so long as they aren't too fragile and are dusted. So things like a vase or jug, framed print, candle or similar. I'll move them if I need more space but they do make a place cosier, I'm not a fan of minimalist decor.
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