From Budget to Boutique – 7 Ways to Boost Your Bookings and Make More ££

If your holiday let is looking tired, or you’re getting complaints or poor reviews, take heart, there’s plenty you can do to turn your rental around.

Comfortable, stylish decor is a key part of your guests’ experience, so exceed their expectations with these simple tips.

Wow your guests from the moment they check in and they’ll keep coming back!

Read on for 7 Steps to Upgrade Your Holiday Rental without a Full Refurb:

1. First Impressions 

Welcome your guests with some goodies on arrival – set out a tray of tea/coffee/bottled water, some local biscuits and a bottle of wine. They may be stressed, tired and not in the best mood and if your accommodation doesn’t win them over straight away, you’ve lost them (and any chance of a 5 star review). A personalised welcome note goes a long way, as well as some sort of orientation (and of course clear ‘What to do in case of fire’ notice). Leave feedback forms and call them during their first day to check everything’s ok.


Superhost Tip: Why not get some branded postage-paid postcards printed, with a pro photo of your holiday rental and some local tourist spots? People still send postcards or keep them in a kitchen drawer, so why not promote your accommodation at the same time?


2. Scent

We’re super-sensitive to new places and smells (often subconsciously). Make sure there’s no smell of damp, drains, bleach or any other unpleasantness. You can’t mask things like this, get them resolved.  When you know everything’s clean, it’s nice to refresh the space with natural essential oils (not sprays and automatic puffers ladedn with chemicals which can have your guests sneezing and sniffling throughout their stay). Have your cleaners burn candles or vaporise essential oils at changeover (but don’t leave candles onsite for guests to use). Lemon, bergamot or green fig are a good bed. Scented pouches or drawer liners from Laura Ashley set a sweet note, without risk of fire or spilled oil.


Superhost Tip: Setting the table for dinner, providing a nice clean toothbrush cup and folding the corners on the loo roll all tell your guest they are welcome and you’ve paid attention to detail. Add branded miniatures of soap, shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom and they’ll know they booked the best!


3. White is right

If you want to create that 5 star luxury feel (and keep your inventory control very simple) stick to white bedding, white towels, white crockery – no patterned sheets or duvet covers, no dingy grey towels, and no floral crockery. And go for high quality hypoallergenic (ie not feather/down) pillows, duvets and bedlinen. Hotel quality sheets can be found in all High Street stores, and our personal favourites online are Soak and Sleep or King of Cotton. Choose long staple Egyptian cotton sateen for the most luxurious feeling sheets, and use padded pillow protectors and mattress covers for hygiene (yes, some guests will check this and post photos of stained mattresses and manky pillows on TripAdvisor – don’t get caught out).


Superhost Tip: Think like the Four Seasons and offer a pillow menu as part of your booking process. Provide different weights of duvet with extra bedspreads along with your firm and soft pillows to choose from in a cupboard. Bag and label everything with a nice label maker or card tag.


4. Light Up!

Combine wall lights, pendants, floor and table lamps with dimmable recessed downlight for maximum effect and atmosphere. Replace all bulbs with LED bulbs (choose Vintage Edison style for exposed bulbs) and choose cool white for a darker space and warm if you have plenty of natural light. Recycle those ugly old spiral CFD bulbs with the grim ‘horror-movie’ flicker. Obviously lights are used mostly at night, but they can also come into their own at check-in to create a cosy welcome. (And do consider guests arriving in the dark, leave a light on outside so they can get the keys in the lock).

Superhost Tip: If your light fittings are over 10 years old – upgrade them. Technology and design have moved on so far, and you can get stunning lights very inexpensively at DIY stores or online. Cover yourself by getting an electrician to fit them and getting an electrician sign-off certificate at the same time. Test and upgrade your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and set a reminder to do this every month.


5. All the tech

As with lighting, your AV (audio visual) setup needs to be up to date (no more than 4 years old).  We’ve got used to bigger screens and HD in recent years and the cost has come right down. Keep your TVs large, (and wall mounted ideally in bedrooms). Provide high speed wifi, a decent TV with Freeview and a DVD player (essential to keep the early risers happy before breakfast). Label your remotes and have a caddy to stash them in.


Superhost Tip: Add a Bluetooth speaker, USB sockets by the bed or TV and a universal charger for their phones and devices. Why not look at modern security systems, with remote locking and a code you can reset for each changeover?


6. Make it Match

A holiday home at any level of the market should be stylish, upmarket and good quality – as a rule of thumb it should be nicer than the average middle income family home. Avoid that student digs vibe with mis-matched furniture or anything from the 90s. Have a clear theme, whether that’s based on location, the architecture of the building, or just a clear colour palette. Have at least 2 cushions on the bed, with a coordinating throw, runner or folded back bedspread (not one that covers the whole bed, show off those crisp white sheets). Go to Pinterest, Airbnb, top hotel websites and of course current glossy magazines and when it comes to buying new furniture, curtains/blinds and accessories go for quality. Never have an obvious Ikea piece of furniture, or labelled crockery from a budget brand. In the UK go for John Lewis, M&S, and above.

Superhost tip: If you don’t have the time or creative flair, get a designer in. Avoid the costly mistakes and make your rental the most desirable around. Speak to local interior designers and ask to see listings for properties they’ve designed. The photos and reviews should be off the scale – don’t you want the same for your business? 

7. Ban the black/brown leather sofas – please!

They are ugly, over-used by your competition and you might as well be telling your guests, “we don’t trust you, so this is wipe clean”. Modern fabrics are amazingly durable and cleanable, don’t be afraid of a pale blue or grey sofa, maybe with a subtle stripe or texture. It will add far more light, interest and charm than a boxy brown or black one.

Superhost tip: Photos are everything. Once you’ve made the necessary tweaks/upgrades or full renovation, get your rental professionally photographed.

Are you keen to boost your bookings and get more five star reviews? Thinking of upgrading to attract higher quality guests and make more money? Schedule a call with Helen today and find out how Coral Interiors can help with your holiday let.

About the author 

Helen Winter

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