1. Consider seasonal amenities
To attract winter guests, it’s important to consider the amenities that will drive bookings during these months.
Our bookings data has previously shown that properties with hot tubs, on average, earn 37% more than holiday lets without. Meanwhile, woodburning stoves and open fires also tend to attract more guests over the colder months.
If you’re worried about cost, there are small but still effective changes you could make. For example, providing blankets, putting rugs down on wooden floors to add warmth, or even ensuring there are lots of games to pass the time on cold and rainy days are all ideas to consider.
2. Widen your appeal
One of the simplest ways to secure more bookings in the winter months is by widening your target audience.
With recent Sykes data showing that pet-friendly properties earn 31% more, you might want to consider allowing well-behaved pooches to stay. To complement this, you could point guests in the direction of walking trails or beaches they could explore with their furry friend in the winter sun.
You might also want to aim to appeal to couples rather than families, as couples are more likely to book winter getaways. If you have several double bedrooms, you could even advertise your holiday let as a couple’s retreat where friends can come together for a long weekend.
3. Allow shorter bookings
Of late, Sykes has seen a general trend towards ‘staycation snacking’, with Brits taking shorter, more frequent trips away. During the low season in particular, mid-week and weekend breaks are popular.
Therefore, allowing bookings for two or three-night stays will likely encourage more visitors. In fact, according to Sykes’ data, owners that welcome shorter breaks could actually earn 30% more.
The more flexible you can be with the length of guests’ stays during winter, the more likely you are to see consistent bookings.
4. Give your property images a refresh
It might sound obvious, but having great photography to show off your holiday let is one of the most effective ways to secure more bookings. No matter how stunning your property is, images are going to be what really secures people’s attention.
You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make sure you are using the most up-to-date photos and if you’ve done any renovations or interior changes, make sure you show these off.
To give your property year-round appeal, also consider any photos of local amenities you could include which will help to show off the range of activities available in the area come rain or shine.
5. Recommend all-weather activities
As well as including some photographs of the local area, descriptions of what there is to see or do nearby are key to helping your guests picture what a great stay they could have no matter the weather.
You should include a range of activities for all ages and accessibility, from indoor activities such as a tour of a local stately home, to beautiful scenic walks (perhaps shorter ones for those not prepared to brave the cold for too long!).
Especially for the winter months, you might want to recommend some seasonal activities like a local firework display for Bonfire Night or some impressive Christmas markets.
* Bev Dumbleton is Chief Operating Officer at Sykes Holiday Cottages *
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