Hello again! Here's another Lay My Hat with more advice and views on the business of renting your property.
By now you should have a good idea of what sort of year 2004 will be for bookings. In my experience (and yours in many cases), bookings are harder to come by this year. I think this is partly because there is more choice for the renter, and partly because people are leaving it later and later to book. So instead of a mad rush in January, there is a steady trickle of enquiries throughout the year. That's the theory anyway...
With bookings harder to come by it's essential to get some return visits. In this edition we move on to the next step in the renting process - preparing your home for guests so they like it enough to come back next year. I am also recounting my adventures in the world of pay-per-click advertising - I didn't like the sound of it before I looked into it, but now I'm hooked! I think it's a great tool for us home-owners, see what you think.
As always, I would love to hear from you because this newsletter is intended as an exchange of ideas in the community of rental home owners. Email me here with your views, suggestions and tips.
All the best,
UPDATE! Since I wrote this newsletter, the Lay My Hat forum has been launched. It's where rental owners talk about anything to do with the business of rentals, and plenty else besides! See the forum by clicking here.
Top tips for preparing your property
You've got the booking, now you want to impress your renters so much that they will come again next year. Here are my top tips for preparing your property so it makes the right impression.
Find this useful? Disagree? Tell me what you think, and send in your best tips for responding to an enquiry-email me at
Owners share their trade secrets-if you find them useful, why not join in? Email to email@example.com
Owner's secret #1
Attractive photographs of the rental home and its surroundings made into simple postcards and greetings cards and left available for the guests to buy at a small charge and send off to friends. A nice individual touch plus an opportunity for spread the word e.g. "we're staying in this lovely cottage"-include the contact details obviously.
[Editor's note: I would even make these free. There are websites that offer a postcard service - www.vistaprint.com looks good value at $50 for 250 cards, and has local sites for several countries at the bottom of its homepage.]
Thanks to Natasha for this tip.
Owner's secret #2
We always phone people in the week before they are due to arrive. They can then ask their last-minute questions like "are towels included?" or "how do we pay for electricity?". At the same time, if we know the previous occupants are leaving early, we can offer an earlier arrival time. If not, we can confirm the actual arrival time, which might prevent those dreaded arrivals at 11.00 am with "we just thought it might be ready" when you actually haven't even started cleaning yet.
The contact only a few days before breaks the ice, particularly if the earlier contact has been only in writing or email-the first impressions has been made even before they drive onto the property.
Thanks to Liz for this tip. You can see her rental property here:http://www.hopefarmcottages.co.uk
Do you have any good owner's tips? Let's share what we know about holiday rentals-email your tips and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll discuss them in future newsletters.
There is no advertising in Lay My Hat but some of you do offer relevant services that fellow owners may find genuinely useful. I will be adding a page listing these owner-to-owner services soon.
UPDATE! You can now post your owner-to-owner service at the Lay My Hat forum. Click here to go there.
To pass this newsletter on to other owners, you can just send it on like an ordinary email. Hit your 'Forward' button and put in the address you want to send it to. You can also type a message at the top of the newsletter to explain what you are sending-this newsletter looks like a webpage but it behaves like an email.
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Remember, the point of Lay My Hat is that it's an exchange of ideas and opinions for holiday rental owners, so please don't be shy in sharing yours. Here's my address: email@example.com
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