The UK holiday rental market has never been as competitive with holiday makers really shopping around for reduced rates. This, coupled with expectations of standards rising and running costs increasing, makes it a pretty tough market for cottage owners. So what can you do to keep costs to a minimum without compromising quality?
Specialising in the private property rental market, an obvious recommendation for us to make would be to run and manage your own holiday home, rather than use an agency, which could make a saving in excess of 20% on your rental income (providing of course you have the time!). There are also obvious cost cutting exercises that we don’t always make time for such as shopping around for the best price for your insurance and utilities and also making your property as energy efficient as possible (even simple little efforts such as switching over to energy efficient light bulbs can help!).
But what other little things could you do to save some extra pennies? Here are some suggestions
1. Laundry costs can really mount up over the course of a year and there are a number of things you can do to keep the costs down.
- If you cannot wash your own bed linen and are using a laundry company, it may be cheaper to pay a local person, or your cleaner to do it.
- Keeping all your linen and towels one colour can help cut down on the number of washes across the course of a year, not to mention detergent and electricity plus tumble drying when the weather is not on your side.
- When it is time to replace your sofa and chairs, consider choosing one with machine washable loose covers as it can provide a flexible option if accidents occur and save costly dry cleaning charges.
- Ask guests to be eco-friendly and provide signs for the beds to indicate if it has not been used. This not only saves time stripping unused beds but also cuts down on unnecessary washing of bedding and towels. Feel free to use this sign in your cottage.
2. Buy things when you don’t need them and avoid paying top price. You can pick up some great deals on items that regularly need replacing such as towels, bed linen, oven gloves, tea towels, glassware etc. Keep an eye out when the sales are on and stock up while discounts are being offered. It sounds obvious but how often do we have to rush out before the next guests arrive to replace something and end up paying over the odds?
3. Welcome gifts are generally very much appreciated but they don’t always have to be overly expensive. Whilst many will appreciate that bottle of wine or hamper awaiting their arrival, many equally appreciate thoughtful little touches such as a home-made cake or the fire made up, ready to light. Perhaps with the jar of marshmallows to toast sitting by the side or some freshly laid eggs and home baked bread for breakfast. Flowers dress the cottage nicely but can be expensive so why not substitute with an orchid plant which may cost twice the price but should last 2-3 months?
4. Reduce electricity costs wherever possible. If you have electric wall heaters in your cottage, consider fitting “run back” timers to avoid them being left on for hours on end. If you have a low night tariff, be sure you tell guests about it and encourage them to use it (for example many appliances allow the start time to be delayed) – Not all guests will help out, but some might and every little helps! It may also be worth considering if you really need to offer a tumble dryer. Whilst they are useful, they do eat up electricity (particularly when guests decide to do all their washing before they go home to save their own electricity costs!) so you may want to review how necessary the facility is given your clientèle.
5. Get a ‘bundle’ deal for your phone, broadband and television. If you have different providers for your phone and broadband, then merging them can save costs. If you also have different subscriptions for satellite TV, phone and broadband, then there has never been a better time with some fantastic offers available so consider rolling them all into one. Not only can it make good financial savings but it can also make payments easier to manage. If your properties are co-located, consider whether a phone line is necessary for each property (assuming that there is adequate mobile phone coverage). There are many ways to extend and share a single broadband service across co-located properties and most people, including foreign visitors, tend have their own mobile phones.
If you have any cost saving ideas, please share them with us and leave a reply below.