Managing a Holiday Let: A Beginner’s Guide

Managing a holiday let is a fantastic way to make some passive income while sharing your beautiful property with others for their special trips or events.

However, there are lots of boxes to tick to make sure it all goes smoothly, from preparing your property and handling finances to attracting guests – and, of course, ensuring they have fun!

What factors do you need to keep in mind when you’re just starting off managing a holiday let? Read on to learn more.

What’s involved in managing a holiday let?

If you’ve got a gorgeous property in an appealing setting, then you’re off to a great start. The next step is to handle all the logistics. Here are some areas you’ll need to think about.

Insurance and safety

Although holiday lets are all about fun for your guests, property managers need to think first about what could go wrong. You’ll have to make sure your property is safe for the holidaymakers staying there.

That means you’ll definitely need insurance for your building, furnishings and any workers who visit your property.

You’ll also want to think seriously about fire safety. You’ll need: 

  • A fire risk assessment
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Fire-safe furnishings with fire safety labels
  • And possibly more measures if you have a large property

All of your fuel and energy sources will need to be maintained properly to ensure they’re safe. For example, you’ll need your property’s electrical installations to be tested for safety every five years. 

Additionally, you’ll need safety certificates for all of your energy and fuel systems. 

Of course, you’ll have to think about general safety too, such as preventing slips and falls and childproofing.

It’s great when you can offer extra amenities such as swimming pools, hot tubs and tennis courts, but you’ll have to consider safety for each of these as well.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that older homes may require special considerations for safety, especially if they were built before some modern safety features were common.

Other rules and regulations

rules and regulations  kate & tom's Large Holiday Homes

If your property used to be residential, you might need planning permission to turn it into a holiday let. Check with your local council to see what’s required, as the rules around this may be changing.

As of March 2024, the government is currently discussing changes to a number of other rules around short-term holiday lets. Special tax perks for furnished holiday let (or FHL) properties will be discarded from April 2025 onward. The government has also discussed adding new rules such as a mandatory national register for short-term lets. It’s best to keep watch for details as they’re announced.

What’s not in question is that you’ll need to pay council tax on your property. Depending on the entertainment facilities you provide, you might also need a TV licence and licences for your guests to enjoy your DVDs and music.

It goes without saying that you’ll also need to prepare a system of good record-keeping so that you can report all your income at tax time.

Preparing your property

Now it’s time for a more enjoyable part – making sure your property looks its best and has all the amenities your guests will need. For example, if you have a remote holiday cottage, you might want to stock some supplies that your guests might need in a pinch. How about adding some seasonal décor as well? For example, if guests are staying over New Year’s, a few sparkly decorations might be a lovely touch.

Don’t forget to provide your guests with clear instructions about rules for your property, how to use all of your facilities and what to do in an emergency.

Booking

When you’re starting off managing a holiday let, you face a big choice – how will you handle bookings? You’ll need a secure way to take your guests’ payments and deal with cancellations and refund requests too. 

Marketing

Now that your property is all ready to go, it’s time to attract some guests. Think like a marketer. Who’s your audience – big partiers or families looking for a forest holiday? How can you reach this audience, and what price should you rent at?

To get people over the line, stretch your creative muscles to write a description of your property that really shows all its best traits. Take stunning photos and even videos that guide guests through the property too. However, when going it alone, the main challenge is getting enough exposure for your holiday let. 

Customer communication

Great communication can really boost your guests’ impression of your property and their stay. It starts with responding to enquiries, continues with answering questions through their stay and goes to tying up loose ends once they’ve left.

Although managing a holiday let is often described as a source of passive income, you’ll want to be pretty active in making sure you’re accessible to guests if they need you. If something unexpected occurs, it’s best to handle it as quickly as possible.

Upkeep and repairs

Lastly, you’ll want to ensure your property is well maintained during stays and in between them. That includes:

  • Cleaning
  • The safety checks we’ve discussed
  • Gardening
  • Maintenance
  • Emergency repairs

Is there an easier way to manage a holiday let?

Clearly, when you’re managing a holiday let, there’s a lot to keep in mind to make sure everything goes as well as possible. That can be tricky when it comes to points like navigating changing regulations, attracting guests and finding expert workers to help take care of your home, to name just a few.

kate & tom’s specialises in taking all those kinds of details off your plate. We’ve got the experience of managing over 350 large, unique and gorgeous holiday homes behind us. That’s why we know how to take care of regulatory compliance, present your home as beautifully as possible to potential guests and manage their stays from start to finish. Just leave it all to us!

So, if you’ve got a unique, special or luxurious holiday home with five or more bedrooms, sleeping 12 or more, we’d love to help handle all the logistics and maximise your holiday let income. To learn more about joining the kate & tom’s family, take a look at our page for holiday house owners, or get in touch with us at [email protected] today to chat with us about partnering with you.