The Scottish Borders Guide To Getting Started with Your Holiday Let – Part 3

Posted by Linda Maclaughlan on 25 April 2018

So you’ve found the property now you need to get guests to your cottage door

You need to consider:

Are you going to manage the property yourself or use an agency? Using an agency may be a good place to get started – yes you have to pay them commission, but the start-up cost will be minimal compared to the costs of building your own website and purchasing a booking system. An agency will also deal with the majority of the admin and deal with any complaints, should you have any.

You need to become best friends with a cleaner and gardener if you are not able to do it yourself. These will be imperative to your success. Your chosen agent however may be a multitalented one offering all of these services. Also, make friends with the neighbours – another vital aspect is having them on side.

Where else are you going to advertise? – There are many very productive free places to advertise; for example Visit Scotland and a plethora of paid advertising sites like, and Or you can use a local agent who will advertise for you.

You can do much of the work associated with a successful holiday let yourself, and in fact I would say doing the work yourself – if you were able – would add to the success of the property. Personal touches are invaluable. It is often more about you than the actual property that guests find appealing, and I personally have met many guests who I now think of as friends. (And owners too!)

Your new-found career? Managing the property yourself

Recipe for success – you will need: (in addition to the property)

  1. A good website, preferably with an online booking system – which system to use? – Checkout Supercontrol or Freetobook. People definitely prefer to be able to book online. You may also need a payment gateway – see cardsave, sage pay etc. and perhaps a business bank account.
  2. Online listings. I find these always help – especially when it comes to attracting more guests to the property in the beginning. My blog 9 of the Best Holiday Letting Websites Compared’ will give you an idea of where to start. Then, for more advice, read ‘8 Tips for Creating an Effective Holiday Let Listing’.
  3. An amazing and reliable cleaner/caretaker/gardener/maintenance person/company, as these people are absolutely worth their weight in gold so take the time to find the right ones – they are out there.
  4. Invest in a professional photographer if you can. Good photographs and website descriptions are vitally important. Potential guests are only able to assess your property by what they see and read in your marketing material. It’s like allowing them to actually peer through your property windows and your property should always be showcased at its best. All too often I’ve seen what could be a highly successful holiday let actually be let down by its marketing strategy.
  5. Responding to enquiries and taking bookings – again a friendly, efficient personal approach is recommended if not essential. Responding to Leads Within an Hour Generates 7x the Conversations.
  6.  And of course you will need one of the most valuable resources on the planet – time! If you don’t have the time or knowledge to do it your self, or don’t feel confident then employ a good local agent to help you get the results you lets for sale. In most cases, these are fully equipped and ready to go.
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