How to Boost Your Holiday Home Bookings

Ways to Boost Your Holiday Cottage Bookings

With so much competition out there, how do you increase your holiday cottage occupancy?

Spring, Summer and early Autumn bookings should occur easily; Winter bookings might take a bit more work.

However, if there is room for improvement for every season, then keep reading.

Your bookings will also depend on how many weeks per year you are permitted to let out your property.

You might find our ‘rules and regulations’ blog helpful.



Your Online Presence

The vast majority of searches for holiday accommodation, holiday homes or holiday cottages are carried out online.

This has advantages and disadvantages.

One of the ‘pluses’ is that cottage listings have the potential to be seen by anyone in the world.

A negative is you have to work hard to get your holiday venue noticed.

Find out how Vista Retreats can help you with your online presence.

Visitor Guide

Research Free Listings

It is definitely worth researching any free holiday listings for your property.

Some local tourism websites offer this with a link to your booking platform.

You can also consider Linked In as a platform on which to help promote your business.


Who Is Your Audience?

Working out who your ideal guests are is the key to getting those bookings coming in on a regular basis.

Of course, your cottage is immaculate, with excellent facilities, gorgeous interiors, superb furnishings, sumptuous bed linen … discover our article about ensuring your cottage or holiday let is perfect.

So, let’s use examples to help you narrow down your perfect guest.

If your holiday accommodation is a stunning apartment on the fourth floor of a building in the heart of a busy city, and without a lift, this won’t appeal to everyone.

Similarly, if you have a remote cottage without wifi, limited public transport and with the nearest town 20-miles away will appeal to a totally different guest.

The layout of our cottage, its amenities and its location will give you a good idea as your perfect guest.

Some cottages are designed for families or groups; others will only be suitable for a couple.

And always make it clear if your property is pooch friendly or not.

However, it is safe to say there might be a bit of a mix too.

So, the best thing to remember is that your property simply won’t appeal to everyone.

If you’ve already had some guests stay with you, you can perhaps get an idea of their age range, how long they stayed, whether they explore the local area or stayed indoors and if they left you any valuable feedback.

Put yourself in your guests’ shoes: if you are offering a romantic hideaway, then what would your guest look for? Privacy? Gorgeous bedding? Restaurant recommendations? Access to a hot tub?

Working out your tariffs accordingly will also help you appeal to and get bookings from your ideal guests.


Use Your Reviews To Your Advantage

Most of us dread reviews.

Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook are platforms from which guests can vent their spleen if they are dissatisfied.

How you respond to negative feedback is crucial to how future guests ‘view you’.

Are the comments fair? Offering a measured and balanced reply is key to how you come across to future guests.

If you have splendid, five-star reviews, then be sure to use them on your socials, marketing and more.

Socially Mobile

Most holiday businesses will have social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

While you can pay for social media advertising, you don’t always need to.

Great images, to-the-point post content, engaging videos and social engagement are crucial to getting booking from a usually younger age group (although not always).

For those of a certain age, using the telephone to make a query or even a booking is rare indeed.

If you have the messaging facilities, be prepared for these messages to replace the ‘old-fashioned’ phone call.

You can set up auto answers if a message reaches you out of hours and you can include a helpful link in that message.

If you can answer relatively quickly, then this is a positive and can be helpful in getting that booking.

What Are Your USPs

All holiday lets or cottages have USPs.

While guests always expect an exceptionally high standard of accommodation, you need to get the message across that pushes your cottage head and shoulders above the rest.

Mention the location if it’s a ‘hub’ one, in other words, if you are close to lots of attractions.

If you’ve got great gardens, then let your guests know.

Stuff for the kids provided? Then let them know.

If your cottage is an architectural gem, or was once a farm building, then let your guests know.

One of the most intriguing USPs we’ve heard of was an old cottage that was said to belong to a witch, or so the story goes.

When they started to renovate the cottage, the owners discovered a witch’s bottle, which is a historic artefact meant to protect people from witchcraft.

The cottage owner put the witch’s bottle in a glass case with an explanation as to the history of the cottage.

While it is unusual, the cottage has a definite USP.

Discover our USPs here:

Vista Retreats

Encouraging Return Visits

Some guests will return to your accommodation time and again.

It could be that your cottage is perfect for your guests so they can’t wait to come again.

If this is the case, offer them ‘first bite’ on a return visit.

This could be via a phone call, an email or even a letter.

You might want to offer them the same week for next year, or suggest a return visit later in the year for a short break.

There is nothing to lose with this strategy, providing it is done in the right way.

A Welcome Pack


Offering a local produce welcome pack on a complimentary basis is often a great way to attract and hopefully boost your bookings.

You may wish to tier it: two-night stays get a nice bottle of wine with a welcome card, along with milk, tea and coffee.

If it’s a one or two week stay, you might want to offer a bit more.

Research your local produce suppliers.

Biscuits, tea, meats, cheeses, jams, a welcome card … it depends on your budget.

A nicely presented basket or box is a great way to greet your guests and whet their appetite for a return stay.

There are companies which take the leg work out of this by offering pre-selected gift packs.


A Fantastic Welcome Book

You can offer this in both print and digital versions.

It should include lots of local info, ‘how to’ guides, recommendations for places to eat and visit, a contact number, wifi code, instructions and more.

Other details that are helpful include parking instructions, directions and check-in/check-out times.

Read our interesting article about how to do this better than anyone else!

Invest and Update

All holiday cottages get a certain amount of wear and tear as bookings build up.

It can be very frustrating when accidents or damage occurs; however, dealing with any repairs and cleaning is part of the holiday cottage business.

It might be that it’s also time for a complete redecoration or redesign of your property.

We can help with this:

Remember to get great photos taken after a refurb takes place.

By repainting, repapering and replacing, this shows your guests that you are willing to invest in the property, and offer them a refreshed venue to stay in.

What About ‘Influencers?’

This rather complex area is a minefield and it’s best to do lots and lots of research if you’re trying this out.

It could be this is ideal for your business in the quieter months.

Some ideas could be to target the right sort of ‘influencer’ for your USP.

Perhaps your holiday home is perfect for pooches.

See if there is an influencer who is ideal for this type of market.

Always be sure to do lots of research, check out the influencer’s credentials and more.

There’s a good article here that can give you some advice.

And to Conclude

There is undoubtedly lots to think about if you want to boost your bookings.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand or magic spell.

Most of it is down to lots of hard work, dedication and research.

However, you are not on your own.

We can help with many aspects discussed in this article.

Get in touch today!