Letting with classic
Holiday cottage preparations
Now the festivities are over and the cold drab days of January loom, it is time to look at your cottage without the rose-tinted glasses and decide what needs to be done to bring it back up to the pristine, shiny bright, comfortable cottage it was at the start of last season.
Firstly check all the bedding.
Inspect the mattress and pillow protectors, throwing out any that are yellow or marked. That also includes pillows and duvets – clean, fresh bedding goes without saying in a holiday cottage and the slightest hint of second-hand can send guests reeling. It’s also wise to make sure they are all hypoallergenic to avoid potential problems with wheezy kids and allergic adults during the season.
Turn all the mattresses and replace any that have become lumpy or dented – money is well spent on a decent quality mattress as a bad night’s sleep can mar an entire holiday.
Next launder or dry clean
…all the soft furnishings, including curtains and loose covers. Not only will this freshen up the place, but regular care of fabrics means they will last longer before they need replacing.
Check through the other linens, towels, bath mats, tea towels – do these need replacing? After a busy season the answer is normally, yes they do! A few pounds spent on the small things can make a big difference.
Have a long stare
…at the paintwork and decoration – do you need to redecorate or perhaps even consider change of colour to brighten up the bedrooms or living areas? A neutral colour scheme lasts as fashions come and go, so is yours looking dated? Try to be unbiased here, perhaps flick through your guest feedback, or ask an objective neighbour for their opinion. Wall colour can make or break a good photo on the website.
Make sure you have a supply of dishcloths, scourers and dish mops – these need to be replaced each week. Toilet rolls should be provided for each changeover so find a cash and carry store for such items as it will be cheaper in the long run.
Toilet brushes also need replacing surprisingly regularly, normally once a month as they give an impression of overall hygiene and cleanliness.
Pull out large appliances to clean in and around them thoroughly – no-one likes to spot evidence of previous guests, especially in the form of dusty grease dribbles.
If you have an open fire or wood-burner, get the chimney swept annually. Chimney maintenance is paramount for health and safety.
Get the boiler serviced and check the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – the latter two should be checked every week to ensure they are in working order.
First impressions count.
Cast a critical eye over the exterior – does it need painting? Are tiles missing, or the guttering cracked? Assess any winter damage now and book in the maintenance for as soon as the weather allows.
Weed the borders, keeping all the paths and hard surfaces free of moss and green algae to ensure walkways don’t get too slippery.
Oil and store any teak furniture and replace any that has seen better days. Plastic chairs are not known for lasting much more than a year so can qualify as a false investment.
Check the barbecue is clean and working and keep it under cover until the weather improves.
Spring clean your webpage!
Now you’re au fait with every aspect of your cottage maintenance, look carefully at your photographs and description – does anything need changing or upgrading? If you’ve replaced a sofa or redecorated a room, get in touch with your Property Manager to make sure your marketing is up-to-date.
Request a copy of our Minimum Inventory from the Property team and check through item by item by item. Replace anything that is worn, marked or just plain tired (remember, all guests have seen a copy of the inventory on the website or in the brochure, so they expect everything to be there). Your Property Manager will double check everything at your Annual Liaison Visit, but get a headstart and a clean sheet.
A thorough spring clean
…and check as above ensures the cottage is looking at its best when the season begins and helps stave off potential problems throughout the year. Obviously you need to keep an eye on things as the season progresses – some owners block off a week mid season to go through everything again, but a good Housekeeper is a Godsend for such things.
It’s 2016, the bookings are coming in thick and fast so make sure everything is ready for that last minute booking which might even be in the next few weeks – February half term is becoming very popular.
Written by veteran Property Manager, Jacqui Gulliford. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to holiday letting.
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