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Farm Diversification with holidaycottages.co.uk 

Any holiday cottage owners who sign up with Holidaycottages.co.uk between 1 January - 31 March 2018 quoting “MVF Newsletter” will receive £250 of Mole Valley Farmers gift vouchers! Call Mole Valley Plus on 01769 576201 for more information

Letting properties for non-agricultural use is not only the most popular form of diversification, but one of the most lucrative. On average, they earn an extra £17,400 per farm, per year, compared to an average of £16,600 per farm per annum for other forms of diversification*.Farm diversification has become a hot topic in recent years, with 62% of farms now branching out from their traditional roles and supplementing their income*.  
 

According to the Tourism Alliance, tourism generates £18.6 billion for the rural economy per annum and creates 340,000 full time jobs in the sector. An estimated 7.14 million trips were enjoyed in holiday rental properties across the UK in 2017, forecast to rise to 8.07 million over the next five years.
 

As rural landowners, the time to diversify is ripe. Starting up a holiday let may be easier than you think. Traditional barn conversions on farms will always be attractive to guests. However, if this level of investment or approach is unsuitable, there are other, more unconventional but highly desirable accommodation options to consider. ‘Glamping’ and yurt holidays are very popular at present; in the right location they can generate a good revenue, particularly as you can have several units if space permits. While the outlay is less, be mindful that the returns will also be lower than a conventional holiday let; the season will be shorter and not all locations are suitable.
 

Desirable features

There is currently a notable shift towards luxury accommodation, as customers are becoming more discerning and standards are rising. Quantifying luxury is difficult, as it isn’t one single thing; it encompasses something extra along the whole of the customer journey, from quality booking confirmations posted to the customer, to extras in the welcome basket and quality appliances and furniture. Often defined as the ‘wow’ factor, a luxury property can bring you 36% more revenue on average.
 

If your property is targeting couples, adding romantic touches can increase bookings by 10%. Items such as cosy blankets, a coffee machine, luxurious bedding and a romantic welcome hamper will catch people’s eye when they’re browsing and set your property apart from the rest.

An open fire or woodburner can help fill autumn and winter weeks, attracting an average of 13% more revenue than a property without. Another popular added extra is a hot tub, which can increase revenue by 30% and again, helps to encourage off-peak bookings. To attract the most bookings, your property should appeal to a broad audience. 36% of guests bring dogs, so advertising as a dog-friendly property will widen your market of potential guests.
 

Strategic pricing

Getting the price right is critical to success. Too cheap and you will fill your peak periods too quickly and sell yourself short in terms  of income; too expensive and you won’t get bookings at all. Many factors influence pricing levels. Size is a major contributor; properties that sleep two are less affected by seasonality, while larger properties which attract families can charge a premium during peak holiday periods. Properties close to urban areas can benefit from an extended season, as they are prime locations for short breaks and last- minute getaways.
 

Success story

Blagroves Farm View in Somerset, let through holidaycottages.co.uk, is an example of where diversification into holiday letting has proved a success. The stylish barn conversion is one of two holiday properties situated adjacent to the owner’s 17th century farm house. Sleeping six, it boasts a hot tub, enclosed garden, internet access, countryside views and welcomes dogs. It achieved 41 bookings last year and supplements the owners’ income from the farm, along with the revenue from the other holiday property.
 

Holidaycottages.co.uk have over 25 years’ experience in the holiday letting industry.

Their portfolio comprises a varied range of holiday lets across the UK which are marketed on their network of websites including farmholidays.co.uk and caninecottages.co.uk to name but a few. They are advocates of farm diversification with over 600 farm properties in their portfolio. Their Property Advisers are on hand to help with any questions you may have, whether just starting out or looking to earn more from your current holiday let.

 *(DEFRA’s Farm Business Survey 2015/2016)

 

 



Source Details

 MVF Newsletter 639



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