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Cottages, Hotels and B&Bs in the Lake District

A Guide to setting up a self catering holiday accommodation business - equipping your cottage, USPs and setting the right price.

A light hearted look at setting up and running a holiday cottage

Setting up and renting out a holiday cottage - continued

Please note the views expressed in this article represent the views of the author and in no way reflect the official view of or Helvellyn Consulting. If you are looking to set up a holiday accommodation business and are in need of guidance, please seek professional assistance.

The right location - Take on or Start up - The right size of property - Equipping your cottage - USPs - Pricing - Agency or self-manage - Advertising - Terms and Conditions - Maintenance - Insurance and accounting - Health and Safety - Grading - Dogs - What to do next.

Equipping your holiday cottage

Again if you are doing this as a second homer then you will decorate and furnish the holiday cottage to suit your needs and tastes. If you’re not then don’t! You need to appeal to as broad a market as possible – there is no stereotypical self catering holiday maker! Choose neutral colours and tasteful furnishings, but remember to be practical. There is no point getting that perfect blend of colours for the paint if it is impossible to recreate and you need to touch up the walls! Likewise that beautiful cream sofa or carpet will begin to look an awful shade of brown after a 2 week stay from some less than diligent holiday makers.

Likewise with “equipment”, whilst people like to say they are going away on holiday to “get away from it” more often that not, especially if the weather is not great, they will spend more time in the cottage than they expected an will appreciate central heating, power showers, baths (full size not a big sink!), washing machine, a dishwasher, microwave and satellite TV, as well as “authentic” features like a wood burning stove. Basically the more you invest (not in terms of cost but from a quality point of view) then the better the holiday accommodation will be, and the more you can justify to charge!


If you’re looking to market your property as a niche holiday accommodation then you need to have some unique selling points. A swimming pool is an obvious and great one for people with either multiple holiday cottages or a large self catering house. Building your own does not have to be the only option for this as many health clubs and hotels will offer preferential and transferable membership to their gyms, pools and spas. Just ask.

Other outdoor facilities are also well regarded, although before you build that tennis court or convert you manicured lawn into an 18 whole golf course check your market! Inside then you can market luxury in a number of ways. Grading will give you the credibility, but it is surprising what a difference using good quality linen, fluffy towels and having a shower that shoots rather than dribbles water can make!

Also make the most of the location. “walks from the doorstep”, “pub within walking distance” “close to xyz attraction” all make good advertising copy and give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. You could also try offering not just a welcome pack but a welcome shop – pre-order the weeks supply from your local deli and you’ll be doing everyone a favour.

Getting your pricing right

The easiest way to judge the right price is to look at your local competition. Just because you think you’re offering more in terms of luxury and style, if the local holiday properties of a similar size are all charging a similar price it will be because that’s the price the market has set! On the other hand don’t sell yourself short, especially for short breaks. You still have to put in the same effort in terms of cleaning and turnaround, so make sure you cover your costs and some. Seasonal variations are standard in the self catering market, with typically a low season (usually January to Easter, and November and December) a mid season (typically March/April to June, and September to October), and the high season of July and August, as well as the “peak weeks” of Easter, Christmas, the new year, and half term and bank holidays. Don’t forget the bank holidays as October half term especially is often the busiest week of the year!

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The right location - Take on or Start up - The right size of property - Equipping your cottage - USPs - Pricing - Agency or self-manage - Advertising - Terms and Conditions - Maintenance - Insurance and accounting - Health and Safety - Grading - Dogs - What to do next.

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Sykes Lake District Cottages

Great Range of Holiday Cottages in the Lake District from Sykes Cottages - Click here for details

Sykes Holiday Cottages in the Lake District

Self Catering in Cumbria Love Walking in the Lake District and fancy a challenge?  Why not take part in the annual Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk.  All for charity and a great day!