10:00 AM, 30th May 2012, About 9 years ago 2
Down here in sunny East Sussex, certain aspects of property investment are thriving, despite the economic downturn.
Holiday lets are enjoying increased occupancy, spreading far beyond the “peak” season, and out into the shoulder months, producing some significant cash flow for investors.
Here are my top 5 signposts to a holiday let with year round occupancy potential:
1. Within 2 hours drive of a major city.
With the rise of the “stay-cation”, more people are taking shorter weekend breaks throughout the year, not just during peak seasons. As time is at a premium, guests do not want to travel more than two hours on a Friday night to start their weekend. This means that any holiday cottage within a two hour drive of a large city is going to have a steady flow of “long weekenders” throughout the year.
Add to that the soaring cost of fuel, and you can see how arriving at your holiday cottage on a Friday night by 8.00 p.m. to relax and start your weekend is an attractive proposition.
Here on the beautiful East Sussex coast, we are just 1.5 hours from central London, meaning our holiday let owners can tap into the abundant “long weekenders” market. Excellent transport links mean our guests can start their holidays within a couple of hours of leaving their office.
East Sussex is also close to the Channel Tunnel, meaning that guests from Europe can also consider a long weekend break because traveling time is kept to a minimum. (It is recommended to provide a translation function on your holiday cottage website to allow Dutch, French, and German guests to read your website in their own language.)
2. Close to a great beach.
In a recent survey, 52% of holiday makers said that the number one priority for their choice of holiday was to be close to a beach. Families, couples, watersports fanatics, birdwatchers, walkers, and just about everybody loves to be beside the seaside!
East Sussex, for instance, is blessed Camber Sands (pictured below), 7 miles of beautiful sandy beach, with shallow, clear water for little ones to enjoy safely. Camber Sands was recently voted by “Coast” magazine as being one of the top 5 beaches in the U.K.
3. A year round programme of events.
Events bring traffic to an area and provide a ready stream of people interested in renting your holiday cottage.
Rye, in East Sussex, is a tourist hotspot and has something going on in every month of the year … whether it be Christmas markets, a legendary Bonfire parade, a Boar Roast, an Arts Festival, the Rye Triathlon, a famous Raft Race, the Rye Bay Scallop Festival…. the list goes on! It’s also famed as being “1066 Country” and tourists flock to the area to visit the site of the Battle of Hastings and other historic buildings and places.
Walk down picturesque Rye High Street on any day of the year and you will hear Americans, French, Eastern European, German, and Dutch being spoken. It’s a tourist magnet all year round!
Meanwhile, at Camber Sands beach, kite buggy enthusiasts use the beach more in the winter months than in the summer.
With news of the first ever Rye International Jazz Festival taking place in August, there’s even more demand for holiday accommodation on the horizon.
4. Fine dining options.
Holiday lets have definitely needed to go more upmarket in recent times, to cater to a more discerning guest who requires accommodation to the standard of a boutique hotel.
These same guests are interested in fine dining, and will want to book accommodation in an area where there is a choice of high class eateries.
Here in East Sussex, we not only have award-winning restaurants (such as the Landgate Bistro and Webbe’s in Rye), gastro-pubs, deluxe fish and chips, and beach brasseries but we also have many vineyards, such as Carr Taylor Winery, where guests can enjoy wine tasting tours!
We all know the weather in the U.K. can be unpredictable to say the least. However, the South East enjoys more sunshine and less rain than other part of the U.K. thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream.
The highest monthly total of sunshine on record is 384 hours in Eastbourne and Hastings, Sussex, in July 1911.
So, if you are looking for a high-yielding holiday let, the signposts are there to direct you to extended occupancy. Put yourself in the mind of your potential guests, and if you can see what they want, then you know what to provide and where to provide it to meet their needs. Understanding who your guest is, is the key to what to buy and where to buy it.
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