Here in the UK autumn has now quickly descended into winter and the big chill is really starting to bite. The cold, wind and rain can really get you down, so if you’re feeling those end-of-year blues, why not banish them by booking next years summer holiday. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about those long, sun-filled days, both home & abroad.

Not only will you cheer yourself up and have something to look forward to in 2013, you’ll also guarantee the best possible selection of holiday homes with your first choice of dates, which is crucial if you have school-aged children and can only book fduring the school holidays. Or, if you are planning a holiday away with family and friends booking early is crucial when trying to co-ordinate dates, finding availability to suit everyone can be tricky if you leave it too late.

Few (if any) other types of holiday accommodation can offer the same privacy, freedom and space at the same price as self catering holiday home. You’ll be able to make the place your own while you’re there, and enjoy all the comforts you have at home, from a fully equipped kitchen to a range of entertainment options e.g. DVDs, board games, and computer games for the kids. And a holiday home is ideal for young children, who will have plenty of room to run around safely and holiday homes usually offer cots and high chairs as well as toys and books so you don't need to pack the proverbial kitchen sink!

Blue Sea market a number of properties here in the UK predominately in the South Hams, Devon, but we also represent a property in West Wittering, near Chichester, West Sussex and a stunning 3-bedroom villa in South-West France.

The largest property in South Devon is Paxdene, a 4-bedroomed house in stylish Salcombe which sleeps up to 9 people.  Next is the one and only Kingsgrove, a beach-side cottage sleeping up to 7 people with its own boathouse and moorings. Waves is a spacious duplex apartment near Dartmouth with sea-views sleeping up to 5 people, and nearby Top Deck is a fabulous 1-bedroom barn conversion in the heart of the coastal village of Stoke Fleming, which sleep 2 with another 2 on the sofabed.  3 Prospect House is a New England style apartment perched on the cliff high above Start Bay with outstanding views. This 2-bedroom apartment sleeps up to 4 and has a swimming pool and tennis court.

Spinningdale is a  spectacular West Wittering coastal house which offers the very best of seaside chic and countryside living. It has been carefully designed, stylish yet practical for a family or larger group and it sleeps up to 10. Situated on the "Estate" only seconds walk from the surf. And last, but by no means least is Maison Vailhan, located in South-West France close to Bezier and Montpellier. This 3-bedroom villa has been immaculately renovated with exquisite attention to detail. Both the garden and house boast beautiful views of the surrounding vineyards hills beyond and it has a stylish pool and two terraces perfect for lazy days in the sunshine and dining alfresco.

Renting your own holiday home can be also be a cost effective holiday option. Unlike a hotel or B&B you can spend more time at your "home away from home", without having to go on costly days out. And with good kitchen facilities, including a good-sized fridge, you can buy all your own food and drinks, rather than having to dip into your wallet every time someone fancies a drink or quick bite to eat.  Shop locally, take some of your own stuff, eat in, eat out, pack up a picnic grab a takeaway – the choice is yours!

Wintry British skies and temperatures will be much easier to tolerate if you know you've got a lovely summer holiday planned in 2013, so get booking today!

  • Essentials - Items such as toilet roll and soap are essential to provide your guests, but also provide cleaning products, so guests can keep your holiday home spic & span throughout their stay. It's also a good idea to stay in your property for a a least a week just before you let it to make sure that you have all of the basic essentials in place.
  • Facilities. Check that everything is working properly each changeover, e.g. kitchen appliances, shower heads, TV's, DVD, and barbecue.
  • Get to know the neighbours. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and let them know you are letting your property. They may be able to recommend local services or help with key holding, and genreally keep an eye on the place! Getting to know them now will help avoid problems in the future.
  • Welcome hamper. A welcome hamper including milk, tea, coffee and sugar will really be appreciated. Some holiday home owners extend their warm welcome to include a sample of local produce or a bottle of wine. Either way, enough to get late-arriving guests through the night will go down a treat.
  • Extras. Some extra touches your guests will appreciate are rainy day items such as board games, books, DVDs, a Wii etc. For sunny days beach toys, deckchairs and a windbreak are great additions.
  • Emergency contacts. Compile a list of emergency contact details for your guests to refer to during their stay. Also make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit available (excluding any medicines/drugs).
  • Local information. Create a file to leave in your holiday home containing a list of good restaurants and things to do (collect local attraction leaflets and guides). 
  • Lock it up. Remove any irreplaceable and personal items that risk being damaged by guests - designate a closet or cupboard for storing your personal items and extra supplies.
  • Ask for feedback. Leave a guestbook in the house so your guests can leave feedback comments as this will help you get an idea of what needs attention for improvement. For positive feedback ask guests to leave reviews on your advert online, e.g Trip Advisor

They say that looks aren't everything.... Sadly thats not true when it comes to Holiday Letting your home, as then looks ARE everything, and your potential guests want to see a light, spacious, clean and stylish home in the pictures they see when deciding where to book their holiday and in reality on arrival at the start of their holiday.

The main DO's and DONT's are as follows:-

DO keep decor neutral. A neutral colour scheme isn't likely to put anyone off, while brightly painted walls may not be to everyone's taste. Ultimately you want your holiday home to have mass appeal.

DO accessorise and accentuate with colour. Use stronger colours on smaller items throughout the home, such as throws, rugs and cushions.

DO opt for quality, durable furnishings. Not only will these last longer, but they will look more attractive to holidaymakers than cheaper alternatives.

DO put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Think about what you would like to find on arrival at a holiday home and use that to guide you. 

DON'T leave your own clutter lying about. Designate a lockable cupboard where you can store your personal belongings while you're letting your holiday home to guests.

DON'T go over the top with cutting edge design. Unless you're targeting the top end of the market, stick to simple elegance and durable furnishings.

The important thing is that your home is a "home from home" for your guests, somewhere they want to be come rain or shine!   For more advice and assistance in updating your home email us today info@blueseadevon.com.
    1. Be the first one to reply Most people who are looking for a holiday home will email an enquiry to a number of property owners. If you are the first person to respond, you have the best chance to confirm the booking so make sure that you check your emails on a regular basis.

  1. Minimise time  

  1. Create a template  that covers the following:- First enquiry response email, a payment enquiry, terms & conditions, booking form and directions. Then you just copy and paste or attach these to a reply (amending where necessary) to save a lot of time.

  1. Be clear who you are  

  1. You're probably not the only person the client has emailed so make sure you state the name of your property, & include their message in your reply. It's also a good idea to add your website to your email signature so that they can then click through to your website for more details on the property and the surrounding area.

  1. Tell them something they don't know  

  1. Try holding something back from your ad or website, which you can reveal when they enquire. Not something big like parking or garden, but something like 'We have a hairdryer in the bedroom so you don't have to pack one', 'We have a library of DVD's', 'We have lots of chidlrens toys and books'. These will not break a deal, but they may just make one, especially in a market of similar properties.

  1. If you are already booked on date requested  

  1. If you get an enquiry for dates when you are already fully booked then its a good idea to suggest some dates when you are free as some people may change their dates if they like your property enough.

  1. Call to action  

  1. At the end of your email, make sure you state what you would like to happen next, e.g. 'Please let me know if you'd like to go ahead and book'. 'I can hold the dates for 2 days only'. Sometimes a little nudge is all that's needed.

Everybody's doing it, doing it, doing it!
Yes, Twitter is here, and here to stay and it really is a very simple and free way of marketing your holiday home.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news you may find interesting. People can search to find accounts related to things they they are interested in (e.g. holiday home, or holiday letting, Devon, watersports, etc).  At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can also upload and view photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place. Tweets made by the people you opt to ‘follow’ will appear on your news feed/Twitter homepage. Once you have created an account you can browse for relevant or interesting people to ‘follow’, then you can start ‘tweeting’ (your tweets can include links too), or start ‘retweeting’ what other people say and start to grow your own network. To make Twitter work for you and your holiday home you can search for people you think may be interested in your property and that may help promote your holiday home. You can also offer late deals via Twitter or Special prices, and also tweet pictures and update people on new offerings at your property. Don't miss out on this great free advertising opportunity, and if you are unsure the next steps, just call us and we can set up your account for you and talk you through the whole process! 
Its easy...Honest!