Agents selling and letting property are turning increasingly to short term holiday lettings as tides turn in the property industry. A quarter of the properties advertised by letting agencies through holidaylettings.co.uk have been new business since January this year; an increase of a third in new agent business compared to the first eight months of 2007.
Holidaylettings.co.uk attracts in excess of 1.5 million visitors each month, bringing more holidaymaker traffic to its holiday home adverts than any other site. In 2008 it is dedicating over £1 million to advertising in print, online and in-flight marketing channels, focusing largely on online marketing as it proves the most directly beneficial and immediate source of unique site visitors. Furthermore, Holiday Lettings is devoting over £20,000 for staff training for all consumer and agent account executives in order to equip customer-facing staff with the skills to maximise the consumer advertising experience and have a full understanding of the marketplace in which the company operates.
Agents, particularly those in cities and places of tourism interest, are turning to sites like holidaylettings.co.uk to help promote the properties on their books to the short term rental market, where demand for accommodation remains buoyant. There are now nearly one thousand letting agents using the site as a supplementary marketing tool for their clients, whose homes they manage on their behalf.
Holidaylettings.co.uk has new letting agent customers on its books in Oxford, Bath and London, amongst others. Supply and demand factors in short term lettings, especially in tourist-friendly cities, creates the perfect niche for letting agents. For example, properties in Oxford and Bath attract one and an half times more booking enquiries than the average number generated per property through holidaylettings.co.uk; properties in central London are even more popular attracting more than three times the average number of enquiries.
James C Penny, an independent residential estate agency in Oxford, was one of the first agencies to make the move. Lettings manager Wendy Sinclair comments: “The decision to add holiday lettings to our portfolio earlier this year was a natural, obvious step as we felt the mood in the sales market begin to shift and slow. We had done our research some months earlier, to assess how Holiday Lettings could work for us and how prominent they were in the short term, self-catering marketplace. The account management team that looks after our adverts and the performance of the site in bringing in bookings is second to none.”
To cope with the demand from letting agents, Holiday Lettings recently employed a new agent services manager, Mike Simkin, who brings over 20 years first hand estate agency experience to the role. Mike says: “It would be wrong to suggest that holiday lettings is the solution for every agent on the high street, but where there is holidaymaker demand and the individual property owners are willing and able to adapt their properties to short term lettings, either from buy-to-let or as an interim option from selling, we are the right portal through which to reach short term tenants, or guests as we prefer to call them.”
A business fuelled by British passion for property investment, the expansion of airline routes and the need for a 21st-century tool for finding holiday accommodation, holidaylettings.co.uk is now the UK’s busiest holiday home website. The combination of online holiday home advertising and accommodation browsing creates a marketplace in which the self-catering travel industry blossoms. Now leading the field in holiday home advertising and self-catering accommodation search facilities, holidaylettings.co.uk attracts around 1.5 million holidaymaker visitors to the site each month to browse over 27,000 properties available for holiday lettings worldwide.
Ross Elder and Andy Firth co-founded holidaylettings.co.uk in 1999 and have spearheaded the company’s mission to become the UK’s No.1 holiday home website that it is today. The success of its model attracted investment from Rightmove plc in March 2007.