Rural cottages

    Hard-pressed families are increasingly holidaying in the UK, offering great potential income for the diversified rural estate.

    For many years, landowners have grappled with the dilemma of whether to rent out rural cottages as holiday cottages or opt for the security of longer-term residential tenancies. The margins between the two have often been slim, but renewed interest in ‘staycations’, and the ease of internet marketing mean returns on holiday lets are increasingly attractive.

    Although refurbishment and running costs will be higher, and annual occupancy rates might be lower, overall returns are generally 10% to 15% above residential lets. Property owners who are prepared to work hard on marketing and customer relations, and are flexible enough to cope with late bookings, could find holiday cottage enterprises an attractive option.

    Savills manages over 500,000 acres of land in Scotland, and many of our farming clients are attracting the tourist pound through ventures like holiday cottages, farm shops, mountain bike courses, walking holidays and wildlife safaris. In the year to March, Scottish tourist numbers increased by 5%, and 81% of Scots claim a holiday in their home country can be just as enjoyable as a trip abroad. 

    With the cold chill of the economic climate, and the ease of internet bookings, we are certainly seeing an increase in the number of last minute, shorter breaks being booked on rural estates. 

    However, with the falling prices of holidays abroad and our increasingly unpredictable weather, entry into the tourism business is not for the faint hearted and only the most enterprising will succeed.
    Effective marketing is vital, and a professional website will create a good first impression and help to manage bookings. However, word of mouth is the most cost effective form of advertising. Not only do you want visitors to return time and again, the dream is for them to become ‘ambassadors’, with glowing reports on their holiday to help spread the word. Property owners should also consider special deals, especially for the low season. And remember that a high standard of accommodation and customer care is essential to providing the best holiday experience.


    Key contacts

    Jonathan Dymock

    Jonathan Dymock

    Rural Aberdeen

    Savills Aberdeen

    +44 (0) 1224 971111

    +44 (0) 1224 971111