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5 tips to furnish your cottage for maximum bookings
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When it comes to marketing your holiday cottage, presentation is everything. The majority of guests base their choice of booking on the photos they’ve seen on the website or directory. Alongside basic criteria such as the location of the property and the number of bedrooms, the aesthetic appeal of your cottage is a key factor in getting those all important bookings.
Once your guests have arrived, your next task is to deliver comfort and exceed expectations. Presentation alone won’t satisfy your guests if the mattress is lumpy or there aren’t enough chairs to sit on. Figuring out what your holiday guests will love to find at your cottage, and adjusting your décor and furnishings accordingly can make a huge difference when it comes to maximising bookings.

Here are 5 top tips to help you do just that.
1. Depersonalise, but not totally
It’s tempting to create a cosy home from home, but don’t forget that your guests’ tastes may not be the same as yours. Much in the same way as an estate agent would suggest decluttering and depersonalising your home in preparation for sale, you should use the same approach for your holiday home. Keep family photo and personal trinkets away so that your guests don’t feel they’re intruding into your space. Use a few feature items of furniture or perhaps a striking artwork to give your cottage a personality but don’t overdo it with wild patterns and zany colour schemes. You want the ambiance to be warm and inviting, yet calm and clutter free.

2. Be inspired by the local area
The immediate location is often the main reason why people choose your cottage, so why not incorporate some local touches into your interiors scheme? Whether you offer luxury seaside cottages on the East Sussex coast or a rural retreat deep in the South Devon countryside, let your guests get a sense of the locality they’re holidaying in. Make the most of where you are by featuring a picture of the nearby coast or countryside, perhaps a painting by a local artist or by welcoming your guests with a hamper full of yummy local produce. Give your coastal cottage a nautical or beachcomber theme, or complement your log cabin with simple, rustic accessories made from local materials such as wood or stone.

3. Think like your guests
Spend a bit of time thinking of the kind of cottage interior your guests will want to relax in. Whether you choose a classic, modern or contemporary style, the living room should always be a cosy place where you can sit down and read a book, enjoy a drink or watch a film. Select your sofas and armchairs, coffee and side tables, TV units, lamps and carpets accordingly.
Similarly, each bedroom should be a tranquil haven of relaxation, with a big comfy bed and plenty of storage. If you’re not sure about the mattress or bedding, it’s a good idea to spend a night sleeping in each of the beds to check they’re comfortable enough for your guests.
Kitchens should be fully stocked with all the necessary items. Choose attractive yet sensible crockery and cutlery (and plenty of it!) rather than fine bone china that may break easily and is not microwave friendly.

4. Go for quality and durability
When it comes to choosing furniture, don’t be tempted to buy cheap and nasty just because it’s for someone else’s use. Rather, see the items as an investment that should last you a good few years, even with heavy use. There’s no need to go for all out luxury, but guests will always notice where attention to detail is lacking and corners have been cut – and they may not come back as a consequence.
Ideally, you should be aiming for a combination of quality and durability. Whether it’s a supportive mattress, a comfy sofa or a sturdy dining table, pick furnishings and fittings that will stand the test of time and not look tired and worn after a season’s use.

5. Choose flexible, practical solutions
Use the space wisely to create the right atmosphere in your holiday home. Rather than cramming in too much furniture, consider perhaps using a sofa bed or space saving pull-out bed to accommodate extra guests. Not enough furniture, on the other hand, will make the place look sparse and unfinished rather than cosy and well put together.
If you cater for families or pet owners, cream coloured carpets or sofas may not be the best decision. Make sure there’s proper protection from hazards such as an open fire or woodburner, staircases and swimming pools and have a selection of suitable toys available.

Finally, don’t forget to listen to your guests! After all, they’re the people best placed to give feedback on what it’s like to stay in your cottage. Encourage each visitor to leave their comments in a Guest Book or to give an online review of their experience, along with any suggestions for improvement. Take your guests’ views on board and tweak your offering accordingly and reap the rewards with more bookings in the future.

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