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Thousands of holiday homeowners already let their property out when they’re not using it, and as the economy tightens, more and more are considering it each month. It’s a fantastic way to help you ease the financial crunch, and the extra income can even help you deck out your home with luxurious upgrades you might never have otherwise splashed out on.
Whether you’re a letting veteran or are preparing to take the plunge, here are our top tips for keeping it ahead of the curve in 2018.

Think about where you’re listing
Airbnb is obviously hugely popular, and apparently suits the needs of approximately 150 million hosts and travellers. However, it’s definitely worth considering the unique value of your home and whether you might be better listing with a more specialist vendor.
For example, Panorama Properties specialises in luxury residences on the Costa del Sol (to rent and to buy), while Homestay is set up for homeowners that wish to stay present while they have guests. Although you might be putting your home alongside your most likely competition, at least you know that the people browsing your listing are definitely looking for the type of home you’re offering. For example, in the UK you can find websites that specifically cater for holidaymakers that want a cute rural cottage for their trip.

Keep it authentic
If you’re lucky enough to own a rustic Spanish property, then make the most of its character and charm. Airbnb’s travel trend forecast shows that travellers are increasingly looking to stay in properties that reflect the values and culture of the country they’re staying in, and that give them a chance to interact with the natural environment. According to their report, the last year has seen the popularity of nature lodges rise by 700%, ryokans (traditional Japanese guest houses) by 600% and even the choice to stay in a yurt increase by 155%.
When advertising availability of your authentic Spanish casa, try to capture all of its classic features in your photos. Maybe it’s got gorgeous exposed beams and red roof tiles, or perhaps you’re proud of its decorative tiles and wrought-iron gates. Chances are your prospective guests will immediately fall in love with its character, and been keen to make a quick booking.
If you’re planning to refurbish, then keep up the theme. Opt for a lick of paint in rich earth tones like ochre and burnt red, and head to a local salvage yard to pick up some unusual old-world furnishings. Terracotta pots, pillar candles and handmade ornaments are the perfect finishing touch.

Up the glamour
If Costa del Sol luxury is more your style, make sure you ramp it up. Of course, rolling out the red carpet for every guest is going to eat into your margins quite quickly, but visitors to Fuengirola or Marbella expect a certain standard of comfort, and adding a few little details to your home is all it takes to turn a nice stay into something dazzling.
Where most holiday rental hosts will provide basic toiletries and refreshments, spending a few extra euros on luxury brands, high quality towels and a small selection of premium local produce and fresh flowers to welcome your guests makes all the difference. Wi-Fi and Netflix should be included as standard – if you’re looking to make upgrades you should be looking at hot tubs, pools and private beach access.
Keep in mind that over 14 million passengers fly into Malaga each year, meaning there’s a huge market if your home can stand out from the crowd. Luxury properties have year-round appeal, and homeowners can increase their revenue by up to 62% if they can include some lavish features in their offer.

Food and drink
Having launched their ‘Trips’ feature just over a year ago, food and drink-related experiences have accounted for 29% of all activities booked through Airbnb’s system. These packages typically include vineyard tours, homestyle dinners, specialty cooking lessons and local market experiences.
How can you use this to improve your home? Make sure you draw attention to any venues nearby that might interest this demographic, such as exceptional restaurants that offer classes, or farms that produce local delicacies. If there’s an opportunity for your guests to visit a vineyard or olive grove (particularly if there is a tasting facility or shop), or if you can recommend the best local brands for them to try, then let them know.

Local knowledge
Once upon a time, travelling to new places was about witnessing the weird and wonderful ways in which people live all around the world. Nowadays, simply being an observer isn’t enough and travellers want to truly soak up the local atmosphere by walking the walk themselves.
Obviously, you’ll need to include the location of your holiday home in its listing, but you should take the opportunity to highlight how close it is to local landmarks and hidden gems. This might be a market, scenic route to the sea or beautiful historic church up a nearby hill – even if your home simply has views of the sea you can attract 24% more income than the average rental!
Imparting a bit of knowledge about the best things to do in the surrounding area demonstrates that your home has helped you enjoy being part of the community, and can offer the same experience to travellers. If you have a lot of information to share, make it available to your guests when they arrive. A welcome folder that includes personal notes, advice and a map is an easy way to help them feel quickly at home.

Stay relevant
Whether you’re letting people into a contemporary apartment or welcoming them to a rustic cottage, it’s always important to keep your property (and listing) up to date. This can take several forms, like providing guests with information about local festivals or sporting events, or making sure your home features modern comforts - even if you have a traditional home.
Regularly refreshing the content on your listing, no matter which site you choose to advertise on, will help to keep it near the top of the page, and recent reviews will reassure guests that your home matches their expectations. If you don’t have any new details to add then simply tweaking the content or adding a couple of new pictures is plenty.

Following these steps is the easiest way to make the most out of your second home in 2018 and should ensure you get a lot of happy guests in your home – just don’t forget to take the time to enjoy it yourself, too!

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