Shopping for a Robust Holiday Home
How do you keep your holiday home robust enough for your guests?
The truth that we came to realise quite early on is that some guests that won't treat your home as you would. The trick is to recognise this, make your peace with it, and set up your home appropriately.
It doesn't meaning buying cheap things as this will generally only go against you. Cheap furniture, utensils and linen probably won't stand the test of time given the use and abuse it might endure and what's worse is that you won't know about it until you go to use the property yourself. By which time you may have already disappointed guests in between. Also your guests will know when you've cut corners and are more likely not to respect the holiday home. Think robust quality and you'll be on the right tracks.
So here is our advice for when you're planning the big shop!
- For materials such as bed linen and towels it is best to buy either dark colours (that are not likely to show stains / marks easily) or white as the materials can be bleached to remove any stubborn marks.
- Buy mattress protectors for the beds - this one is really important because any stain in a holiday rental place is suspicious to new guests and not very nice to arrive to.
- Leather sofas - not fabric. Or fabric that can be washed at high temperatures - same goes for the dining chairs.
- Glass not wood dining table. Glass will get scratched but is less likely to look as bad as a chip board table that could chip easily (unless it's very good quality) or a wood table might get stained/ burnt. Same goes for coffee tables making sure that they don't have sharp corners if you are catering for the family market.
- Rust proof outdoor furniture - not wood again. Wood needs annual staining to keep it weather proof - do you want to give yourself jobs like this when you are out there on hols?
- Good quality kitchen pans and cutlery etc but if you have a dish washer then everything should be dishwasher safe - your guests won't read the pans to check.
- Fire extinguisher and blanket - obvious reasons.
- Good mats inside and outside the doors for dirty feet - particularly if you have carpets.
- A cupboard full of free cleaning materials, hoover, duster, bucket and mop - we buy in enough cleaning substances for the entire year. Why not make it easy for guests to clean your apartment?
- Table mats and coasters that will withstand heat - you could also leave a wipe able table cloth.
- A robust guest book and a holiday information pack in a folder with plastic sleeves so it's less likely to be drawn on, taken, split drinks on etc.
- Also make it easy for guests to tell you what's wrong with the apartment with a tick sheet emailed following their stay - although be aware that this might spark your guests to look for a discount. You could leave a suggestion pot in the lounge and ask your management company to open it after each stay.
- For loungers that you think will be moved about through the property then chose ones that are light and easy to carry to reduce damage to your walls in transit.
- Paint the walls a fresh light colour and keep pots of paint in the cupboard for touching up. Suitcases can leave numerous scuff marks on stairwells.
- Choose a tiled or wood floor where you can - red wine on carpets is a tricky one to get out.
- For furniture we suggest you protect the surfaces of units but choose good sturdy furniture (wood is fine here) that looks good.
- Keep paintings high enough not to be knocked into.
- If you do want to use rugs then choose ones that are able to disguise small stains. Again, dark colours work well as do mixed colour rugs.
- For the beds choose metal, not wood frames. We've had a number of wood bed frames that have broken which is a real pain to sort out.
- Don't leave precious items such as expensive vases around. Try to make an impact with lower cost vases / ornaments. Make features of your lamps - study ones.
- Don't leave candles for guests to use - just in case.