Sometimes it’s the little things that can make or break a self-catering holiday…
We purchased The Prairie as a fully fitted business from the previous owner. Whilst we were extremely grateful for the head start, we had already made a list of changes that we wanted to make based upon our experience of staying in it and other self catering properties in Sheringham.
It’s Fairly Obvious, Really!
Top of the list were problems that needed immediate attention.
You needed to know “the knack” to get the tumble drier or microwave to work. The drier was replaced immediately as it was unusable. The microwave will be getting replaced soon. As a general rule of thumb you should not have to explain any quirks to your guests in your welcome pack.
My wife’s bugbear is small kitchen bins in larger rental properties. Larger properties with more guests generate more rubbish. There was a simple solution to that one – buy a larger bin.
First Impressions Count
Choosing a trustworthy local agent is of utmost importance. You may have the best property in North Norfolk with a reputation to match, but your guests first impression will be formed when they pick up the key from them.
We are lucky in that respect with David Jones over at Arnolds Keys, We have benefited as guests and property owners from their experience. Having a local rep pays dividends if there are any issues. I feel more comfortable knowing that our guests can walk to their office and deal with it in person.
Picking a reputable cleaner is essential. The next impression your guests will be formed as they step over the threshold of your property. We use a widely respected local company, Poppyland Cleaning, who turn the property around between guests.
A practical welcome pack at this point pays dividends; tea, coffee, milk and freshly baked bread saves your guests a trip to the shops whilst they are unpacking. We also leave a courtesy bottle of wine for guests to enjoy.
We try to keep a small stock of other supplies for guests; dishwasher tables, washing powder, bin bags, toilet tissue and cleaning supplies, along with other useful items like matches, candles, torches, spare bulbs and so on.
If you look at any holiday rental brochure you will realise that many self catering properties now offer as standard what used to be considered a luxury. We use The Prairie for holidays with our family too, so have a reasonable idea what works and what doesn’t.
It’s fair to say that Internet access is now essential. Back in the day you would not expect guests to be bringing laptops on holiday. With the recent boom in smartphone and tablet usage it is more likely that Internet access will be required by guests.
The 3G signal is not the best in Sheringham, especially near the beach, so we recently installed broadband and offer free WiFi access to our guests.
The broadband comes fitted with Sky Broadband Shield to prevent children from accidentally accessing unsuitable material; this is set to a level suitable for teenagers, so will still allow them to post pictures of their holiday on Facebook for their friends to see.
Central heating is a given; we do not charge extra for this as guests comfort is our main concern. However, we are not local and are not often in the position to tweak the settings. We have therefore installed a British Gash Hive heating controller so that we can ensure that the settings are perfect for our guests during their stay, turned down when the property is empty and fired up ready for last minute bookings. We also permit guests to adjust the temperature to suit them; after all, they are paying our bills!
We’ve gone one step further and have a Now TV box, offering guests free Sky Movies and the Now TV Entertainment Pack as well as the best terrestrial TV has to offer on the various catch up services. Handy for evenings in when the kids are in bed or rainy days.
Learn from your guests…
Last but not least we love to learn from our guests and welcome any suggestions on how we could have made their stay any better.