by Helpful Holidays
With Christmas just around the corner, it is important to get your property ready for your Christmas guests. Andrew Exelby, Commercial Development Manger for Helpful Holidays, is talking us through some of his favourite ideas to make your guests’ stay unforgettable.
Some would say, it is the most wonderful time of the year, so what better way to celebrate the festive season than together in a holiday cottage in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset? Guests staying over the festive season will be excited about achieving the perfect family Christmas in the perfect holiday cottage or apartment – so expectations are high. There are several things you or your caretaker can do to minimise worry in the lead up to holidays around Christmas and New Year.
After a potentially lengthy journey, holidaymakers will be looking forward to getting indoors as quickly as possible. As they arrive, their first impressions will begin the minute they get out of the car, so ensure gates and doors are clean and any pathways are swept and free of trip or slip hazards.
With it being Winter, your guests will most probably be arriving in the dark, so ask your housekeeper to leave the outside light on for them and if your key-safe isn’t near the main door, please remember to provide lighting so as to avoid unnecessary frustration in getting in.
Similar to lighting, heating is key to ensuring your guests don’t arrive to a cold space – ask your housekeeper to leave heating at a suitable level and ensure the heating is all working. You can expect any guests who stay through the Winter months to put a little extra demand on your heating as they are likely to spend less time out in the garden and more time cosying up in the living room.
Boilers will break from time to time; we recommend in addition to regular servicing, having a cover service in place that will protect you from costly call-outs. It will also mean a responsive solution should guests have any problems during their holiday.
If your boiler uses solid fuel, someone should check supply levels ahead of guests’ arrival and arrange a top-up if possible. Suppliers may not be open throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
It is not only good practice to leave guests some fuel for the fire for their comfort, but also because then you have control over the fuel they are using. Lay the fire for arrival and your guests will appreciate the hassle-free start to their break away!
With any open fire or wood burner, it is essential you arrange for the chimney to be swept regularly – it’s also vital fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in place and working, so this is something your caretaker should check during each changeover.
Just like any other guests at your property, families or friends looking forward to Christmas together would be thrilled to arrive to some treats for their arrival. Typically, owners leave anything from a cream tea to homemade cakes, but the options are endless at Christmas: mince pies, yule log, Christmas cake or some decorated gingerbread men for any children in the group. If you accept pets, why not source some festive pet treats and mention them in your hand-written card to your guests.
Presentation of anything you leave to welcome your guests will make all the difference, a cake stand dressed with holly or dusted with icing sugar shows a little extra thought has gone in to it.
Families will be ready for time spent together cooking up feast after feast – from cosy suppers to lazy breakfasts. It is a very good idea to pay particular attention to cleaning fridges and cookers ahead of Christmas arrivals. An oven liner can save hours of scrubbing and if you need to swap them over between changeovers, and is an easy way to present an oven that looks like it has never been used!
Cookware, utensils and crockery will all be in demand through the weeks over Christmas also, so it’s wise to stock up with some spare items at the property – either leave them readily available or give them to your housekeeper to install should any breakages occur after a Christmas sherry or two.
The volume of refuse and recycling (wrapping paper and product packaging) created over this time will undoubtedly be high, so make sure your property has instructions on how guests can dispose of their rubbish responsibly. If you need help with finding a commercial waste supplier, please let us know!
Families and groups holidaying at Christmas will create wonderful memories to cherish. Their special memories of their holiday at your property will live with them for years to come – it also means that they are far more likely to think about returning to your holiday home in the future.
Decorating your holiday cottage or apartment with a tree and co-ordinated decorations and lights helps spread some Christmas cheer. Additionally, a wreath hung at the front door and some pretty twinkly lights (PAT tested of course) woven about the garden can create magical memories for children excited about Christmas. If a real tree is not suitable, a faux tree can be used year after year, but be sure to go for a good quality one which will stand the test of time.
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