"We wanted to diversify our farmstead"
Annett, owner of Broadway Green Farm Complex – Petham, Kent | Sleeps 11+6
For Annett and her husband the success of holiday lettings is all about the income. As an ex-blanket bond underwriter, taking on property development was a completely new journey for Annett. Both herself and her husband bought a farm and buildings, all in very poor condition, with the intention of developing the 3 Atcost barns into 3 holiday cottages, to help provide an income. She said of the income ‘I was quite surprised when the money started coming in. I mean, I have three children at private school and it more or less paid for their education. So it’s a good business working around children being off school - very flexible and I can even change some of the check in days just to suit the children's timetable to make it easier’. Holiday letting not only creates flexibility around her children, but also allows her more time to do things she loves most such as playing tennis and attending the gym.
“We bought a derelict farm and developed the barns one cottage at a time; it took a few years to develop with furnishing, but now we have three stunning cottages overlooking the beautiful countryside of Petham. Since starting holiday letting - we’ve never looked back!”
Annett managed the project herself, and made the most of the oak framed traditional buildings with clean, uncluttered interiors, warm colours, limestone flooring and muted walls to make it a relaxing environment. Annett mentions, “I’ve tried to make it as uncluttered as possible - because when people go away they generally want to get away from all the clutter within their own home.”
The three cottages, now established, let best as a complex, giving guests their individual privacy, but at the same time the mix of spaces allows guests to enjoy group accommodation at its most flexible. Annett believes that one of the reason for the huge success of the barns is their wonderful position perched on a steep valley above a popular village with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, “It’s extremely rural and the views are beautiful which you don’t necessarily see from the pictures - so when people get there, they’re generally mesmerized. It’s totally relaxing and you can sit drinking a bottle of wine looking over the valley.”
Annett is also a firm believer in flexibility, believing that she should, wherever possible, accommodate guests requests - she knows it increases her return bookers and goes out of her way to agree to provide what is asked for. Her welcome basket often includes milk, bread, flowers and a few fresh eggs.
So what has she learnt about holiday letting? Well, when asked she commented that guests in the main want the same thing, a totally relaxing environment to switch off and enjoy their holiday. To start with she was very excited about running the holiday letting business and made huge effort with everything. Experience has made her more sanguine, realising that actually the same things are important to us all - good quality, peace and quiet and a supremely relaxing environment.