"The money is a huge benefit, but I also really enjoy the flexibility."
Kim, owner of Perry Farm – Wingham, Kent | Sleeps 14
When faced with ill health, Kim found herself in unfortunate circumstances where she was no longer able to work full time. Kim therefore became one of a growing band of owners who use holiday letting as a main source of income. They own beautiful houses, but to make them work they want to gain an income as well - the best of both worlds. In order to consider this sort of lifestyle, you, of course, need somewhere else to stay or enjoy a more nomadic existence and travel extensively. Kim has a separate annexe to the main farmhouse and moves there when the house is let.
For Kim holiday letting offered real flexibility which fits in with her lifestyle but at the same time offers a serious business opportunity. As she says herself, “Whilst there is a lot of hard work in achieving a really spotless house, in perfect condition for the guests to arrive, it also gives me lots of free time, and the satisfaction of knowing guests are enjoying themselves.”
Except for some laundry, she undertakes all the preparation work herself to maximise the income she achieves.
Kim’s guests are a mix of families, hen parties and couples celebrating a special occasion. When they arrive she likes to meet and greet everyone, but has prepared detailed notes so she leaves the guests to explore the house on their own. She finds this is the best route as they enjoy discovering the quirks of her lovely period farmhouse for themselves.
“I do leave notes for people on the fire for different things, just so people don’t have to ask questions, so that they can just get on with it themselves – because obviously in old houses, if you’re used to a modern house, there are quirks. Rather than having questions like “how do you turn this on, how do you do that?” It’s nice to just have it all in a folder for them so they can just get on with their holiday.”
As she up sticks and moves to the annexe next door, she often meets guests in the grounds of the house, but treats them like neighbours, giving helpful hints of local gems to visit, knowing if they have a question they can ask. Her philosophy is that guests shouldn’t notice anything and if they don’t that’s when you know you’ve got it right. For her, seeing guests sad to leave, yet happy, content and rested and knowing the house has played a small part in a family occasion makes all the hard work worthwhile.