Top 10 essentials every self-catering property needs
Year on year, self-catering staycations are increasing in popularity throughout the UK for families, couples and friend reunions alike. In this digital age, growing transparency on the World Wide Web with high quality accommodation pictures, availability calendars and pricing at your fingertips, convenience is at the very centre of this ever-increasing boom in bookings.
Not only that, self-catering properties are the perfect combination of a holiday for escapism from the hustle and bustle of daily life while still maintaining that essential home-from-home feel, and the diversity of all holiday-homes out there means there’s something suitable for everyone.
Unlike B&Bs and guest houses, for self-catering hosts it’s not as easy as popping down to the property to provide extra towels or help out in the event of a power cut if needs be, as not all hosts live in the same area as their property. So, ensuring you provide everything your guests might need is a guaranteed way to make sure their stay is nothing less than plain sailing. But where to start?
1. The basics
This goes without saying but don’t forget the basics! Not only that, try not to be too stringent with them either. They often say ‘less is more’ but this is certainly not the case when it comes to toilet roll. Ever. Trust me, no one appreciates a last-minute supermarket dash to pick up some loo roll, especially not those on holiday. Try and keep a supply of the following list readily available, as we highly doubt they’ll want to spend their holiday savings on housekeeping:
- Toilet roll
- Bin bags
- Tea bags
- Washing up liquid (& sponges!)
- Tea towels
We recommend our refreshment & cleaning welcome packs, which you can read about here.
2. A warm welcome
Putting out a welcome hamper ready for your guests’ arrival is a perfect way to make a great first impression. Try and add some local & seasonal goodies, such as farm-fresh eggs, bread from the local bakery, and condiments and jams sourced from your area. Not only is this a great gesture but providing basic supplies can really be a time-saver for them too.
3. Information folder
A great accompaniment to a welcome hamper, guest information folders are an absolute essential – especially for self-catering properties. As you’re most likely absent for the majority of their stay, except for perhaps their arrival and checkout, try and add everything your visitors may need to know during the course of the stay.
We recommend using your own local knowledge to fill the folder with great recommendations, whether this be tourist attractions, must-sees, the best places to eat and transport links. Don’t forget the technical stuff either. You should provide your contact details, electrical information for any dishwashers, washing machines, irons, etc. in your property as well as any important health & safety information.
With guests’ ever-increasing expectations on what should be left as a complimentary treat, toiletries have quickly moved further and further up the list. Self-catering staycations tend to last between 3 and 7 nights, so individual toiletries are certainly the way to go. They’re the perfect size for a short-term stay while also indulging your guests with their own private selection of luxury toiletries.
5. Create a dream sleeping environment…
It’s safe to say we’re cheating a little bit here, as, unfortunately, there’s no single show-stopping product that will help your guests sleep like a baby. In fact, there are multiple contributors. Everyone is unique and their preferences will always differ from one person to the next, but as long as you provide a comfy mattress, the cosy duvet, crisp, fresh linens and fluffy pillows, you can’t go wrong.
6. …but make sure it’s not a nightmare for you
Yes, the quality of stay is ultimately your goal when working in the hospitality industry, but that doesn’t mean you should slave away removing stains from sheets and replacing your items every week. With beds, we recommend investing in a contract bed, which is much more hardwearing than a traditional domestic bed, as the pocket-sprung edging provides extra support when visitors repeatedly sit down on it. Add pillow & mattress protectors, too, to avoid any UQS (unidentified questionable stains) from ruining your items.
7. In case of emergency
Above all else on your list of holiday home essentials, putting products in place to ensure your guests’ safety should always take priority. No one wants to wander aimlessly down unfamiliar hallways, in pitch black, in search of the bathroom during the middle of the night, and in case of an emergency power surge, precautions should be taken to guarantee the safety of your guest. We recommend adding a motion sensor light to your hallway, which doubles up as a torch when disconnected from the power source.
8. You might need...
On the opposite end of 'emergencies', designating a cupboard to provide extra supplies and things often forgotten could save the day just as much. We recommend always having a selection of spare pillows, blankets, nappies, toothbrushes, toothpaste and even phone chargers.
We offer a variety of amenity kits, which make a perfect addition to a welcome hamper, or alternatively, look great alongside complimentary toiletries.
9. Finishing touches & soft furnishings
Though the whole point of a self-catering property is to be a sort of escape from daily life for your guests, you still want to create that ‘lived in’ feel. Elements of personalisation, such as trinkets, fresh flowers, books and soft furnishings will help to bring some warmth and cosiness to your holiday home, while still fitting everyone’s tastes.
10. Kitchen supplies
A huge part of staying at a self-catering property is just that, catering for yourself. So what good would a holiday home be without the fittings, fixtures and supplies one might need to cook a pretty decent meal? For your guests, having the ability to cook for themselves is a great way to save on money rather than eating out for every meal, so make this as easy as you can for them by providing everything one might need in the kitchen department. This means providing an oven, microwave, hob, cooking and baking utensils, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, casserole dishes and mixing bowls – to mention but a few essentials!
You might be thinking, though, surely these items will need constant replenishment (where DO all the teaspoons go?) but have no fear – we’ve got you covered! For the items that might suffer the most wear and tear, such as our Judge Vista draining pan sets, you will receive a 25 year guarantee for use in a self-catering environment, while our Pyrex collection has a guarantee of 10 years.
Obviously, this is not an extensive list, but simply more of a starting point of things you should remember to provide. In order to gain a greater understanding of what might be missing – or even what you’re doing well – have you tried staying in your property yourself? That way you can try cooking in the kitchen, sleeping in the bedrooms, test out all the fittings and fixtures, to really see it from a guest’s perspective. If you’re worried about being a little bit biased, ask your friends and family to stay instead.