Holiday homes are becoming an increasingly popular option for many globally. Thanks to amenities like the kitchen, dining areas, lounge areas, terraces, washing machines, and the home-away-from-home feeling they provide, more holidaymakers in the UK are also opting for it now.
Now, to the hard part. Which holiday letting agency do you list and advertise your property through? Do they have enough industry experience to handle your property? And what are their offerings?
Don't worry. We'll reveal the best holiday letting agents in the UK below to help you answer your questions and make a more informed decision.
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Houst is an Airbnb management company that connects homeowners to thoroughly vetted gussets through several top holiday let agencies. This makes Houst the biggest manager of UK holiday homes and holiday letting experts, with properties available through agencies like Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, Plum Guide, etc.
Since launching operations in 2015, we have managed over 370,000 bookings all over the UK, Ireland, and other destinations outside Europe, with an 83.1% occupancy rate and a 4.6-star rating. We have an in-house team of pricing specialists that help our partnering landlords maximise their revenue.
Although headquartered in the UK, Houst provides additional hassle free services like cleaning and housekeeping with 24/7 customer support to partners worldwide. Moreover, our services aren't limited to managing properties but also managing guests and optimising listings. Our commission fee starts at 14%, but this may vary depending on whether you opt for a digital or a full property management service.
One of the perks of Houst is that we are transparent in every sense of the word. You can always get a free estimate of what your property could earn. And all homeowners have access to a dashboard that allows them to track all their property's bookings, earnings, and activities.
Airbnb is a renowned online platform that has transformed holiday accommodation rentals. It started operation in 2007 as 'Air Bed and Breakfast' since the founders, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, provided guests with breakfast and comfortable sleeping space.
Headquartered in San Francisco, USA, it has since connected millions of landlords to holidaying individuals worldwide, reaching over 300 million nights and experiences in 2021 alone.
Indeed, Airbnb made the concept of home sharing more popular and is the largest service provider in more than 200 countries worldwide. It currently has more than 6 million listings worldwide, and in the UK alone, they have an extensive holiday lettings list with over 200,000 properties to choose from.
Undoubtedly, Airbnb is one of the best platforms to advertise your rental properties. One of the perks of letting on Airbnb is controlling your calendar. That is, you can choose to host once a year, a few weeks, or more often. However, you must interact with guests, listen to their concerns, and respond quickly to their requests to receive a high rating to possibly convert them into regulars.
Airbnb does not charge property owners for listing their property on the platform, and you can decide your rates per night. Airbnb also offers some cover for hosts; you're entitled to insurance when your property or belongings get damaged. Although Airbnb does not charge for property listing, hosts have to pay taxes. It's advisable to partner with an Airbnb management company to maximise your investment.
For more information, read our extensive guide to learn how you can optimise your Airbnb listings.
3. VRBO UK
VRBO is another prominent holiday letting agent where property owners can list various properties, including condos, castles, beach homes, barns, cabins, etc. The company has grown exponentially over the past decade and now boasts more than 100,000 listings in the UK alone.
However, unlike Airbnb, you can only list a whole house on VRBO. This means you can't list a shared space or spare room for letting, making the platform ideal for hosting families and groups planning a long-term stay. As a host, you pay a $499 annual membership fee or a 5% commission fee and 3% processing per booking.
This holiday lettings company is owned by Expedia, a renowned owner of vacation rental brands all over the world with headquarters in Texas, United States. Its association with Expedia has brought exposure to the platform and more visibility to the listings.
Don't worry if it's starting to seem overwhelming; you can easily create a VRBO account and take it from there.
Booking.com is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and offers services in over 200 countries worldwide. They may be famous for their hotel offerings, but they offer much more, including apartments, cottages, villas, and boutique camping sites.
They have an excess of 25,000 holiday homes in the United Kingdom, spanning a wide range of locations, property types, and prices between £200 and £15,000 per week. Like other top holiday rental providers, their website has active filters to help holidaymakers find what they want in no time.
Booking.com usually charges hosts a 15% commission fee on bookings a year, although this rate may vary depending on your region. The website offers guests discounts through its guest loyalty program, encouraging them to book more frequently; if you list your property on their website, you have a real shot at getting returning customers. It also has a mobile app, Pulse, so you can easily access your account.
5. Plum Guide
Plum Guide has its headquarters in London, UK. This holiday home letting agency has an impressive array of properties located anywhere you can think of, from remote villages to fast-paced urban cities, making it a top choice for most holidaymakers.
Plum Guide has a selective property vetting process and currently boasts over 2,000 properties, especially in London, Paris, and New York City. Property owners can dictate their prices per night, arrange the cleaning and maintenance, and act as hosts.
Like VRBO, Plum Guide doesn't accept shared spaces or single rooms. You can only list a complete house. As a result of its rigorous vetting process, it features more quality listings than most rental sites or agencies.
If you have a well-furnished house, Plum Guide is an excellent choice. And if you want to get the most out of your property rental listing, consider adding information about nearby amenities. Guests can filter search results using features like a parking lot, gym, hot tubs, etc.
You can list a property on Plum Guide for free, but you will be charged £300 after the first guest check-in. You'll also pay a 3% service fee per booking.
6. Homes & Villas By Marriott International
Homes & Villas was launched in 2019 and is heavily backed by Marriott International, a long-established brand that carries significant weight in the accommodation sector. Although a new entrant to the vacation rental industry, the agency is strengthening with each passing day and boasts over 2000 home listings in more than 100 destinations. It charges a 15% commission fee on cleaning fees and nightly rates minus taxes.
It's no wonder that Marriott Homes & Villas has noted significant growth in such a short span. The holiday letting agency offers some value propositions to their partners. This offer includes the following;
- Access to Marriott's exclusive distribution channels and exposure to over 150 million Bonvoy loyalty members.
- A dedicated account manager to provide hospitality best practices and help you achieve the highest performance levels.
- Discounts on several hospitality products and services, including amenities and toiletries.
- Support to acquire the home of your dreams.
Note that these offerings are only accessible to property managers. The agency works exclusively with professional property managers they have vetted. And their ideal partners are property managers managing over 50+ luxury homes. So if you are a landlord looking to partner with Marriott Homes & Villas, you should find a reputable property management company to work with.
Houst is a short-let management company that has helped homeowners over the years, managed 370,00+ listings, and generated over £112M for hosts. And we'd be happy to help you.
7. Sykes Cottages
Sykes Cottages is a holiday cottage agency partnering with over 350 holiday home management companies to help owners achieve a stress free holiday letting process. They offer both fully managed and partially managed services. This means you can let them handle the entire property or just a part if you prefer to clean and maintain your home.
They also provide partnering homeowners with a dedicated account manager, optimised property description, and insurance with a reputable UK holiday home insurer to help them maximise their income. However, they charge a 20% commission fee with VAT on the booking fee.
8. Coast & Country Cottages
This is another holiday cottage agency prominent in the UK. It has been in operation for over two decades and provides housekeeping and laundry services to holiday homes via its partnership with housekeeping companies. It currently boasts over 450 holiday homes, particularly in the South Devon Coast and countryside. Coast & Country runs as a sister holiday rental agency to Sykes Cottages.
9. Oliver's Travels
While they are headquartered in London, UK, Oliver's Travels has holiday let properties worldwide. In the UK alone, it has about 300 property listings. This holiday lettings company focuses on higher-end and luxurious properties, albeit with a few small to mid-ranged ones.
It enables homeowners to list properties on their database and market them effectively through multiple channels, such as social media or email marketing campaigns. This is particularly useful to landlords with numerous houses as it helps maximise bookings.
This letting agency is the recipient of many awards and positive reviews, so you're in capable hands. Their platform is easy to use, so if you're new to renting out a property, there isn't much of a learning curve when setting up an advert.
10. Rural Retreats
Rural Retreats is a prominent letting agency. It has more than 600 holiday-let properties in the rural areas of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. They are focused on these property markets, so you can be sure this is a holiday agency that's knowledgeable about what it takes to let your cottage in these regions.
Rural Retreats should be perfect if your idea of hosting the perfect holiday involves rural areas where guests can connect with nature and stay away from city life. The agency has been in business since the 1980s, managing properties of varying sizes, from castles to small homes in rural areas.
11. Kip Hideaways
Kip Hideaways is an excellent holiday home letting agency for landlords with houses that can accommodate 2-6 people at a time. However, this is only one criterion for partnering with them, as the agency has a critical property vetting process.
Their target customers are holidaymakers looking to have memorable experiences in uniquely-designed houses. Hence, your property must be situated in beautiful surroundings rather than the generic offerings by some hosts on many vacation rental sites. You should have a keen eye for details as you've to consider art pieces, interesting books, and thoughtful welcome packs for guests.
One of the peculiar things about Kip Hideaways is that you won't have to pay a commission fee per booking. Instead, you'd pay a small annual fee, saving a larger amount of your earnings. The agency also offers round-the-clock assistance, helpful tips, and advice to their hosts to help them make the most of their property.
12. Welcome Beyond
Welcome Beyond is a popular choice for guests and travellers who appreciate high standards and extra touches. This holiday letting agency was founded by two brothers, and they have done a good job sourcing great holiday homes through a selective process. They pay extra attention to providing unique accommodations with personality, and your property has to be welcoming and full of life to be enlisted.
13. Unique Homestays
Unique Homestays is the brainchild of Sarah Stanley, a Cornish chef who explored the world for 12 years during her travel chapter, before returning to England. If awe-inspiring locations, uniquely carved apartments, and beach houses with beautiful views are what you have to offer guests, look no further than Unique Homestays.
Let your cottage do the talking with this holiday agency, as it is popular for a collection of finely prepared properties.
They are passionate about commanding up to 100% occupancy for their hosts. So whether you are looking for guests year-round or want them to market your property while you are away, you are in good hands. Their bespoke marketing offers a flexible approach for properties listed with them.
14. Luxury Cotswold Rentals
Luxury Cotswold Rentals is a holiday lettings company owned by Nigel and Maria Stengard-Green, who started the letting agency for their own properties. Now, they have expanded to include private and luxurious houses owned by others.
If your property is in the southwestern England region of the Cotswolds, you can't go wrong partnering with Luxury Cotswold Rentals. Their listings include high-calibre properties like manors and cottages featuring swimming pools, tennis courts, gardens, etc.
The agency encourages returning customers with a Cotswold Passport that offers discounts to patrons of local businesses. This, in turn, is useful in ensuring frequent bookings.
15. Sally's Cottages
Sally's Cottages was founded in 2003, after Sally – the company's founder – had a chance conversation with a neighbour and took the opportunity to rent her first self-catering cottage. Now, as a holiday letting company, it boasts over 500 properties throughout the UK.
They offer personalised services to each holiday home owner depending on their needs and requirements. They also provide exclusive owner benefits, unrivalled marketing reach, flexibility, and guest enquiries and bookings management.
Having now read about the best holiday letting agencies in the UK, hopefully, you have been able to find what works for you. As always, you can reach out to our friendly team for inquiries and help if you're finding it difficult to start your holiday letting journey. We'll be glad to help out.
If you're looking to promote your letting more and increase booking rates, it may be worth checking out our advertisement guide, or work with a travel blogger.