Who doesn’t love a British seaside holiday?
Almost everyone has a fondness of going to the coast, be that as a child or making new adventures with your family in the future. The staycation trend seems to be here to stay as us Brits have fallen back in love with holidaying closer to home.
This is great news for seaside and holiday-let business owners like Martin. He is one of many FOLK2FOLK borrowers that has taken advantage of the growth in the domestic tourist industry and demand in holiday lets in Cornwall. Recently, we have seen a boom in lending to entrepreneurs like Martin to help people convert, refurbish or build properties for holiday accommodation purposes as the demand from UK tourists and abroad increases.
It’s a great example of how holiday accommodation businesses are using new finance services like FOLK2FOLK to grow. The grade II listed 12 bedroom property has been in Martin’s family since 1850 and is set amidst acres of tranquil gardens, just above the beach, with the ability to sleep up to 21 people. From the outset of starting the business Martin was confident it would be a popular property to rent and stay at.
After the house was used as a film set, Martin and his family decided it was time to turn it into a dedicated holiday-let and events venue for weddings.
“Featuring in the film really helped create a lot of press and publicity for the house as we secured several bookings as a result. A large proportion of our business now comes from repeat customers, some of whom came to stay because of the movie. Our guests fall in love with the house immediately as the location, views of the sea and access to the beach below are outstanding. We are grateful that people want to come back each year.”
The property also has a number of smaller cottages as well as a car park that feeds the town’s beach. Martin was keen to monetise and develop this into an additional income stream. By creating more bedrooms across the property, Martin was keen to let individual rooms as well as cottages, maximising his assets to let. This allows multiple guests to stay at the same time but having equal privacy. Martin appreciates not everyone wants to rent a 12 bedroom house but families may require 2 rooms or a smaller private cottage for their stay. This means the house can then run as large B&B as multiple guests can stay at any one time.
“It’s about offering choice and flexibility to our guests. It’s important they feel comfortable when making the booking and ultimately want to rebook for next year. We appreciate that everyone’s holiday time is valuable.”
At the time of setting up the business Martin had some finance associated with the property which he was keen to refinance at the same time using some of the loan to expand and develop the property. Investing in the pay and display car park was also a priority. Martin found that his commercial borrower was unable to help in his plans as they needed to see more income before lending him the additional money required.
After visiting his bank at Lloyds, they referred Martin to FOLK2FOLK to help finance his plans. Martin met with FOLK2FOLK earlier this year taking out a two-year fixed interest-only loan. This helped refinance and use the additional funds to refurbish the cottages and set up the car parking meters.
“The loan from FOLK2FOLK and its lenders has enabled me to speed up the refurbishments. This means I can build my business faster and increase my income to maximise the months left in 2017, putting us in a strong position for 2018 and beyond.”
“Having the car park meters in place is a relief as it means I know that there is a regular income coming direct from that asset as it is now a self-sufficient part of my business.”
“Dealing with FOLK2FOLK was very straightforward, simple and refreshing to deal with as I had certainty within a day of applying. The funds came a couple of weeks later and it was reassuring to know that decisions were made based on common sense and a large degree of trust instead of dealing with difficulties I tended to get from the bank.”
Martin is now fully booked for the rest of the year with 46 weeks out of 52 in 2018. The long-term goal is to have 20 working bedrooms at any one time with rates from £100 a night as well as the self-run beach car park providing very good revenues for the business.