( This is not useful advice on how to write a postcard.)
Having just arrived back from an eventful ten days in Scotland I’ve jotted down some points to remember for those in the holiday lettings business:
When a guest requests instructions on how to find your remote and romantic hideaway cottage, don’t direct her via a narrow road where the bridge has been closed for repairs for the past 8 weeks. The resulting 14 mile detour at the end of a long drive doesn’t make for a contented visitor.
Avoid filling the cottage with dry and dusty flower arrangements. The temptation to use them to light the fire may prove too great for your tired and chilly guest when she arrives and can’t find any kindling.
Remember to sort through all those useful leaflets on local attractions on a regular basis. A minimum of at least once a year is suggested. Guests aren’t interested in what fun they could have had if only they had been there in 2003/2004. This is particularly true if the leaflets are too shiny to light the fire.
If an open fire is a main feature, do warn your guest not to light it when a slight breeze is blowing. This will save her having to run into the garden in her nightie when the cottage fills up with smoke, or at least ensure she is wearing her best nightie and not just an old tee shirt, socks and walking boots, when she attempts to light the morning fire.
If an elderly relative leaves you a dirty old three piece suit in a will, don’t give it pride of place in your holiday cottage. ( The same can be said for a double bed, wardrobe, stained table mats etc….)
Likewise, a holiday let is not the place to store all those strange ornaments and faded dusty plastic flower arrangements left over from the last village hall table top sale.
Clean pillow cases and duvet covers do not hide an all pervading smell of stale bedding. Not all of your guests will have their own clean sleeping bags with them. Fortunately we did.
Double beds are crucial to a romantic holiday let. They aren't comfy if they dip so badly in the middle that guests are forced to hang on to the edges all night or sleep stacked up in a pile in the middle. (OK, I know that can be fun for a short while, but I need my sleep.)
Most important. Don’t just rely on the fact your cottage is situated in an outstandingly beautiful area of Scotland. An effort had been made to clean the cottage and it had a fancy microwave and washing machine, but the overall impression was so grotty that we actually considered sleeping in our tent in the garden and only using the kitchen and bathroom. The area is lovely, with huge heather moors, wonderful wildlife, secret glens and pretty villages. We even came across a couple of outstanding art galleries in the most unexpected hidden places, but we will think twice before returning to the Glenlivet area again.