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Owner advisor: Successful letting of holiday apartments

Vacation Apartments & Holiday Homes

Owner Advice


advisor for owners
© Rainer Sturm /
After decades of experience in renting holiday apartments, we would now like to share our insights with you. Here you will find tips and tricks on how to rent your holiday apartment most effectively. Follow our advice to make your holiday or that of your guests flow as stress-free as possible. 


A holiday apartment should fundamentally include a bedroom, bathroom and a kitchen. In a guest apartment the kitchen is not absolutely necessary though. The furnishing of your apartment doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be tastefully selected. As well as the visually welcoming aspect, cleanliness and practicality are also important. If you are letting a holiday apartment for six people than you should of course have 6 places to sleep, a large table with 6 chairs and enough kitchenware and space for all the guests. 

When furnishing your holiday accommodation, put yourself in the position of your guests: A bedroom should be able to be darkened. Therefore you should also put up thick curtains that shut out the light in a living room with a sofa bed. Provide some sort of decoration to give an individual and comfortable feel to the apartment. One or two house plants can work wonders. To create a special welcoming atmosphere for your guests, you could provide some tea, coffee, milk and sugar.



·  Sofa bed and / or bed

·  Cupboards / chests of drawers

·  Dining table with sufficient chairs

·  Big mirror

·  Wardrobe

·  Storage space in the bathroom

·  Sufficient towel rails

·  Television table

·  Coffee table


Basic Equipment

·  Oven and hob and/or microwave

·  Toaster, kettle, coffee machine

·  Large plates, breakfast plates, soup bowls, mugs, glasses, wine glasses, cutlery, peeler, set of knives, chopping board, pots and pans, bowls, egg cups

·  Can openers, kitchen scissors, corkscrew

·  Ladle, egg whisk, salad servers

·  Tea towels (unless otherwise agreed)

·  Towels (unless otherwise agreed)

·  Bed linen (unless otherwise agreed)

·  Bath mat (unless otherwise agreed)



·  Cloths and cleaning things

·  Toilet paper

·  Washing-up liquid, dish washing brush, sponge and dish cloths

·  Dishwasher tabs

·  Salt and pepper, vinegar, oil and potentially tea and coffee


Additional equipment

·  Television

·  DVD-player

·  Stereo

·  Internet connection

·  Dishwasher

·  Espresso machine

·  Washing machine and drying facilities

·  Clothes horse

·  Ironing board and iron

·  Hairdryer

·  Parking space and place to store bikes

·  Toys

·  Board games

·  Books and CDs


Advertisement and Management

If you want to rent your holiday apartment regularly then it is advisable to offer it through several portals on the internet. Your own website is not enough by itself. The services offered by different portals include everything from simple advertisement to round-the-clock care for your guests. If you live close to the holiday accommodation, you can take over the management of it yourself. If you have bought the holiday apartment to use as accommodation for your own holidays, then you can’t be there every time guests are arriving and departing. In this case you will need one or more reliable people to be in charge of the handing over the keys, caretaking service, handling of payments, signing of contracts and cleaning. If you can’t find a portal offering this service, then you should ask other landlords of holiday accommodation in the area if they can recommend anyone.



Meaningful pictures of holiday apartments are very important to be able to rent it successfully. Take photos of every room and also of any special features that set your holiday accommodation apart from the rest. If it is located on a particularly quiet and green street you should show this. Is the view from the balcony particularly beautiful? Then take a picture of it. Don’t cheat with the photos or the written information about your holiday accommodation, because if it doesn’t live up to the expectations of the guests, they won’t come back again and they will give a bad evaluation. This could happen on a portal in which you offer your holiday accommodation or in independent internet forums.  Therefore you should describe your holiday accommodation accurately without using unnecessary adjectives to make it sound better.



You should take care not be confusing when giving the costs for staying in your holiday accommodation. Compare similar offers. The better the location and the more comfortable the furnishing, the higher the price can be. However don’t set the price so high that no one will rent your holiday accommodation.



So that your potential guests can book successfully, you should display a regularly updated availability calendar on your own website and on any portals through which you offer your holiday apartment. Confirm the bookings promptly so that potential guests don’t look around elsewhere in the meantime. If you look after the management of the accommodation yourself, then it is best to arrange when the keys will be handed over and how the process works before completing the booking. Or instruct your employees accordingly. 



As we all know, things can be misunderstood when communicated by telephone. Therefore it is useful to confirm any important information such as numbers, dates and facts agreed by telephone again by email. Indicate all accrued costs in advance by email: rent, deposit, cleaning, bed linen, towels etc.



Either you or the manager of your holiday apartment should be available by telephone a couple of hours before the handover of the keys so that guests can let you know of any delays in the arrival. Greet the guests personally and give them a clear briefing of the holiday accommodation. Have the deposit and the total cost for the booking paid directly to you. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the ID of your guests. Such security measures are standard in hotels after all. Point out the rules of the house and tell the guests where they can look these up again. Make it clear to your guests that they can and should call you if any problems arise. This way you have the chance to sort out any faults during the stay.


Rental agreement

If your holiday accommodation is booked through your own website, you should make a contract for your guests. With portals which rent holiday accommodation, the general terms and conditions are usually enough in themselves.



You or your manager should personally be there. Check the accommodation for problems immediately. If everything is as it should be then give the guests the deposit back in cash immediately. This is the legal expectation. Problems can arise when the money is transferred at a later date.



You can ask your guests as they leave if they would evaluate their stay. Explain that this helps differentiate between good and bad holiday accommodation and helps other holiday makers who are looking for holiday accommodation where everything works well.  To avoid bad evaluations you should be open and honest right from the beginning. Don’t hide anything or make things out to be better than they are. Allow guests to come to you with questions and problems. That wins the favour of the guests even if you are not always available wherever you are.



It is necessary for landlords of holiday properties to take out several insurance policies. Personal and/or public liability insurance is important so that guests are insured in your holiday accommodation. Household contents insurance covers all the costs that you or your employees have caused yourselves. Damages caused by your guests are generally paid by their insurance. Particular care is advisable with guests from abroad as the processes are harder to follow here. Therefore you should always try to get personal clarification for any damages that your guests are responsible for. This saves a lot of stress and bureaucratic costs for all involved.



All income from the renting of your holiday accommodation must be taxed. However you can save a lot of tax in certain conditions when you present all the expenses for the holiday accommodation as advertising costs.  This includes, among other things, renovation work, cleaning staff, insurance premiums, property tax, debt interest and deductions. However in this case you are not allowed to use the holiday accommodation for yourself or you can only use it for a limited period of time. For further information we recommend consulting a tax advisor.