North Devon, United Kingdom, 2023-Apr-25 — /Travel PR News/ — Recently, it was announced that second homeowners in popular UK holiday destinations could be facing a 100 percent council tax increase, as local councils have been granted the right to enforce the action.
The hike has become a source of controversy, with homeowners claiming this will negatively impact them, whilst the majority of locals believe the measure is necessary to protect their communities.
Regardless, it is more important than ever for second homeowners to support local communities and businesses as the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact the tourism industry.
Harry Roberts, Managing Director at My Favourite Cottages, reveals how holiday homeowners can better support communities and improve relationships with locals.
Understand each other’s circumstances
Second homeowners and local business owners each have unique circumstances that they should take time to understand.
Nikki, who owns a holiday home in North Devon, revealed that the tax hike would likely affect her business as she only rents out one property, unlike other businesses which own multiple homes.
As a long-time resident in Combe Martin, Nikki purchased her second home there as a personal investment and a way to bring tourism to her community, but now faces losing a significant amount of income.
She said: “The increase in the cost of living has obviously created some struggles as there is clearly a nosedive in holiday let bookings this year, this impacting locals who otherwise rely on tourism trade for their own livelihoods.”
Meanwhile, Josh Surridge, 26, who owns Coastal Adventures in North Devon, says that his business benefits from visitors during the busy seasons, but understands locals’ difficulties with the high house and rent prices in his area.
He said: “It is difficult how expensive property is to buy and rent in the area for local people.”
Therefore, it’s important for local businesses and homeowners to communicate their issues and suggest ways they can support each other to create mutually beneficial relationships.
Promote local businesses
The easiest way for second homeowners to support locals is to advertise local businesses to their guests.
A study found that word-of-mouth is particularly effective in struggling tourist destinations.
Nikki supplies her guests with promotional materials to encourage them to visit local shops and attractions.
The homeowner said: “We have a selection of flyers promoting other local businesses that we put on display in the cottage so guests can see what places they can visit and enjoy whilst staying with us.”
The promotion can positively impact businesses like Coastal Adventures, which regularly works with second homeowners.
Josh said: “We do offer a discount code with some air b and b guests if the owners have contacted us and asked for this. They tend to add it into the welcome packs.”
This is not only hugely beneficial to drive guests to visit local businesses, but it can help visitors to familiarise themselves with the local area and its amenities and attractions for a unique experience.
A report on local labour markets concluded that many coastal communities have fewer job vacancies and fewer opportunities for locals.
But while there might be fewer opportunities, supporting the local economy by hiring locals will help to funnel profit and involve more of the community in attracting tourism.
Plus, locals better understand community needs of the community and could prove more helpful and beneficial to local businesses.
Nikki currently enlists the help of a local resident to assist with the cleaning and changeovers at her property between visitors- and says that due to this employment, the local is “very supportive” of her holiday let business.
Creating opportunities for members of the community can help build strong relationships between second homeowners and locals and help them develop a more positive attitude and understanding of how the holiday rental industry can support the local economy.
Use local produce and services
Local businesses suffered significantly through the pandemic, and some are still struggling to survive as the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact consumer spending habits.
A study found that 79 percent of respondents believe it’s important for Brits to buy locally sourced produce, and 42 percent of consumers would prefer to shop locally due to the unique products or services available.
Using the services of local businesses and buying their products instead of using big brands, helps financially support them.
Nikki buys local produce to bake homemade bread ahead of guest arrivals and includes snacks and biscuits from local businesses instead of generic brand items.
She said: “I obtained a hygiene certificate from the FSA, and as this was graded a 5/5, I was delighted to be able to bake my own bread for our guests, all wrapped up in a home-sewn towel with a nautical pattern and a label listing the ingredients and allergens, a bottle of something, snacks, biscuits, and coffee and tea making necessities. I feel that if the welcome pack is well-prepared and doesn’t just contain a bargain supermarket cake or a bottle of plonk, the guests feel valued to owners.”
And local business owner Josh admitted that a large proportion of his customer base is due to the second homeowners in his area.
He said: “I know a lot of our customers are second homeowners so of course they bring in money and tourism to the area.”
Leading by example and stocking up on local produce or kitting out their home with locally sourced items will put money in the pockets of local business owners and helps guests get an authentic feel for the community and its values.