In 2017, The Yorkshire Dales National Park received 3.85 million visitors. If you have ever visited The Dales, or are lucky enough to live there, then we don’t need to tell you why renting a holiday cottage in Yorkshire is a popular choice for UK holidaymakers.
Jo Croft owns a 5-bedroomed 17th century barn conversion in the Wharfe Valley, near Ilkley. She’s been letting the property out to holidaymakers for the past 19 months and has recently been awarded with both AirBnB Superhost status and a TripAdvisor Award of Excellence. We wanted to ask Jo a few questions about owning a holiday rental in this glorious part of the UK. Here is what she had to say:
What do you think makes people want to visit the Yorkshire Dales?
Without a doubt, it’s the beautiful scenery. The friendly people and the excellent pubs are just a bonus!
Your holiday rental can accommodate 10 guests. This must involve a great deal of cleaning and preparation. How long does it take you to prepare for a booking?
The work is split between two of us but with all the cleaning to do, beds to make up and laundry to take to the launderette, it takes us around 7 hours. I also squeeze in a trip to Bettys if Ilkley to make sure my new arrivals have some great Yorkshire treats to enjoy when they arrive.
What’s the furthest someone has travelled to stay at your property?
We get guests from all over the UK and Europe but I should imagine my guests from South Africa had had the longest journey!
Do most of your guests leave your property as they find it? Have you ever had any damage to the property?
I have had damage a couple of times. The most recent time was purely by accident – the guest burnt the carpet with the iron (there is an ironing board!) but they informed me immediately so I could fix it before my next guest arrived. The other time was when I had a film crew renting the property. They stole items, damaged others and left The Barn in an awful state. I was very naive at the time but I now ensure I take a deposit which I don’t refund if I find my property has been damaged. It won’t happen again…I hope!
On the whole my guests have looked after the property. There is always a lot of cleaning to do but you expect that.
What places do you recommend to guests for day trips?
I tend not to meet my guests unless there is a problem and they require assistance. We leave guests a selection of leaflets for local attractions and we post recommendations on our blog. We’re right near the Cow & Calf rocks, which is always a hit, and Ilkley itself is a great little place to explore. Most of my guests enjoy walks through the Dales and visit nearby places such as Haworth and Skipton.
What do you think are the most important things you can provide to guests as a host?
Cleanliness, comfort and great communication. I always make myself available to guests and do whatever I can to make their stay as enjoyable as possible. If they need me to arrange some little extras or want an early check-in, I always oblige. Most people only get one holiday. whether it’s a holiday cottage in Yorkshire, a cruise on the Med or a short visit to the seaside, they generally work hard to pay for it. The whole experience should be as stress-free as possible and I do whatever I can on my part to ensure that.
To learn more about The Barn at Ilkley or to make a reservation, please visit the website: www.thebarn-ilkley.co.uk