Letting agencies: full management, or marketing and bookings only

Once you’ve made the decision to get a professional holiday lettings agency on board to help with your Cornwall holiday home, you need to decide how much involvement they should have. Holiday rental management generally takes two forms: full management or marketing and booking administration only. Both have their pros and cons for holiday let owners as we explore in this article.

Full management

Under the terms of full management for your Cornish holiday let your chosen company will basically look after all aspects of the property. From marketing the property, booking the first guest and cleaning the house before they arrive to being on hand during their stay and cleaning after they leave. Full property management services also include taking money for booking, maintenance services and dealing with guest complaints.

Among the benefits of going for full management are:


Putting your Cornish holiday let entirely in the hands of a management company makes sense if you don’t live locally or have little time to deal with the property yourself. Having someone professional on hand and near your holiday let can save a lot of time and stress for you.

Peace of mind

Full holiday let management also gives you peace of mind. No need to worry about the lawn being overgrown or buying a new kettle because the old one has broken. You can rest assured that guest emergencies will be dealt with in real time. But as is the case in the previous point, you need to ensure the company is providing a full service and overseeing everything.

However, even if you’ve chosen an utterly reliable and comprehensive management service there are still downsides to full property management:

Lack of full control

A full holiday let management company may require that your property is available to let for a minimum number of weeks a year. They may also demand that it remains free during high season (Christmas, Easter and the summer) to ensure maximum bookings. This curtails use of the property by you and your family. If you’ve bought a Cornish property to use for your own holidays as well as rentals full management services may not allow you to do both. Or you may find yourself holidaying in low season (or elsewhere).

Higher fees

Full management inevitably comes with a price. Expect to pay at least 35% commission on every booking with the costs rising depending on how comprehensive your management package is. The price may of course be more than worth it in terms of peace of mind and logistics.

Marketing and administration services

Rather than going for full management you may prefer to concentrate your budget on the letting agent securing bookings and therefore generating income. Some property management companies provide marketing and administration services.

Marketing includes advertising your property to potential guests via the widest range of channels possible. These include a dedicated website, publications, PR, and social media networks.

The administration side takes care of all enquiries (real-time answers as far as possible), bookings (including avoiding the dreaded double-bookings) and money collection. This part of holiday let management also includes handling paperwork and keeping all properties on the books abreast with changes in local and national legislation. In short, all the paperwork.

Like full management, this option too comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages.

Masters of their trade

The best property management companies providing marketing services know their location like no other. This has benefits both for holiday let owners – the company can advise on how to increase the appeal of your property – and for guests since they have insider knowledge on what people look for in a holiday home locally. The company can therefore set up optimum marketing tools to attract the right audience to your holiday let.

Administrative tasks also require considerable skill. Being able to stay on top of paperwork, organise bookings and payment schedules, needs efficiency and experience.


Putting your Cornish holiday let in the hands of a marketing company allows you more flexibility with your property. They generally impose few restrictions on how often you use the property yourself.

Less expensive and more profit potential

As you’d expect, this service comes cheaper than full management. Most companies charge around 20% commission on confirmed bookings. And with comprehensive marketing promoting your property to a wider and more engaged audience you can expect more bookings and therefore more income.

But having someone in charge of marketing and administration only does come have its disadvantages. They include:

Who does the cleaning and maintenance?

This option obviously doesn’t include the hands-on practical side of a property let, i.e. the cleaning, maintenance and help with guest emergencies. Depending on your location and availability (and willingness!) you can take on this part yourself or find staff locally to it for you. In our experience, this isn’t difficult and we have many holiday let owners who employ locals to clean and maintain their properties.

Whether you go for full management services for your Cornish holiday let or marketing and administration only ultimately depends on you and your particular circumstances. If you would like to find out how Cornish Traditional Cottages’ extensive experience and specialist local knowledge can benefit you and your holiday let, get in touch. And remember, we’ve lived here and loved it for over 50 years so we know what we’re talking about!