While we did not charge any of our employees, friends or family to use our holiday home, we did gain an interesting insight into the subletting process. Things like managing reservations and avoiding double bookings are all part and parcel of subletting, and were things that we had to deal with.
To help manage this, we invested in a master diary, into which we entered all relevant dates, including those of our own usage.
The problem is, the best weekends are always the ones that are in the most demand, particularly during seasonal events like the IOW Festival and Cowes Week. To combat this, we ran the diary on a first come/first served basis, and made sure it was always kept bang up to date.
In all honesty, this is a bit of a hassle. People being the indecisive creatures they are, we found that many users changed their plans - and consequently, their holiday dates - at the last minute. Also, we had the responsibility of ensuring a smooth handover of keys, which wasn't always straightforward.
It's definitely worthwhile getting a few different sets of keys cut, so new arrivals can be given keys in advance rather than waiting for the previous occupants to return them.
We also had a few issues with people booking and then not turning up. If we were subletting properly, we would have asked for a deposit, which would have ensured that this did not happen. It is hugely inconveniencing when people do this, particularly when there are other people who want to use the unit.
Based on this experience, we would recommend using the park's own management services to sublet your caravan. They are well versed in the different processes, and have the resources necessary to effectively oversee the subletting.
They will charge you a hefty commission, but it is worth weighing up. For the hassle it will save you, it may be a small price to pay.
As the first year drew to a close, we realised that the ownership experience was definitely for us. We had passed the test and decided that the ownership lifestyle was something we had grown accustomed to.
With this in mind, we started thinking about potential upgrades in the future. We would like a model with a pre-installed veranda and better storage solutions, so this is definitely something we would look into.
A one/two year old model, with a veranda and double glazing would be nice, as would a more luxurious interior and a flat screen TV!
We had no complaints with the pitch, so would like any new caravan unit we acquired to be sited in the same place on the park. This should be no problem.