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When is this required:

If your proposal involves a new development for purposes of tourist accommodation then you will need to provide supporting information in the form of a business case.  The case must cover the following points:

  • the proposal represents a sustainable rural tourism development;
  • the business is commercially and financially viable (which is defined as the ability to compete effectively with competitors and to make a profit); and
  • That you can demonstrate a need for this development on this particular site (evidence of demand and how your offer differs from nearby competitors)

What information is required:

The following are suggested areas to cover in your business case, with examples of supporting evidence/information you could include:

The basic areas that need to be addressed in the supporting business case for all planning applications are:


Write this section last. The purpose of this section is to summarise the key points from your business plan so anyone reading it, understands it from the beginning. You should include:

  • Business summary (about your business)
  • Business aims (within the next 5 years)
  • Financial summary (expected breakeven point and profit goals by year 5)


This section provides the context for your business proposal.

  • What is the history behind the proposal? Is there an existing under-used or disused building that you are seeking to redevelop? Tell us about any problems or opportunities this proposal is seeking to solve.
  • Background to the proposal (i.e. is this part of an expansion of an existing business or is this a new commercial venture)
  • What accommodation / service are you planning to provide?

Running the Business

  • What skills and experience can you bring to running the business?
  • What expertise or skills will you need to buy in or employ?

Benefits to the Local Economy

  • Will the business provide new paid employment? If so, please
  • Are they any other proven wider benefits to the local economy? E.g. formal link-ups with other local businesses, projected use of other retail, hospitality and tourism businesses in the area, signposting to other local businesses.
  • Will it provide greater financial sustainability to an existing business on the site (farm diversification etc.)?


You must include evidence of research to show how you know your business proposal is needed. Refer to local and national tourism strategies and policies where appropriate.

Evidence of demand

How do you know there is a demand for your business in this location? If you have received enquiries, include approximate figures within a given time period. Examples of evidence could include:

  • Survey of consumer demand
  • Internet search on other businesses providing a similar service/product
  • Information about demand
  • Information from national bodies / service industry leaders
  • Demonstrate that the need is not met by existing provision 

Competitor analysis

  • What other holiday-let businesses operate in the area (it is useful to include at least a 5mile radius).
  • How will your proposal differ from other local tourism providers in the area? What are the distinguishing features of your proposal? Do you have a Unique Selling Point (USP)? Please note: offering the same product level for cheaper prices over competitors is not recommended. You will need to state how your proposal meets an identified gap or demand in the market. 


Here, you need to tell us the specifics about your proposal.

What is your product?

Consider the location, level of offer and guest experience. Each level of product offer has an important place in the economy and affects the income/expenses you can expect for your holiday let. Use your competitor analysis to determine gaps in the market and decide what level of offer you wish to provide. Each of these levels can be delivered to a quality standard.

Economy Holiday Let

This product offer provides the basis essentials for overnight accommodation at low-budget experiences ideal for touring/walking holidays.

  • Basic bedroom facilities (bed, clothes, storage)
  • Basic bathroom/washing facilities (toilet, sink, shower or bath) that could be for private or shared use
  • Basic kitchen facilities (fridge, sink, kettle, oven, microwave)

Standard Holiday Let

This product offer is the minimum most visitors will expect when booking a self-catering holiday let.  It provides an enjoyable holiday experience at a medium level budget.

  • Standalone holiday unit with separate guest access
  • Bed lines provided
  • Towels provided
  • Parking nearby either private or on-street for at least one vehicle
  • Kitchen facilities (oven, cooking equipment and utensils)
  • Laundry facilities (iron and ironing board, washing line/clothes horse)
  • Welcome pack for guests with information about places to visit, emergency numbers, local eateries)
  • Basic essentials (enough for first day) provided e.g. toilet roll, washing-up liquid/dishwasher tablets, bin bags, clothes pegs 

Premier Holiday Let 

Premier accommodation offers additional value to guests.  It provides a quality holiday experience at additional cost, with at least free of the following expected:

  • Private and peaceful accommodation in a detached holiday unit located away from busy roads, close neighbours or noisy businesses
  • Allocated parking (either nearby or onsite) for one or more vehicle
  • Pub/Restaurant within one mile
  • Accessible facilities (such as downstairs bedroom and bathroom with wide doorways and level/ramp access for wheelchairs)
  • Private outdoor space with garden
  • Laundry facilities (washing machine and tumble drier)
  • Kitchen facilities (dishwasher)
  • Bathroom/wash facilities (hairdryer and at least master bedroom to have en-suite)
  • Welcome hamper with homemade or locally sources treats such as cake, wine, milk
  • Entertainment facilities such as TV, free secure WiFi,, board games, puzzles, books, DVDs
  • Partnership or discounted offers with local attractions or eateries
  • Seasonal touches such as decorations at Christmas

Luxury Holiday Let 

Luxury accommodation provides an enhanced guest experience; the “wow” factor.  It offers everything expected for standard and premier accommodation at premium prices with at least four of the following expected:

  • Quality location with scenic views
  • Private/allocated onsite parking for two or move vehicles
  • Private outdoor space with garden and facilities such as patio, fire-pit, barbecue
  • Quality interior design and furnishings such as Egyptian Cotton bed linen, comfortable mattresses, statement artwork pieces, plush towels and sumptuous velvet cushions
  • High-tech gadgets and entertainment equipment such as free TV packages (e.g. Netflix), games consoles, DAB radio, Bluetooth speakers, light dimmers, remote-control heating
  • Leisure facilities such as hot tub, swimming pool, private gym, games room cinema roof, sauna, reading nook
  • Open fire or log burner
  • Skylight for stargazing
  • Kitchen gadgets such as a coffee machine, dishwasher, food processor, juicer, Range/AGA cooker
  • Bathroom extras such as luxury toiletries, robe and slippers, bath with Jacuzzi or roll-top bath
  • VIP passes to local attractions
  • All essentials supplied for duration of booking 


At any of the product levels to provide a unique guest experience to distinguish you from nearby competitors, you may wish to offer specialist accommodation.  Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Pet friendly
  • Autism friendly
  • Nudist
  • LGBT only
  • Religious retreats
  • Woodland/Lakeside/Nature retreats
  • Sports/Leisure/Fishing holidays
  • Astrotourism (stargazing) experiences
  • Wildlife or farm holidays (with farm/animal experiences such as petting, feeding, milking)
  • Wellness retreats (e.g. yoga/pilates, crystal healing, fitness camps)
  • Arts and Crafts retreats (writing, art, photography holidays)
  • Large houses (country houses/manors) for 20+ guests suitable for birthday/wedding parties
  • Digital blackspot getaways 


Glamping is “glamourous camping” and offers minimalist accommodation with a high quality finish and unique touches often for all level of budgets.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to glamping units.  They take many forms from safari tents, shepherd’s huts, historic huts, treehouses and many more! At their level, they would normally include a bed and bed-linen and a toilet either within the unit or nearby.  However, glamping units vary in size and style and facilities provided depend on the guest experience being offered.

What is your target audience?

  • Who is your target audience? (have you identified a particular market niche/demographic you’re targeting)
  • How are you going to meet your target audience’s needs? (Please be specific. If you want to target a particular market, such as “high quality”, “eco”, “dog-friendly”, “family orientated”, “older couples”, please explain what you will be doing or providing to meet that need). 


We would expect to see connections to your product offer/specialism in the design statement. For example, if you are targeting walkers/cyclists you would need to consider places to wash/store walking boots and store bikes. If your property is marketed as pet-friendly, does the design include a covered area (such as a porch or shelter) to wash/dry the dog-off from a walk before entering the unit. Consider the extra touches to the design and finish that your target audience would expect to see or would make their experience more positive. 


Is this a sustainable business idea? Please include a financial forecast showing how your business will be commercially viable. 

When planning your financial forecast, research the latest guidance regarding occupancy and profit margins. For example, we would not expect you to achieve high occupancy in your first year of trading. You should plan for a high-end goal of between 50-70% occupancy by year 5. It is possible (subject to fluctuations in the market and wider economic factors) to achieve higher than this but for your financial forecasts, this should be your upper goal. Any higher occupancy will be a bonus. 

Please remember to allow time to close for bookings for maintenance. 

Please bear in mind that although in 2021 the British tourism and staycation market received a boost of demand resulting from the pandemic, we don’t expect this to last. Therefore, remember to include any contingencies that you have made to plan for a reduced market. 

Have you identified all business costs (including start-up and ongoing/maintenance costs)? 

What is your projected income and when will the business break even and start to make a profit? 

What assumptions have you made when calculating your projected turnover? eg expected occupancy rates, seasonal variations in pricing etc. 

Have your calculations been based on any sectoral/specialist advice? 

What is the lifetime for the current offer before it will need replacing/updating? 

How many weeks throughout the year will your business be available for (eg is it seasonal or all-year round)?

We would expect to see connections to your product offer/specialism in the financial forecast. For example, if your holiday-let is pet-friendly, you need to consider additional cleaning expenses.

When calculating your projected net income/profit, you should allow for between 40-50% of your income to cover expenses. There are several unseen expenses. We recommend you research expected costs online. However, these are some that might be included: 

  • Changeover costs (cleaning, laundry and linen, welcome packs)
  • Utilities and subscriptions (gas, electric, water, broadband, TV licence, TV subscriptions such as Netflix, annual parking permits, refuse collection (trade waste)
  • Property maintenance (gardening, window cleaning, unexpected costs and repairs, annual maintenance and servicing)
  • Furniture and décor (allow an annual budget for updating and replacing worn-out furniture)
  • Advertising (any holiday let or booking agent fees, website and email host, other advertising expenses)
  • Insurance
  • Business Rates
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping expenses
  • Annual Safety Checks (such as gas safety check, PAT testing, Fire risk assessment including alarm and extinguisher checks)
  • Miscellaneous 


How do you intend to tell others about your business? Remember to include any advertising and promotion costs in your financial forecast. 

In addition to your main advertising channels, don’t forget to join the Visit Mid Devon network, promote your business on the Visit Mid Devon website and receive tourism-related business news. Website listings are currently free for all leisure and tourism businesses in Mid Devon. 

Visit Mid Devon aims to promote the leisure and tourism offer in Mid Devon. The website provides useful information for visitors before and during their stay here including: things to do, places to visit, where to eat out, local events and much more. It is important for all accommodation businesses in Mid Devon to act as ambassadors for the region. As such, it would be great to engage with you and support your offer to visitors and through you working with us to signpost this information to your guests.

Advertise With Us - Visit Mid Devon 


We are happy to talk through your ideas with you. The Economic Development Team can be contacted at 

If you need more in depth advice or support in developing your business proposal, please contact our business support service the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.


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