Hygge – how can it help you create the perfect rural retreat?

Nov 16, 2020comprehensive marketing, Dusk shots, smart marketing, Still photography

What is hygge?

Picture this, it’s a Sunday morning and it’s snowing. It’s absolutely freezing outside, but you’ve got nowhere you need to be. The fire is on/the heating is all the way up. You’re wrapped in a cosy blanket relaxing on the sofa, looking out of the window. To make things even better, you’re drinking a lovely warm cup of cocoa with cream and marshmallows. That emotion you feel is hygge (hoo-ga). Hygge is a Danish concept, stemming from the 1800s. It defines the specific emotion you feel when you are truly content and cozy. It’s the idea of enjoying the small things in life. Moreover, enjoying a more natural lifestyle. For instance, this means turning the TV off, putting your mobile away, and opting for things that enrich you.

Whilst hygge stems from some pretty old Scandi concepts, it became popular in the western world in 2016. Hygge is in Collins Dictionary’s top 10 words of 2016. It took 2nd place, only after Brexit. This shows a real trend towards people wanting to step back from the madness of life. Generally, hygge encourages people to appreciate life and take in the small things. In addition, number 10 on Collins Dictionary’s list was JOMO (joy of missing out). This perfectly sums up the desire to take life slower, perhaps missing out on that party, gig, or 5k run, and appreciate yourself, nature, and family.

Extensions of hygge

As aforementioned, hygge is a broad concept. Generally, it means taking time for yourself and leading a meaningful life. There are, of course, extensions of these concepts. These extensions are extremely relevant for your holiday rental property, as we will come on to discuss.

Be kind to yourself

Hygge generally hints towards self-care. Taking time out of ‘normal’ life. Stop counting calories, forget about your work emails, and focus on what you need. Similarly, have that extra slice of cake and take that extra hour in bed. Hygge provides an all-important escape from life. In other words, much needed respite from reality. This is a wonderful concept to weave into your marketing efforts for your holiday rental property. Encourage true self-care and relaxation.

No such thing as bad weather

This is a pretty interesting concept, especially given hygge’s origins. Denmark is known for some pretty intense winters, but hygge romanticises them. Hygge teaches us that bad weather is merely an excuse to wrap and stay cozy. However, it’s important to note that this concept is not exclusive to the weather. This can be translated to most ‘blips’ in life. Is the power out? Hygge! Is your WIFI broken? Hygge! You see where we’re going with this …


The latter half of the 2010s saw people take a more serious approach to mental health. Above all, society is progressively becoming more aware of mindfulness and its importance. Hygge emphasises the importance of mindfulness and enjoying life. Again, this is a great concept to sell your property. Do you have a rural property that provides plenty of space to clear your head and get away from normality? If yes, be sure to shout about this in your marketing.

Why hygge?

So far you might be thinking, “that sounds lovely, but how is this relevant to my business? How will this increase my profits/occupancy?” As you can imagine, now more than ever, people are looking for relaxing staycations. This is due to a number of factors. Namely, Covid-19 and Christmas. Tis’ the season to be… cosy in a rural property (when lockdown rules and the tier systems allow)? Covid-19 regulations have made it clear that people should avoid other people. This has led to more people booking UK staycations, especially in rural areas. Chances are if you already have a rural or semi-rural property you have already laid the foundations for hygge but just didn’t realise. Taking it one step further, to actually advertise yourself as a property that promotes hygge concepts will resonate with potential guests’ desires. In turn, leading to more bookings.

That feeling we described at the start of this blog, cosiness and contentment, is a wonderful feeling. It fills you with joy. Giving your guests the tools to feel that way will leave super-positive association with their stay fresh in their mind. They’ll remember their stay, and similarly your property, as the ultimate retreat. Bringing them back year-on-year to replicate that joy.

At the time of writing this blog (10/11/2020), most of the UK is in lockdown to some measure. Don’t let this deter you from finessing your offering. If anything, now is the perfect time to consider how potential guests will view your property after lockdown/amidst a global pandemic. Whilst winter only lasts a few months, wintery weather can last most of the year in the UK. If marketed well, you can use this to your advantage.

Hygge and your holiday rental property

We’ve created a short 3 step guide to help you incorporate hygge into your holiday rental business.

  1. Provide cosy items to organically encourage people to adapt to hygge. You don’t have to create a playbook to describe how to do everything, just give guests the tools they need. You can provide things like wood for the fire, blankets, cocoa, and marshmallows. Of course, you should keep Covid-19 in mind, If you provide blankets, be sure to wash them between visits.
  2. Providing wellie boots and rain jackets is a lovely touch to any holiday property. It fits in well with the idea of ‘no such thing as bad weather’. This encourages your visitors to put their electronics down and get outside and enjoy nature. Of course, it’s not for you to tell people how to enjoy their holiday, and that’s not what you’re doing here. Same as providing blankets, wood, and cocoa – you’re giving people the tools they need to make the decision themselves.
  3. Be sure to promote anything extra you add. Mindfulness and hygge are excellent selling points. In fact, alongside your other USPs*, this could provide the competitive advantage you need to stand out. Hiring a photographer to take some photos that exemplify this USP is extremely useful. Moreover, high-quality photographs will be great marketing tools for your website and social media.

(*Unique Selling Points)