The Holiday Homefront

Welcome to the April 2018 edition of The Holiday Homefront. It’s a bit of a bumper issue is this. We have found so many ‘must read articles’ over the past 4 weeks that you’ll need to relax with a cup or glass of something while you take it all in.

Main Image: Holly Tree House in Herefordshire

Pick and Choose to Read the News You Need

The Holiday Homefront is a free publication, but it will mainly appeal to anyone owning or managing holiday cottages (or planning to). It is published as and when we have a full house of interesting articles to tell you about - which is usually, but not always, once a month.

Our format is to include a title and a short snippet that conveys the purpose of the article and the benefits in store should you choose to read it in full. To read the whole story, just click on the link.

You’ll also find a copy in the News section on our website: Click here to find back issues and other holiday cottage blog articles. Please feel free to share the link with friends or on your blog or social media (especially when your cottage has a mention!)

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This month’s news

Website News

Can We Help When it Comes to Selling Your Cottage?

Every year, for one reason or another, people decide it is time to sell their holiday cottage. It is always worth selling it as a going concern because this allows you to include some ‘goodwill’ to the price based on its profitability.

We are just wondering if you would find it helpful if we added a page to the My Favourites website of holiday cottages for sale. Advertising would be free to all those with a live listing on the site. Please let us know what you think by e-mailing your answer to Rick. Any thoughts on what you feel should be included within an advert much appreciated. Read more

New Search Pages: More Opportunities to Be Found

We have added the following search category pages recently:

  • Eco Cottages
  • Coastal Cottages (properties within 5 miles of the coast)
  • Countryside Cottages
  • Waterside Cottages (any property alongside or overlooking a river, estuary, harbour, canal, or lake)
  • Small Cottages: Properties Sleeping 1-4 guests
  • Accessible Cottages: Everything from registered cottages to those with level access and ground floor bedrooms (please include details in your property description)
  • Cottages with a Hot Tub

If any of these relate to your cottage, then:

  • Log in to tick the relevant search category box so that it will be displayed on that page.
  • Amend your listing to ensure the feature or facility is included in your short and long description.
  • Doing this will help to attract lots more potential bookers to the site because the more properties listed on a search category page, the higher we will be able to get the page to rank on Google.

Thanks to all those ticking the rural and remote boxes: these pages now sit ‘above the fold’ on Page One of Google.

Photographs on My Favourite Holiday Cottages.

Some of you may have been concerned to see a note appearing in your admin area indicating that some of your photos are too small in size. Don’t Panic! Your images will still appear.

However, if you can size your images to 1920 x 1080 pixels you’ll notice the difference. See here: https://www.myfavouriteholidaycottages.co.uk/devon/bucks-mills/melinda's-holiday-cottage

As you’ll have noticed, the correctly size images really do have a much greater impact and generally result in more enquiries or click throughs to your website – always assuming you have good quality photos!

If you have images that are 700kb in size of greater, then you should be able to re-size these to 1920 x 1080 fairly easily. Below this and quality may suffer. If you’d like to know how to do this, email Rick for a copy of our cheat sheet on Re-sizing Images) You won’t need to be a techno-wizard). Read more

General

The Top 5 Self Catering Trends

From booking patterns to optimised pricing – 5 trends noted by SuperControl based on analysis of the hundreds and hundreds of holiday cottage businesses using its booking software. Understanding these is a possible route to increasing revenue from bookings.

Advertising

Google Vacation Rentals: How to Prepare Your Website

Google has been beta testing a new service which allows vacation rentals to show in accommodation searches based on best value results – which sites that charge commissions and additional booking fees, are not going to like. Sites like My Favourite Holiday Cottages, Independent Cottages and Unique Holiday Cottages that don't apply such charges look likely to benefit from higher rankings. Apparently. To be ready – here are some simple things you should do to prepare your website for this new Google service..

Marketing

How to Handle Fake Reviews

From fake news to fake reviews – such things are sadly a fact of life. Should you ever become a victim of this practice, put down that hammer and read this article from Moz -for help in finding a remedy. Moz, for the uninitiated, is a great piece of software for those who like to monitor their site traffic, page rankings, website issues that need fixing or link building.

5 Tips to Increase Income from Your Holiday Cottage

Talk about the blindingly obvious! Common sense they may be but, hand on heart, how many of these do you actively pursue in the race to get more bookings for your holiday cottage? A useful little aide memoir or excuse for a pat on one’s back?

Are You Ready to Comply with GDPR Next month?

If you haven’t heard about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) - you really should, or after the 25th May your holiday cottage business will be breaking the law.

SuperControl, that excellent online holiday cottage booking software company, explains GDPR and how to prepare for it – and they should know!!!

Website Management

8 Common Website Mistakes Revealed Via Content Audits

At My Favourite Holiday Cottages, we do our best to get our site visitors to become your site visitors using prominent web links in your advert. You could say that clickthroughs to your website are even more important and effective than an enquiry. From then on, it is down to you and your website. It may look pretty but could it be better? take a look at these 8 very sensible website mistakes find more ways to improve its performance. We did and thought it would be worth sharing.

How to Get High Quality Backlinks: 21 Strategies that Still Work

For property owners who understand the role eternal links play in boosting the ranking of your website – and helping you to reach more potential guests, this is a pretty good checklist to follow. You don’t have to do them all; just those you have the time and ability to do. Leastways, you can see some of the tactics we employ to get pages at My Favourites to the top of the rankings! Read more

Spring Cleaning: How-To Revamp and Rewrite Your Vacation Rental Listing

It is not only property that benefits from a spring clean – your adverts will as well. Read this check list of ways to improve the appeal of your property from the way you describe it in your adverts.

Guest Appeal

7 (Easy) Ways to Go Above & Beyond as a Host

And while we are on the theme of caring for your guests, here is another handy tried and tested list from Airhosta – an Air B&B Blog site. It's good common sense stuff that some of us have been doing for years. For those that have been: It is a chance to catch yourself doing something right! For those that hven't: Here’s your chance to catch up with the Jones’ and get a better return on your investment.

10 Things Guests Should Clarify Before Booking Your Holiday Cottage

An article written with your future guests in mind. However, if these are the questions they are being advised to ask you before booking, we thought you would appreciate a little advance notice so that you can have your answers ready and waiting.

Property Management

Expert Tips to Keep Your Holiday Home in Pristine Condition

For those of you that love (or need) to spring clean, you’ll love (or hate) this list. Once Easter is out of the way, take advantage of those little gaps that tend to occur between the end of the Easter holidays and the May Bank Holiday to thoroughly spring clean your holiday cottage. And if you thought you do that every week anyway – check out this list from Evolve. It demonstrates the difference between a clean property and a pristine-clean property! Fewer guest complaints all round!

Interior design

The Laws of Interior Design for Holiday Rentals.

Did you know that one of the main reasons why people rebook a cottage is because they love its interior design? An interesting illustrated article that make you realise why, unless you’re definitely going for the retro look, dated design can prove a big turn off.

Bad News

Nothing bad to tell you this month, but if you come across any scams or other things that cottage owners need to be warned about, then email details to us. Read more

Better News

Share any good news stories – or even bright ideas with the holiday cottage community to send us away with smiles on our faces. Share your news with us here

My Favourite Page One Rankings

The rise up Google's page ranks continues! Most of our site visitors now find us on Google. Since the launch of the new site design traffic numbers followed a trend that we expected – a dip in numbers as Google’s eager search bots discovered that old page addresses had disappeared to be replaced with a lot of new ones. It takes a little while for them to adjust to the change.

Since the beginning of the New Year, numbers have climbed and continue climbing. This time last year we were feeling pretty pleased with having achieved more than 150 Page One rankings on Google. As of this week we are now past 250 page one rankings and heading towards 300. This is particularly good news if your holiday cottage is:

  • Large (sleeps 8+)
  • Welcomes pets
  • A countryside cottage
  • Rural
  • Remote
  • Isolated
  • A coastal cottage
  • Sccessible for those with disabilities
  • A cottage for couples
  • Equipped with a pool or hot tub
  • Family friendly ...then more people will be finding your cottage via My Favourites!

In the meantime, we are working to get a lot more key phrases on Page One to attract even more people planning to book a holiday cottage.

A New Newsletter for Holiday Cottage Bookers

In March, as another way of attracting more cottage booking visitors to the site, we launched our second Newsletter,

This one is packed with articles that will appeal to anyone planning a self-catering holiday in the UK. Articles include holiday ideas, special offers (featuring properties listed on our last-minute availability pages (also on Page One) and advice on seeking and booking cottages for particular types of holiday. Where possible, we will be including links to cottages on the site.

The Blog is Back!

We had to suspend this service while working on the new site design - but we're now publishing weekly blogs promoting holiday ideas, such as **10 Top Cornish Pubs: Where to Stay To Enjoy Them **.

Opportunities to Feature Your Cottage

If you have an idea for a topic relevant for your cottage, e.g. Norfolk’s Secret Beaches, then email your holiday idea suggestions to Rick. If we use it, it will contain a photo of your cottage and a link to your advert.

Thanks That’s it for April and Thanks for reading!

Please let us know if you find this Newsletter helpful. We want to ensure it is a looked-forward to item in your mail box. Tell us what you like – and feel free to suggest any ways we can improve it. Email your feedback and suggestions here.

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