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february 2013 Newsletter

The site for ‘Savvy Owners’ – an enlightening tale

In a recent conversation with an owner phoning to renew his subscription last week, he described My Favourite Holiday Cottages as ‘The site for savvy owners’.

Naturally we invited him to explain his reasoning. His position is that we’re one of the few sites in town placing more importance on click-throughs or referrals to his website, than enquiries, saving him time and money. His view is that the more people that visit his site, the more genuine/high quality enquiries he is likely to get (far more than coming from an advert).

Then (he said), enquiries from his site convert to bookings more often than those from an advert. Aside from the fact that a website offers a more trustworthy source with more information, he feels it is also because enquiries from an advert are from people sending out the same message to lots of properties at the same time. He’s fed up with spending hours replying to duplicated enquiries only for 95% of them to come to nothing. Meanwhile his ratio for converting an enquiry from his own site is at an all time high, helped by the quality of traffic from My Favourites.

Finally, the other advantage of click-throughs means that, because his site allows online bookings, more and more people were booking his cottage online (cutting out the laborious enquiry response processes), so much so, that he was able to take a week’s holiday in January and still take more bookings than he had during January 2012.

He felt that there are still many who feel that the merit of a successful site can only be measured in terms of enquiries. As such, many directory sites are geared towards encouraging bookers to send out multiple messages to lots of owners to make them feel the sites are doing a good job. Savvy owners, such as himself, reckon it’s all about choosing sites that will deliver quality traffic to his own site to be converted to bookings as easily and in as little time as possible. And that’s why we are, apparently, ‘the site for savvy owners’, because it’s just what My Favourite Holiday Cottages does. So, as a subscriber yourself – you are a member of a thriving savvy owners club!

Your Members Area Made Easy

We are working hard (does anyone ever work softly?) on improvements within the member’s area, making it easier for you to upload or amend a property as well as to renew it. We've also made improvements to the renewals section to make that process easier too. We hope that we have made the process much simpler to manage, but do login and e-mail your feedback. Don’t forget, useful suggestions that we implement get rewarded with a free month’s listing on our Featured or County Favourites pages.

We are also looking at other improvements to the appearance and functions within the members area. If you have any suggestions as to things we should add, get rid of or make easier to understand, then share these with us too.

Fancy a VAT Rate Cut?

Fed up with the cost of VAT? For most owners with turnovers that fall below the VAT threshold, having to add unrecoverable 20% VAT to expenditure on your property makes a huge impact on its profitability as well as rental prices. Yet while we pay such high rates, other EU countries charge much less, Germany and France for example pay only 7% Tourism VAT while Italy come closest at just 9%. This puts a serious brake on the drive to attract more EU visitors to the UK as well as allowing UK cottages to complete with the allure of overseas villas.

Support the campaign to persuade the government to cut VAT on tourism. According to independent research, cutting VAT on tourism to 5% will create up to 80,000 jobs and deliver an additional £2.6 billion to the Treasury’s coffers over the next 10-years. There’s a very useful website full of information and giving you the opportunity to declare your support for a 15% cut in VAT for tourism businesses . Visit Cut Tourism VAT and do your bit to persuade the Treasury to do their bit for tourism and the economy.

Using Stats For Better Results

We publish two key sets of stats to show you how well your listing is performing. The first tells you how often your main page has been viewed by a potential booker. The second tells you how many times someone has clicked through to your own website. The ratio between the two figures will tell you something about the effectiveness of the content of your listing. If more that 35% of those who viewed your page hit one of the click-through buttons to your site then that’s about the average. Beyond 55% and you can be sure you’ve got a pretty good-looking and informative page. However, if you’re below 35% then the chances are your advert needs some improving.

There’s nothing worse than seeing lots of page views and few click-throughs. We can help! If you think your stats put you in the below average category, then why not give us a call on 01598 710631 We’ll be happy to give you a free verbal assessment of your listing and suggest options for enhancing its appeal to bookers. We can’t promise an overnight transformation in your stats, but we have noticed that there are certain things which, if done well, do deliver results.

Marketing tip - Tracking visits from QR Codes

How To Generate A Trackable QR Code - Another useful article from ‘the site for savvy owners’! If you’re using a QR code, this blog article will explain how to determine whether anyone is using it to visit your site.

If you’re not yet using a QR code and want to know more about them, then read our earlier blog article on QR Codes for Holiday Cottages.

Faster Download Speeds

One of the ways search engines rank a site is by the time it takes to open a page. With sites such as ours carrying a large number of megabyte hungry images, this always represents a challenge. It’s why so many directories try to restrict the number of images they allow you to upload. We say images rule! The more the better! That’s why we allow you up to 20. So, all through the dark days of January, we were rebuilding bits of the site to ensure pages now open so much faster than before. We’re looking forward to these changes being appreciated by search engines and reflected in the form of higher rankings in due course.


TTFN?!!! (Showing our age a bit here). Next month the primroses will be out in the hedgerows and we’ll be back with news of more site improvements and marketing tips.

If you have any thoughts on blog articles you’d like to see, or want to share some ‘absolutely must-see ‘ photos of holiday properties in spring and early summer, then e-mail them to Rick. If they pass muster, we’ll get them on our Blogs, Facebook and Flickr pages with links to your listing. Savvy owners will know just how valuable such links can be!

Book Well!

Rick Bond