When deciding where to invest your advertising budget for your holiday cottage, the aim for independent holiday cottage owners is to get the maximum amount of bookings for the least amount of money.
Put aside Google Adwords and Facebook for the moment and concentrate on the main sources of revenue for most independent holiday cottage owners: Adverts on directory sites.
These fall into two camps: the mega-international sites, mostly owned by USA-based Expedia, such as Homeaway, Holiday Rentals, Owners Direct, and then the smaller, mainly UK-based sites such as My Favourite Holiday Cottages.
You’ll get – or you should get – a goodly number of bookings from advertising on the mega-sites, but so you should, given the amount of money you pay in charges, fees and commissions for each booking.
Then there are those in the middle of the pack – such as My Favourite Holiday Cottages, Independent Cottages, Country Cottages Online. You’ll probably get fewer bookings from these, but they are much cheaper, more user-friendly and the revenue from a single booking still delivers a profitable return on your investment.
Keep the above in mind for a moment while I relate a wise and cautionary tale from Rolls Royce.
Be Like Rolls Royce: Diversify
Like all big business, Rolls Royce has a sizable procurement department, seeking to negotiate the best deals possible from the billions they spend on purchasing supplies. However, they don’t go out to a single business and negotiate a massive deal at a knock down price. Instead they spread their purchasing across a range of suppliers, large and small, at varying prices, often for the same widgets. Why do it If, in the short term, this will cost more money?
This is because, if RR invest all their financial eggs in a single supplier’s basket, other suppliers will soon go out of business. Then, with very little choice other than to buy from a single supplier, the field is open for that company to pump up their prices knowing they have no competitors. So, Rolls Royce buys far and wide to ensure that all their suppliers have plenty of competitors. That’s healthy long-term thinking, especially as they tend to get better preferential treatment from the small firms.
It’s a similar tale in the Holiday Cottage business. Wise owners now save a part of their budget to invest in a couple of the smaller sites. They may bring fewer bookings than the big sites, but bookings all the same. And while such sites are still in existence, they act as a brake on the prices that Expedia would probably charge if they knew there were no other competitors to go up against.
Also, bear in mind that smaller sites provide you with your guest’s contact details, allowing you to invite them back. Larger sites are already working to prevent this, or to find ways to apply their booking fee should this occur.
Diversity is the name of the game. The more choice there is the cheaper it will be.
So, invest a little in an advert on one or two of the UK sites to keep them flourishing and act as a brake to major hikes in prices from the multi-nationals so you can afford to keep using them too! Be a wise owner: spread your bets.