- The number of people subscribing to The Holiday Homefront continues to grow. Numbers are now approaching four figures. Thanks for all the positive feedback from so many of you. We will continue to write about what you tell us you want to read. If this is your first edition of The Holiday Homefront, you should know that its purpose is to help holiday property owners better manage and market their properties.
- News of regulations/compliance requirements affecting the holiday lettings sector.
- Useful blog articles on holiday property maintenance, marketing and management that were published on MFHC last month or elsewhere.
- Ways to increase the appeal of your adverts and attract more visitors to your website
Scroll down to read brief introductions to articles then click on the links to read those that are relevant. If a link is not displayed in an article: Click on the Article Title.
MAKE YOUR ADVERT WORK HARDER! Why Displaying Your Own Availability Calendar in Your Advert Will Generate More Bookings. This past month has seen record levels of demand for cottages. However, may owners have missed out on potential bookings because their adverts were displaying empty availability calendars.
We are getting dozens of calls every day from people desperate to find a cottage but refusing to bother checking our properties that had blank calendars. We were told that this was because:1. If an owner is "too lazy" to keep their calendar up to date – it said much about the way they also cared for their property. Of course, we know that is not the case, but that's the public perception.
2. They didn't want to waste time contacting an owner if the dates they wanted weren't available. To busy to update your calendar? There are alternatives! Simply swap our generic calendar to display your own. This ensures that when you update your website's calendar, your advert will be updated at the same time.
Better still, users of booking software such as SuperControl, FreetoBook, Bookalet etc. can enjoy online booking directly from their adverts. Please note that unlike some sites, we do NOT charge any fees or commissions to you or your guests for such bookings. All payments by guests go straight to an owner's account as they are using the payment system on that property's website to book.
If you'd like advice on changing the display on your calendar, click here to email Rick. He'll check out your website and, if we can, update your advert for you.
Electric vehicle drivers seem to love holiday cottages. Figures from Ubersuggest indicate that there are over 2000 search queries a month for people seeking accommodation with vehicle charging points.We have added a new search category: Cottages with Charges for Electric Vehicles. If and when you have installed these in your holiday cottage, then log in and tick the category box in your 'Edit' section. If you are considering adding a charging point. Boshers Insurance have published an advice guide. Click the title to view it.
Photo Call: Bonus Publicity Opportunities
We are introducing 'Banner Images' which appear at the head of each town, county, location and category pages. If you've got a lovely photo that reflects the beauty and appeal of your location, email it to us. If we use it, we'll accredit it with a link to your advert which will drive even more traffic to it.
Here's an example: https://www.myfavouriteholidaycottages.co.uk/exmoor. The page link (bottom right) goes to the holiday cottage who supplied the image (and gets plenty of clicks).
Please note: Please confirm that you own the rights for the image and are permitting us to use it. Email your images to Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're sending a few, send them via a free file sharing app such as www.wetransfer.com.
Logging in. If you cannot remember your username or password:
· Your username will be the email address you used to register.· If you cannot remember your password: Use the Password reset button which will be sent to your registered email address.· Once logged in, click on the icon /your name in the top right of the menu bar. This will open a dropdown list of self-explanatory options.Click Here If you would like to subscribe to The Holiday Homefront. It's free to every UK holiday cottage owner or manager and published once a month.
COVID 19 Advice and Creative Ideas
I know, I know… while you may feel you've had all the COVID 19 advice you need – there are a lot of helpful things out there that The Homefront would like to bring to your attention (and please note, we don't get any commission for recommendations).
Advance Bookings For Visitor Attractions, Restaurants etc.
Another way to ensure your guests have a happy holiday: With many theme parks and attractions still requiring people to book admission tickets in advance, why not create a list of attractions requiring advance bookings. Include full contact details (including website links) and send it to your guests a week or so in advance of their arrival. That's the kind of guest-caring approach that also earns you repeat bookings!
Bed Stripping at Changeovers
A simple idea to reduce some cleaning stress…
More owners are now asking guests to strip their beds before departure to provide some protection for cleaning staff. Generally, guests appear to recognise the justification for this and are happy to comply.
Going one step further, the guest-experience minded owner's at Littlecourt Cottages in Sidmouth have provided an attractive and spacious linen bag for each bedroom, large enough to hold bedding and towels.
A proper bag seems to make the task more agreeable – nobody likes carting their dirty laundry down the stairs in full view of guests – a colourful linen bag designed for the job just makes things more amenable. Bagging it also prevents the spread of the virus - but don't forget to sterilise the bag. Buy machine-washable ones if you can.
It also helps owners who use colour coded linen or towel sets keep them together or work out where and from which room one has gone missing.
We like these Rusty the Fox designs from Rex, London. A steal at £4.95. https://bit.ly/33LnT6P
View the latest results from Visit Britain's COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker.
They show the intent to which UK residents are planning to take domestic overnight trips during the late summer period and beyond. Understanding customer intent or concern is the first step to getting more bookings!
What businesses should do when a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported
While many local authorities may have prepared similar action plans, thus far, only Somerset's has come to our attention. We include it in The Homefront as their common sense plans are easily replicable elsewhere. Their COVID-19 Local Engagement Board has devised a Local Outbreak Management Plan for COVID 19 detailing actions to take in the event of an outbreak.
As part of this work, SCC has worked with South West partners to devise flyers and posters to help you, employees and customers know what to do when a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported.
Download these documents at www.somerset.gov.uk/backtowork and keep them handy. Clicking on the links does not open a web page but automatically downloads the relevant pdf document.
The documents contain:
COVID 19 Business flyer - includes a checklist of actions for businesses
COVID 19 Accommodation Provider flyer – is specifically for tourist or accommodation providers – please add in your postcode
COVID 19 Visitor poster – to display in public settings, i.e. reception/kitchen/toilets/bedrooms for visitors staying in your accommodation to see. Please add in your contact phone number so visitors can call you if they suspect they have COVID 19.
Right, that's the end of all Matters COVID for this month. Thank you for your diligence.
HOLIDAY COTTAGE MARKETING
Asking guests to write a review after their stay is not something that comes easily to most of us cottage owners. If you're one of them, then you should find this article from Wordstream a great help!
Are you thinking of marketing your holiday property through an agency? While there are plenty of pros and cons, one thing you should have at your fingertips before approaching one (or more)is this comprehensive checklist from Schofields Insurance of questions you should be asking them before deciding whether they are right for you.
If ever you've been in this position, you'll know how tricky it can be to manage. Read these handy tips from Lodgify to help you resolve the situation. Hint: These situations are much easier to manage if you're prepared for them!
To make up for lost business during the Lockdown, we're going to have to work a lot harder to fill the weeks and weekends in the shoulder and low seasons. This free and downloadable Ebook from Rentals United contains some helpful nuggets that could secure some much-needed income.
As if COVID19 wasn't bad enough, love it or hate it, we all have to prepare for Brexit as the transition period comes to an end. To ensure your Christmas isn't ruined by the need to do last-minute tasks: the government has launched a new campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. Business owners and citizens may need to take action regardless of the type of agreement reached with the EU. The steps people and business owners need to take will vary based on their circumstances.
By the way... Are you adding a recent Guest Testimonial to your advert?
Post lockdown testimonials are VERY influential. Add some ASAP! Short ones have the most impact. Testimonials that are 300 characters in length or less are more likely to be featured on our Twitter Page. So, keep them brief (and frequent) if you want to be trumpeted on Twitter! We moderate all testimonials to ensure they comply with our criteria. Log in and select Add testimonials from your main page.
Social Media Activities - How To Be Featured
We have active and popular Social Media campaigns. Currently, we focus on:
- Twitter https://twitter.com/mfhcottages
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/myfavouriteholidaycottage
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/myfavouriteholidaycottages/
- Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/myfavouriteholidaycottages/
Your subscription covers more than just displaying an advert. Please click on the links above to follow us on these platforms. We will follow you back. From time to time we will share, highlight or re-tweet your own postings. Where possible, e.g. Facebook, we will tag you in our articles so that you'll receive a notification. Please note that we are only able to share Social Media articles for holiday properties that are advertised on MFHC.
And just in case you were wondering...
How To Advertise on MFHC.To place your cottage in front of thousands of potential bookers every month, click here. A 12-month subscription is just £98.99 with discounts of up to 50% for listing multiple properties. If you’re simply too busy to find the time to upload an advert, let us do it for you.
Our Ad-Design service will create and build your advert for you to approve for just £20 per property. This includes drafting unique content when describing your cottage. You can display your availability calendars or online booking calendars within your advert. No ‘middleman’ commission or booking charges are applied to you or your guests once your advert is up and running. Just Pay and Display.
We understand what works in an advert and what doesn’t, so, if you want a free review of your advert on MFHC at any time, just contact us. We are here to help (and famous for it).
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. As you know by now, we pride ourselves on our ability to respond to and help all our advertisers. If you need any help, advice or want to suggest how we can improve on the site, all you have to do is get in touch.