Well, it is nice to see Spring ushered in with blue skies. Let us hope this is a harbinger of a long, warm and dry summer. We need it not just for the bookings but also to reassure people that a UK Staycation is a sunny vacation to ensure they return in 2022.
Welcome to the March issue of The Holiday Homefront.
How it Works
TheHomefront features our pick of the best and most useful articles we have tracked over the past few weeks that we believe will be of interest (and help) to holiday property owners and businesses. It's free - so, if this is your first time here - click on the link at the bottom and we'll email a copy of each issue to you once a month.
When an article is a synopsis of a larger article, the link will be a bluey-green colour. Click on it and you'll be taken to the full article.
In the old days, when it came to pricing, many an owner would be guided by similarly sized and equipped properties in their location with a goodly number of bookings, they would settle for something similar. With the arrival of a new financial year, prices tended to be put up either by 'inflation' or to recoup the cost of any investments in the property, e.g. hot tub or 'free' WiFi.
Nowadays, and especially with the turmoil wrought by the double Pandemic and Brexit whammy, such methods, while not technically wrong, are less reliable. These days, new kids on the software block can provide a more scientific and reliable approach to accurately maximising rental yields.
This article by Marcus Rader, a man whose passion seems to lie in rental property pricing, looks at how and what you should measure to help you achieve the best possible price/booking yield. It also comments on some of the better pricing software packages available to give you a helping hand.
Yes, I know that Airbnb may be considered one of our competitors, but if they've come up with something that will help you get more bookings for your holiday cottage, then it's our job to tell you about it in The Homefront. So, here are nine ways to get more traction from your advert if you're an Airbnb user.
SERIOUSLY? Yes indeed! And don't let the title jargon alienate you. OTAs are Online Travel Agencies – websites that take and manage your bookings for you when you advertise on their site.
Well, when you read these, they may be blindingly obvious, but then, look again at the Home page of your website: do you make a big thing of all three being something that visitors will get if they stay with you? An inference is not enough! I've just looked at six holiday cottage websites at random, and of these, only two scored an obvious three out of three.
This easy-on-the-eye article by Susan Briggs at Tourism KnowHow is one you should read if you have a sneaking feeling that your home page could deliver better results!
Blogs are a great way to nurture relationships with potential guests and enjoy a high percentage of repeat bookings. They are a free and valuable marketing tool if you maintain them properly. It's also a relatively inexpensive addition to make to your website. Read this to find out How and Why.
For MFHC Holiday Cottage Owners
Since Christmas, we are aware that the site has been running more slowly. We have been taking steps to address it. Work on this has taken a little longer than envisaged. We are making progress, and faster download speeds should shortly resume.
Spring Clean Your Adverts
Every day we read lots of Tweets and Facebook postings from owners telling us how thoroughly they are making their properties ready to welcome guests as we (hopefully) emerge from our third and final lockdown in April. It's great to see how much work people are putting into maintenance and refurbishment in anticipation of a busy season ahead. However, do remember to invest adequate time in bringing your adverts up to date to ensure that your new-look cottage gets all the bookings it deserves.
Here are the key things you can do to improve your adverts on MFHC at no additional cost:
- Add prices for 2022. Because so many are sold out for this year, lots of people are booking for next year while there is plenty of availability. Having prices ready is a major influential factor!
- Bring your calendars up to date
- Add recent guest testimonials
To get more visitors looking at your advert: Check to ensure that your cottage appears in all relevant search boxes, including those we have added in the past six months:
- Walking Holidays
- Cycling Holidays
- Fishing Holidays
- Games Rooms
- Eco Cottages
- Cottages with electric vehicle chargers
Just log in and go to your edit page to tick the relevant boxes and your property will appear in lots more search results.
Images: The most influential part of your advert. Check to see if your images enlarge to maximum size. Bookers love really large good photos. When clicked on, if they don't expand to a size that is about ten times the thumbnail image's size, then they are too small.
It only takes a single image to be too small, and your gallery won't expand to the maximum size. Images should be 1920x1080 pixels. To see if any are below this, log in and go to your image section. Any images that are too small will have a little orange box in the corner of the image, giving the size of the image in pixels, e.g. 1500x675. These are the images that are too small.
We believe that having large images is so important that we will resize and upload images for you free of charge if you are not sure how to resize images.
Allow Us! All you have to do is send up to 20 images (these can include locations and even photos of floor plans). Send them via a free file-sharing app such as www.wetransfer.com or Dropbox. We find the former is very easy to operate, even for technophobes. Send the largest possible size images to us to ensure they keep their quality.
NB: If sending images for more than one cottage – send one folder per cottage as we won't have a clue as to which one goes where.
That's it for March. If you have any questions, suggestions or need assistance with anything, then do email Rick. You should know us well enough by now that he is always at his happiest when he can help.
Do feel free to provide feedback on any of this month's articles. See you in April, when hopefully your next guests will be arriving.
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.
Onwards and Upwards