May is the month when spring traditionally begins its slow segue into summer. This year the weather pattern seems to have reversed itself with reports of frost and snow showers! Let us hope this position is soon remedied with more warm and gentle airs prevailing across the UK. In the meantime, one thing you can rely upon is The (all-weather, ever-green) Holiday Homefront, with another helpful bundle of top tips and advice for holiday cottage owners.
Oh, and for this month, one ticking off! See if you can spot it.
Remember: To open a link to a longer article click on the article title when it is displayed in a turquoise blue.
1. Plug sockets with USB chargers.
Here’s a handy idea to make your holiday cottage more user-friendly and your guests more appreciative. Consider replacing existing plug sockets in key places (e.g. lounges and bedrooms) with ones that incorporate USB points allowing guests to recharge batteries of the multiple devices that we all take with us when we travel.
Right now, you’ll find very few of these in holiday cottages, so get ahead of the game. New-fangled they may appear now, but in a few years, guests will so take them for granted that they’ll be complaining if you don’t have them! Install while they are seen as an asset!
With thanks to Moorpark Barns in North Devon for this photo spotted on their video!
For style-conscious owners, here’s a link to a range of socket designs with USB points from Retrotouch. https://www.retrotouch.co.uk/plug-sockets.html
Bradt Guides are our favourite travel books. They are a perfect reference book for holiday cottages (assuming there is one covering your area). If you haven’t discovered them yet, you’re in for a real treat.
Bradt Guides are extensively researched and beautifully written. They contain fascinating local details that most other guides overlook. At My Favourite Holiday Cottages Towers, our collection of Bradt’s UK Slow Travel Guides is already marching across its second shelf. No good holiday cottage should be without the relevant one for its location - you’ll find that guests leave realising they need at least one more stay in your cottage to see and do everything the guide recommends.
Bradt also publishes more than just single location-based guides: Our current favourites are ‘Britain’s Best Small Hills’ and ‘Bus Pass Britain’.
Money-Saving Tip: Sign up for their mailing list, which is always a good read. You’ll get 30% off your first Bradt Guides purchase. You’ll also receive details of their Flash Sales when they offer discounts of up to 35%.
See if your cottage is covered: Here is the link to their extensive and lovably quirky collection of British Isles guidebooks: https://www.bradtguides.com/product-category/books/british-isles/
And here’s another trend that you can exploit now to gain that all-important ‘talking point’ competitive advantage rather than wait until everybody else is doing it. According to Visit England, a whopping 58% of those surveyed said they’d want to stay in green accommodation. As well as appealing to a growing market, greening your accommodation is also another step to creating a sustainable environment.
Read this blog from Boshers Insurance on the benefits of greening your accommodation.
This month’s ‘Must Read’
Regular Homefront readers will have got used to me banging on about the importance of posting recent guest testimonials on your advert. Well, we’re feeling somewhat vindicated by the strong results from a Consumer Review survey published by Bright Local. If you read one thing this weekend – this is it. It’s an easy and informative read and will tell you:
· How to ask for reviews and the percentage of people who will write one because you asked (you’ll be surprised)
· The effective lifetime of a review (even we were surprised by that)
· The percentage of people who read and are influenced by reviews
And much more. It’s long, but it’s a great eye-opener for anyone responsible for marketing a holiday cottage and will tell you how to make the best use of reviews.
When you’ve read it – UPLOAD A RECENT GUEST TESTIMONIAL OR TWO ON YOUR MFHC ADVERT!!!!
If you’re not sure about how to upload reviews, then we’ll be thrilled if you ask for our advice. Click here to E-mail Rick for assistance.
5. Enquiry Report: Must Do Better
Respond to all your enquiries. While our main aim is to send potential bookers to your website to enquire from there (you’re six times more likely to convert enquiries from your site to bookings than from adverts), we still provide an option for people to send booking enquiries from your advert.
And people do! In April, potential bookers sent exactly 300 enquiries to owners advertising on MFHC. Of those, 60% went unopened or were not responded to.
Now, given the demand for bookings this year, it’s very likely a large number of enquiries were for dates already booked. If this is happening to you, keeping your calendar up to date can help to reduce enquiries you are unable to fulfil.
However, it’s never a good idea to ignore enquiries for non-available dates. For one, enquirers who receive no response to their email tell us that they assume the owner is either lazy or rude; hardly an enticement for future bookings. Secondly, a kindly and helpful response provides an opportunity to welcome enquiries at a later date.
With our property, we log all enquiries (having responded to them first), and then, maybe a few months later, but while we have availability for the same dates a year later, we send a gentle reminder inviting them to book them while they still can. You’d be surprised at how often this works! So, please do respond to all enquiries – it could be the start of a future booking relationship.
If you want to check your MFHC enquiries (a valuable database) for future use, log in to your admin area and select the Enquiries option from the dropdown menu that appears when you click on your name (see example below).
6. Add Your YouTube Video to Your MFHC Advert
Did you know that if you have a video promoting your property on YouTube, you can also feature it within your advert on MFHC? It’s straightforward; you just paste in the relevant link (which should look something like this example from Moorparks Barn) in the Video Display section of your Content Editing area. NB: Note the address format different from the page URL in which your video appears on YouTube.
7. Guest Blogs
As you know, we always welcome guest articles from owners of properties advertised on MFHC. We particularly like to feature those that promote the merits of out-of-season short breaks in the area surrounding an owner’s cottage. Here’s our latest article extolling the virtues of a Weekend in Warwickshire. If you’d like to write a blog on a similar theme promoting your location, get in touch. We are quite happy to tweak and proof.
Read the Warwickshire blog to see just how nicely we can put your cottage in front of another 3-5000 readers over the course of a year.
Other Blogs published in April (Click titles to view)
- Piers of the Realm: 6 Seaside Piers to Visit on Holiday
- Where to Find the Best Bluebell Walks This Spring
Right – I’m guessing this information is more than enough to keep you occupied when not doing changeovers, laundry, responding to enquiries and posting your latest hot reviews, so we’ll leave it there for May.
Don’t cast those clouts just yet! (think about it)
PS: Do keep in touch and let me know if there's anything you'd like to write about - or like me to write about too.