The Holiday Homefront: September 2020
Well now – what an August that was! ‘No Vacancies’ right across the site. And with September and October also doing very well for bookings this has at least given us all a chance to make amends for losses incurred during the lockdown.
As usual, The Holiday Homefront begins with articles that caught our attention (which we believe should grab yours). Then, for those of you who advertise their properties on MFHC, there are some practical actions for you to take to improve response levels to your adverts.
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. It’s free and is published once a month. Click Here if you would like to subscribe to it
If a link is not displayed in an article: Click on the Title.
HOLIDAY COTTAGE MARKETING
If you spend time on Social Media – then you should find these tips helpful in your attempts to engage more people, get more likes/shares etc.) Don’t be put off by the reference to ‘Tropes’ It’ll all make sense in the article.
If you advertise your property on both AirBnB and Booking.com, then here’s a way to synchronise your availability calendar with these two sites, saving you time having to update them all one by one.
If you haven’t registered your property on Google Maps – then you really should. It’s free and doesn’t require much in the way of technical knowhow to do so. But there’s more to Google Maps than having a Pin identify the location of your property as you’ll discover if you read it. We began following the article’s recommendations in March. At that time we were getting a traffic volume of about 500 a month via our Maps & Google My Business listings. Last month this had risen to 7,000 – so, it’s advice worth following!
This article has found its way into the Newsletter, not to recommend these practices, but to highlight ways in which self-catering businesses can hold the moral and reputational high ground over the hotel business by not copying them!
It’s one thing to hang up your self-certified hygiene accreditation logo on your website. But is that sufficient? If such accreditation is going to maintain its reputation in the eyes of bookers, then there’s a little more to it than simply hanging up a logo. NB: See July’s Holiday Homefront for information about COVID19-related self-certifying accreditation schemes.
LEGAL & COMPLIANCE
Where one nation leads, others usually follow. Find out more about the Scottish National Party’s plans to introduce controls for short-term lets. If your property is in Scotland - the wonderful and extremely influential ASSC is engaging with this to ensure a sensible outcome. Do contact the ASSC if you have any feedback, concerns or suggestions.
FOR MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY COTTAGE ADVERTISERS
Help to Improve Your Town, County and Location Descriptions
For every town, county and well-known location listed on MFHC, we have lovingly crafted descriptions of the areas to entice visitors. While we do our research properly, we may have missed something that will make your location even more attractive in the eyes of potential bookers Is our description of your town, county or location missing something that will appeal to visitors? Then send us a sentence describing it, and we can work it in. It’ll help the page rank better on Google. To check the content of your town/county/location pages, insert a URL address like this:
Fresh and relevant content all help to improve a page’s search engine rankings, meaning more visitors coming across your property. Email Rick Bond with your suggestions.
Why Keeping Your Availability Calendar in Your Advert Up to Date Will Generate More Bookings.
Help Us to Help You!
Many of you are missing out on bookings because you are displaying empty availability calendars on their My Favourite Holiday Cottages adverts. 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.
Why is that? We are getting calls every day from people desperate to find somewhere to book but refusing to bother checking properties that had blank calendars because of the time it could have wasted in making potentially fruitless enquiries. The message is: If you want more bookings and enquiries, keep your availability calendar up to date. Too busy to update your calendar? 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, we do NOT charge fees or commissions for online bookings from your advert. All payments by guests go straight to an owner’s account as they are using the payment system on that property’s website to make their booking. 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, we’ll help with the updating.
Last Minute Availability?
And, while you are logging in, use the free Late Availability function for advertising any last-minute availability. In August it was used by over 7,500 increasingly desperate bookers.
Electric Car Chargers
Have you installed an Electric Car Charger in your rental property? 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.
New Location: The Forest of Bowland
If your holiday rental lies within the Forest of Bowland – add it to the new Forest of Bowland search category. Just login and on the Edit page, tick the Forest of Bowland box in the Search Categories section. We have added a new search category: Cottages with Charges for Electric Vehicles. If and when you have installed a charger in your holiday cottage, then log in and tick the category box in your ‘Edit’ section. It will then appear in all searches for cottages with car chargers.
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/derbyshire/matlock The page link (bottom right) goes to the holiday cottage who supplied the image (and gets plenty of clicks). Please note: You do need to confirm that you own the rights for the image and are permitting us to use 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.
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.
Spreading the Word: We'll Tweet Your Best Guest Testimonials
If you are adding a recent guest testimonial or two to your MFHC advert, those 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 by us on Twitter!
Guest Writers Invited!
We publish blog articles that promote the appeal of a holiday in a particular area, theme, season etc. Click here to view examples. Many articles have been written by MFHC property owners. In return for a good quality article, we will ensure that your property is included as a recommended place to stay with an image and link to its advert. Blogs are well-read by potential bookers. A recent Lake District blog attracted 3,500 readers and click-throughs to the cottages advertised in it - all within two weeks.
If you’d like to guest write a blog (minimum 500 words), email us. We can discuss a suitable topic and deadline as well as provide some helpful guidelines. We are especially keen on articles that encourage people to travel outside the peak season.