Refresh Your Listing

Check your stats! If you log into your Member’s Area, you’ll see a table that shows you how many times your listing has been viewed by a potential booker – and how many times someone has then clicked through to your website. If there’s a big difference in the numbers, it may be that, while people were drawn to view your listing – having picked it out of the ‘thumbnail list’- it maybe that your full listing failed to motivate them to take the next step by visiting your website. On average, properties on My Favourite Holiday Cottages achieve a 23% click through rate, so if you’re under that you should probably consider updating your page.

First and foremost, look at your photos. Are they good quality or did you take them on your mobile on a dull day? These days, booker expectations are high – rooms need to be properly dressed for a picture to make them appeal, and then photographed using a good quality camera. Winter can be quite a good time to do interior shots of your cottage as, with lower daylight levels, there will be less flare from the windows. If you’re planning to do a serious photoshoot, we have a handy photoshoot preparation checklist that we can send you. Just e-mail us to request your free copy.

Make sure you’ve listed enough images. You can upload up to 19 – enough to feature most rooms, the garden and some of the local attractions or landscapes. Bookers often feel that a cottage which only lists 3-4 images has got some rooms they don’t wish to talk about! Be transparent – show all!

Thereafter, review what you have written. The best copy combines the key facts a booker needs to know with the benefits of staying there. Benefits can be a challenge. For example, Wi-Fi is a feature. The benefit is that family members can bring their laptops to keep in touch with friends or play games on rainy days. A washing machine and tumble drier in a cottage appealing to walkers means that walking clobber can be cleaned and dried overnight, fresh and ready for the following morning.

Having updated your copy, check to make sure you’re making full use of the other benefits available to you. These include:

* Including a link to your availability/booking page.

* Ensuring your prices are up to date.

* Adding testimonials from guests.

* Inviting guests to submit their own review, listing their favourite things about their stay at your cottage.

* Review your ‘search criteria’ selection. We have added a few over the year, so check to see if there are new ways your cottage can be discovered. Don’t forget also to check the location section, as we’ve added a few more of these too. By the way, feel free to suggest new search and/or location criteria. Just e-mail us with your thoughts.

So, it may mean sacrificing an episode of Eastenders’ one evening, but if it increases the click throughs to your website and bookings as a result, surely it’ll be worth the time!


When Should You Advertise?

For those of you planning to review your advertising, our recent blog article on this theme should be very helpful. It ponders the purpose of a directory site as an effective way of getting bookings for your holiday cottage and asks the following questions: Is it possible to reduce your dependency on advertising sites for bookings? What is it that a good directory site should deliver?

Once you've read it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.


Search By Town

Here’s another bookers will find you on My Favourite Holiday Cottages.

There’s a Town Search button in the main menu bar for potential bookers who know pretty much where they want to go. As long as you have entered the name of the town nearest to your cottage in your details, it’ll appear in a relevant search, e.g. holiday cottages in Bakewell

We’re writing 300-word descriptions of towns (and thanks to those of you who have come forward with their own versions!) to enhance the appeal of the area and, in time, be found by search engines.

When you have a moment, do check to see if there is a town listing for your cottage. If we haven’t got round to it yet, just e-mail us with the name of the town and we’ll prioritise it – as did Jane at Updown Cottage in Shaftesbury. Thanks Jane!

Better still, if you’d like to pen around 300 words describing your town and its attractions, then we’ll list that for you. The chances are, your description will be far better than ours! If you do, please avoid cutting and pasting copy from other online descriptions, (Google penalises sites that do this). Thank you


Christmas Photo Competition Winner!

Congratulations to Pat Forster, winner of the 2013 Christmas Photograph Competition for her photograph of Cosy Corner in Norfolk in the snow. We liked it so much we've also used it at the head of the Newsletter this month. Thanks also to to all the other owners who entered. It was a tough choice to decide the winner.

For a company dedicated to online marketing, you may find it surprising that we’re going down the old fashioned route of printing and posting cards. However, there are some things that we think are much more meaningful when done the traditional way. So, we’ll be sending out about 500 hand-signed cards to all our friends and suppliers this year complete with a link to Cosy Corner’s listing.

If you didn’t enter this year, there goes your chance of a free subscription! But there's always next year. Why not ensure you take a few Christmassy photos this winter to be ready for the 2014 competition.

Use Your Testimonials

You can now add testimonials from your guests to your listing. Earlier this summer we gave you the opportunity to invite your guests to submit a review, listing their favourite things they liked about your cottage. Now you can also upload suitable comments penned in your visitor’s book. The example above shows reviews listed on Riverside House's listing page. You won’t need me to remind you how powerfully persuasive a guest testimonial can be – especially one that is accredited and dated. So, if you’ve got some from this year – flaunt them!

Log in to your Member’s Area. Then scroll down the centre column to where it says ‘Reviews and Testimonials’. Click on the ‘Add/Remove Guest Testimonials’ button and then fill out the boxes. To really catch a potential booker’s attention, you can even upload a relevant image to support the testimonial if desired.

The testimonial will appear in the My Favourite Reviews section of your listing.

Keep chasing your guests though. All you have to do is give them the weblink to your listing page on My Favourite Holiday Cottages. The good thing about ‘My Favourite Reviews’ is that you’ll only get positive feedback featured – their whole purpose being to allow a guest to list their favourite things about your cottage. We moderate reviews to ensure this approach is not abused.



That's all for this month. We'll be back with a suitably seasonal issue in December. In the meantime, feel free to forward any feedback, questions or suggestions about My Favourite Holiday Cottages. We'll be delighted to receive and respond to them.

Rick Bond