New - Add Your Testimonials
Last year, the techies amongst you were probably talking about Panda and Penguin. This autumn it's all about Hummingbird. For the uninitiated they are not Batman villains or secret agents. It's the latest changes Google has made to the way it ranks websites.
My Favourite Reviews should appeal to these latest changes as it encourages more, forgive the jargon, 'user generated content' on the site. Allowing your past guests - or even those who have fallen in love with your cottage having read your listing, can now add their opinion on the favourite things they like about your cottage. Do note that, My Favourite Reviews allows people to do just that - write about their favourite things, so no risk of being held to ransom by someone with an axe to grind. Why not e-mail recent guests who you know have had a wonderful holiday at your cottage and ask them to add a review to your listing on My Favourite Holiday Cottages. Enclose the link to your page and they can go straight to the section that allows them to submit a list of their favourite things.
While you're waiting for their response, if you've got some terrific testimonials nestling in your Visitors Book from this summer, why not add these yourself?
Log in to the site (the log in button is in the top right corner). Select the 'Manage Testimonials' button (3rd up from the bottom on the left of your Members Area page), and just add the testimonial, together with the date and name of the writer.
So, if you're updating testimonials generally, and want to get more value for money from your listing on My Favourite Holiday Cottages - chase guests for reviews and upload testimonials. Both will help ensure that more people will be inspired to click through to your website.
2013 Christmas Card Photo Competition
A chance to star this Christmas! Every year we run a photo competition for the best seasonal photograph for our Christmas Card competition. The winning entry, gets sent to around 400 people, and will be displayed on our blogs, suitably credited with your cottage name and weblink.
Last year's winning photo from Binney Matthews at Great Treverran House is featured here.
We're looking for something distinctive. It can be traditional or contemporary. Snow is optional. It can be of your cottage (inside or out), or a landscape. We don't have a set image in mind - just something that makes us pause and admire when it opens.
For the winner, in addition to the PR (as well as the card it'll be blogged and tweeted around the globe), we are offering six-months free listing of your cottage as a Featured Favourite (worth £120).
Plus, we will promote shortlisted entries on our blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.
All you need to do is e-mail us as many entries as you like. The bigger the better, but please keep each email below 10MB.
Please e-mail your entry to us by 9am Monday 18th November.
Terms and Conditions: Entrants must guarantee that they own the rights to the image supplied and grant us the right to use it in connection with the My Favourite Holiday Cottages Christmas Card Photo Competition. Our decision for the winning entry is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Building Followers On Twitter
The latest Blog Article on the My Holiday Marketing Blogsite. For the Twitter users amongst you: 12 Ways to Build A Following on Twitter. Simple, easy to implement guidelines that will help you attract the kind of people you want to follow you, i.e. those that may well want to book your holiday cottage!
Talking of Twitter - we have two accounts that might be of interest to you.
1. @holidayhomefan: daily tweets and retweets for news, advice and other ideas for holiday cottage owners.
2. @MFHCottages: daily tweets and retweets for those planning a holiday and looking for somewhere good to stay. We prefer to recommend locations, places to go, festivals etc, but will occasionally include a tweet from a cottage owner if it fits the bill!
Most directory sites will rotate which cottages appear at the top of the page, so as to avoid the same cottages always being visible on the Home or County page. So if you want to guarantee that Home page position, buy a Feature Favourite. They are particularly popular from December to Easter as this is when most people look online to book their holiday cottage.
Featured Favourites are the cottages that appear in the right hand column on the main pages of the site. County Featured Favourites feature on the right hand column on searches for cottages in a specific county.
If you're thinking of upgrading your listing to a Featured or County Favourite, then you can pre-book your slots in advance to avoid disappointment. Click on the Featured Favourites or the County Featured Favourite button in your Members Area for more information and to set up your upgrade. At only £20+VAT a month it's excellent value.
By the way , if you want a free Featured Favourite listing, then all you have to do is send us an idea as to how we might improve the site. If we use it, we'll reward you with a free month's upgrade.
Deep Clean Tips
As it's the time of year when many of us close down our cottages - or use quiet weeks to undertake a deep clean, here are 20 useful tips that will help restore your cottages to pre-season freshness (with apologies to those of you hoping for a quiet weekend):
1. Remove all marks from the walls, doorknobs, and light switches.
2. Consider a coat of fresh paint to badly marked walls if needed.
3. Use warm soapy water to wash all ornaments and furniture to remove all the grease that accumulates with polishing and dusting.
4. Wipe down skirting boards.
5. Steam clean your carpets - making sure to completely rinse them after the detergent wash.
6. Replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
7. Check fire extinguishers.
8. Wash or replace air filters in air conditioning systems.
9. Vacuum behind large furniture.
10. Clean the lint filter in the tumbledryer.
11. Wash the inside of the washing machine with a 30 minute wash.
12. De-cobweb the outside of windows and sills.
13. Wash all curtains, blinds and other window coverings.
14. Wash the inside of your waste and wheelie bins.
15. Replace shower curtains and loo brush (use ones with black bristles).
16. Rotate and turn mattresses.
17. Clean all cushion covers.
18. Clean the grout (or re-grout) tiles.
19. Clean or replace your doormats.
20. Make yourself a well-earned cup of tea.
Have a great month and if life gives you a spare moment, remember to keep e-mailing your ideas on ways to improve the site, to make life easier for you, and to deliver more guests.
See you in November for more news and tips.
Rick and Harry.