Technical Update

First of all we would like to make everyone aware that over the next couple of weeks we will be starting to transfer My Favourite Holiday Cottages to a new server. Don’t worry you won’t need to do anything or, hopefully even notice anything. Over the last few months, the number of visitors to the site has enjoyed a significant increase, so much so that we are approaching the capacity of our existing server, resulting in some people experiencing slower download speeds, and odd little glitches – all symptoms of a situation about which “something must be done” before it puts our hard fought for search engine rankings at risk.

So, we are moving the site to a bigger faster model. The move will fix the glitches and give us oodles of capacity so that the site will run better and faster. We are testing the transfer system with a couple of smaller property sites to check everything works before transferring My Favourite Holiday Cottages and hope to have the transfer completed by mid-December.

Monthly Stats Emails

While addressing the server issues we noticed that the Statistics Counter hadn't been counting all the click throughs to your site. This has now been fixed, but thankfully means any stats over the last 2-3 months represent an underestimate of the traffic you've actually been receiving. Because of this and our server transfer we have postponed the monthly stats email for December, but everything will be back up and running in time for the New Year rush.

As always, we strongly recommend that you have Google Analytics installed on your website so you can see how much traffic My Favourites (and other sites you're listed on) are delivering. To learn how to install Google Analytics, you can read this article here.

Discount Options

Throughout the shoulder seasons, it's becoming ever more important for owners to structure their prices to encourage more bookings. Whether its offering late availability or early-bird incentives, there are a number of ways you can encourage both repeat business, or to convert a tentative enquiry into a booking. This is the first of a series of articles Rick will be writing over the next few weeks on discounts at your cottage, so please have a read through and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for other discounts then email them to Rick and we'll reference them in the article.

Our Winter Photo Competition Winner:

Thank you to everyone who send their entries in for this years winter photo competition - we had a great time looking through trying to make a decision. The winner of this years competition was this exquisite image taken by Binny Matthews from Great Treverran in Fowey, Cornwall.

The stunning colours of the trees in the snow was just the sort of thing that we were looking for, so we're now busy using the image to make this years Christmas Card. Binny has won herself 3 months on the Featured Favourites section for the start of 2013, which should certainly help with next years bookings. We'll certainly be running the competition again next year, so make sure you have a camera at the ready this year to capture those snowy Christmas pictures this year to use in future marketing.

What works for you?

We had an ‘Away Day’ recently. Rick, Harry, and the rest of the My Favourites team locked themselves into a room to discuss priorities for future developments for the site in 2013. We covered every area, from content, appearance, optimisation, social media, offline PR etc. and now have a nice chunky document outlining the ways we are going to improve the appeal of the site. Don’t worry – we know there’s a lot that is already good about the site and we don’t plan to change that. However, we would welcome feedback from subscribers as to what you currently really like about the site. What works for you? This will help us to ensure we protect the good bits and change the bits we think could be better.

Just drop us an email listing anything that you believe is an important part of My Favourite Holiday Cottages. Alternatively you can phone us on 01271 342143 or tweet us @mfhcottages

NB: We like to reward those whose really brilliant suggestions we put into practice.

Best Wishes,

Rick and the My Favourite Holiday Cottages Team

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