My Favourite Reviews: What and How
We raised this in the August Newsletter and no doubt we'll raise it again as it has the potential to become a very powerful tool in generating more interest in MFHC.
My Favourite Reviews invites your guests, past and present, to post a description of their favourite things about your cottage. It's just about their favourite things though. We've seen and heard too many horror stories of review sites being abused with unfair and often untruthful postings. Let's face it, if you really wanted to, it's always possible to find something to be negative about in just about any cottage. What we want to do is to allow people to see what others enjoyed about your cottage.
All you have to do is to e-mail your guests inviting them to list their favourite things about your cottage or their holiday, giving them the link to your page, e.g. http://www.myfavouriteholidaycottages.co.uk/orchard-cottage-devon.html
Then, invite them to click on the 'My Favourite Reviews' button and add whatever compliments they feel happy to make.
When guests submit their review, it'll come to us to moderate. Negative comments will not be permitted. Assuming the review complies with criteria, we'll publish it and let you know it is live for you to check. Should you have any concerns about it, just let us know.
It goes without saying, the more reviews your listing attracts, the more viewings it will enjoy - and the more value for money you'll get from your listing.
Why not set up a standard e-mail template to make it easier to write to guests after their stay?
Boosting Your Search Engine Presence
We've been setting up Schema for your listing on MFHC. This is one of those thankless, hard-labour tasks undertaken by our web developers that works behind the scenes. You won't notice any visible difference to your listing - but the search engines will be helping your listing to become more powerful.
The benefit to you is that it will maximise the presence of your listing on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex search engines. Ultimately this means your listing, without people finding MFHC first, will generate more viewings and click throughs to your own website.
If I try to explain the technical side of Schema, I may need treatment. So I'll leave it to the experts and direct you to the Schema website which explains all. If you're really keen, you can get your web designer to add Schema to your own site.
Improvements to your listing
Using Google Analytics, we can see which buttons potential bookers prefer to use when looking at your listing. As a result we've added two new buttons to its menu. This is the bit below your main photo.
The first of these is a new Map View button. This displays the location of your property on Google Maps and Street View. Bookers tend to like these as it reassures them that your idyllic cottage isn't overlooked by a power station or scrap metal merchants.
The other is the link to 'My Favourite Reviews' - showing any reviews posted for your cottage as well as the form to upload reviews. If you skipped the article on this above, then do read it to see how this will help to improve click throughs to your own website.
We're now using Google+ to bring My Favourites to the attention of even more potential bookers. As well as displaying buttons to our Facebook and Twitter pages (please feel free to like and follow as the occasion demands), we've added a button link to our new Google+ page.
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Holiday Cottage News
The Cottage News page is aimed at promoting holiday cottages to potential bookers. A monthly article explores a popular theme (September's is 'Farmers' Markets'), which usually links places and things to do with a nearby holiday cottage. If your cottage is in Tetbury, Cheltenham, Lymington, Linlithgow, Bath, Harrogate or Smarden in Kent, then the latest News article should cheer you up.
We welcome suggestions for future such themed articles, ideally with regional, national or county appeal, allowing us to incorporate cottages. Just e-mail us your ideas in the form of a title - and the name of your cottage.
News articles are then promoted using our social media outlets to ensure they reach a wide audience, well beyond those already visiting My Favourites.
Why Have A Holiday Cottage Website?
This might be a strange article coming from us - but it actually reveals 3 distinct benefits you can get from having a website that advertising on a directory won't deliver. OK, I expect that in telling you about this, we may be preaching to the converted here, as you have to have a website to appear on My Favourites, but you might find it a useful read all the same.
There's only been the one blog topic this month, in part due to the fact that we've been kept busy responding to all the comments it has generated from readers around the world.
Here's the link: A Holiday Property Website: Is It Really Necessary?
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Top Tip: Service Your Boilers!
It's the time of the year when central heating systems that have been sleeping in the spring are suddenly required to burst into life.
And burst they do as it's also the time of the year when central heating systems are most likely to break down. Sod's Law dictates this only happens when guests are in residence at which point, in addition to an engineer's emergency call out fees, you now have to add the cost of compensation and risk a damaging review.
Our advice is to spend a few pennies to get your engineer out to service your boiler system on a suitable changeover day in the next 2-3 weeks. That way you can significantly reduce the risk of a break down.
If you haven't got a pet engineer - then start searching. When taking on a new cottage, before we even have a problem, we call suitably qualified engineers until we find one who agrees to attend at the drop of a hat; when you're a holiday cottage owner, you can't keep your guests waiting in the cold!
Well - that was the good news. As for the bad news? Er... there isn't any. Sorry.
So, we hope you've enjoyed this month's news and information. More to the point - we hope you'll be rushing off to implement the advice given!
It's always great to get feedback from you. Do e-mail us with your thoughts on how we can make MFHC do an even better job in promoting your cottage. Remember - suggestions we implement will earn you a free Featured Favourite listing, driving even more potential bookers to your website. When writing - don't forget to tell us what works as well to ensure we keep it going!
Have a good month.
Rick and Harry