Last Updated on October 30, 2015 by Mark Lavington
As specialists in holiday home insurance we speak to cottage owners each and every day. We hear what they’re experiencing on the ground, and for that reason we’re always paying close attention to the latest Visit England statistics, which give a great indication of how buoyant holiday home bookings are the health of the industry as a whole.
Is the future for holiday home bookings still bright?
We’ve taken a look at the most recent Great Britain Tourism Survey (2015), and what it could mean for you as a holiday homeowner.
The ‘staycation’ is still alive – more choosing the UK over the continent
Economic turbulence and recession in recent years has been linked to more and more visitors willing to take a short trip on these shores instead of venturing abroad; all hail the revival of the ‘staycation’.
Despite an upturn in economic performance there is no sign of this trend diminishing. The first half of 2015 saw visitor numbers increase by 12%, whilst trips to the continent dropped by 16% during the same period.
Good news for all round for holiday homeowners across the country, and particularly the South West of England, where demand has been at its highest in five years.
Visitors spending more – are you promoting your destination?
Visitor spend has increased again; those visiting holiday homes and other accommodation providers have been spending 13% more in the first six months of this year.
Have you effectively built relationships with other businesses in your area; food and drink providers, restaurants, family attractions and other places of interest? With visitors spending more and more it’s a great time of the year to be checking and updating your website; are the best local spots on yours?
Time to take advantage of the growing demand for shoulder months
A growing trend for many holiday homeowners in recent years has been to extend the summer season and gain increased numbers of holiday home bookings during what are still commonly known as ‘shoulder months’.
If you haven’t already considered this, now may well be the time; bed nights for January to April were up by a staggering 22%. If you want to gain access to this growing market you need to be putting your plan into action now. Have you spoken to your letting agent about extending your availability? Perhaps offering shortened breaks or lowered costs for the winter months?
If you’re marketing your own property, is all of the information on your availability prominently displayed? Do you have great winter photography of that roaring wood fire? Are you emailing previous guests and enquiries to tempt them away?
Growing search engine marketplace
Google report that searches for the term “Holiday Cottage” increased for the sixth consecutive year; up by almost 3% on last year. If you’re marketing your own property then getting your search engine rankings in order should be high on the priority list for this winter as more and more people continue to access their options through search engines. Remember that letting agents may be able to add value to your business by putting you in a larger Google shop window, therefore securing you additional holiday home bookings.
They’re doing it on mobile, are you?
If you’re not already aware, Google launched an algorithm update in April of this year that said if your site wasn’t mobile friendly then you’d begin to rank lower when visitors are searching from their mobile.
Smart Insights now report we’ve passed the ‘mobile tipping point’. What does this really mean? More searches are now made from mobiles and tablets than they are from desktop computers. When you consider that an ever-increasing number of your visitors are finding you from search, can you afford to be missing out? It has never been more important to have a mobile site than today, and it’ll be even more so tomorrow.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.