Negative feedback and guest complaints

Negative feedback and guest complaintsTimes they are a changing, and never has that been truer than in the area of negative feedback and guest complaints. Where people would in times gone by leave their feedback in a comment book placed within your holiday home and raise any issues over the phone during their stay, these comments and issues are now often left online once they get home for the world to see.

So what is the best way to address negative feedback or guest complaints made after they have left your holiday home, and the option of rectifying any issue is no longer on the table?

The TripAdvisor conundrum

Love it or loath it, TripAdvisor plays a large role in effecting the buying decisions of potential guests. Therefore any negative reviews need to be dealt with effectively, efficiently and also without emotion.

You should have a strategy and approach to Tripadvisor which should include the following:

  1. Having someone responsible for reviewing and responding to your reviews, both positive and negative.
  2. Have a time frame for responding to any ongoing reviews.
  3. Create a review process for any response to a negative review which brings in more than one person.

The final point is a key one here; when writing online it can be very difficult to denote tone, which means that in the majority of cases the person reading the response you’ve written (whether that’s the person that’s left the complaint or a potential guest) will apply their own perceived tone to it.

Ensuring that more than one person has read the response, and that it isn’t posted in haste, will help to ensure you’ve struck the correct chord.

Is it all lost or can the situation be resolved?

If a guest has left a negative review then it can be understandably difficult to not take it personally; you’ll spend a lot of time, effort and money in making your cottage a great place for guests to stay so any complaint can seem as somewhat of an attack.

Because of that the default position may be to revert to defense.  However, take some time to think how best to resolve the issue rather than pointing elements out to the contrary of what they’ve said.

Entering into conversation away from the public eye is a positive way of moving toward a resolution and away from an unseemly TripAdvisor spat, which can quickly and frequently, go viral.

If points they’ve made do need clarification make sure they’re made in a factual and non-emotive way.

What if they’re not made on Tripadvisor?

The question here is how to find them! Although TripAdvisor is a massive part of holiday home and tourism life, not all comments and reviews will be made through the platform.

You should regularly monitor your brand online through Google, Twitter and Facebook.

How to find recent mentions of your cottage on Google

When it comes to Google, try putting in the name of your cottage, or your website url (try both).  If you select ‘Tools’ which is just underneath the search box on Google and alter the ‘Any Time’ drop down to ‘Past week’ you will only be seeing new information added to Google in the last seven days.  This can be a great way of keeping on top of the vast search engine.

How to find mentions of your cottage on Twitter

Are you already using the third party application Hootsuite for Twitter? If not then here is a great reason to do so. Hootsuite provides quick and easy access to recent mentions of your holiday cottage from the millions of tweets made every hour.

You can do this in seconds by:

  • adding a tab / stream into the platform; and
  • setting the search to the name of your cottage.

This will let you see mentions of your cottage when they’ve not included your Twitter handle in their tweet. (These will appear automatically in your @mentions tab on Twitter).

For more information on adding columns to Hootsuite, take a look at these instructions:

How to find mentions of your cottage on Facebook

Last but not least; you can find mentions of your cottage on Facebook by using the simple search tool available on all profiles.

And once you’ve located the comments?

Once you have found any feedback and comments from your guests ensure you always respond. Do so in the same effective, efficient and non-emotive way as you should on TripAdvisor.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, call us on 01237 429444

holiday cottage guests

holiday cottage guestsIt’s the small touches that make a big difference when it comes to high quality accommodation. Guests notice the small touches; the fresh flowers, the neatly made bed, the detailed welcome pack. These things show that you care, and they will make your accommodation stand out to visitors.

VisitEngland has a highly informative guide that shows how they rate accommodation. As well as looking at the cleanliness and management efficiency of a holiday cottage, they look for attention to detail. That detail can make a dramatic difference to the quality of your property. So what should you be doing to ensure that your holiday cottage provides a great experience for your guests?

Avoid overcrowding

Whilst it may be tempting to say that your two bedroom holiday cottage can accommodate six guests, you must think about how comfortable that would really be for visitors! Two double beds and a futon may have the sleeping covered, but what about when six people are fighting over the bathroom or are trying to cook dinner in a small kitchen? Ensuring that guests have plenty of space will greatly improve their experience of your property.

Provide hairdryers for your guests

Hairdryers are one of those things that no one really wants to pack, so make life easier for your guests and ensure that there is one in each bedroom (preferably within easy reach of a mirror). This simple action can be really appreciated by visitors, particularly if it’s a girls’ weekend! You could even go a step further and provide hair straighteners.

Buy high quality beds

If you wouldn’t want to sleep more than one night on the beds in your holiday cottage, then why are they there? VisitEngland suggests that you try being a guest in your own holiday home. We definitely think you should spend a few nights ensuring that the beds are comfortable. A bad night’s sleep can ruin a guest’s stay, and it’s even worse if it gives them a bad back! Investing in high quality beds will give your visitors a great night’s sleep, and they’ll last longer too, so they’re not as costly as you may think.

Champagne flutes, not just wine glasses

This easy-to-do touch adds a real element of luxury to your holiday cottage. A stay in your property may be for a special occasion, and that’s when the bubbly comes out. Champagne out of a wine glass just hasn’t got that touch of class and luxury; for such a small cost this simple gesture can go a long way.

Save them from washing up

Nobody likes to spend their holiday doing the washing up, which is why a dishwasher is great addition to any holiday cottage. Whether there’s a family staying or a group of friends, they’ll love being able to focus on enjoying quality time together free from wrinkly hands and marigold gloves!

If you’d like to take a fuller look at what Visit England believes makes a great holiday home for visitors, please visit this link: VisitEngland Self Catering Accommodation Quality Standard  

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Require a quote for your holiday apartment, cottage or complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

International sporting events have the potential to captivate, engage and inspire a nation. If proof were ever required we need only to cast our gaze back to 2012 and the London Olympics; 900 million people tuned in to watch the opening ceremony of a games that kept everybody on the edge of their seats for the entirety of a summer.

So with the dawn of a Rugby World Cup hosted on home soil for the first time in 24 years now less than nine months away, is the tournament an opportunity your holiday home letting business can afford to miss out on? Is your holiday home ready for the Rugby World Cup?

Will your guests be watching or interested in the Rugby World Cup?

The statistics indicate that whilst many of us won’t be motivated to get down to the local ground on the average Saturday, we’re more than happy to get behind our team when the World Cup steamrolls into town:

  • 5 million applications for tournament tickets were made in 17 days; that’s four every second!
  • 650,000 people applied for tickets to see England’s Pool A showdown with Australia at Twickenham Stadium; enough to fill the stadium eight times over.
  • 5 million people tuned in to watch Jonny Wilkinson kick for World Cup glory in 2003, with many of them welcoming the trophy home in a Trafalgar Square parade.

How close will you be to the action?

The following venues will be hosting World Cup games in 2015;

  • Brighton Community Stadium
  • Elland Road (Leeds)
  • Kingsholm Stadium (Gloucester)
  • Leicester City Stadium
  • Manchester City Stadium
  • Millenium Stadium (Cardiff)
  • Olympic Stadium (London)
  • Sandy Park (Exeter)
  • St James’ Park (Newcastle)
  • Stadium MK (Milton Keynes)
  • Twickenham Stadium (London)
  • Villa Park (Birmingham)
  • Wembley Stadium (London)

How can you attract and cater for the World Cup rugby fan?

Get ready now

Don’t wait until the tournament is upon us; begin your promotion now. Your blog and the latest news section of your website will be a great place to show your guests what you’ll be doing for them during the tournament.

Here are a few things you can be telling them about:

Where can they watch the games?

Some will want to watch from home, others to get together in front of a big screen and cheer their team on. Ensure you give visitors to your website and holiday home information on local pubs and venues showing the games.

Are there local events?

A huge element of this year’s World Cup is family engagement. A series of events will be taking place across the country before and during the tournament so keep an eye out for any that may be of interest to your visitors.

Do your research and make sure they’re featured in your welcome pack and promoted on your website.

Customise your welcome pack

It can be as simple as adding in a tournament planner / itinerary, or perhaps even some rugby related paraphernalia or snacks to eat during the game.

Remember there is only one chance to make a first impression so it pays dividends to ensure it’s a good one.

Is it time for a new television?

One thing you may have noticed before a ball was kicked at last year’s FIFA World Cup is that retailers know it’s time to cash in. There will be deals on televisions before the Rugby World Cup so is it time to upgrade?

Technology such as High Definition (HD), 3D televisions and Home Cinema Systems have become commonplace amongst many holiday homes across the country; is yours up to scratch?

If the television is sorted do you have any way of your guests recording the game to watch in peace once the kids are in bed or they’ve returned from a great day out?

If you’ve gone to the expense of giving your guests a great television experience make sure it’s clearly promoted and communicated on your site and by your holiday home letting agent. If you do go so far as to upgrade your television, ensure that that your holiday home insurance sums insured are sufficient and that you have the correct levels of cover for your needs.

Here’s to a great World Cup!

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance for holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 

Christmas holiday home interior

Christmas holiday home interiorWhilst traditionally a time spent with family in the confides of our own home, more and more of us are now packing our bags and heading for a holiday cottage to celebrate Christmas.

How to attract guests to book your holiday home for Christmas

Here’s our advice on how to attract guests to book your holiday home for Christmas, including how you can prepare your holiday home for festive visitors and make sure they have a very merry Christmas.

When do people book holiday accommodation for Christmas?

No matter what time of year, the first port of call for many holiday home bookings is Google.

During the spring months, as you can imagine, those searching for holiday home accommodation for Christmas is at its lowest level.

However, search volumes for key phrases associated with this topic begin to increase as early as July, with exponential growth seen right through to November, when search is at it’s highest of around 1,250 people looking to book a stay in a holiday cottage.

Searches for christmas Holiday Home Accommodation

*Average monthly searches made for Christmas holiday home accommodation.

How can you increase your chances of appearing in front of these people?

If you’re looking to attract visitors for Christmas you’ll want to be appearing in front of them during the months of August right through to December.

There are two potential ways in which you can do this; the first is by ranking naturally in search engines, with the second by advertising on a Pay Per Click Basis (PPC).

If you want to rank naturally, you will need to have content on your website that supports this.  If you’ve not already got a page devoted to your Christmas offering then you should add one.  The sooner you add this the sooner you’ll be ranking.

Also consider other content you can provide visitors with; where can they go for Christmas lunch? Are there festive events happening? Which local attractions are open or are there added attractions such as ice rinks in place for a yuletide skate?

When placed into well-written blog posts this will have the dual benefit of giving your visitors a festive feast of information and increasing the number of key phrases you can potentially rank for.

If you find competition too fierce then you can also advertise using Pay Per Click.

The key here will be doing your research and working out what search terms people are using to locate properties such as yours, and then driving them to a page that tells them everything they need to know about Christmas in your holiday cottage to increase conversion.

Always keep an eye on the amount you are spending on advertising against the bookings you are gaining in order to ensure your profitability.

Welcoming guests to your holiday cottage

So you’ve got those potential visitors to your website and dazzled them with relevant content, what next?

There are plenty of things that you can do to make your guests feel at home.

If you have a welcome pack have you considered doing something a little different for Christmas?  Including a few minced pies for example?

Have you thought about how you will communicate all of the Christmas information that’s on your website? What they can do, when they can go and where they can eat great local produce and food?

Perhaps even arranged a Christmas lunch discount for your guests with a local eatery?

Will you be decorating your holiday home with a tree or some other decorations?

Remember that your taste will not always be the same as your visitors so ensure any decorations are kept tasteful and minimal.

A final myth buster – Christmas lights

If you erect a Christmas tree in your holiday home many will believe that the Christmas lights will need to go through the expense of having a portable appliance test PAT once a year.

This isn’t necessary; the HSE indicate that they’ll be fine to sparkle long into the night as long as the user has checked for any obvious signs of damage or defect.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to 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.

Listed Holiday Home Insurance

Marketing a Listed Holiday Home and telling a story

Listed Holiday Home

As a nation we’re a traditional bunch; committed not only to celebrating our history but also protecting our heritage. One challenge for owners of heritage holiday homes and holiday cottages is how to approach marketing a Listed holiday home to attract more bookings. From 17th century forts to traditional country cottages there are more than 375,000 listed buildings across the UK.

English Heritage explains listed buildings help us to acknowledge and understand our shared history, to mark and celebrate a building’s special architectural and historic interest.

95% of those owning and marketing a listed holiday home are likely to be under the Grade II listing; making their property ‘nationally important and of special interest’.

Whilst this may cause planning permission headaches for owners’ eager to make significant changes or develop their home it also provides major opportunities for marketing a listed holiday home by telling a story which differentiates your property from the competition.

The target market for listed building owners

When weighing up the size of the market you’ll perhaps need to look no further than the continued success and popularity of The National Trust, with more than four million members making multiple visits each and every year.

Perhaps more telling is the passion of those members; 80,000 of us now volunteer our time to The Trust and numbers continue to grow.

This enthusiasm is not merely limited to voluntary time and one day excursions; many now actively seek accommodation that matches their interests and will pay a premium to stay. 

Things to consider when marketing a listed holiday home 

65% of listed buildings across the United Kingdom are in excess of 300 years old.  With time comes a story and telling yours will be a vital element to marketing your listed holiday home.

Here are just a few things to consider when telling your story and promoting your listed property:

  • Whilst many websites will predominately be focused toward the mod cons does yours actively tell the story behind the building, the area and the people that created it? Your website will often be the first research port of call for any prospective guest so you’ll need to differentiate and emphasise what makes your listed property different from others they may stay in.
  • Is your story supported by great photography that really shows of the architecture and the uniqueness of the building and its contents? Getting a professional may cost a little but results that do your building justice may well lead to more bookings.
  • Many listed holiday homes have been lovingly restored for their guest’s to enjoy; information on the restoration along with photography can further strengthen someone’s understanding of the property and their relationship or draw to it.
  • Have you considered having a section of your website devoted toward the heritage and the history of your listed holiday home? This needn’t be reams and reams of text; remember your website visitors will be looking to get information quickly so utilise bullet points, short facts, figures and photos.
  • If your potential guests are actively looking to stay in a listed property think about what they’ll want to do during their time away from your holiday home. Are local venues and attractions, such as National Trust and other historical venues covered and promoted?
  • Have you thought of approaching local venues to potentially team up and offer discounted accommodation or admittance, particularly during shoulder or winter months when visitor numbers will likely be significantly lower?
  • Would they be willing to have a link to your holiday home website on their own site? If they are this will not only put you in front of more potential visitors but also have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
  • Do you highlight local events that could be attended? If you blog in advance of events you’ll rank in Google for those search terms, potentially attracting visitors looking to attend and stay nearby.
  • If you promote your listed property through a letting agent have you told them about the history and what makes your property special?
  • Make sure that your story is not only told through your website but also through every marketing outlet you have. Include information in your tweets and your Google+ and Facebook pages.

All of these points are aimed at emphasising the historic and unique qualities your listed property brings. Sometimes it’s great to stand out from the crowd!

Feel free to leave your tips and experiences of Marketing your Listed Holiday Home in the comments below.

Boshers are specialist providers of Listed Holiday Home Insurance. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 


The Dog Friendly Holiday Home Market

Cute dogA dog has long been regarded as a man’s best friend and for a nation of pet lovers it doesn’t stop there; from your pampered pooch to the fastidious feline, an estimated one in three UK households now has a pet to call their own.

The question for owners has long been what happens to their animals while they’re on holiday?

36% of respondents to a recent survey indicated a pet was their biggest cause of worry while away, with 72% indicating it was at least a concern.  When combined with the potential costs of boarding facilities such as kennels this has led to two in five of us now bringing them along with us!

Benefits of marketing your holiday home as dog friendly

Reaching a wider marketplace

With an estimated 40% of guests now looking for pet friendly holiday accommodation it’s becoming increasingly hard for holiday homeowners to ignore this potentially lucrative marketplace. If your holiday home is located in an area suitable for the pet owners among us you’ll be opening up your holiday home to an increased number of would-be guests. Marketing your holiday home as dog friendly will increase your bookings.

13% of people have indicated they’d rather go on holiday with their pet than their partner!

Paying a premium to stay with you

Not only will the volume be greater, but guests are also willing to pay a premium for pet friendly accommodation, understanding that an increase in potential tariff will be less than the cost of kennels or pet boarding and accommodation, which can be five times the cost to take them on holiday with you.

Year round bookings

Certain places including beaches will prohibit animals during busier summer periods. This means that dog owners in particular can look to enjoy a break during the winter and shoulder months, giving you greater bookings around the year.

Marketing your property to pet owners – communicating the right things

In order to attract these potential guests you’ll need to make sure you have all of the information they’re looking for:

  • When someone visits your website or reads your marketing literature they’ll be looking to understand if your holiday cottage is suitable for them.  As whether or not you allow pets is an important part of their decision making process ensure it’s adequately highlighted.  Imagery can be a quick and easy way to convey that you’re a pet friendly location.
  • Manage visitor expectations by outlining what you do and don’t accept, along with the facilities available for their pets.  Having clearly communicated ground rules can also help with any issues that arise with guests during or after their stay.
  • Remember that your visitors are likely to be active if they’re bringing pets such as dogs. Providing information on where they can go, local walks, along with places to visit and enjoy with a pet can sway and secure their decision to stay with you.
  • This information should be included in all of your marketing materials, from your website to your welcome pack, where a nice treat for the pet can be an added extra when your guest arrives.
  • If you have a holiday letting agent make sure they know you’re able to accept pets so they can update their own details and promote you to those looking to stay in pet friendly accommodation.

The Potential Pitfalls to Pet Friendly Accommodation

Whilst there are many benefits to opening up your holiday home to pet owners there are also some other aspects you’ll need to consider:

  • Some guests may have allergies that would prevent them from staying in pet friendly accommodation.
  • If you’re going to be promoting your accommodation as pet friendly you’ll need to commit to and invest in it. This will include providing adequate facilities for pets such as dog mats and bedding to considering appropriate flooring.
  • Pets will cause a greater wear and tear on your property, particularly if you have a large amount of soft furnishings.
  • If pets are staying in your property during winter and wetter shoulder months the costs of cleaning can be significantly increased.
  • Consider your neighbors and nearby accommodation; if none currently offer pet friendly accommodation will there be complaints from potential barking and animal noise?
  • Ensure that your holiday home insurance does not exclude damage by pets

Feel free to leave your tips and experiences of marketing your holiday home as dog friendly in the comments below.

Boshers are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 

Hiking, walking and exploring – a growing Holiday Home market

iStock_000021901682SmallFresh air, stunning views, great company and the sun on your back, what could be better than enjoying a walk in the British countryside?

Your doctor will likely agree; from lowering stress levels to a reduction in potential coronary complications, studies indicate there are many benefits to getting out for a daily walk.  NHS research has recently shown that those walking an extra 2,000 steps a day were 8% less likely to suffer from a cardiovascular event.

Combine this with the fact it’s an activity that is relatively cost free, is able to be enjoyed by all age groups and that we have an abundant natural resource waiting to be explored, you’ll quickly understand the growing popularity of walking amongst self-catering holiday home guests. We explore how you can make your holiday home walking friendly and opportunities for marketing your holiday home as suitable for walkers.

So how do you ensure that your holiday home is able to keep up with the ground swell of walkers marching toward your property?

Provide them with the information they need

Make life as easy as possible for your visitors to find the most appropriate local walks and routes. Some will be looking for challenging terrain, others for a leisurely stroll towards a beer garden or something they can enjoy as a family, so it’s vital they’re able to easily understand which routes are going to be most appropriate for them.

Also think about other things they may wish to do while out walking. Are there picnic facilities? A beach, woodland or great local pub? Play areas for the kids or wildlife viewing areas?  If so how far are they away from your holiday home and how long in minutes may the walk be?

Answer all of the questions your visitor may have.

Think about how to and where to communicate this information

The most obvious place to provide your guests with this information will be in your visitor information pack but the journey toward that walk will begin long before they step through your door. Ensure your website has sufficient information on local walks and scenery in order to make sure they know they exist.

Use what is around you to your advantage in marketing your property. The old adage remains that a picture speaks a thousand words; if the walks are incredibly scenic ensure photography and images form a large part of your communication here.

These can also be used in your social media activity; photographs can break through the clutter of a heavily populated Twitter or Facebook news feed, gaining more likes and re-tweets along the way.

Remember social groups are bound together by common interests so always encourage guests to share with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

They are your potential guests of the future.

A place to put muddy boots and clothes

With just a few tweaks you can make your holiday home more suitable for walkers, at very little expense. Not many of us would be unwilling to admit that the British weather can be somewhat inclement at times.  With that come muddy boots and wet clothes. Consider having somewhere that boots and trainers can be placed and stored, either at an entrance or in a porch or patio area. This will avoid mud being trampled through the interior of your home.

Also look at installing facilities where sodden clothes can be hung and aired. If you don’t have masses of room for this there are plenty of space saving options available on the market.

Services your visitors may need

Whilst we hope your guests will have an enjoyable experience of the great outdoors sometimes things will go wrong. Whether that’s a tangle with some unfriendly brambles or a twisted ankle ensure your guests are provided with the contact information of local services, such as accident and emergency or doctors practices, along with a first aid kit within your holiday home.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance for holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 

Making small changes to your coastal holiday home will appeal to guests looking for surfing friendly holidays

iStock_000000176183MediumWith more than 7,000 miles between Britain and Hawaii it may seem the two are quite literally poles apart, if not only in terms of geography but also meteorologically given the potential inclemency of a British summer.

There is however one unifying factor; our continued and growing love for surfing.  Whilst the sport was first introduced to the world by Polynesians from Tahiti and Hawaii more than five centuries ago, the United Kingdom has now become something of a spiritual home to surfing, offering some of the best breaks in the world with large appeal for those seeking a surfing friendly holiday..

No longer the fraternity of a bleach blonde elite, the sport is now attracting an increased and broadening demographic; whether it be families, children or grandparents, they’re all grabbing the board and learning the skills.

We take a look at how holiday homes can cater for those enjoying the waves on their surf, boogie or body boards when they get back from a day at the beach.

Providing your guests with information

You’ll want to make your guest’s lives as easy as possible.Ensure you have information in your cottage on tide times, the best local beaches and breaks to surf, along with relevant safety information and contact details for surf schools or services.

This information should also be incorporated into your website.  Feeds from places such as Magic Seaweed will be able to provide your visitors with up to date information without you having to provide it yourself.

Remember your website should be a content hub for your visitors, with all of the information they require to help them make their booking decision.

Storage and washing 

Enjoying the British sea for any great length of time will usually incorporate a wetsuit. Having somewhere for your visitors to wash down and hang their suits when they return from the beach is a low cost and great addition to your holiday home.

Outside Showers

With the beach comes the sand and unfortunately not all of it will be left at the beach!

Having an outdoor shower is an effective way of keeping the sand outside of your coastal holiday home.  If you have one of these showers ensure the plumbing allows for the water connection to be terminated from the inside.  Many holiday home insurance claims come from frozen pipes in the colder months and an outdoor shower is a prime target for this. Ensure that if your holiday home is unoccupied during the winter, the water to the shower is turned off to limit the chances of any potential damage.

You’ll also need to limit the risks of slips and trips by installing items such as anti-slip mats.

Storage areas

If your holiday home is of a size where you are able to designate an area for the storage of gear and boards then this is also a very good idea.  Look to utilise any outbuildings or storage facilities that you have to minimise the wear and tear on the interior of your holiday home.

Hire or bring Surf Boards

Encourage your guests to bring their own surfboards or provide information on where they can hire wetsuits and surfboards and book surfing tuition.  Guests should have their own liability insurance, which extends to surfing, either via their own home insurance policy or through membership of an association such as Surfing GB.

We recommend that holiday home owners don’t supply their guests with their own boards as the liability implications for the property owner are very high.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance to holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home please give us a call on 01237 429444.


making your holiday cottage bike friendly

making your holiday cottage bike friendlyCatering for the growing British cycling market

As the pinnacle of worldwide competitive cycling it may seem strange to refer to Tour de France winners as busses, but when Bradley Wiggins was crowned the king of the tour in 2012 very few of us, having waiting more than 100 years for a British winner, expected to see Chris Froome storming down the Champs-Élysées adorned in the yellow jersey just twelve months later.

Add to those names the likes of Chris Hoy, Rebecca Pendleton and many more from the record breaking GB cycling team of recent years and you begin to build a picture of a nation enjoying one of the most successful times in its cycling history.

So often elite level success trickles down to greater recreational participation; cycle paths have begun to pop up and be developed in greater numbers and many enjoying a stay in a holiday cottage this summer will now be looking forward to getting the family out for a day on the bikes. There are many ways of making your holiday cottage bike friendly and many owners will be looking for ways to appeal to this market.

So what can you do to cater to this growing market?

Provide guests with the information they need

It’s a good idea to provide your guests with information such as where the local cycle paths are, how long the cycle will be, potential stop off points and also the level of difficulty.

Whilst some may be after an adrenaline fuelled speed cycle through the local woods others will be seeking a more sedate experience whilst taking in the views so make sure your guests know what they’re getting themselves in for.

This information doesn’t need to be restricted to arrival or as a pack in your holiday home either.  Consider promoting the local cycle paths on your website along with images from those unrivaled views.  If you’re aiming to attract this sort of market it’s important to make sure they know everything you have to offer.

Washing and drying facilities

The British weather can be notoriously inclement no matter what the month, which when cycling is involved often leads to muddy and rain sodden clothing.

Providing designated areas where dirty clothes and trainers can be aired and washed will be an added bonus for visitors and will also limit the mud and dirt to certain parts of your holiday cottage.


Bicycles take up space so you need somewhere to store them.  There is now a wide array of space saving storage devices on the market specifically designed for cyclists and they don’t have to cost the earth; some begin from just £29.99 from well known hardware stores.

Any potential space saving within the cottage itself can also save expense on having to erect external bike sheds and installing further security devices.

Providing bikes for your holiday cottage guests

If you’re providing bikes for your guests then you’ll need to confirm with your holiday cottage insurance provider if they are happy to extend your liability insurance for this activity and comply with policy conditions and good health and safety practice. At the very least you’ll have to ensure they’re regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person.  If they’re defected in any way they should be made unavailable to guests until they have been repaired and are in full working order.

Make sure you provide helmets

Wearing a helmet is a vital part of cycling health and safety so if you’re providing bicycles to your guests it’s essential that you make these available.

Like your bike a helmet should also be inspected on a regular basis, with a log kept of when you last made an inspection, along with any replacements or repairs carried out.

Consider adding signage where your bikes are stored to remind them that the helmets are there for them and recommend they should be used at all times.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance to holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home please give us a call on 01237 429444.


twitter for holiday homeowners

Twitter for holiday homeowners – becoming advocates for your area.

twitter for holiday homeowners

In July 2006 a new social network that allowed people to post 140 character text messages was launched.

Eight years on that social network is now one of the ten most visited websites on the internet, handling near 2 billion search queries a day and generating on average 5,700 tweets per second.

Twitter has hit the big time; it’s changed the way in which people interact online, breaking down traditional social constructs and barriers and along with them opening up new opportunities for holiday homeowners.

So how can you use Twitter for your holiday home?

Build dialogue with guests and the local community

If we go back ten years your website was your brochure.  It laid out what you had to offer in a similar format to that of a paper document, with little or no potential interaction.

Fast forward to today and Twitter gives you the opportunity to build dialogue, to engage, no only with those that may one day visit your holiday home but also with local attractions and communities.

Promotion of your area and what’s on offer

A vast number of your visitors will spend their days away from your holiday home.  This time is likely to be spent in your local area; so what is it the area has to offer?

Twitter can be used to not only promote your holiday home but also your location as a tourist destination.  Promoting what’s around you, having conversations with local attraction providers and community groups will only help to build and boost the visitors to your area of the country.  Remember that that promotion and dialogue will often also be reciprocal.

Don’t leave it for your visitors to find. Tell them about it and spread the word.

Extend your reach by offering information of value

The potential reach of Twitter is boundless. If you create and share great content then your potential reach is going to be that much greater.

What makes great content? Content that is of value to guests, which again feeds in to areas such as local attractions, things to do, places to eat.

Knowing your audience and giving them the information they want to hear will help your message resonate and with it will come re-tweets, comments and favorites.

Make sure you spend your time effectively

Life as a holiday homeowner is busy.  Where do you find the time to get on to Twitter in the day or the evenings? How do you spread your time between your Facebook page, your Twitter feed and the potential allure of new networks such as Google +?

Make sure you know what it is you’re aiming to gain from your Twitter activity and ensure that your time is spent focusing on that goal.  With focus comes efficiency and with efficiency comes time saving.

Twitter can be a great tool for holiday homeowners to engage and to promote.  Whether it’s the Yorkshire Dales, the Cotswolds, English Riviera, Cornwall or any other beauty spot throughout the country, become an advocate for your area, promote what you have to offer and don’t leave guests guessing.