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holiday let bookings and coronavirus

holiday let bookings and coronavirusHoliday homeowners and holiday letting agents alike are understandably concerned about the potential for the disruption which coronavirus (Covid-19) may cause. Boshers have put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). Hopefully these will help to clarify the position with respect to holiday let bookings and coronavirus. This includes details on cover provided by our holiday home insurance policy together with wider implications.

Whilst the primary concern for the disruption which coronavirus may cause is loss of income due to cancelled bookings, owners are also concerned about their liability towards guests and cleaning contractors. Hopefully these FAQ’s will help to clarify what is and isn’t covered under your holiday home insurance policy.

Holiday Let Bookings and Coronavirus – Frequently asked questions?

Q1. Does my policy include any cover for loss of rental income if the holiday home is directly affected by a `disease outbreak’?

There is some cover within the policy for loss of income as a result of a `specified disease’. The definition of specified disease specific to the loss of income cover is detailed in the policy wording. You can view the policy wording on our website here: https://www.boshers.co.uk/holiday-home-insurance/

Q2. Is Covid-19 a specified disease for the purpose of the policy wording?

No – In common with most other insurers, Covid-19 is not a specified disease in our policy wording. The extension under the loss of income section of our policy for `specified disease’ is based on a specific list of diseases which does not include new and emerging diseases like Covid-19. 

Q3. What about the fact that Covid-19 has been declared a `notifiable disease’ by the Government? 

Even though the Government has declared Covid-19 as a notifiable disease, this does not change the insurance position under the policy. As the chancellor said, you cannot retrospectively change contracts of insurance at this time without threatening the future of the insurance industry.   

Our holiday home insurance underwriter Ecclesiastical will continue to offer cover for `specified disease’, rather than for ‘notifiable’ or any infectious or contagious disease such as coronavirus. We are sorry that it is not economically viable to provide cover for pandemic viruses such as Covid-19, but with this approach you can be clear on what is and isn’t covered.

Q4. What if guests are prevented from taking up their bookings because they have been quarantined due to coronavirus?

There would not be cover under your policy as this is a booking your guests cannot fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms and conditions to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. It may be that they can claim for the cost of the booking under their travel insurance if they have a policy in force. Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These may include medical advice against your guest or a member of your guests’ group from travelling or government advice against travelling. The ABI have issued some information for travellers here: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/

Q5. What if guests choose to cancel their holiday because they are disinclined to travel because they are concerned about coronavirus?

In a similar manner to Q4 above, there would not be cover under your policy. This is a booking your guests are choosing not to fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. In this instance the guests’ travel insurance would not cover them as travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ , where the Government advice has not changed to advise against travel.

Q6. What if guests currently staying in the property are forced to stay on because our area comes under quarantine?

There would not be cover under your policy as coronavirus is not a specified disease in our policy wording. In any event, it is unlikely that individuals will be prevented from travelling home at the end of their holiday. If a guest contracts coronavirus whilst on holiday it would be reasonable to expect them to return home to self-isolate.

Q7. How about liability cover?

Subject to the terms and conditions of Boshers Holiday Home Insurance policy, the Employers’ and Public Liability cover provides an indemnity to the policyholder if the policyholder is held legally liable for accidental bodily injury or illness arising in connection with the policyholder’s business of holiday letting.  

Q8. Should I ensure that my holiday home is deep cleaned on changeover day?

You have a duty of care towards any visitors to your holiday home to ensure that it is a safe environment. By taking reasonable steps to make sure that your holiday home is cleaned in accordance with Public Health guidelines, you will be fulfilling your duty of care. The best source of cleaning guidance can be found here:

The situation surrounding coronavirus is developing rapidly. It’s best to regularly check the government’s official guidance which is reviewed daily and updated frequently. If you are already a Boshers Holiday Home Insurance client and need any additional guidance on holiday let bookings and coronavirus by all means give our team a call on 01237 429444 or contact us by email. Equally if you have any holiday letting insurance related questions regarding coronavirus that we haven’t answered above, get in touch and we’ll do our upmost to answer them.

Not a Boshers client yet? We offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444. If we are closed use the quote form and we’ll be in touch during the next business day.

Website update. Stethoscope on laptop keyboardTop tips to get your holiday let website in great shape for the New Year

With the busiest months now behind us are you ready for a January rush of bookings? Here’re some helpful tips to make sure that your website is doing your holiday home and destination justice.

Is all of your website content up to date?

Now is an opportune time to review your holiday let website. Make sure it’s up to date and saying everything you need it to.

  • Do you have all of your unique selling points covered?
  • Have any new additions to your holiday home been mentioned and promoted?
  • Are you using bullet points to quickly highlight what your visitors will be getting?

Learn from what’s working well

If you have Google Analytics, consider looking at which are your most popular pages.

  • Why are they the most popular?
  • Do they give you an insight into what people are looking for when visiting your website and property?
  • Do they give you ideas for building upon the current information with even more?

Promoting your destination

Remember that up to date content doesn’t stop with your holiday home. Your visitors are likely to spend a good deal of their time away from your cottage.

  • Do you have up to date information on where they could be spending their time?
  • Have you spoken with local attractions to gain a link as a local accommodation provider?
  • Have you got information on season opening times?
  • Is there information on how long it takes to get there and how easy it is to find?
  • The more information you have on the local area the more likely a visitor will be attracted to stay.

Make a content plan and consider scheduling your activity

Whilst fresh, regular and relevant content is becoming increasingly important to Google, the biggest problem for most holiday homeowners is finding the time to create it.

During the summer months, when every minute is precious and often fraught with activity, time is not often available to be penning regular blog posts.

Take the time you have in the winter to put a plan in place and to create some great content for your website visitors.

Most content management systems such as WordPress will allow you to schedule when this goes onto your website, leaving you with fresh content all year round, without having to spend all year writing and publishing it.

Update your photography and make sure it does you justice

If a picture speaks a thousand words, are the photos on your website saying the right ones about your holiday cottage?

Remember that when someone is visiting your holiday home they want to have the best possible impression of where it is they’re staying. Out of date, old or poor photography can leave your marketing in tatters so ensure that the latest and best available to you are on display.

Use the visitor book to your advantage

Many holiday homes will have a guest book where visitors can leave comments. Increasingly owners encourage those staying to leave reviews on popular websites such as Tripadvisor.

If those that stay in your holiday home shout about how great it is then ensure these testimonials are prominently displayed across your website. Ensure that they are also up to date!

Is your holiday let website up to speed with current technology?

The average life cycle of a business website is said to be three to four years and you can see why; ten years ago the world hadn’t heard of an iPad! 18.9% of the global population will own a tablet within two years; 42% already have a smart phone.

It’s essential that your website not only keeps up to date with technology but also with other holiday homes. If others are taking advantage of the 52% of internet traffic that now comes from smart phones, should you be too?

Secure your holiday let website with SSL

Short for ‘Secure Socket Layer’, an SSL Certificate is something that you as a website owner buy (usually from your website hosting provider) and then install on your site.

Its purpose is to encrypt the information passed between you and your visitor, and visa versa, therefore making this information secure and unable to be hacked or intercepted.

The cost of an SSL Certificate for your holiday let website can vary from £20 a year up to £150, depending on the needs of your site and your website developer should be able to point you toward the most effective and appropriate for your needs.

Update your holiday let website Copyright

With the dawn of 2020 will come a new copyright number to be displayed on your website. Often forgotten, this small number at the bottom of most sites will need to be updated from 2019 to 2020.

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

 

Attracting Millennials to your coastal holiday home
Attracting Millennials to your coastal holiday home

‘Millennial’ is a word that we hear more and more as time goes by and it’s used to mean many different things.  In essence, millennials are currently aged between twenty and thirty-seven. So what are the chances of attracting millennials to your coastal holiday home? According to research from the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA), millennials are the least likely age group to visit Britain’s coastlines for a holiday, despite being the most likely to take a break in the UK. 

NCTA research findings…

The reason? The research says that they find coastal holidays to be ‘old fashioned’, perhaps likened to the ‘kiss me quick’ seaside holidays other generations had enjoyed in perceived ‘by-gone’ times.

However, there is a large glimmer of hope; of the 1,000 people the NCTA polled, 28% believed that some activities are at their best in winter, with 51% saying the coast offers activities year-round.

Their research therefore gives us a few key findings from which to work:

  1. This sector is already holidaying in the UK but isn’t aware of everything the coast has to offer.
  2. They believe that the coast is an attractive proposition for activities, no matter what time of the year it is.

Although the two seem to be in opposition to each other, it does offer holiday homeowners a large opportunity; to educate and engage them in everything the coast has to offer in the off-peak season.

So how can you go about attracting millennials to your coastal holiday home this autumn and winter?

Moving from holiday home to destination marketing will help in attracting millennials to your coastal holiday home

Your millennial guests are going to be spending the majority of their time outside of your holiday home.  In essence this can be as much as 80% of their waking hours throughout a holiday, so ensure that your marketing and content is as equally divided between your accommodation and selling the destination

What can they do? Where can they go? Can they get there without a car? Are there surfing lessons available? Where can they take the kids? What happens if it rains?

These should be at the forefront of your marketing; create a destination for them to immerse themselves in, not just a beautifully appointed cottage for them to sleep.

Make the most of the view

There’s something about a sea view; home owners will pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for just a glimpse, while budding tourists will fill up from the beach backwards. Use plenty of imagery of your coastline in your social media posts and email newsletters. 

If you’re on Facebook adding more than five photos to a post will turn it into a gallery, which is proven to increase engagement. 

Video is another sure-fire winner – videos beneath a minute in length are the most popular and can get as much as 10 times the amount of engagement a photograph will.  Remember you’re trying to sell the destination, so you don’t always need to make the videos or take the photographs yourself; share from the coastal path, the local surf school, restaurant or activity centre and work together to build your millennial destination.

Know your marketing

If you’re looking for millennials, then you’ll need to be searching in the right place.  That place is Facebook and Instagram, both of which have incredibly high engagement and usage levels in this demographic.

Keep it focussed

Although you’re finding them on social media, you’re going to need to get them to your website in order to secure that eventual conversion.  Don’t just limit your destination marketing to your Facebook or Instagram account; always ensure you’ve got the content that they want to know about readily available on your website no matter what time of the year.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

increase off-peak bookings
increase off-peak bookings

With the busy summer holiday letting season fast becoming a distant memory, now is the time to be thinking about how to increase off-peak bookings during the low season. 

As you’ll already know, the opportunities for parents to take their children out of school during term time are now limited, meaning that focus needs to be moved to other target markets where competition is becoming increasingly fierce. 

We take a look at some of the potential markets you could be attracting as the summer sun sets and Autumnal and Winter breaks begin…

Dog owners – there are 14 million dog owners in the UK

If your cottage welcomes dogs, then the great news is that a lot of us have one; 14 million in the UK to be precise! With as many as 44% of Britain’s households owning a pet, this is a market certainly worth taking advantage of to increase off-peak bookings.

If you’re wanting to attract the dog-friendly market, you’ll need to:

  1. Make sure it’s immediately obvious that you welcome dogs – you don’t want potential guests having to root around for the information as the more effort they have to put into finding it, the more likely you’ll lose the online conversion.
  2. Tell them what’s available for their pet in your cottage.  This should also include whether you have an enclosed garden and policies on leads etc.
  3. Build a dog-friendly destination for them – what there is to do in the local area with their dog? Walks they can go on, dog friendly pubs, dog friendly beaches and attractions.

When welcoming dogs to your holiday home our top tip is to ensure that your holiday home insurance is dog friendly too!

Young families with toddlers

Because school-aged children will need to take their holidays outside of term time you often find that pre-school families will look to take advantage of shoulder months when prices are lower and crowds more dispersed.  

If you’re wanting to attract the pre-school market, you’ll need to:

  1. Highlight everything you have in your cottage for their children, so they’re clear on what they need to bring and what you’ll be providing.  Car space can be at a premium so think of ways in which you can make their life easier.
  2. Tell them where can they go and what can they do with their children. They won’t want to be cooped up so giving them specific days out suitable for younger children will make your proposition stronger. If you can give personal recommendations, they’ll be more credible than just providing a standardised long list.
  3. If you’ve got additional features such as animal feeding, these can prove to be extremely popular with younger children so feature them prominently.

Walkers, hikers and cyclists

There’s nothing better than a good walk in fresh air.  Don’t just take our word for it; 42 million people take to the Wales Coast Path each year while that figure is equalled and eclipsed in the South West of England. 

If you have good cycling or walking routes near your holiday cottage you should:

  1. Include information on all routes on your website and promote them through your social media. 
  2. There should be routes for all levels and ages of walker with varying difficulties.
  3. Make sure you share the best photos and videos from your routes. Encouraging guests to do the same can gain you even more social media traction.
  4. Make use of local walking organisations and coastal paths in your marketing – some will have great video and photography you can tap into.
  5. Try to turn your walking routes into an event – where are the best places to stop for food and drink on the way? What else can they do? Create a day rather than a walk.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

holiday letting terms and conditions
holiday letting terms and conditions

A new campaign led by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is highlighting the importance of being open and transparent with your guests when it comes to your holiday letting terms and conditions. 

The initiative, named ‘Small Print, Big Difference,’ is encouraging holiday home owners to ‘check in’ on their small print to ensure it’s fair to guests that have cause to unexpectedly cancel their holiday after booking, and is backed by a number of leading players within the industry including ABTA, The Travel Association, UKHospitality and Specialist Travel Association (AITO).

Are your terms and conditions ‘fair’?

The UK spent an estimated £81 billion on travel and holidays in 2018 alone, with the average family spending up to £3,000 to enjoy a range of destinations across the world and closer to home.  The thought of having to cancel a holiday, whether through ill health, bereavement or circumstances outside of your control, and subsequent loss of a deposit or cancellation fee, can therefore be an expensive one.

However, on the part of the holiday homeowner, if you’ve taken a booking and perhaps lost other bookings in order to honour that reservation, you are equally left with the prospect of having to fill that cottage, sometimes with very little or no notice, or be left significantly out of pocket.

It would seem in this scenario there are really no winners; the guest doesn’t get to enjoy your cottage and potentially loses a sum of money, whilst you are left frantically trying to re-book or face losing out on potential rental income.

The answer therefore lays in finding a ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ solution for all involved.

What is legally reasonable and fair?

Under consumer law, a business may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee in order to cover any potential losses.  With that in mind, how much should, or could you be asking guests for if they need to cancel a booking?

The key is that the figure must be seen as proportionate to what you are losing. 

For example, if you were to ask for the full sum of their holiday and you then had time to re-book for the cancelled period, this would be seen as unreasonable. 

On the other hand, if you incurred costs in advertising and administrative time in order to re-book for the cancelled period, then asking for some of this to be covered would be more fair and reasonable if clearly communicated and stated within your terms and conditions.

How about non-refundable deposits?

If you include a blanket “non-refundable deposit” demand or cancellation fee in your terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable if that figure doesn’t correlate to your potential losses – even if the customer has signed it.

What do guests currently expect?

A recent survey conducted by CMA found that:

  • 89% felt they should get all, or most, of their money back if they cancel and the business re-sells their booking.
  • 85% felt that it’s unfair if they have to pay part of the cost of a booking when they cancel
  • 66% felt that travel and holiday businesses do not always make it as easy to cancel a booking as they should
  • of the people with experience of cancelling a booking, 1 in 5 felt that they had been treated unfairly

The key to fair conditions

When it comes to the law, the key is to ensure that any figure you request on cancellation correlates to the potential loss. However, at the heart of good customer service is great communication, so always make sure that your holiday letting terms and conditions are not only fair, but that your guests have seen them, read them, understand them and have easy access to them at every point of their booking with you.

For more information on the ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign please visit: https://fairterms.campaign.gov.uk/

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

holiday home booking scams

holiday home booking scamsDid you know that there are 14 billion spam emails sent across the world every day? With that sheer volume you’ll not be surprised if one or two pop into your own inbox each day!

Whilst we can all turn a blind eye, perhaps muttering under our breath as we delete them from our rapidly filling inbox, the problem is that some are becoming more and more realistic; the lines between valid enquiries and booking scams are blurring.

This potential problem is further exacerbated for holiday homeowners when you consider that the majority of bookings are now taken online through booking engines. So how do you tell if someone is real or fake so you don’t fall foul of booking scams? A number of incidences have been recently reported where:

  1. holiday homeowners have taken a booking, the person has stayed at the property and;
  2. the payment has subsequently been denied after their departure
  3. the card used had been stolen or impersonated.

So what would you do in these circumstances? You’ve not only lost out on the payment for the stay but also lost out on letting it to someone else. A double loss.

The answer of course is as always to stay vigilant when taking bookings and investigate further if you have doubts over the validity of a potential booking. Here are just a few tips to hopefully help to ensure that fake bookings don’t make it past your proactive safeguards.

Look for some of the more obvious signs of faking

As we’ve already said, email correspondences and online bookings can be very sincere and on the face of it look completely legitimate. However, there are a few red flags that may arouse suspicion:

  1. Not providing a telephone number or other key pieces of verification information – this can be easily solved by making this a compulsory field of any bookings. You could also ask for their home address as a part of this process.
  2. Monitor very late and last minute bookings. If someone has obtained someone’s credit or debit card information, then it’s unlikely they’ll be planning their trip months in advance for fear of being caught. The majority of holiday home scams are concentrated around last minute bookings for short breaks.
  3. Some booking scams have involved individuals ‘arranging a surprise trip’ for someone else. Whilst this in isolation isn’t completely uncommon, if combined with the other potential red flags we’ve already mentioned it may arouse suspicion of scamming.

Trust your own instinct to prevent falling foul of booking scams

If you manage your own holiday home bookings, then you’ll have undoubtedly taken hundreds if not thousands over the years. Trust your instinct; if something around a booking doesn’t feel or smell right then investigate it. Give them a call. Look into things a little further and ask for additional information that would dispel any doubt.

If you’re still in doubt…

Where you have concern over a booking, consider asking for ID and to view the card on which they paid on arrival. If someone has stolen the personal information of another individual, then they’ll not have this to hand.

Use a good holiday letting agent…

Using a good holiday letting agency can also help you stamp out fraudulent or scam bookings. Working with cottage owners in the local area or even nationally, an agency will have an unrivalled knowledge and understanding. Not only will they get you new bookings, but also keep you as safe as possible from would-be scammers.

If you have been a victim of fraud it’s important to report it to the relevant authorities. You can report a fraud to Action Fraud using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Boshers are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For information on how we can help protect your holiday let business ,call us on 01237 429444

Stonehenge - Stonehenge - Visit Britain tourism figures

Stonehenge - Stonehenge - Visit Britain tourism figuresEarly autumn is often the first opportunity holiday homeowners get to take stock and review their performance from a frantic summer.  For many, the feeling has been that it’s been a good one; a heatwave which at one point showed no signs of ever ending meant that it was not only one of the hottest since records began, but also one of the driest. But what did that really mean in terms of the sector as a whole? Does great British weather lead to more heads on beds? Has the reality been as positive as the perception? We take a look at the latest statistics from the VisitEngland ‘Tourism Business Performance and Confidence Monitor’.

A strong summer for the tourism sector as a whole

The good news is that the figures released by VisitEngland have been every bit as positive as the general perception.  92% of those surveyed indicated that they were confident of their business performance during the peak summer months, with more than half of accommodation providers indicating that their bookings would be up on 2017.

VisitEngland said: “It is encouraging to see that accommodation providers and visitor attractions have experienced a strong summer with bookings up on last year and confidence sustained beyond the peak season. These results are testament to the quality and range of experiences on offer year-round across England.”

Trips taken in England at highest level for nine years

The ‘staycation’ has been a term that’s been bandied about for many years, with previous promises of BBQ summers suggesting that Brits would flock to the shores and countryside of the UK for their summer holidays rather than venturing to venues across the European peninsula.

So was 2018 the actual return of the ‘staycation’?  Well in terms of trips made in England over the first six months of the year it may well be; 16.2 million domestic holiday trips were made in England even in advance of the peak summer season, the highest for more than nine years!

The impact of ongoing good weather into October

Great weather in the summer often means better bookings in the shoulder months; it is after all much more tempting to book a holiday in England when there’s wall to wall sunshine outside! So the good news is that the boom seems set to stay a little longer. 67% of those surveyed by VisitEngland are reporting very good advanced bookings beyond the October half term.

And a final positive…

It’s been a good year for holiday homeowners, with 52% of those surveyed indicating 2018 has been better than 2017.  Let’s hope these figures can continue to move in the right direction.

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

Package Travel Regulations

Package Travel RegulationsThe Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018

This summer has been a great one for many holiday homeowners and lettings agents; a weak pound has made foreign holidays less thrifty than they once were. When combined with plenty of sunshine many of us have chosen to staycation and enjoy everything Britain has to offer.

There has however been a slightly grey cloud hanging over the industry in recent weeks. Did you hear the announcement of new government regulations surrounding ‘package travel’? Although designed to protect travellers booking flights and hotels online as part of a package, the legislation has further ramifications. Not only large hotel chains but bed and breakfasts and holiday homeowners alike.

Let’s take a look at the legislation, what you potentially need to do and the impact it could have…

What are the Package Travel Regulations?

The UK’s package travel regulations came into force on 1st July 2018. They aim to provide those booking online greater protection should a business they book with go bust before their stay. They come in response to an estimated 50% of current holiday bookings offering customers no financial protection in these circumstances.

The main clamp down is on something called ‘flight-plus’ packages. This is when a flight departing the UK and accommodation (and sometimes car hire or transfer) are booked at the same time. Or when sold in close proximity to each other but the way in which they are sold means it doesn’t form a ‘package’. Going forward these types of holiday will either no longer exist or alternatively form part of a package or ‘linked travel arrangement’.

Greater protection for the consumer – sounds sensible so far doesn’t it? However, there are some further consequences to these changes…

Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) and your holiday home

So what exactly is a ‘linked travel arrangement’?

Visit England indicate that ‘a linked travel arrangement is formed where, on the basis of booking one element, the customer is provided with a targeted offer for another element and takes up that offer within 24 hours. This includes offers where if the customer stays in your accommodation they can take advantage of an offer at another business that they wouldn’t otherwise get.’

An example of this may be where you offer guests 10% off at that great gastro pub down the road, or perhaps you can get them 2 for 1 entry at a local festival or attraction and your guest decide to take advantage within 24 hours of booking with you. It’s important to highlight that you don’t have to benefit financially from the offer for a Linked Travel Arrangement to be formed’. This means as far as the regulations are concerned, even if you don’t get a commission you’re still selling a linked travel arrangement’.

Are there any exceptions?

The good news is that the package travel regulations don’t include simply signposting people to local pubs and attractions or making recommendations, so there’s no need to quickly remove these from your website or stop adding value to your visitors by offering them your local knowledge.

What if you are selling a Linked Travel Arrangement?

Are you are offering discounts or promotions in partnership with other attractions and eateries (as two examples we’ve already used)? If yes, the new regulations mean that you now need insolvency insurance. It’s a criminal offence to sell LTAs without this. Unsure of where you stand in relation to the latest regulations? Please have a read of these government guidance notes to ensure that you’re meeting all of your legislative requirements:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Would you like an insurance quote for your holiday letting property? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

cancellation

cancellationWhilst many holiday cottages across the country are busy with bookings for the peak season, most will also have at some time had to deal with a late cancellation. These are often completely unavoidable. Even if a sizeable deposit has been taken, they can still leave you out of pocket. The other issue is you only have a short space of time to fill them.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some top tips to help you maximise the chances of getting new guests into that prime summer slot.

Don’t rush to discount

The obvious temptation is to drop your price and discount the week. Depending on how quickly you need to fill the vacancy this won’t always be the best way to go; you’ve got a quality cottage, it’s been in demand, so why not test the water and offer it at full (or near to full) price?

This can be particularly pertinent if you’re focussed on the family market; during school term time prices are obviously artificially higher than at other times of the year. If you have the time, try offering your week at the same price before offering any potential hefty discounts. Should it not work, you can then adopt some sort of discounting offer.

Build your database on an ongoing basis

It pays to have a Facebook page full of likes or an email database brimming with past and potential customers. Otherwise the cost of filling your cancelled week will be higher than if you put the ground work in well in advance.

For that reason, you should be constantly taking emails from past and present guests (make sure you offer them the chance to opt-in to your emails), as well as having a clearly visible signup form on your website.

These people are going to be the first port of call when it comes to getting the news of a cancelled week (as they’ve either stayed or showed an active interest in your cottage), and will be a cost effective way of filling your vacancy.

When it comes to Facebook, always encourage people to like your page. This can apply during the booking process, right through to their stay and once they’ve returned home. If they’ve already experienced how great your holiday cottage is then you’ll want to be able to tell them about the latest availability through your page, and as mentioned above, by email too.

Use Facebook effectively

When you post onto Facebook you will organically reach around 20% of your page likes (if the post doesn’t receive interaction such as likes, comments and shares).

This means that when your post about availability goes on, you’re potentially only reaching 20% of your target audience and the other 80%, who are likely to be interested as they like your page, are none the wiser.

For this reason don’t be tempted to just hit the big blue button that says ‘boost’ on it; go to the advert manager and run a campaign to the people that like your page already. This will hit those 80% who like your page and are therefore the best bet to fill a vacancy.

If that doesn’t work then you can then focus on reaching their friends, who are likely to have similar lifestyle traits and tastes.

For more information on how to do this please take a look here: Facebook advertising | 3 ways to target more bookings

Ensure you’re employing email marketing

With Facebook becoming more and more prevalent in filling bookings, email can sometimes be the forgotten marketing ingredient. For every £1 spent on email marketing in the UK, £28 in revenue is generated.  Send an email to your database letting them know about the availability, as well as posting it on Facebook.

For more information on how to do this please take a look here: 10 tips for holiday let email marketing success

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

great year for uk tourism

great year for uk tourismAs far as stats go 2015 was a great year for UK tourism as a whole. Many accommodation providers across the UK seeing increases in bookings and stays. The good news is that as 2016 came to a close it’s looking like it has lived up to the hype of the previous year with stats now becoming available for August.

An increase in visits made during August

According to a survey by PWC, 3.77 million people made UK based tourist visits during August last year. This was an increase of 2% on the same period last year. Whilst a 2% jump might not be enough to make many jaws hit the floor, when put into real terms it is an increase of 75,000 visitors in a thirty day period that was already a strong performer in the past calendar year.

It has been suggested that the weak pound following the ‘Brexit’ referendum vote could have had a positive impact on overseas trips made to the UK with savvy travellers trying to make the most of their money.

Visitors were spending more in August

Working on this logic you won’t be surprised to hear that there was also an increase in visitor spend during this period. The rise seen in August 2016 was 4% up on the previous year and spread across accommodation, attractions, and shopping. Not surprisingly, these UK tourism figures left many holiday homeowners and affiliated trades and services in a buoyant mood as the summer came to a close.

Larger trends: more oversees visitors arrive in past 12 months

There’s also good news when we look over a slightly longer time period; more and more overseas visitors are now flocking to the shores of the UK to enjoy a break. A 4% increase in this area has had a significant and positive impact on booking numbers and spend over the past twelve months.

It also matches a wider trend of higher levels of visits and spending across the past five years, meaning even more positive signs for holiday cottage owners.

What is the outlook for next year?

As we head into 2017, experts are predicting yet another fruitful year for those in the UK tourism industry. A survey by PWC has revealed that 45% of people expect to take more holidays in the UK next year; fantastic news for holiday homeowners potentially benefitting from those wanting and willing to take a ‘staycation’.

The survey also showed that 35% of people will be putting holidays as a priority for their spending in 2017. This provides further opportunity for the UK tourism industry to make the most of domestic visitors.

Some uncertainties

The success of 2017 may be impacted, positively or negatively, by the run up to the UK leaving the EU; and the value of the pound. More people are expected to favour staycations, as the research by PWC substantiates. So this year could easily surpass the success of 2016.

If the value of the pound stays the same, or falls further, Brits will find travelling abroad more expensive. Thus, giving a boost to UK tourism and an overall feeling of positivity within the industry. 2017 should be a great year for tourism in the UK and therefore a positive one for holiday homeowners.

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.