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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.

 

social media

social mediaSocial media has changed the way in which many of us find and book our holidays; more and more potential paying guests are now finding their holiday home accommodation provider through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where once upon a time they’d be at the local travel agent or reading about them in a glossy magazine or directory.

The question is no longer if you’re using social media as an agent or a cottage owner, it’s whether you’re utilising it to its maximum potential. With that in mind, here’re five very simple tips to increase your performance and generate more enquiries from your social media presence.

It’s good to find a niche and be targeted

All social media needs content; whether it’s 140 character tweets on Twitter, photos and some text for Facebook or that perfectly filtered image to go onto Instagram, content makes the world go round.

So how can you make that content more focused? By understanding who you’re targeting and thinking before anything you post, ‘would that person be interested in this content?’

Your holiday home will attract a certain type of person; if it’s ideal for young families then your content needs to be interesting and engaging to those with children. Are there soft play areas nearby? Is your cottage ram-packed with kids toys?

If it isn’t interesting to your target market, then it’s unlikely to stimulate response and intrigue.

A picture speaks a thousand words

No matter what platform you’re on, always try to include stimulating photography. It’s undoubtedly the easiest way to stand out from the crowd, and also sell your destination and accommodation. Consider stock-piling photography during the summer and brighter months which will tide you over during the winter. Many can become stuck for photos when the nights are longer and the leaves are long gone from the trees!

Timing is everything in social media

It’s important to understand the best times to post in order to boost the levels of interaction you gain. When it comes to Facebook, evenings (6.30pm – 10pm) are particularly effective. A massive amount of holiday research and bookings are made on a Sunday evening. If you’re not posting late in the afternoon or early in the evening on a Sunday, you could be missing out!

Twitter also buzzes during the evening when interaction is proven to be higher (people have more time having left the office for the day), whilst Instagram have done away with chronological post feeds meaning that post interaction is less dependent on timing (although first thing in the morning is still a winner!).

You’re more than just a holiday home (destination)

Holiday homeowners can sometimes come unstuck when trying to come up with content ideas. It doesn’t have to be just about your cottage, so worry not that you’ll need to be putting that same photo of the master bedroom up for a fourteenth time!

Visitors are likely to spend a good deal of time away from your cottage, so what is it that your area has to offer and how can you use this to entice potential guests? As much of the content you’re sharing should be about your destination as well as your property, and remember to make this all relevant to the person you’re trying to reach (as mentioned in our first point!) so it really strikes a chord and encourages an enquiry.

Be focused when it comes to advertising

Facebook make it incredibly simple and easy to advertise through their big blue boost buttons. Although it doesn’t mean that you need to be doing this recklessly. If you are considering boosting a post, then always consider if there’s any point to doing so before you do.

Trying to fill a week after a cancellation and have a special discount to encourage a booking, then fine, boost away!

Just posting an image and an update with no real call to action? Keep your money in your pocket!

Selectively boosting when there’s a distinct action you’re wanting the viewer to take can be extremely effective. By avoiding irrelevant post boosts you’ll have more spend to ensure it really works when you should be using it!

When holiday letting your second home to paying guests it’s essential to take advice on suitable insurance. Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday letting property? Please 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.

England's Seafood Coast

England’s Seafood Coast Initiative launched to make South Devon the heart of seafood

England's Seafood CoastIf we said “seafood”, where would you think of? A new initiative (England’s Seafood Coast) has been launched by Mitch Tonks, Visit Devon, and the Torbay Culture Board. It aims to position ‘Torbay’ and ‘South Devon’ at the heart of Britain’s seafood culture.

It’s staggering to think that England’s highest value seafood catch is landed at Brixham, yet less than 10% of it is eaten locally. Chef Mitch Tonks wants this to change, and aims to celebrate local seafood with the support of the Discover England Fund.

The plan

England’s Seafood Coast will be supported through a number of events and activities whilst bringing together the local seafood community.

Project Director Carolyn Custerson, ERTC Chief Executive Officer said: “Torbay’s new Tourism Destination Management Plan identifies the development of our cultural food and drink offer to help attract new visitors to the area. This project will inspire local businesses and partners to work together to develop and communicate England’s Seafood Coast product and brand to put the English Riviera on the map as a foodie destination.”

What this means in reality is a more joined up approach to promoting local seafood producers and providers, with the best in the locality being mapped for publicity.

Digital marketing is also set to play a vital role in increasing the awareness of the area’s best seafood experiences; a platform is currently being designed to make it easier for local residents and visitors to enjoy local seafood.

The aim

So why has this new project been created? Well, put simply, to boost the local area’s profile across the UK and globally. Thanks to the English Riviera Tourism Company, the project has successfully secured funding. Secured from the Government’s three-year Discover England Fund, which is putting £40million into the UK’s tourism industry.

The funding is designed to grow and increase the competitiveness of England’s tourism offerings and develop bookable tourism products. The food offerings are a core part of this goal, drawing more guests to visit areas with outstanding culinary heritage.

This investment is great news for Torbay and South Devon’s tourism industry. As well as boosting local interest in the area’s fishing heritage, the demand for holiday letting accommodation will also benefit.

Are you a holiday homeowner with great food and produce on your doorstep? Make sure you’re using it as a marketing asset. Whether on your blog, through social media or email marketing, do spread the word. Food is becoming an increasingly significant factor in buying decisions including the selection of holiday destinations.

For more information or to get involved with the project, click here.

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.

 

holiday letting blog

holiday letting blogFor a long time now we’ve been told that content is king; not only does Google love it, potential guests enjoy reading it and engaging with what you’re sharing in your holiday letting blog, whether that’s information on places to go in the local area, images of the latest stunning sunset or sharing a few guest reviews.

You don’t need to be an expert in online copy to create great content, you just need a bit of knowledge on what your existing and potential guests like to read about. Alongside this, you’ll need attention grabbing headlines.

If you currently have a blog for your holiday cottage business, we know it is more than likely that you spend hours labouring over a fantastic post then rushing a headline without giving it too much thought. You may not realise, but this could cost you visits to your holiday letting blog and as a result fewer bookings.

Research has shown that 8 out of 10 people will read the title of your blog, whilst 2 out of 10 will read the whole post. So it is worth spending time on a great headline and making a first impression that grabs attention.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 7 tips on creating the perfect blog title for your brilliant post.

  1. Use power words

Adding words such as ‘brilliant’, ‘easy’, and ‘fun’ lets the reader know that your post is interesting and worth reading. They target human emotions which makes people more inclined to take the time to read your blog post.

  1. Include a number

Research shows that blog post titles get a much higher click-through rate on search engines when it includes a number. This is because we have short attention spans, particularly when it comes to browsing online. A quick skim of a blog title and we can find out that we’ll get 7 fun family activities in North Cornwall.

  1. Make it odd

Experts aren’t entirely sure why, but odd numbers in blog post titles are more popular than even numbers.  Research from The Content Marketing Institute found that titles which included an odd number led to 20% more clicks. We may not know why this happens but it is definitely worth doing!  We seem to have seven points in this one!

  1. Show you can help

Readers are always after blog posts that will benefit them in some way. From the headline, they need to know that what you have written can help them and benefit them in some way.

Instead of a simple title like “Devon coastal walks”, add in a benefit (and an odd number and power word!) to make it more appealing. Something like “6 beautiful Devonshire coastal walks for the whole family”.

  1. Keep it short

Google can currently only show 65 characters in its search results (which are taken from the title of your blog), so a long title will be cut off and your hard work will be wasted.

We recommend keeping it below 45 characters for maximum impact. If you really can’t get it any lower than this, make sure your key words are at the start of the headline so that if some is cut off by Google, readers will still know what your blog post is about.

  1. Read around

If you want to know how to be successful with blog headlines, then take a look at those at the top. By spending just 10 minutes looking at popular blogs, you can start to see what techniques they use with their headlines.  Before you know it the creative juices will be flowing and you’ll be inspired to write some great headlines!

  1. Test it

If you think you’ve done a great job but want to double check, then try out this great free headline analyser tool. CoSchedule  checks your headline and scores it for relatability and emotion.

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.

 

Marketing your holiday cottage during the winter months

Marketing your holiday cottage during the winter monthsSo the clocks have gone back; the nights are certainly a little darker, as are the mornings, and the mercury in the thermometer has noticeably dropped. It may seem strange that now is an opportune time to be targeting one of the fastest growing areas in the tourism industry; the winter booking. We take a look at opportunities for increased bookings by marketing your holiday cottage during the winter months.

Marketing your holiday cottage during the winter months

For a long time many cottage owners will have been trying to fill those shoulder months, but for many this is now very much a reality. Visit England reported that for the months of January – April this year bed nights were up by a staggering 22%.

Wanting some tips on how you could be attracting a few more of these brave winter souls? We’ve taken a look at six factors to be considering….

Where do you price yourself?

One thing that may put some cottage owners off, and cause plenty of debate with others is how much should you really cut your prices in winter. Remember that there are increased overheads such as heating costs, and also that it’s not always the best to be the cheapest; what does this say about your cottage?

Take a look at similar cottages and where they’re currently priced during winter weeks and weekends. You’ll then be able to gauge the potential rental income you could obtain. If you’re with a letting agent they’ll be able to guide you with their experience in this area.

What can you add that’s of value to the guest?

Your guests are likely to spend more time in your cottage during the winter months than they would during peak season. So the key question is, what have you got to offer them?  Adding items to the welcome pack such as minced pies at Christmas will give a good impression, but have you considered putting together winter packages for guests?

How about linking up with other local businesses to offer discounts? Whether it’s restaurants, family attractions or even art galleries, the tourism industry is built up of many different businesses; by working together we can increase trade for all.

What’s happening in winter?

If your holiday cottage is located in a tourist hotspot you’ll no doubt enjoy the benefits of full peak season bookings, but for many guests, there may be the perception that your area just closes down during the winter. To avoid this ensure your website is kept regularly updated with information on local events, happenings and things to do. Just as in the summer, they’ll want places to visit and it’s vital it shows your area still has plenty to offer.

Email Marketing and Social Media

One of the most important aspects in gaining repeat or potential trade is building a relationship with the guest. If you’re looking to gain year round trade is stands to reason this will require year round contact. Be sure to email your guests with potential availability in winter months, and remain active on your social media. Even if this doesn’t result in a winter booking you’ll be maximising your chances of their return next summer.

Gain reviews from guests staying in the winter

The most credible feedback any potential guest could have on your cottage is from those that have had the pleasure of experiencing it. Ensure you’ve got reviews that make mention of winter stays; perhaps warm cosy nights in front of the fire, or great winter walks in local rugged terrain.

Get your photography right!

Combine reviews with some winter photography; most cottages will obviously have the majority of photos taken in the summer months. Consider if it’s worth having some cosy winter ones commissioned if you really want to take advantage of winter trade.

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.

Drive repeat holiday let bookings

Drive repeat holiday let bookingsWhen someone stays at your holiday home and has a great time you want them to return again and again, but with potentially up to a year before they enjoy their next trip, how do you drive repeat holiday let bookings and make sure you’re in their mind when they come to decide whether to return or seek new experiences?

We take a look at how you can encourage and drive repeat bookings for your holiday home.

Gaining contact to drive repeat holiday let bookings

You need to turn your visitor’s romantic weekend or week away into a longer-term relationship and dialogue. If they never hear from you again it’s far less likely they’ll come back.

In order to do that you need to build contact between now and when they next decide to take a holiday. Think of the ways in which you can communicate with visitors once they’ve left; do you send them an email for their arrival home? Do you ask them to leave feedback online or in a guest book? Do you thank them?

There are many ways to gain contact with your visitors once they’ve left; let’s take a look at a few others you can use.

Email Marketing to drive repeat holiday let bookings

Email marketing is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with previous guests.

Do you tell them about the changes you’ve made to your holiday home? Upcoming events in the area? Potential discounts you can offer on local attractions they may be keen to visit?

A monthly newsletter packed full of information that may trigger and encourage a return to your holiday cottage can be worth its weight in gold.

Create Great Content to drive repeat holiday let bookings

You may have heard the words ‘content marketing’ a lot in recent years.

What makes content great? Relevance.  The more relevant the content to your visitor the more they’ll engage with it, and the more it’ll encourage them to return to your cottage.

They’ve already visited your holiday home, so what is it that makes your guests tick? Before sending any information to them always think, “Would they be interested in this and would it encourage them to come again?”

Remember, content doesn’t have to be reams and reams of text; many holiday cottages are in areas of natural outstanding beauty so that beautiful photograph of the sun setting over the coast may just be enough to tempt them back (particularly in the darker winter months!)

Keep your site up to date to drive repeat holiday let bookings

It’s unlikely your visitors will want to experience exactly the same holiday as they did last time so your site should be up to date and ready to dazzle.

We’ve already discussed the importance of content above; the site filled regularly to the brim with great content will have far more repeat visitors, and as a consequence, repeat trade.

You’re giving them a reason to return.

Engage with guests on social media to drive repeat holiday let bookings

More and more guests will mention their holiday destination on social media; whether that’s Facebook or Twitter; do you follow and like people that mention you on social media?

These social networks are great tools from where you can continue dialogue.

Remember, social media is supposed to be social, so make sure not all of your tweets or posts are outbound and promotional.

Create dialogue, generate conversation, and encourage engagement.

You’ll then be at the forefront of their mind and in a positive position when it’s time to book.

Make returning as easy as possible to drive repeat holiday let bookings

We all like things to be as easy as possible.  Is this the case with booking a stay at your holiday cottage for returning visitors?

Do you have a fast track booking system as you already have their details?

92% of travelers want the option to book online; do you offer this functionality to your guests?

Remember, we’ve said your site should be up to date; is your booking availability calendar too?

Ultimately, if you’re able to combine your great holiday experience with a longer term relationship and regular contact, you’ll find your visitors begin to come back time and again.

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.

Film and TV Tourism Boosting Bookings for Holiday Lets

Film and TV Tourism Boosting Bookings for Holiday LetsWhen the romantic and swashbuckling television costume drama Poldark returned to our screens not many of the millions of viewers would have been thinking about a 65% spike in visits to the local tourism website, the largest since Cornish sailor Ben Ainsley made his way through the Duchy clasping the Olympic torch a little over three years ago.

It does however add to an ever-growing trend; more and more of us are now visiting the historic sites, stately properties and locations we see on our television screens each and every week.

With many venues now open to the public, filming locations have become a firm favorite with visitors and a driver of tourism; are you taking advantage of these opportunities for Film and TV tourism boosting bookings for holiday lets?

Where is Film and TV tourism boosting bookings for holiday lets on location?

Don’t know where your favorite programmes are filmed?

We take a look at some of the most popular around the country:

Downton Abbey – Highclear Castle – Berkshire

With a global audience in excess of 120 million, Highclear Castle in Kent has seen something of a rebirth since the crew of Downton Abbey arrived on their doorstep in 2010. The castle needed more than £11 million in repairs prior to filming; it now attracts 1,200 visitors a day.

Alnwick Castle – Harry Potter – Northumberland

The worldwide success of the Harry Potter franchise ensured that the young Hogwarts pupil not only wove his magic in the classroom but also on the local tourism industry. Visit Britain estimate an extra £9 million has been pumped into the local economy by visitors to Alnwick Castle, which played host to the Quidditch games.

Broadchurch – Somerset and Dorset

The sight of former time lord David Tennant and critically acclaimed Olivia Coleman solving crime in Clevedon, Portishead and West Bay, has seen searches for accommodation in Somerset and neighboring Dorset soar by more than 200%

Doc Martin – Port Isaac – Cornwall

The picturesque village of Port Isaac in Cornwall was home to the long running Doc Martin series starring Martin Clunes for more than a decade. As a result, many visiting Cornwall now see the location as a key feature on their to-do list.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens  – The Forest Of Dean

Forest scenes for the latest Star Wars blockbuster were shot at Puzzlewood in Coleford. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley have played a vital role in other major film and TV productions including; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which featured Coppett Hill and Dr Who filmed at Clearwell caves. The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association has devised an online trail with the aim of reeling in an additional £35m of visitor revenue over three years. The interest created by the website visitdeanwyefilm.co.uk will no doubt generate a welcome boost by way of additional holiday cottage bookings in the area.

Various Programmes – The Historic Dockyard – Chatham – Kent

With Meryl Streep becoming the latest in a long list of stars to begin filming in Kent, The Historic Dockyard is perhaps the most prolific venue featured on our list. The location has played host to shows including Mr Selfridge, Les Miserables, Sherlock Holmes and Call the Midwife.

The site now supports more that 500 jobs and contributes in excess of £16 million to the local economy each year.

Are you taking advantage?

If you’re holiday home is situated near a popular filming location, are you marketing it and encouraging these visitors to stay with you?

Here’s our film-set marketing checklist:

  • Have you got a page on your website dedicated to the local film set? (Top Tip: Ensure you include the television programme name in your page title to increase your search engine visibility).
  • Do you also add content to your blog about the television programme in order to increase the chances of the information being seen by visitors? (Top tip: Consider phrasing your post as “Where is XX filmed?” – this gains high levels of search volume for television programmes and will bring more traffic to your site)
  • Do you know when the next series will begin and do you have a plan in place?
  • Do you tweet about the location and other things to do in your local area?
  • Do you share information about the location and other things to do in your local area on your Facebook page?
  • Have you sent information about the local venue and how close you are to previous guests? This can be particularly effective when the series is being shown on television.
  • Do you have offers or discounts on admission you are able to give guests?
  • Do you have up to date information on admission, opening dates and times, how to get there, where to eat and how to make a day of it for your guests?

If you have any thoughts or experience of Film and TV tourism boosting bookings for holiday lets please leave a comment below.

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.

Digital trends and tips to increase holiday let bookingsThe online world never stands still; here’s our top ten digital trends and tips to increase holiday let bookings to help your holiday home business stay ahead of the game in 2015.

Content remains a key to your holiday home marketing

The last few years have seen an explosion in the use of the term ‘content marketing’. What does it really mean to a holiday home? Creating content that your visitors want to hear about, which will engage their interests and encourage them to book with you. The more of this information you’re creating in 2015 the more you’ll be benefiting.

Competing against the noise – building buying personas

The key to great content is creating information that is both relevant and engaging to your visitors. This is inherently linked to understanding whom it is that wants to stay with you, and as a result, the information they need and want to know.

In order to stand out from the increasing amounts of content being generated by your competitors you need to ensure everything you do is relevant.

Write down who it is that stays with you; how old are they, do they have children? what are their interests?

Once you have this, build your content around their needs and interests.

Give them your local knowledge

Not sure what to write about or struggling for content ideas?

48% of visitors will use their phones to find local attractions and restaurants during their stay. Give them that information and let them know everything your local area has to offer.

Mobile continues to grow

25% of all smartphone owners will book using their smartphone in 2015.

50% of all tablet owners will book using their device in 2015.

If your site isn’t responsive or mobile friendly you’re missing out on an increasing number of bookings. It’s a trend that’s here to stay so it may be the time to invest and embrace.

Make sure your site is quick!

If more visitors are booking on mobile, more will also be searching on wireless networks and on 3G or 4G technology. This puts an added emphasis on website speed, particularly when your conversion rate can drop by more than 55% if it takes the page more than 5 seconds to load.

New promotional avenues

The ways in which we promote holiday homes is changing; the static brochure website is now a thing of the past, with 3D Tours, drone photography, video guides and a whole host of other promotional avenues now available.

Remember that your visitors will want to enjoy a blend of content; mix it up and gain some variety in how you showcase your holiday home.

Engage on Social Media

Traditionally social media activity has focused on gaining bookings (before stay) and maintaining relationships (after stay). With 75% of visitors now updating their Facebook profile whilst on holiday there is a growing opportunity to engage with current occupants of your holiday home and to effectively amplify the great time they’re having.

Remember, there is no more credible source of information on your holiday home than the person staying in it. Which brings us on to reviews.

Online reviews continue to get bigger

Love them or loathe them, review sites now play an ever increasing impact on destination decisions; 88% of visitors consult reviews before making a booking and half say that they are the greatest influence on their final booking choice.

Managing your online reviews, using them in marketing and replying diligently and quickly to them will need to be a growing part of your online strategy in 2015.

Remember: 97% of people reading a review will believe it to be valid and accurate.

Is PPC worth it?

Travel accounts for nearly 10% of all Pay Per Click advertising. In an increasingly competitive search engine marketplace advertising still presents a good return on investment. More and more holiday homes and other accommodation providers will turn to advertising in 2015, and many, when implemented correctly and appropriately, will see results.

Email – the year round relationship

There’s a reason that for every £1 spent on email between £10 and £20 is generated in revenue. For holiday homes this will continue to play a big role in gaining year round contact in the most seasonal of businesses.

Use it to your advantage; gain regular contact and encourage repeat visits.

If you have any thoughts or experience of other digital trends and tips to increase holiday let bookings please leave a comment below.

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.