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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.

 

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.

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.

holiday letting property images

holiday letting property imagesMore than 400 million people login to the photo sharing app Instagram every single day, and as a result one thing that a growing number of us will take for granted is the ability to quickly and easily edit our photos, add a filter and improve their quality, all with just a few flicks of our finger on a smart phone screen.

It’s not just reserved to our own personal photos either; many of the photographs gracing glossy magazines and daily papers are now enhanced to ensure they’re looking their best.

This is however no modern phenomenon; the process of enhancing photos has actually been around for decades, but is now becoming increasingly common in estate agency, and more recently in the marketing of holiday letting properties.

So what are your options when it comes to making sure that your photos really are doing your holiday cottage justice?

Why would you need to enhance your holiday letting property images?

The online world in which we market our cottages is becoming increasingly instantaneous; more than 50% of all traffic will now arrive to a cottage site from a smart phone.  People want information and they want it quickly; this places a perennial pressure on the instant impact that a great photograph can make.

A photograph really can make or break an online booking decision.

We also need to bear in mind that the great British weather won’t always play ball; how often do cottage owners book in that professional photographer only to be scuppered by dark skies and rain?

So what can you do to make your holiday letting property images as good as they can be and just how much can they be altered to do you justice?

What sort of thing might you want to change?

It’s important to state here that you’re not going to be able to alter things beyond recognition, nor are you going to want to when it comes to managing the expectations of paying guests.  There are, however some aspects that can be tinkered with in order to tip the booking balance in your favour.

Interior issues

Getting great photos of the interior rooms of a property is notoriously tricky and why a specialist professional photographer is worth their weight in gold when shooting them. A photo enhancing service will be able to easily adjust exposure, shadows, colours and the saturation of your photo.

Rooms can essentially be made to feel as light and airy as they are in real life, which is great if the rain clouds arrived along with your photographer.

Handling those rain clouds

Once they’re finished inside, you’re still going to want some external shots of your cottage. A blue sky adds something to every holiday home, and the good news is that the sky can easily be changed to slightly sunnier times.

Visitor cars and other large objects

For most cottages, you’ll want to take your photos in the summer when the leaves are green, the grass is cut and everything is looking at its very best. There-in lays an age-old problem; how do you take the best photos you can when there are guests around?

Issues such as cars parked in the drive, children’s toys scattered across the lawn or wetsuits splayed across a fence are all things that will detract from the perfect picture. The good news again is that these can be edited out of your photo by enhancing services, providing you with the perfect combination of taking a photo at the best time of the year, whilst not having to worry about your guests.

There are a number of photo editing solutions and services out there; as always make sure you get a few quotes to ensure you’re getting the best possible price, and also ask to see some examples of their previous work (including before and after shots). 

If this all sounds like too much trouble all good holiday home letting agents will be able to offer these services as part of their package. This tends to be either in house or by using professional freelance photographers and editing services.

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.

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.

holiday cottage guests

holiday cottage guestsAutumn signals the end of the busy holiday letting season, with the half-term holidays finished and most of us returning to work after a refreshing break. Many owners may now be turning their attention to securing returning holiday cottage guests, as well as how to reach even more potential visitors.

With so many marketing and communication tools available to cottage owners it’s easy to feel as if you’re searching in the dark when it comes to which ones you should be using and how. Here we explain a simple to follow formula to increase repeat custom and reach even more people.

Email Marketing

Email marketing should form a key part of your activity when it comes to getting people back or encouraging them to stay. Its purpose is to create a regular contact point with potential and previous guests throughout the year; by creating this you’re increasing the chances that they’ll think of you when they come to make a decision on where to stay next.

Make sure you’re emailing past holiday cottage guests regularly

You should have an email going out to your holiday cottage guests at least once a month. If you make this less frequent then you’re not creating regular contact, if you send out emails much more then it’ll become unlikely that people will open every one.

Once you know what works for your database we recommend sending at the same time and day of the week so people know when to expect it. Also adopt a similar subject line and send from the same person so people know what it is they’re getting before they even open it.

Consider what you can offer them

Emails from bookings and enquiries are great as they’ve either stayed with you, and therefore know how great it is already, or have shown an active interest in your cottage before. You may want to consider making offers available to these people before you open them up to others (and this can be a great way to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter).

Exclusive offers to this already engaged audience can be effective in getting them to stay during colder autumn and winter months, and remember that an offer doesn’t always have to be a reduction in rates; it could be something you offer as an added extra (perhaps a romantic meal for two at a local restaurant), so think about the time of the year and what it is that would entice them to stay.

Facebook

With 24 million active Facebook users in the UK it’s safe to say it’s highly likely that your holiday cottage guests will have a profile. Facebook can be used to create and support the regular contact you’re building through email, and also reach people of similar interests and lifestyle factors (their Facebook friends) that are likely to want to stay with you too.

Get people to like your page and share regularly

Encouraging the people who stay with you to like your page is the obvious first step in building your presence. Once you have a growing page you’ll want to be posting regularly (between two to four times a week as an initial guide).

How do you reach their friends?

In order to reach their friends you’re going to need to get your page likes to engage. Once they do it will begin appearing on newsfeeds, so think of ways you can get them to interact with your page; competitions, asking them to share photos and interesting content should all form a part of this plan.

Consider advertising

You can actively advertise to the friends of your Facebook likes within their advertising tool under the ‘Connections’ tab. Consider running a page like campaign to these people so you can build a longer-term relationship. By running this sort of campaign it will say their friend already likes your page and increase the chances of them liking it as a result!

Conclusion

There’s two major things you need to be doing; make sure you have the processes in place to collect information, and then ensure you’re always making regular contact. If this is all too much for you to be thinking about employ the services of a holiday letting agent.

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 letting business please give us a call on 01237 429444.

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

promote your holiday let as a destination

promote your holiday let as a destinationDestinations are the places we all fall in love with; the home to our holidays and the areas we all want to visit and experience. The word ‘experience’ is the key here; it’s not just about a holiday home, it’s a long weekend, a school holiday or a week-long retreat packed full of experiences, some large, some small, but all incredibly important in building the overall destination experience.

So how should you promote your holiday let as a destination?

Given that your guests will spend the majority of their time away from your holiday home, we take a look at a few of the areas you should be promoting in order to get them to your door…

Access

The first thing any would-be guest is going to need to do is get there, meaning accessibility is going to play an important role in the holiday booking process, particularly if they’re going away with young children.

So how easy is it? Have you got the facility on your website to give them directions or an inkling as to how long the journey would take?

If you have good travel links then highlight these.

Also consider where the majority of your visitors come from; is there additional information you could provide for those travelling from the midlands as an example?

Attractions

We’ve already said that your guests will spend the majority of their time outside of your holiday cottage, and even more so in the summer months.

What is it they’ll be doing when they’re out there?

Know your market and highlight the attractions that are going to tick the boxes; if you’re appealing to the young family market they’re going to want to know of local family days out.  Based near the sea, on a moor or in an area of outstanding natural beauty? You’ll want them to know of all the best beaches, hiking routes and killer views!

A common mistake can be to highlight attractions too far from your holiday home. If there are some large attractions that are more than 30 minutes from your cottage ensure you make it clear how far they are in order to manage your guest’s expectations.

Eateries

Great food, fine wine, a relaxing atmosphere; these are things that many visitors will be looking to enjoy in local pubs and restaurants during their stay.

So, are you utilising local eateries to the fullest advantage when looking to secure bookings and add value for your visitors?

Many holiday home websites will provide plenty of information about places to visit, but sometimes neglect the great local food and drink. If this is a thriving asset to the local area be sure to do it justice. If you’re looking for more ideas on on how you can promote your holiday let by embracing culinary tourism, we have some tips here:

Places to shop

Don’t just think clothes and shoes! They’re going to be staying in your holiday cottage, so if they can’t be tempted by some of the great local pubs and restaurants, where are they able to buy the necessities? Are you near a town or a local village shop that gives them everything you need?

Having said the comment about clothes and shoes, if you’re near a great shopping district, perhaps an area steeped in history and local art then make sure they know everything there is to know.

Events

Events will often bring mass numbers of people to a specific location; think Glastonbury, Run To The Sun or any number of events held throughout the year.

They don’t always need to be large in order for people to travel; if you have an event near to your holiday letting property ensure it’s promoted. Here are some helpful tips on how you can do just that!

Where could you promote your holiday let?

Content makes the online world go round; be sure to regularly update your blog with latest news and information on the local area, as well as having a dedicated area on your website.  Share and team up with local businesses in order to increase the reach you can all gain; your customers are theirs too.

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

Holiday Let Email Marketing

Holiday Let Email MarketingWith so much time and attention now spent on social media it can be easy to forget how effective email marketing can be for your holiday let business, or even have space for it on your ever-growing to-do list. To give you a helping hand here are our top ten tips for Holiday Let email marketing success.

The problem if you’re not using email is that it can deliver results; research shows that £23 of sales is generated for every £1 spent on email marketing in the UK.

Interested in how you can harness the power of email to gain bookings?

We give our top ten holiday let email marketing tips…

Know your audience

You should use your emails to build an effective long-term relationship and as a reason for guests to return to your holiday home. In order to do this it’s vital that you understand what your recipient is going to want to receive in their inbox. Think of content that will be of interest; latest availability and deals, new attractions or events, discounts you’ve organised with local restaurants etc.

Build on content that works for you

Some articles will be clicked on more than others. This is an indication that this content is more interesting to your recipient than those left unclicked. Monitor your emails over time; is a certain type of article or topic gaining more clicks than others? If so, create more of what works and jettison those articles that don’t!

Don’t just send discounts

It can often be tempting to bombard people with sales offers and discounted rates in order to generate interest. Avoid just sending sales information; if you send too much it can be both off-putting and also mean that people are always waiting for a deal before booking.

Keep your contact constant

A core principle of your email marketing should be keeping in touch with people on a regular basis.  Ensure you’re mailing your list on a constant basis, for example once a month.  Do so at the same time and day each month, which leads us onto our next point.

Send at a time that works for your database

Email marketing and research will tell you that the best results are achieved by sending at around 2pm on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.  Remember that your email database will be unique to you; ensure you’ve tried sending on different days and at different times in order to find the one that gives you the highest open rate.

Learn from your subject lines

Before people even read your email they’re going to read the subject line. This is make or break time for whether or not they’ll open it; 33% of people will open an email based only on its subject! For this reason it’s always good to include the name of your holiday home in the subject line to give familiarity, but just as you do with your sending times and days, test to see what gives the best result.

Incorporate email into your booking and leaving processes

Use email to add value – send automated emails to upcoming visitors before they arrive suggesting things to do and other useful information. Also consider sending a thank you or survey once they arrive safely home.

Understand your statistics

You can gain better results from your holiday let email email marketing by understanding how you’re performing.

Open rates should be between 25 – 35%.

Your click through rates should be in the region of 15 – 30%.

Not hitting these figures? Consider why this may be happening and rectify any potential issues.

Make sure you ask for emails

All of the above is obsolete unless you ask for visitor emails! Ensure this becomes a central cog in your booking wheel; whether that be when they’re making their initial enquiry or during their stay.

Understand the law

If you’re handling emails then you’ll want to do so in a legal way. For more information on data protection legislation and your responsibilities when using electronic communications for marketing please read the guidance from the Information Commissioners Office here.

Find it all a little too confusing or time consuming? Why not appoint a holiday home letting agent to take care of the marketing for your your holiday letting business.

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

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising18th May 2012 may have been just another day for most, but for Facebook it was another significant step in the astronomical rise of the world’s largest social network. Their Initial Public Offering (IPO) not only set the value of the company at a whopping $104 billion but also set the course of the company for the years to come.

An increase emphasis on Facebook advertising

With a public company comes pressure to provide a return for shareholders, meaning Facebook now has an increased emphasis on revenue and the best way to create it.  What does that mean for holiday homeowners using Facebook to reach potential guests? It means your page posts don’t travel quite as far as they once did (the average page post now only reaches between 10 – 20% of all page likes).

And where do you turn when your reach is restricted? You invariably turn to advertising.

We take a look at three Facebook advertising options you may not be familiar with and could help you fill nights at your holiday home.

Targeting the right connections to increase bookings

In order to advertise on Facebook you’ll need to visit their advert manager.  If you haven’t before then this needn’t be a daunting prospect; Facebook have made this as simple as possible. After all, it’s in their best interest for you to use it and to gain bookings from it.

We’re going to focus on the option toward the bottom of the screen, which is called “Connections”.

Facebook advertising - three ways to target more bookings

 

 

 

Advertising to your page likes

We’ve already said that your posts only reach 10 – 20% of your page likes.  What about the other 80% of people who have already shown an interest in your holiday home?  The first port of call for your advertising should always be with your Page likes.  You know they’re already engaged with your property, so you want to ensure they know of availability and promotions as and when you want to highlight them.

In order to do this, click on the ‘Connections’ option, and set it to ‘Facebook Pages’ and ‘People that like your Page’.  You’ll not need to alter any other settings or demographics; Facebook will ensure your post gets to all of your Page likes.

Advertising to their friends

Social groups are bound together by people with common characteristics or interests; whether it’s the local football team, people who grew up together (and are therefore of the same age) or parents on the school run, it’s what makes friends socialise with each other, and it’s what makes Facebook tick.  With that in mind, if advertising to your page likes hasn’t got the booking, then the next logical step should be advertising to the friends of your Facebook page likes.

They’re likely to be interested in your property (based on having similar interests to their friends) and Facebook will also highlight that their friend already like your page, giving your post even more credibility and chance of success.

In order to do this, click on the ‘Connections’ option, and set it to ‘Facebook Pages’ and ‘Friends of People that like your Page’.

Traditional Advertising

The success of any advertising, including trying to gain bookings for a holiday cottage, is linked to reaching the right people; the ones that are most likely to stay with you. Facebook advertising is extremely powerful in this respect, allowing you to target all aspects of a profile and reach those potential guests.

Build a picture in your mind of the average visitor to your cottage and fill out all of the demographic information you can in the Facebook advert manager; you want to make it as specific as possible, whilst also having enough people to advertise to! Think of where they may live, how old they may be and other factors, such as whether or not they’re parents.

Once completed you need to set the ‘Connections’ setting to ‘Exclude people who like your page’ as you will have already advertised to them in our first option.

You will then have taken three steps to maximise the chances of getting that booking!

Find it all a little too confusing? Why not appoint a holiday home letting agent to take care of the marketing for your your holiday letting business.

If you have found this blog post on Facebook Advertising of interest do check out our other holiday home marketing posts by following the link – Holiday Home Marketing.

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