industry trends

industry trendsAs specialists in holiday home insurance we speak to cottage owners each and every day. We hear what they’re experiencing on the ground, and for that reason we’re always paying close attention to the latest Visit England statistics, which give a great indication of how buoyant holiday home bookings are the health of the industry as a whole.

Is the future for holiday home bookings still bright?

We’ve taken a look at the most recent Great Britain Tourism Survey (2015), and what it could mean for you as a holiday homeowner.

The ‘staycation’ is still alive – more choosing the UK over the continent

Economic turbulence and recession in recent years has been linked to more and more visitors willing to take a short trip on these shores instead of venturing abroad; all hail the revival of the ‘staycation’.

Despite an upturn in economic performance there is no sign of this trend diminishing.  The first half of 2015 saw visitor numbers increase by 12%, whilst trips to the continent dropped by 16% during the same period.

Good news for all round for holiday homeowners across the country, and particularly the South West of England, where demand has been at its highest in five years.

Visitors spending more – are you promoting your destination?

Visitor spend has increased again; those visiting holiday homes and other accommodation providers have been spending 13% more in the first six months of this year.

Have you effectively built relationships with other businesses in your area; food and drink providers, restaurants, family attractions and other places of interest? With visitors spending more and more it’s a great time of the year to be checking and updating your website; are the best local spots on yours?

Time to take advantage of the growing demand for shoulder months

A growing trend for many holiday homeowners in recent years has been to extend the summer season and gain increased numbers of holiday home bookings during what are still commonly known as ‘shoulder months’.

If you haven’t already considered this, now may well be the time; bed nights for January to April were up by a staggering 22%.  If you want to gain access to this growing market you need to be putting your plan into action now.  Have you spoken to your letting agent about extending your availability? Perhaps offering shortened breaks or lowered costs for the winter months?

If you’re marketing your own property, is all of the information on your availability prominently displayed? Do you have great winter photography of that roaring wood fire? Are you emailing previous guests and enquiries to tempt them away?

Growing search engine marketplace

Google report that searches for the term “Holiday Cottage” increased for the sixth consecutive year; up by almost 3% on last year.  If you’re marketing your own property then getting your search engine rankings in order should be high on the priority list for this winter as more and more people continue to access their options through search engines. Remember that letting agents may be able to add value to your business by putting you in a larger Google shop window, therefore securing you additional holiday home bookings.

They’re doing it on mobile, are you?

If you’re not already aware, Google launched an algorithm update in April of this year that said if your site wasn’t mobile friendly then you’d begin to rank lower when visitors are searching from their mobile.

Smart Insights now report we’ve passed the ‘mobile tipping point’.  What does this really mean? More searches are now made from mobiles and tablets than they are from desktop computers.  When you consider that an ever-increasing number of your visitors are finding you from search, can you afford to be missing out? It has never been more important to have a mobile site than today, and it’ll be even more so tomorrow.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Growing Holiday Cottage Bookings

One of the most important aspects of successful marketing is identifying where your potential customers can be reached and delivering the right message to them, at the right time, whenever and wherever that may be.

Growing your Holiday Cottage Bookings

Growing Holiday Cottage BookingsWith more than 30 million registered users in the United Kingdom there’s little doubt that potential guests for your holiday home are on Facebook in their droves. They’ll also be there regularly; three in four UK adults log on to the social network every single day. So how should you be growing your holiday cottage bookings using Facebook?

So how do you find the ones that are going to be interested in your holiday cottage, and also stand out from the increasing numbers of other businesses trying to do exactly the same?

Where does Facebook currently stand?

The original perception of Facebook saw it as a free tool for businesses.

As time has gone on this has become more problematic; increased competition (there’s more and more content going on to Facebook and they can’t show everything to everybody), and a need for a growing Facebook to derive revenue from their platform, has meant that the reach you can gain without spending your money has diminished.

The average posts, without advertising, will now only reach around 16% of your likes.

So how do you advertise and then engage to gain bookings?

Promoting your Facebook Page

Having a large number of likes is great, but they don’t mean a thing if they’re not going to be interested in what you say or be likely to book with you.

Promoting your page is a great way to initially increase your audience, but the key to success is being as specific as possible with your advertising.

Facebook knows a great deal of information about their users; utilise this information to your advantage and make sure you’re only advertising to the people that are likely to stay with you.

How old are they? Do they live in a specific area? Are they interested in certain things?

200 new likes that meet the demographics of your target market will be much more valuable to you than 2,000 that don’t.

Build on social groups

Facebook is constructed, and bound together, by peer-to-peer interaction and real life connections.

What is it that makes us friends with people? It’s usually similar interests, locations or lifestyles.

This means that if you’ve already got 500 people that like your page and engage with you, it’s a safe bet their friends and family are going to be interested in similar things, such as your holiday cottage and local area.

Once you have a strong base of likes it’s a great idea to advertise to those that are friends on Facebook with the people that already like your page.

This is easy to do within the Facebook advert manager, and your adverts will display the names of their friends that already like the page when it appears on their news feed.

Boost Posts to gain tactical advantage

We’ve already said that posts don’t reach as far as they used to but what you don’t want to be doing is boosting every post with advertising in order to reach everybody.

In order to boost your holiday cottage bookings, use the boosting tool tactically, and only when the post you are making has a distinct call to action.

For example, are you offering a discount for early bookings made in the next week? Do you have some last minute availability you want to promote?

Use advertising on these occasions; the rental reward compared to the potential spend will add up if you target the right people.

Keep learning from your content

Our final thought is one on content. The more successful your content, the more people will like it, the more people you will reach and the more holiday cottage bookings you’ll gain.

Make sure you’re always learning from what’s worked in terms of your content (what gains the most likes and engagement) and also keep an eye on when you’re posting it (the day of the week and time of the day).

Once you know what works, continue to build on it; engagement and bookings will follow.

If you have any thoughts or experience of Growing your Holiday Cottage Bookings using Facebook 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.

Event Tourism - Royal Cornwall Show

Event Tourism - Royal Cornwall ShowEver wondered how to make more of events and use them to increase bookings? Here are our top ten event tourism tips to increase holiday home bookings by making the most of festivals and cultural events in the locality of your holiday letting property.

Is there a Facebook page or group for the event?

If it’s a large event and you can find an official Facebook page you’ll undoubtedly be on to a winner. It’ll be packed full of people either interesting in, or actively looking to attend the event.

Where will they be staying?

Consider asking the administrators of the group or page if they’re happy for you to promote your accommodation.

Share event content to your own page

Those that have already liked your Facebook page will be interested in your cottage; why not give them another reason to stay by sharing content from local event groups and pages?

It gives you great content and may entice them to make that booking they’ve been thinking about!

It’ll also ensure you never get stuck for content ideas!

Get Re-Tweeting!

The same applies to Twitter.  Those following your account are already interested in what you have to offer; could a brilliant event push them from tempted to booking?

Remember that Twitter moves quickly; don’t be afraid to frequently tweet about an event, as if it’s just one tweet, it’s destined to be lost in the Twitter noise!

If the event has a hashtag be sure to include this whenever you’re talking about the event in order to increase your reach even further!

Consider talking to the event organisers

This could potentially open up new promotional avenues by gaining contact with people actively searching for information about the event (if you are able to featured on their website) and by utilising the event’s own database of contacts (if you are able to be included in email marketing or other direct marketing).

A link from their site will also give you targeted traffic and aid your search engine efforts.

Remember that in terms of timing you’ll need to be doing this well in advance of the event itself.

Is there information on your website?

Consider having a page on your website that has information about the event.

Try to make this as informative as possible; how far are you from the event? Will they be able to walk or will they need to drive? Is there parking? What time are things happening and who is appearing?

Also ensure that the page title has the name of the event contained within it; this will help you rank in Google when people are searching for that event.

Maximise the exposure!

Don’t just have a page!  Make sure you also include information within your blog; why not give regular updates on local events for your visitors?

Adding relevant, fresh and frequent content to your website will also keep visitors and Google happy. Having this on your blog and a dedicated page will make sure they see it!

Have you included that information in your e-shots?

The only issue with adding great content about events is that you’re relying on people visiting your site in order to find it.

Email marketing is a great way to create year-round contact with potential visitors. Ensure you include your latest event information each time you send your emails; it may be the nudge that someone needs to make a booking.

Email signatures

Email marketing isn’t all about Mail Chimp or sending beautifully branded emails to potential visitors.  Many of us will send in excess of 50 standard emails each day.

Do you promote local events in your email signature?

If not you could be missing out on repeat promotion and engagement with potential email enquiries.

Considered advertising?

Have you looked at the potential Cost Per Click (CPC) of advertising to those searching for the event? Researching this is quick, easy and free to do. Simply register for an Adwords account (no cost to register) and then use the Keyword Planner to access how many people are searching and how much it would cost for you to advertise.

Make a week of it!

Many events will take place over a single day. A single night in peak months this will obviously be unappealing to many holiday homes. Make sure you think of ways in which you can integrate the event into their week; could you perhaps team up with event organisers to offer your guests reduced admission?

If you have any advice to add to our top Ten Event Tourism Tips to increase Holiday Home 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 provide you peace of mind as a holiday homeowner, please give us a call on 01237 429444.