Instagram and Holiday Cottage Marketing

Instagram and Holiday Cottage MarketingSocial media is one of the best ways for holiday cottages to promote themselves and build relationships with potential guests. Most owners have a Facebook page and maybe a Twitter account too. How about combining Instagram and holiday cottage marketing?

Hugely popular (there are over 400million monthly users!) and owned by Facebook, the photo-sharing social app is a great way to show off your holiday cottage. 68% of users engage with brands regularly, compared to 32% on Facebook, which means it is the perfect place to get noticed by potential guests, and build relationships with them that turn into bookings.

Okay so we’ve convinced you to download the app, now what? It’s time to post a picture. Before you start snapping away, there are a few things to think about. Here are our top seven tips for posting on Instagram as a holiday homeowner.

  1. Use high quality images

This may sound a bit obvious, but having an image that isn’t blurry or pixelated will give your post the solid foundations it needs; Instagram is, after all, a platform for sharing images! If you’ve had professional photography taken, then these can also be easily stored on your phone and shared through the App.

  1. Show off the cottage AND the local area

Your holiday cottage is part of a destination, so you’ll need to be using your posts to show the local area as well as your lovely property. Mix up the images you post, combining interior shots with local attractions and views.

Try to make them a similar style, maybe bright and vibrant, or calm and pretty – whatever suits your holiday cottage, its location and your target market! Filters are a great way to make an ok-picture look great, so play around with the settings and ready-made filters to find something that works.

  1. Get the caption right

Adding a picture of the sofa in the holiday cottage is fine, but once it captures someone’s attention what would make them take the interaction any further? That’s where your caption comes in.

Keep it short but make sure there’s plenty of personality in there, why not use an emoji or two? You should also use a Call To Action (CTA); this could be a simple line such as “find out more by clicking the link in our bio”, or a question that encourages interaction.

  1. Use hashtags, and use them properly

Hashtags, put simply, are used to create connections; they’re labels that allow people searching for a specific topic to find your post. For example, if you are a holiday cottage in Devon you might add “#Devon” to your post. If someone were searching for #Devon, they would then see your post in their search results.

To avoid using excessive amounts of hashtags (which looks very spammy!), think about what people would realistically be searching for. For a post of your Devon cottage living room using #sofa #livingroom #cushion won’t get you very far, instead try #Devon #holidayhome.

There’s some good news here; if you’re not sure which hashtag to use, Instagram shows you the volume of people using the hashtag as you begin to type it, providing you with valuable information and helping you to reach as many people as possible.

  1. Try a video

Video is becoming increasingly popular on Instagram. With the recent introduction of live videos and extended post times, it’s a great option for getting attention. Boomerang, an app that captures a short video and repeats it, is also becoming more and more popular on Instagram, so make sure you give it a go with those coastal waves or walks in the countryside.

  1. Interact

Instagram is a social media platform, so get social! Like and reply to comments, follow people back, and even share their photos. Although only if it relates to your holiday cottage or area. Remember that the overall promotion of the destination is a key to everyone’s success. Conversation is key! That’s what builds up relationships and encourages people to take the next step and book a trip.

  1. Post regularly

A little like Twitter, with so many users posting your images can be lost if you’re not a regular. Ideally, you should be posting twice a day (don’t panic that’s two minutes’ tops!). To reach those who are looking for a holiday, make sure you post at the right time. Consider when they’re likely to be on their phone and Instagram. For example Sunday evenings, as well as lunch time and after work.

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 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.


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!


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:

Changes to Twitter

Changes to Twitter

Twitter is a vital tool for holiday homeowners and agents to get closer to, and effectively engage with those wanting to stay in their holiday cottages. The key word in there is ‘engage’; as many will have found over the years, Twitter is far more effective as a marketing tool when interacting with other accounts, rather than a repeated broadcasting of a sales message.

With this in mind Twitter have made some changes that could help you interact even more with those potential holiday letting guests. Here we explain what changes are being made and how you can use them to your advantage…

Longer conversations – @usernames will no longer take up characters

To have a conversation with another Twitter user you need to mention them in your tweet. By including their @username you’ll currently be using vital characters (remember you only have 140 to spare each time). Mention two or three other accounts and that’s half of your allocated limit!

Moving forward these mentions will not be included in your character count.

What does that really mean for holiday homeowners and agents? More space means more conversation and more potential bookings; remember that less than half of the tweets you send should be about yourself, your property and your location.  You want to be engaging with others, so if the balance isn’t currently there with your own tweets make sure you take advantage of this development and get chatting – you will see the benefit in bookings!

Media attachments no longer included either!

The news gets better; attachments (currently included in the character count) will also no longer for a part of those magical 140 characters.  Why’s this such good news? As a holiday homeowner or agent the one thing you should be doing is making your social media presence visual; lots of photos of the local area, sunsets, that garden you’ve worked tirelessly on and anything that might entice those bookings.

Using imagery on Twitter significantly increases click through rates and your visibility to anyone scrolling through that heavily populated news feed.

If you’re wondering what constitutes an attachment on Twitter it can be any of the following:

  • Images
  • GIFs
  • Videos
  • Polls

On average these currently use up 24 characters; make sure you make the most of that extra 17% of space in your tweet by sharing as many photos and videos as you can, and include a link to get them back to your website to book.

Some other neat changes to Twitter…

You’ll now be able to re-tweet and quote yourself.  Why’s this good? It’ll save you a significant amount of time not having to re-write a tweet you want people to see again (for example if you have some last minute availability or have won another award you’ll be able to quickly re-tweet it rather than re-writing it).

This is particularly helpful as the popular tweeting platform Hootsuite has stopped sending tweets that are repeatedly the same or extremely similar in nature.

The end of the .@ rule

This won’t be known by all Twitter users, but if your tweet starts with a ‘@username’ your tweet will go directly to that user. If you add ‘.@’ to the mix it can be seen by everyone.

This will no longer be the case in coming months, meaning that all of the tweets will be seen, allowing you even greater reach.

So more conversation, more images and more reach; there mightn’t be a better time to get your holiday cottage bookings through Twitter.

When will the changes be made

Twitter have indicated they’ll be making these changes over the coming months, so get ready to take full advantage once they hit your account!

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.

Holiday Let Bookings

Holiday Let BookingsSo that’s it, the temperatures are beginning to fall, the school holidays are a distant memory and those visitor numbers have subsided. It’s time to take a deep breath and begin to prepare for next year. Even if your website has proven to be a real winner this summer, competition is fierce and there are plenty of things you can be doing to make sure next year exceeds your expectations.

Drive Holiday Let Bookings by maintaining contact

Your visitors have gone home; it may now be several months before they consider booking their next break away. How do you maintain contact with them in order to make sure they’re thinking of your holiday home when it comes to making that decision?

It’s been proven that if you’re in regular contact with guests, they are far more likely to book with you again.  Email marketing and social media are the best ways of doing this. If you don’t already take email addresses, or encourage visitors to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter then ensure you plan to have these mechanisms in place for your next surge of summer visitors.

If you already have a fantastic Facebook fan page or an ever-growing list of emails you’ll need to consider our next point.

Develop a content plan to increase bookings and reach

Content is key, but what this doesn’t mean is you need to spend an all-consuming amount of time writing blog posts. Remember, everyone else is creating content so yours needs to be of high quality and not quantity.

Making sure that you have consistent content going out will ensure the regular contact points mentioned in our first point are achieved. In turn, having a plan in place will make sure you devote the time to produce it, and give you the focus to realise results from it.

Review your target market

So if we’re saying content needs to be quality and not quantity, what exactly is ‘quality content’? Everything you do should invariably be linked to your target market. It’s success and the engagement you’re able to gain from it is linked to whether or not it interests the people that are seeing it.

It is relevance that makes your content quality.

Before you put together your content plan, think about who it is that stays at your holiday home; how old are they? What are the interested in? What will they want to do when they’re in the local area?

Placing them at the center of everything you produce will ensure it delivers results.


We’ve already mentioned that content shouldn’t become time consuming, and photography will ensure it isn’t. A picture paints a thousand words, and this is great news for holiday homes.

Photography should form an important part of your content plan; make sure you’re continually snapping that camera lens, and that you’re always updating your website with new imagery. It’ll make sure it’s fresh, inviting, and generating the bookings you deserve.

Review advertising on other sites

The end of the summer is a sensible time to take stock of any advertising you’ve been running. You should review the performance of any online memberships or advertising you’ve undertaken, whether good or bad.

Use Google Analytics to review the referral traffic from the sites, and cross-reference this with the number of bookings you’ve gained.

Drop the ones that aren’t working, and focus more of your time on generating that content and creating contact that engages.

If you’re a holiday cottage owner who finds marketing your cottage to time consuming, don’t worry, holiday home letting agents are there to take the strain:

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.

You may also find the following posts of interest:

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.

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.