So 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.