Marketing your Holiday Cottage – Handy Tips & Hints For All Holiday Cottage Owners
Marketing Ideas For Your Holiday Cottage
With the advent of AirBnB, Booking.com, Trip Advisor and other online services and increased competition from all quarters, it is even more important to make your guests feel special. Get it right and your marketing will help improve bookings and increase recommendations for your holiday cottage to others.
We have seen many good ideas implemented by owners & how they have benefited from upping the ‘ante’. This has helped make them stand out from others and stay ahead of their competition.
We have picked out a few that may be useful for you:
- ‘Create a Compelling Headline’ – 10-12 words summarising your cottage, its location & highlights, this should form the basis of your marketing headlines.
- ‘Highlight Favourite Guests Comments & Reviews’ – Check your guest book or reviews and take out the best comments. Highlight these on your marketing information and your website. 3rd party reviews really make a difference.
- ‘Showcase your Best Features’ – Often the best photos or key selling points are missing or hidden away. Don’t be shy or a best kept secret, highlight your unique selling points on your website. Include these in all your web listings & all marketing material. Take a pic of your ‘Welcome Pack’ for example.
- ‘Wow Photos‘ – Your headline photos are what attracts potential guests to your property initially. It really is worth investing in good quality ‘headline images’. Complement these with well presented internal images & make your cottage stand out from the rest. Dress up the dining table and decking area making it look like it could be for your guests. Bring your cottage to life and show it off.
- ‘What do your guests love about your property or location?’ – If guests say your cottage was even more delightful than we thought then your listings have not done your cottage justice. Know what has made your guests happy and why they keep coming back: Just make sure you let everyone else know too!
- ‘Provide Good Local Recommendations’ – Highlight the best local restaurants, pubs, best walks or ‘must see’ highlights’ in the area. Recommend your favourite haunts and what there is to do nearby. Feature them on your website and listings.
- ‘Update your Google Places Listing?’ – Are you on Google or Bing maps and Google Places. Do you appear number one on Google for your cottage name or your business name? Make sure you have a business & Google map created and claimed.
- ‘Video Walk-throughs‘ – We have seen some very good examples, including homemade examples of these. They provide a useful overview as to how the property is laid out and presented. Make them short and relevant.
- ‘Drone Photography or Videos’ – This helps show potential guests where your cottage is in relation to the water, countryside, beach etc. and a superb way to show off your lovely cottage and the beautiful surrounding area. Just don’t venture onto any large local airports or you may get a knock on the door!
- Floorplans – This helps bring the property to life and help guests see how the property is laid out and where everything is, who will sleep where & indicate size of rooms etc.
- ‘WiFi’ – If you can provide it, offer it. WiFi is one of the most requested ‘must have’ features. If not available explain where guests can go to pick up their emails & access the Internet etc.
Guest Communication & Administration Ideas
There a number of relatively simple administrative updates you can make to improve your guests booking experience and expectations. This helps reduce unnecessary phone calls and keeps your guests informed of their holiday in advance. We have all experienced the professional, timely communication from the likes of Amazon and delivery companies such as Hermes who keep us all very informed resulting in good customer satisfaction.
Have a look at all the information you provide your guests, both in advance and also when they are at the property. All this can help improve your customers’ satisfaction and raise expectations of their holiday at your cottage.
Before Guests Arrive
The key is to ‘Keep them informed’ with relevant information and details of their booking, key pick up, key codes, directions, what to bring and other useful information in advance of their holiday.
- Thank them for their booking, confirm the details in full to ensure everything is correct as per their booking expectations.
- How to pay balance payments & reminders when due
- Acknowledge payments made and thank the guests – this heads off calls from guests chasing up and unnecessary calls
- When balance payment and Refundable Security Deposits (if applicable) is due
- How Refundable Security Deposits are returned and when by
- One week to go – send out all the check in details including what to bring, check in times, how to get there and clear instructions if an awkward address with a link to Google maps for example.
- Let them know if there is anything they need to bring such as towels, bedding etc.
- Cots, highchairs, stairgates are available upon request
- Any special requests please let us know in advance
- Ensure your ‘Terms and Conditions’ are included so they are aware of your cancellation policy and other important considerations that may be applicable
Text Alerts: Some owners are now using the automated text facility which wishes a great stay at your cottage and gives them the very basic details.
“Dear Tim & Sharon, we wish you a lovely stay at Grange Cottage. Check in times are after 3.30pm on the 7th September meeting and please find a Google Map link for directions, our postcode is BD23 4AA and we are located next the Post Office. Please advise us if you are going be later than 8.00pm. We look forward to meeting you on arrival. Best regards Peter & Elspeth at Grange Cottage”
Follow Up Text or Email:
“Dear Tim & Sharon, Thank you very much for choosing to stay at Grange Cottage and we wish you a good journey home. We would be delighted if you could complete a short review of our cottage and surrounding areas which we will email out to you in the next few days and look forward to seeing you again in the future. Have a good journey home. Best Regards Peter & Elspeth at Grange Cottage”
Guest Welcome Pack
Provide a ‘Welcome Tray & Pack’
Anything you can do to help make your guests stay a special one and will give them a warm fuzzy feeling about their holiday and a positive mindset.
Include a little tray mixed with local goodies and potentially necessary items for their stay
These can include:
Tea bags, little jug of milk, coffee, bottle of wine, biscuits, local jam, maybe fresh eggs or other local delicacies or homemade cakes as one of our owners does for every guest. A few dishwasher tablets, washing machine pouches, shampoo or shower gel (like hotels do) are always helpful and remembered.
We have noticed that the more useful and informative the information about the property and surroundings the more this has helped improve guests overall satisfaction. It also heads off unnecessary calls & helps reduce any complaints that could occur.
- Welcome Folder – a good and clearly ‘tabbed’ Welcome Folder can help guests find their way around your property, correctly use the appliances with quick guides to the heating, gas BBQ, buying logs, where to park, local facilities & highlights, useful information, etc.
- WiFi Code – make sure this is clear and visible in more than one place in the property
- Shops, Pubs, Restaurants – A single page of details regarding local facilities such as convenience stores, local supermarkets, recommended pubs, restaurants, cafes, etc.
- Highlight the best local attractions & features and make any recommendations that would help guests find their way around
- Local Deals & Offers – Offer any local deals, discounts such as bike hire, boat hire, Spa access, etc.
- Local Services – recommend local services such as delivery restaurants, supermarkets, local ‘Chef in House’, in-house beauty treatments
- Departing the Property – How to leave the property, what is expected, tidiness, key drop, guest book,
- ‘Pet Policy’ clearly laid out e.g. We are delighted that you have your dog(s) on holiday with you but we please ask that no dogs on beds or furniture
- ‘Complaints’ – It is inevitable that a complaint may be made at some point but it is impossible to deal with after the guests have left. Ask politely in your welcome pack that if there are any issues please contact you as soon as possible so you can help resolve them. Complaints cannot be dealt with effectively if these have not been raised during your stay.
- Terms & Conditions – Leave a further copy of your booking and property ‘T & C’s’ in the welcome pack to ensure they are available to read if necessary and help re-inforce check in and check out times, cleanliness expectations, where to leave keys, contact numbers, etc.
- Emergency telephone numbers – just in case!