Local Tourism Fairs
These events are organised with owners of accommodation or tourism businesses in mind. They are an ideal opportunity to meet and network with other tourism business owners. In my experience, they are an excellent way of finding out what attractions may appeal to your guests and for discovering support services for the tourism industry. I will have a stand at both the Alnwick and Kelso fairs so please come and say hello if you are visiting.
March 11th Kelso Tourism Fair at Springwood Park, Kelso, Scottish Borders
March 18th North Tourism Fair at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, Alnwick, Northumberland
March 19th North Tourism Fair at Wentworth Leisure Centre Hexham, Northumberland
An AirBnB Experiment
Most of us have heard of AirBnB and there's lots of talk about this may impact on the holiday rental market. The link below takes you an article by a chap in the USA who decided to throw everything into renting out a holiday property by using the AirBnB site. Where it gets interesting is that he usually rents this property out as a long term residential let. So will he make more money from a holiday let and will this bring more hassle with it? Is it a viable business model or just craziness? This is definitely worth a read... here's the link: http://affordanything.com/2014/05/27/the-airbnb-experiment-how-much-did-i-make/
Checking out the Competition
Apparently Tescos, Morrisons, Asda - in fact all of the big supermarkets - spend millions on simply watching each other. They want to know what works for their competitors and of course, they watch each other's prices very carefully. Theres something to be learned here: with our own holiday cottage, we wanted an idea of whether we compared well with other holiday cottages in the area. Were our prices competitive and how about the amenities we offered? So we decided a good place to start would be to check out the websites of other holiday cottages local to us.
Its quite an eye-opening experience and one that I would highly recommend you do with your own holiday property. Whats quite obvious is that some holiday cottages are really being left way behind. The two main areas of concern were the websites used and the decor and furnishing of the cottage. Obviously being a photographer, its the first of these that was of most interest to me. I still can't believe how many owners use photographs that look like they were taken on a mobile phone or by someone with zero camera skills. You could see that some of these owners had spent a lot of time and energy on their property and then photographed it so badly. And as I always say, the cottages with really good photography will ALWAYS get the most enquiries and the most bookings. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself: look at cottages with great websites and photography and then look at their availability calendars. My photography service starts at £175.00 and I guarantee that it will improve the number of enquiries you receive.
Google's Hotel Finder Programme
Google's Hotel Finder programme continues to move from strength to strength and is fast becoming a 'must have' for any hotel. The lure of instant bookings via the world's biggest internet search engine is difficult to ignore.
One of the world's biggest hotel marketing experts, WHIP, recently wrote ' This (Google Hotel Finder) is another “wake up call” for the hotels and hotel marketers, which must absolutely understand the market is shifting from a “commission-based” to a “click-based” formula and hotels must invest in online advertising in order be ahead of the game. Consider Google Hotel Finder your new alliance to increase direct booking and use all the possibilities of this application at his best'.
I am a Google Trusted Photographer and I can create Google Virtual Tours and photography to enable you to show off your hotel in the best possible light. While this would of course work well with any Google Hotel Finder listing, the virtual tour and photography produced can be used in all of your web and print marketing. I have produced virtual tours and photography for many hotels now: just visit my website to see examples.
Its always good to discover new websites that may be of interest to holiday cottage owners and I've found another one. Schofields Holiday Home Insurance run an excellent blog where they cover a variety of relevant subjects such as writing the perfect holiday rental advert, choosing a letting agent and even how to protect an empty holiday home over winter. And of course they have a great piece on photography. Here' just a small extract from that particular article:
*You may be tempted to take photographs of your holiday let yourself to save money but poor photos put people off. Professional photographs of your holiday rental are arguably the single most important factor in converting lookers into bookers.
*You have just 20 seconds for your photos to make an impression before viewers lose interest and move onto a competing property.
*Your photos have to sell your property and convince visitors that this is the place where they will enjoy the best possible experience while on holiday.
*Think of the cost in terms of extra bookings – if having professional images allows you to secure just two or three extra bookings then the long-term benefit will more than offset the cost.
Schofields Holiday Home Insurance blog can be found at: http://www.schofields.ltd.uk/blog/