Inside Story Newsletter - Summer 2017
Free Landscape photos for your website
Over the years, I have photographed a large variety of landscapes; some are well known landmarks while others are more generic. As an extra benefit for my photography clients, I allow them to download and use these extra images free of charge, as long as they include a link to my website. Its a feature that's very popular and it means you get to use professional quality photographs on your website or listing to help show off the highlights of your area. If you require photography of your property, please contact me and I can tell you how this extra feature works.
Are You Guilty of Overcrowding?
I 'm not sure why so many holiday cottage owners seem so keen on trying to cram as many guests into a cottage as possible but its something I see regularly. For example, a two bed cottage could have a combination of double beds, bunk beds, pull out mattresses and futons and while its technically possible for six or eight people to actually sleep, in every other way, your guests could be quite uncomfortable. For example, six people fighting over the bathroom or kitchen is no fun, never mind the issue of where they are all going to sit to eat or watch TV. Along similar lines, something else I see regularly is a holiday cottage that claims to sleep six or eight but only actually has four wine glasses or five soup bowls. I always think its best to err on the conservative side as far as numbers of guests are concerned. Very simply, ensuring that guests have plenty of space and facilities will greatly improve their experience of your property.
For my own holiday cottage, I use a key safe so the guests can let themselves in if I'm not there to meet them. Its something I've always done and it works well for me. However, I know from experience that many holiday cottage owners choose to simply leave their keys under a plant-pot or mat. In fact a recent study by insurers Liverpool Victoria found that 19% of people admitted to leaving the keys to their property under a plant pot. This of course leaves you wide open to the opportunist thief and if that sounds a little alarmist, recent police figures show that more than 6,000 homes burglaries in a single year were as a result of thieves using keys...
It makes the key safe idea sound rather more attractive. The idea is that you leave your keys in a small wall mounted safe which can only be opened by using a unique combination. There are a few points to consider though:
1. The location of your key safe is important: it ideally needs to be on an exterior wall (preferably solid brick or concrete) and out of sight though not so well hidden that your guests will struggle to find it. You'll need to give your guests location instructions and the key code beforehand too.
2. The whole point of a key safe is security so its essential that you change the code regularly and in an ideal world, it would different for every guest.
3. If your holiday home is going to be unoccupied for a lengthy period of time its a good idea to remove the keys from the safe. Leaving them for prolonged periods could be a security risk in itself.
4. Most insurers will accept the use of key safes but some may have special conditions such as how it is fitted and even management of your codes. Its worth a quick phone call to check that you still meet any policy criteria.
Good Photographs and Good Publicity
I'm increasingly finding that some holiday letting agencies will only use professional photography i.e. they won't use the photos you have taken on your mobile phone! The obvious reason is that they want their website or listing page to look as professional and eye-catching as possible but there is another good reason...
Its all about publicity. Its so much easier for your letting agent to get good publicity for both their business and your property if the photographs they supply are of a high quality. In fact I'll put that another way: there's no chance of your property being used in a magazine or property supplement if the photography is of a low quality. This publicity can be well worth having too and its not uncommon to have your cottage suddenly appearing in a very prominent place resulting in a large number of enquiries. My own cottage was recently featured in a cottage guide on the 'Buzzfeed' news website resulting in thousand of hits on our website and dozens of enquiries. Holiday properties I have photographed recently have appeared in features in Elle, House and Home, Country Life and Living North magazines, as well as the Times and The Scotsman newspaper and many websites.
If you need photography for your holiday property, please contact me for a chat.