Inside Story Newsletter - Autumn 2017
The weeks before and after Christmas can be a notoriously quiet time of year for holiday cottage owners. While its nice to have the time to catch up on some decorating and tackle the odd jobs that couldn't be attended to during the busy period, the drop in income can be painful. In fact making the most of the traditional quiet times can transform the overall financial success - or otherwise - of your year.
If you use a blog or incorporate a news page on your website or simply use social media to let the world know about your cottage, you have an ideal platform which can be updated regularly with relevant news and information. The idea is to come up with some positive angles to help attract off-peak bookings.
One the big benefits of booking out of season is the lower prices. While you want to attract price conscious guests, you don't want to appear too cheap. One way of lowering your price without lowering your value too much - and presuming you have a larger property - is to offer a discount if guests only use one bedroom.
While price is obviously an issue, price isn't the only factor in attracting guests. While a weekend in January is going be cheaper than a weekend in July, you still need to give your potential guests a good reason to book, regardless of price. One idea is to highlight some local low cost attractions or show how you can have a day out locally for less than X amount of pounds. Remember its also important to be flexible with your entry/exit dates and the length of break.
The 'Miss the Crowds' approach
Peak season is always great for us holiday cottage owners but there is a lot to be said for visiting when the crowds have gone. For example, where I live (in rural Northumberland), the beaches are usually utterly deserted and are arguably even more spectacular than they are in summer. The thought of walking on a deserted beach, even on a cold day, will be very attractive for some people. The local towns are quieter, the roads have much less traffic, the restaurants are less frantic and it can be a very relaxing place to be. Its a matter of portraying this to your potential guests and not only with words but with some well chosen photographs - perhaps some twilight shots or photos of spectacular winter skies.
The 'Property as a Holiday' approach
What I mean by this is that some people will want to visit out of season simply to relax and get away from everything. They are not necessarily interested in visiting the local attractions and having a jam-packed itinery. In this case, the actual property is the main focus for them. Some properties will work better for this approach than others but if you have a log burner or open fire, make sure you show it off with plenty of photos of it roaring away. Its the same with a nice bathroom with an inviting bath or a warm room with large windows and great views. Make sure any text highlights these features and include as many photos as possible.
So to summarise, In order to maximise the off season, you need to have a plan—and it needs to include a strategy for your copy and content. Try and use a blog, newsletter or social media to give up to date news and to give your potential guests good reasons to visit out of season. Make any feature image heavy - good photos will get your message across very quickly.