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Advertising UK holiday cottages successfully

 

Anyone who owns a holiday cottage and plans to let has a challenging task ahead of them in ensuring good publicity for their rental.

Should you have a web site of your own to advertise?

Many owners begin with a web site of their own that shows off their accommodation.  This allows them to display numerous photographs, detailed descriptions, their price list and some have their own booking systems as well.

Pros of having your own web site

The advantages are only present of you have a Content Management System (cms) based site that you are able to log into and edit the content. There is little advantage in a site that you have to pay someone else to edit for you because it is written in a programming language that you would require specialist skills and software to use.

  • A site that is based on a cms is flexible and allows you to add new pages, as many photographs and as much information as you wish.
  • It is important to have a good easy to use menu so that new visitors can obtain the details they require to book.
  • With a website dedicated to your property, you can include its web address in your promotional adverts in paper publications, on posters, in the window of your holiday cottage.
  • Should you advertise with web portals such as Country Cottages Online, you can also have it linked into your advertisement so that potential customers may reach it and find out more about your holiday accommodation.

The Cons of having your own property web site

  • The cost of initial development
  • The cost of hosting and domain name renewal
  • The cost and time of ensuring ongoing security.
  • The cost of advertising your website online so that it appears in Search Engine listings
  • If you have a cms based website, all updates are under your control and you will be able to make them yourself. If you are unable to update yourself, there will be a cost each and every time that information needs to change, e.g. annual prices or terms and conditions.
  • Remember that the web is constantly changing and that requires that websites adapt to suit new technology. A recent change was to make websites suitable for reading on mobile phones. You may still come across sites that are not mobile-friendly and people are likley to click off if they cannot read them easily.


There are many different avenues of advertising that are possible.

It is not essential to have your own website for many forms of advertising although it is beneficial for some.

For example, if you place a 3-4 line advertisement in a magazine, you can add your website address for people to enter into their electronic device and see full details. If you don’t have a website, you are hoping that people will just phone you.

Forms of advertising possible without a website

Facebook posts allow people to enter a photograph or more and basic details of the accommodation plus a phone number or email address. It is also possible to include a web address that people follow to obtain further details.  Advertising on social media can be expensive and not necessarily produce any beneficial results that turn into bookings. Facebook users are used to just clicking ‘Like’ and moving on. What is needed is active engagement.

Other forms of social media permit basic comments and therefore rely on links to websites. Businesses like Twitter although most ordinary people simply do not have the time to follow other people's tweets.

Email Marketing

The majority of web businesses maintain email marketing lists and send out adverts or newsletters at regular intervals.  The percentage success rate can be as little as 1% because people are simply too busy to bother to read all the emails they receive. It is a case of catching people at an opportune time with a message title that grabs their interest.

Printed publications

Most of us are swamped with magazines and free newspapers. Quite frequently, these go straight into the bin. There is a greater chance of someone reading an advert if they are actively searching for a holiday to book, otherwise, most of us simply do not bother. Peak times for booking holiday cottages tend to be New Year onwards for the summer holidays, Easter for autumn half-term bookings, January to mid-summer for large houses for Christmas and New Year.

Other bookings tend to be fairly constant throughout the year. Many holidaymakers book cottages in the UK at the last minute with an eye on long-range weather forecasts.

The best form of advertising remains a self-catering country cottage website that is found via search engines by people actively seeking suitable accommodation.