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How can agencies help boost your self-catering business?

19th November 2015
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How do you get your name out there? Have you thought about advertising with any agencies or channels, or do you prefer to do all your marketing yourself? When it comes to agencies, you might be worried about paying hefty commission or losing control of your business, but most agencies are entirely flexible, they can get your properties in front of a much wider audience and would make a meaningful contribution to your marketing mix. Agencies are especially helpful for young businesses trying to build a name, or for owners who don’t have the time to focus on their accommodation business full-time.

What’s more, if you and your agency of choice are both SuperControl customers, our cross-updating function can save you lots of time by ensuring your availability is always up-to-date and reliable – no double bookings!

cross-update-image

What do the agents say?

We’ve spoken to a geographical cross-section of our agencies in the UK to find out exactly what they offer.

No restrictions

Tara Scott, Managing Director of TS Holiday Lets: “We offer complete flexibility to owners. I have my own self-catering properties and before I started this business, I listed with other agencies. I always felt I wasn’t in control of my own business when they placed restrictions on the number of bookings I could take myself and I don’t want that for our owners. Essentially, we can do everything for them from taking bookings right down to cleaning the property. And we are available 24/7 on the phone to owners, if there’s ever an issue.”

Gail Corbishley, Manager of Lakes Cottage Holidays: “We’re the only agency in the Lakes that allows owners to take their own bookings. We work on behalf of owners and guests to make sure that everything runs smoothly. We take bookings and payments and we even offer a full management service to owners.”

Reach a bigger market Contacts

Melanie Galvin, Operations Director of Mulberry Cottages: “We can help owners reach a bigger market. Our website attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. Owners can take their own bookings without penalties. We work in partnership with our owners to increase their occupancy. We can advise and help at every stage to ensure owners maximise their return on investment. We’re available seven days a week and can help if things go wrong.”

Gareth Mahoney, Owner/Director of Best of Wales, says: “Our model is completely flexible. Owners can take as many of their own bookings as they want. This gives us the incentive to work as hard as we can for them and get them as many bookings as possible! We deal with all the bookings and the financial side of things. For our owners to market individually, it would take a lot of work and a lot of money for them to have an impact. But, as a group, we have more power to do it for them.”

What do our owners think?

The owners we spoke to had very positive views of the agencies they work with – in particular, for generating bookings for them in the harder-to-sell quiet periods.

Steve Woolley from Near Howe Cottages in the Lake District said: “We work with a couple of agencies. In fact, we chose SuperControl after seeing the system in use by Lakes Cottage Holidays, with whom we’ve worked for around four years.

“It’s worthwhile using an agency as they can help to fill your availability, particularly in periods when you might be quieter.”

“I would say that around 80% of our bookings are direct on our own website – and 50% of them are repeat bookers. However, I’m a massive fan of integration. We’ve recently listed all our seven cottages with AirBnB and, in the past three weeks, we’ve had £3,000 of bookings just through that channel.”

Linda Battison owns Cologin Country Chalets and Lodges, a holiday park offering a range of self-catering accommodation near Oban in Scotland. She adds: “The agencies that offer a direct link to SuperControl and just charge commission for bookings they get for us are great – I don’t mind paying commission and they get us bookings at times we might not otherwise have had them.”

How can SuperControl help?

SuperControl’s cross-updating service means that we can sync availability between our owner and agency customers, which saves both parties lots of time when it comes to checking and manually updating what properties are available.

Linda from Cologin adds: “I won’t link to anyone who doesn’t link with SuperControl. The cross-updating function just makes life so much easier – it’s such a mess updating availability otherwise.”

And Steve from Near Howe agrees: “SuperControl updates everything for us. The cross-updating works very well.”

No more double bookings

The agents we spoke with were also in agreement that cross-updating has many bonuses. “It saves a lot of time, effort and money and eliminates the risk of double bookings. If we get a last-minute booking for a property that uses SuperControl, we know with confidence that its availability is correct and it’s OK to accept the booking,” says Gail from Lakes Cottage Holidays.

“The cross-updating between the owners, SuperControl and ourselves not only saves time, but also ensures there are no double bookings,” adds Melanie from Mulberry.

If you have any questions on any of the above, please let us know in the comments below. Alternatively, please send us an email.

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