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The gorgeous guide to getting noticed

5th September 2013
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1. Know your target market

This simple concept is absolutely key and should be the first thing you focus on before deciding to install a hot-tub or a state of the art wet-room! Who will want to come and stay in your cottage? The answer to this is often dictated by the size of your holiday home.

Smaller cottages will inevitably appeal more to couples looking for a romantic break, so do everything you can to encourage this. Roll-top baths, 4-poster beds and complimentary bottles of bubbly on arrival are all very appealing to someone looking to whisk a loved one off for a romantic break.

Larger cottages are usually firmly in the family market, so again make sure you are maximising the appeal to this market by including children’s toys, DVDs, baby & toddler equipment, even a games room if you have the space. Something as simple as a slide and swings in the garden are often enough to swing it (if you’ll pardon the pun!).

Don’t forget about other niche markets you can target. Is your holiday cottage situated in an area renowned for walking? Well make sure you offer walkers a reason to come and stay with you: provide maps, build relationships with local guides, publish walking routes on your website and call your utility ‘The boot room’. It just takes a little thinking about.

One word of warning though, make sure you don’t try to appeal to everyone. In our experience at Gorgeous Cottages, the most successful holiday lets are those properties which choose one main target market and stick to it.

2. Take professional images

I wish I had a £1 for every time an owner has said to me, ‘I don’t need a professional photographer, I’ve taken lots of pictures myself and they work just fine’. If you take only one thing from this advice then please let it be this – pay a professional photographer to capture the images for your holiday home.

No matter how hard we try, amateurs will never be able to maximise the light and space in a room as well as a professional, which is why we offer this service to all of our new owners completely free of charge. Remember, for someone browsing your cottage amongst hundreds of others, photos are everything.

Do your research though, ask around other owners for recommendations on good local photographers in the area. It’s usually not overly expensive, and they are such a huge asset to your holiday rental business it’s really a small investment to make.

3. Write a killer description

At Gorgeous Cottages we always visit and usually stay at our Yorkshire Cottages to make sure we can write an honest and compelling description. When you are writing your own description there are a few little tips I can offer that will increase its appeal:

  • Write it directly to the person reading it. Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ whenever you can to place the reader at the cottage experiencing the things you are describing. For example: ‘Settle yourself down by the open fire in the evenings’ or ‘Take a walk to the local pub – make sure you try the steak, it’s fantastic!’.
  • Put some personality into it. Don’t think you need to write in marketing speak. Write the description as you would say it to someone and don’t be afraid to be humorous. If you find this hard it’s often easier to walk around and record what you are saying as you look at each room, then listen back and draft your description from that.
  • Don’t forget about your location. Sure guests want to know about your cottage but they also want to know about what kind of holiday they are going to look forward to. Include details about good local restaurants, what attractions are nearby, what the landscape is like, and what to do on a rainy day.

3. Additional services

Just because you are offering a self-catering holiday, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer additional services that would appeal to guests looking to book a cottage. Even if you don’t live close to the property it is usually possible to build relationships with local chefs, babysitters, therapists etc. who could provide your holiday let with that added extra.It could even be something as simple as 10% off at the local gastro-pub.

At Gorgeous Cottages we offer a complimentary concierge service on behalf of our cottages; we organise things like transport, private dinner parties and Spa treatments etc. It’s a real bonus for a guest to know that they can book and enjoy these extras without the headache of their own research.

4. Don’t forget about the interior!

Lastly, it’s important not to forget that many guests will choose you because they like the look of the cottage, or because you have some features they find desirable. So make sure you are keeping the cottage up to-date and that you highlight these features clearly.

Tired looking rooms and furniture may have got by in the past but they simply don’t cut it now. Take inspiration from design websites and magazines, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your cottage look good. And try to keep with a theme that’s suitable for your cottage and location. For example, don’t go with a seaside theme if you’re in deepest Wensleydale!

And, I keep saying it to our owners, but a real fire is still a huge draw. Whether that’s an open fire or a wood-burning stove. I’d say it was almost as essential as offering Wi-Fi – if you don’t have one, you will miss out on bookings.

Gorgeous Cottages work only with the very best Yorkshire Cottages and self-catering accommodation in Yorkshire. If you own a luxury cottage in Yorkshire and are interested in working with Gorgeous Cottages, you can contact Christina on the details below:

Tel: 0844 736 6276 | info@gorgeouscottages.com | www.gorgeouscottages.com

Gorgeous Cottages link directly with SuperControl

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