With the summer nearly behind us, now is the ideal time for us cottage owners to be thinking about how we can maximise bookings over the quieter winter months. There are still plenty of people who are looking for a holiday or short break away: some who have gone without a summer holiday; those who want an extra break away; and others who prefer to avoid the crowds and take a holiday in the quieter, cheaper months.
Holidaying in the quieter months not only provides holiday makers with a financial saving, but also a much larger selection of holiday accommodation from which to choose. With this in mind, this is the ideal time to review your advert and make it as appealing as possible for Autumn and Winter breaks in the UK. Here are some handy tips to make your holiday cottage stand out from the rest.
- Log burners and open fires: If you have a log burner or an open fire, make sure your advert has a photograph of it roaring in the background. Open fires and log burners are very popular for winter breaks and adverts showing flames flickering attract considerably more attention. Maybe you do not have this facility to offer guests but possibly there is a pub within walking distance that does which you could mention within your advert.
- Make photographs appealing for winter breaks: You can change your photos on your advert at any time so with autumn nearly upon us, why not upload some appealing photographs such as: a woodland walk showing the change in colours; the sun rising across a misty field; waves breaking on the beach; a snow scene or a hot tub bubbling on a chilly night.
- Highlight local attractions and suitable facilities for winter breaks: Give consideration to the sort of activities and attractions that guests can enjoy locally during the colder months and make sure these are highlighted in your advert. A beach holiday needs no introduction in the summer. However, if marketed appropriately, a beach can be equally as appealing during the winter months – who can resist an invigorating walk along the beach before coming home to enjoy a seafood supper in front of the fire with friends? The winter months provide great walking opportunities with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Maybe your cottage is suitable for a walking holiday and provides desirable facilities for walkers that need highlighting (for example, somewhere for coats and boots to dry or a pub en-route that provides a place to warm). ‘City’ type breaks are very popular during the winter with many people looking for self catering accommodation where they can stroll out and have a nice meal or do some early Christmas shopping. You may not be in a city but make sure you highlight places where people can eat out, shop or take in a show at a theatre.
- Who is more likely to go away during the winter months? It is worth considering who your winter customers are. Couples often have more flexibility to go away during the winter months so if you have a smaller holiday cottage, you may want to equip and market it appropriately to appeal to retired couples who may want a mid-week break, couples with a dog, younger couples wanting a weekend away or couples with a young baby. Owners of larger cottages may want to appeal to groups of friends who want to get away and have a good catch up or celebrate an occasion. Discounts can also be offered on larger holiday homes for ‘under occupancy’, making them more appealing to couples or smaller groups.
- Try to be flexible: With so many holiday cottages to choose from, holiday makers are really shopping around to find the best holiday cottage at the best price. Given the current financial climate, we recommended that you try to be as competitive as possible on price and offer flexibility wherever you can (e.g. changeover day and short breaks).
Lastly, we have seen a considerable increase year on year in people looking for late availability and last minute getaways. Our Late Availability facility receives a high number of visitors and we highly recommend you using it to help to secure last minute bookings over the winter period.