Protected: Finding guests for your holiday property
At Shoreline we take our booking targets personally. It is one of the most important factors of our partnership with you. Over many years we have developed an effective marketing programme that is designed to give you the best chance of achieving your income targets. It is reconsidered every year to take account of new technology and advertising opportunities.
This is an important starting point. To understand differentiation, it is a good idea to examine our own behaviour when booking a holiday – particularly over the internet. There are only a few reasons a guest would be motivated to make a booking for a particular holiday cottage:
- Everywhere else is full, leaving no other choice if specific dates are required. This can mean the guest will perhaps be prepared to compromise on quality or pay more than budgeted. This is not a very flattering or productive way to fill a holiday property.
- The property is very competitively priced and is of a sufficiently high standard to meet the needs of the guest. Many guests, in particular young families are on a tight budget and will always book the cheapest holiday they can find if it ticks all their key needs. This can lead to a property owner making little or no profit on a booking while the guests still expect a high-quality property and service.
- The property is special in some way. For example; sea views, location, interior design, outside space, pet-friendly, onsite parking etc. It is very important to recognise that just because a property a special feature of some kind, that the rest of the property can be less than perfect – it doesn’t work that way.
- The property meets a special need, such as a disability.
Not just a holiday but an experience
When booking a holiday we imagine ourselves in our chosen location escaping from our day-to-day environment. Our website is designed to help guarantee this sense of experience and not just be a catalogue of properties like many of our competitors.
It is true to say that when going on holiday in Whitby we are seeking to project the guest into a different world of fishing boats, cobbled streets and historical events such as Captain Cook’s travels or the thrills of Dracula and the Abbey.
Every aspect of your property will be looked at in detail and researched. It is essential that you have professional photographs, virtual tours and text that evoke the sense of life in Whitby but also the comforts of well designed modern living. We will also differentiate your property by focusing on any unique features that they offer.
The significance of good interior design
The window to the world of holidays is a great website. and you can not hide any deficiency of interior design in a property. There are some very important issues that should be considered when refurbishing a holiday home if it is to rent well.
- Guests are coming for a seaside holiday and so your design should reflect that style.
- A property should never be cluttered. Avoid any ornaments and trinkets in your property and ensure artwork is to the right scale and suited to a coastal environment.
- Avoid the temptation to use old items from other properties to save money. A consistent, contemporary style is a must. If you are paying a fair price for your holiday you would expect a well thought out property.
- Always have a balanced house and avoid the temptation to cram in extra beds at the expense of space. There should be a comfortable place to sit in the sitting room and dining area for every bed space.
- Bathrooms are important – powerful showers and a minimum of one for every four people is essential these days. Guests do not want to ‘queue’ and will want the same, if not better, facitilies than they do at home.
- Comfortable king size beds (if possible) are now very important – without a good nights sleep a guest will never be fully satisfied.
- Good lighting. There should be decorative, mood and functional lighting in all living spaces.
There are many holiday TV program such as ‘Four In A Bed’ and ‘Hotel Inspector’ that have a major influence on guest expectations. You must be as good as the competition or you will be low on the booking priority list and left with less bookings and/or reduced prices.
Finding guests is not easy
Having a great website and a great portfolio of properties is not enough!
There is not one simple way to find guests – it requires effort in many different areas. These change over the yers. For example, 20 years ago brochures were mailed out and were an essential marketing tool. Now they have little relevance given the information that can be provided online.
This combination of marketing activies is known as the ‘Marketing Mix’ and each component will vary in importance to each market sector. The tourism sector is now almost completely online and this is the entire focus of our activities.
Shoreline will never have the budget of some of our main competitors such as Sykes but will look at every property individually and will spend more on your marketing your property than they will. It is better to be a big cog in a small wheel and to know everyone is working for the maximum result possible.
In this section, we will explain the current Shoreline approach but who knows what new ideas will appear in the coming months. With Shoreline, what you can be sure of is that we will be constantly at the leading edge of marketing ideas and will never seek to do the same thing every year in the hope it will still work.
We do not see the relevance of a booking office in Whitby, we do not see the point in printing brochures and we never advertise in printed media. To put simply – we are online.
Before we look at the ways in which we will generate business for your property, it is important to realise that there are three kinds of prospect: a repeat guest, someone searching for a particular property on specific dates, and the impulse buyer. They are very different and are triggered by different activity as you will see……