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Autumn signals the end of the busy holiday letting season, with the half-term holidays finished and most of us returning to work after a refreshing break. Many owners may now be turning their attention to securing returning holiday cottage guests, as well as how to reach even more potential visitors.
With so many marketing and communication tools available to cottage owners it’s easy to feel as if you’re searching in the dark when it comes to which ones you should be using and how. Here we explain a simple to follow formula to increase repeat custom and reach even more people.
Email marketing should form a key part of your activity when it comes to getting people back or encouraging them to stay. Its purpose is to create a regular contact point with potential and previous guests throughout the year; by creating this you’re increasing the chances that they’ll think of you when they come to make a decision on where to stay next.
Make sure you’re emailing past holiday cottage guests regularly
You should have an email going out to your holiday cottage guests at least once a month. If you make this less frequent then you’re not creating regular contact, if you send out emails much more then it’ll become unlikely that people will open every one.
Once you know what works for your database we recommend sending at the same time and day of the week so people know when to expect it. Also adopt a similar subject line and send from the same person so people know what it is they’re getting before they even open it.
Consider what you can offer them
Emails from bookings and enquiries are great as they’ve either stayed with you, and therefore know how great it is already, or have shown an active interest in your cottage before. You may want to consider making offers available to these people before you open them up to others (and this can be a great way to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter).
Exclusive offers to this already engaged audience can be effective in getting them to stay during colder autumn and winter months, and remember that an offer doesn’t always have to be a reduction in rates; it could be something you offer as an added extra (perhaps a romantic meal for two at a local restaurant), so think about the time of the year and what it is that would entice them to stay.
With 24 million active Facebook users in the UK it’s safe to say it’s highly likely that your holiday cottage guests will have a profile. Facebook can be used to create and support the regular contact you’re building through email, and also reach people of similar interests and lifestyle factors (their Facebook friends) that are likely to want to stay with you too.
Get people to like your page and share regularly
Encouraging the people who stay with you to like your page is the obvious first step in building your presence. Once you have a growing page you’ll want to be posting regularly (between two to four times a week as an initial guide).
How do you reach their friends?
In order to reach their friends you’re going to need to get your page likes to engage. Once they do it will begin appearing on newsfeeds, so think of ways you can get them to interact with your page; competitions, asking them to share photos and interesting content should all form a part of this plan.
You can actively advertise to the friends of your Facebook likes within their advertising tool under the ‘Connections’ tab. Consider running a page like campaign to these people so you can build a longer-term relationship. By running this sort of campaign it will say their friend already likes your page and increase the chances of them liking it as a result!
There’s two major things you need to be doing; make sure you have the processes in place to collect information, and then ensure you’re always making regular contact. If this is all too much for you to be thinking about employ the services of a holiday letting agent.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday letting business please give us a call on 01237 429444.
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