Here are 10 tips for how and where to advertise your holiday accommodation, these tips will be helpful for any holiday let owners running their own self-catered accommodation. In today’s competitive holiday letting market its vital to use all the tools that are available to boost bookings.
The use of social media in today’s world is essential in connecting with guests of all ages from all around the world. The most used social media platforms that suit the holiday letting industry are Facebook and Instagram. It’s best not to use to many platforms and if you don’t have much spare time, just pick one and put all your time into doing it well. Your posts should include pictures and information on your property’s features, what the local area is like, things to do and restaurants that are nearby.
Having a modern website with a booking platform integrated is the only way to get direct bookings without paying third party companies any commission for getting you bookings. There are some free booking platforms you can use such as Freetobook and if you need more professional features paid versions are available too. It is also very important your website is mobile friendly in fact 71% of the visitors to Porth Holidays website over the last 6 months have been from users on mobiles, make sure all photos and information is clearly set out and it is super easy to book your accommodation through a mobile. You can build a modern template website quickly and at low cost by using website builders like Wix or go bespoke and have a tailored website made by a professional exactly how you want it, we recommend Pure Cornish Design they made our Porth Holidays website you are currently visiting!
Think about who your target audience is and write for them for example if your holiday home is a 4-bedroom house close to a beach your main target audience is families looking for beach holidays, explain in detail how close the beach is and what amenities are they, also what other attractions are close by that would be great for kids? If you accept dogs where are the closest dog friendly beaches and is there a dog ban at any point in the year? If your writing skills aren’t the best or you just don’t have the time don’t worry, you can easily hire a content writer from the digital services website fiverr. Its low cost and the websites freelance creators can offer many other digital services like website building, photo editing, voice overs.
There are a few options when using paid advertising, you can boost posts on Facebook and Instagram. You can also add your property to listing sites which promote direct bookings, these usually cost around £250 per year for just a property profile. Porth Holidays not only offer comprehensive holiday let management, but also offer the exciting opportunity for holiday let owners to simply advertise with us for less than £2 a week! This service is specifically designed to help property owners that are happy running their own self-catering accommodation in Cornwall get more direct bookings. Find out more on our Advertise with us page.
Pricing your holiday let
Setting the correct pricing for your holiday home is important but you should always remain flexible as the market can change throughout the year, and it usually does! For example if 5 new properties come on the market in your local area that are very similar to yours and all of them have lower pricing you may find a drop in bookings if you don’t adjust to the new local competition – However if you feel you have more features and are confident your pricing is correct and gives good value, it’s worth seeing how the next couple of months go and monitor the bookings, are their calendars filling up with more bookings than yours? You should also think about discounts for long stays, as they are becoming more popular amongst holidaymakers. Read our blog on 10 features to guarantee more bookings
Great photos & videos
Having great photos & videos showing off your holiday accommodation is essential in today’s increasingly competitive holiday letting market, help potential guests visualise the spaces and exactly what it would be like to stay in your property, achieve this with high quality photos & videos - We have a blog sharing the photography tips and tricks we use when photographing new properties getting added to our portfolio of self-catered accommodation in Cornwall. Read our holiday letting photography guide.
Awards boost bookings
If you holiday accommodation is high quality, follows all the current regulations and is a unique place to be, you should think about entering it for a tourism award or certificate, for example a Visit England award for excellence or enter the Cornwall Tourism awards.
Reviews & feedback for your holiday home
The best marketing for your property is having multiple glowing guests reviews, it is the biggest deciding factor on if a potential guest will book your property or not! Remember constructive criticism should not be taken to heart and be looked at positively, if there are small ways to improve your accommodation that you haven't thought of guests will let you know in the reviews or private feedback, take note and make the improvements, even if its small things like, more cutlery, a stiff door handle or scuffs on the paintwork. Respond to all good and bad reviews and if you think it’s unfair explain why, anyone reading the reviews can usually tell if the previous guests where being unreasonable and it won’t put them off. Tip: If you do get an extremely harsh review wait 24hours before composing your reply, often replies in angry will not come across very well and make the situation look worse.
List with other holiday booking platforms
To gain maximum exposure get your property listed on a few of the biggest third-party booking platforms such as, Airbnb, Booking.com or VRBO. Using these services can come at a cost, up to 20% plus VAT of your booking value, many will find this acceptable due to the number of extra bookings and exposure being on these booking platforms brings. These big companies have huge marketing budgets which gives you a high chance of getting extra bookings, which is why they can charge a lot of commission.
Join a holiday letting agency
This option suits owners who don’t live in the area their holiday let is located or don’t have the time or knowledge to put into promoting and maintaining there holiday accommodation and all its visitors, join a holiday letting agency who can take care of everything in the above list for you. Here at Porth Holidays we offer low commission comprehensive management for holiday lets in West Cornwall, find out more on our Join us page.
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Getting started with property photography
Having great photos showing off your holiday accommodation is essential in todays increasingly competitive holiday letting market, help potential guests visualise exactly what it would be like to stay in your property with high quality photos - In this blog we are sharing the photography tips and tricks we use when photographing new properties getting added to our portfolio of self catered accommodation in Cornwall. Here are 5 things you must do before you start snapping away!
✓Clean - This should go without saying but the property needs to be spotless, grubby paintwork, mould spots, stains on carpets, smudges on mirrors all need to be taken care of before anything else
✓ De-clutter - Remove any personal items or clutter that may distract potential guests looking at your holiday home
✓ Straighten everything - Picture frames, furniture, blinds and curtains all need to look perfectly straight and symmetrical
✓ Turn on the lights - This creates a feeling of warmth and avoids dark spots in any of the rooms
✓ Checklist - Its good practice to plan ahead so you know what photos you need to get, for example 2 main shots of the room, one of the view from the window (must be a great view) one close up per room - for example, artwork, ornaments ,house plants. one shot of the main feature in the room - for example exposed granite wall, log burner, free standing bath, etc ...
Photography guide for the kitchen
When preparing for holiday home photography we usually start in the hub of the house, the kitchen!
✓ Staging with props such as food can help guests imagine what it would be like to sit down for a family meal at your property
✓ Put away all cleaning products and hide the rubber gloves
✓ If you leave a hamper set one out and show it off
✓ less is more, de clutter the worktops and only keep the essentials
✓ Have useful appliances that guests would like to use on show such as coffee machines, wine fridges, blenders etc
✓ Move around the kitchen shooting from all corners and don't be afraid to get close ups
✓ Put away tea towels or oven gloves, these can obscure the clean lines of kitchen units
✓ Watch out for reflections in shiny surfaces like work tops or fridge doors
Photography guide for the dining room
✓ Straighten out the table and chairs perfectly
✓ Set the table, it doesn't necessarily have to be with food but cutlery or a vase of flowers will help set the scene
✓ Make sure you have a table big enough to sit your maximum occupancy or show all of the seating arrangements for the guests
✓ If there is patio doors leading outside, show them open and if there is a really nice view from them show that in the next shot
✓ Make sure any artwork on the walls has been straightened, if its from a well known or local artist get a close up shot
✓ If the next room is visible from the dining room, show the connecting spaces so guests feel like they understand the layout of the property
Photography guide for the lounge
✓ Plump cushions and set out sofa throws in a causal yet inviting way
✓ If you have a log burner? light a fire! show off your features as much as you can
✓ If you have a smart TV with streaming services such as Netflix pause the screen and show it or leave the screen on an attractive background.
✓ Set the coffee table with book or magazine and a cup of coffee....or tea!
✓ Make sure the floors are clear, rugs are flat and running perfectly straight with the furniture
✓ Don't be afraid to move furniture around if things aren't looking quite right
✓ Take photos from inside the doorway to get a wider picture of the room
Photography guide for the bathroom
✓ Leave the toilet seat down! Nobody wants to see the insides of a toilet
✓ Put any cleaning products away to declutter the floors or worktops
✓ Make sure it is sparkling clean
✓If you leave toiletries for your guests leave some on show, keeping in mind you may change your mind about leaving toiletries in the future.
✓ If you have a feature bath, make sure its filled up with bubbles and looks inviting
✓ Any towels left for your guests make sure they are folded straight
✓ Don't take to many pictures unless the bathroom is a big feature of the house
✓ Clean any water spots on taps or shower screens, it must be spotless. Same goes for the mirrors!
✓ Small decorations look great for example, house plants, candles, tasteful ornaments
Photography guide for the bedroom
✓ Plump up any pillows and make it look comfortable
✓ Make the beds neatly (iron the sheets if necessary) and try dressing them with cushions or throws
✓ Lay towels on the bed exactly how they will be one the day the guests arrive
✓ Small props for staging could include, coffee, tea or a book on the bedside drawers
✓ Turn on any lamps to for a warm feel
✓ Make sure any mirrors are smudge free and spotless
✓ Don't forget about close ups of features or design elements of the room
Photography guide for the outside areas
✓ The best time to shoot the exterior is 1 hour after sunrise or 1 hour before sunset also known as the 'golden hour'
✓ The best time of year to photograph the garden is spring or summer time when there are splashes of colour from new flowers
✓ If your property has a large driveway or a tight parking space, guests will want to be able to see the parking arrangements (Include exact measurements in your listing if the spaces are small)
✓ Cut the grass and trim the hedges, sweep up any leaves
✓ Arrange any garden furniture available for the guests to use including BBQ's, parasol's etc
✓ Show any toys or play areas for kids or pets
✓ Watch out for glare from the sun
✓ Get close ups of any flowers that are in your garden
✓ If you are luck enough to have a hot tub, turn it on with any jets or lights it has
Photography guide for the features
Get close ups of all the property features even if they are small touches, it will give guests a the feel of your property, for example:
✓ Log burners
✓ Aerial photo of great location
✓ Amazing views
✓ Large parking areas
✓ Hot tubs
Final checks and editing
✓ Check through your photos making sure non are blurry
✓ Did you get all the photos you needed from your checklist?
✓Delete any photos that don't give a true representation of the size, design or feel of your property. Giving the wrong impression can lead to unhappy guests and bad reviews.
5 quick tips for using editing software:
✓ Adjust white balance from lights creating orange yellow glow
✓ Bring up the shadows and lower the highlights
✓ Straighten the frame, doors or windows need to look vertical and level
✓ Add some saturation and vibrance but you must keep it natural!
✓ Use preset filters with caution , to much editing can actually put guests off, keep it 'light and bright'
We use Adobe Lightroom for all our photo editing
Holiday letting with Porth Holidays
The thing to remember with holiday home photography is to capture as best you can the feel of the property and what it would be like to stay there - These photos need to grab your guests attention quickly so arranging them in a thought out way can help a lot when potential guests are scrolling through multiple property listings searching for there perfect Cornish getaway!
We help owners that join us set up their properties ready for holiday letting with free photography, guest folder, and no on-boarding or membership fees... actually no fees at all until we get you a booking! We can also provide a comprehensive management service with a tailored housekeeping package, including full changeover and cleaning, hampers for guests and pups, holiday essentials pack, luxury linen and towels, arranging waste removal, fire alarm safety checks and more. We can also help with photography for property owner's looking to advertise their holiday accommodation with us, just get in touch!
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How we advertise our properties
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Holiday letting photography guide