The key to promoting your business online, is to make the most of and utilise all of the options available to you. At SCRUMPY we provide an all in one solution, along with expert advice, to help make this as fluent as possible for your holiday let or lets.
Whilst having a website is a good start to marketing, your business can also exist in various other forms across the internet. Especially when you consider there isn’t necessarily a standard way of browsing. Everyone uses online services in different ways and it is very possible that a visitor will look for you via an alternative to your website in the first place.
For instance, someone may be looking for contact details and maybe more specifically a phone number. Instead of going to your website, it has become commonplace (and a lot quicker), to just see this in a google search - such as in a Google My business listing.
Another user may already be using social media when a query pops up and instead of looking elsewhere, will opt to use what is already in front of them, searching from within the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc.
It is logical to cover as many routes as possible, so you can be found regardless of how and where someone chooses to look. Because, why wouldn’t you?
Seeming as your potential customers are using and searching for you via these alternative routes, it makes a lot of sense to make sure you exist on them. For it would be a shame for someone to almost come across you, only to find your competitor.
But this is a great opportunity to be proactive and actually target your client base. Enticing them in in the first place. There are lots of free methods of communication available to you, and it’s clear that they are not always made the most of.
With over 4 billion registered users worldwide, email is a technology that almost predates the internet itself. Now unless you’re just starting out, it’s likely you’ve collected emails from your previously stayed guests.
Why not reach out to your client base? Whilst you don’t want to overuse email, it can be far easier to sell to your existing customers, rather than hoping for new custom to walk through the door.
Get in touch at the start of the year and pre-empt a holiday booking. Or if you get a cancellation, offer and promote that late availability as a special offer? Newly decorated, had refurbishments or added new furniture? Keep your customers in the know.
With SCRUMPY’s broadcast system, each guest is asked to opt into marketing and then added to your subscriber's list. Our optional templates can then intelligently create professional emails at a few clicks of a button; showcasing your property or properties, their locations or any offers you are promoting. You can then mass mail from your websites Broadcast system, which offers analysis on how many are successfully sent and opened.
In 2018 Facebook had 2.2 billion, Instagram 1 billion and Twitter 335 million active users… a huge audience that doesn’t look like it’s scaling down any time soon. Whilst those dizzy numbers apply worldwide, out of the UK’s 66 million inhabitants, a whopping 40 million use social media... That's 60% of Brits!!!
Being such an integral part of everyday lives, a lot of these users will look to someone’s social accounts in addition to, or sometimes instead of a website. Small businesses may not often have the ability to update, change or add content to their websites, but it is very easy and commonplace to do so on let's say their Facebook page. So when a potential customer is browsing, there is a fair chance they will look you up on social media.
Logging onto a page and seeing that its last activity was years ago, will definitely raise a question or two. Such as, why haven’t they used this for so long? If I proceed to book/enquire, will they offer a good service? Do they take their business seriously?
On the other hand, for a guest to be able to see that there are regular posts, with new images of the property, local goings on etc. will portray a positive feel, giving reassurance that the business still exists. As well as adding that all important personal touch, allowing your followers a chance to interact, comment, ‘like’ and publically validate your business.
By syncing your SCRUMPY website to your social channels, we offer tools to help make this easier for you. Once accounts are attached, you can multi post to your various Social channels, without having to log into various sites - all from the one place. You can even set up your website to post any new photos that are added to it, to your social accounts. Another way to easily incorporate your website to external channels. Remember that having an up to date and active profile, improves the likelihood of a guest clicking through to your website.
If you have a website, with descriptions of your property, what’s included, how many it sleeps etc. there’s no need to necessarily change and mess around with it too much. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Yet, there is potentially other information that can be added to your website, that would be beneficial and suitable elsewhere.
A blog is a way of adding new content to your website, that discusses a topic or documents a recent happening, in a tidy way that won’t affect your websites navigation. Adding new words and images to your site are not only great for guests to be able to read the latest news, but are also deemed positively by search engines.
We recommend that you factor in time to write a blog, maybe about a recommendation of a local restaurant, an upcoming event or your favourite thing to do. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is relevant to the area or someone who is staying at the property. In an ideal scenario, adding an article a week will drastically promote your website and give your traffic a boost.
As part of the SCRUMPY platform, all of our websites have access to an easy to use Blog tool. From here you can quickly produce professional looking pages that will be added to your website. These can be found online in their own right and will improve the chances of someone seeing your property or properties. You can even send a blog to your subscribers at the click of a button, quickly turning them into email broadcasts.
Whilst there are many methods of ‘marketing’ your property, such as using the free channels that we’ve discussed, they all work best when using original content. Now you don’t necessarily need to publish an essay, or a large gallery of images; but the combination of a paragraph or two, with some pictures do work really well. You want the content to be interesting, or at least useful, otherwise why would your potential customer want to engage with it?
Thinking up an idea in the first place can also be difficult. Ideally you want to vary the content that you are adding and writing. Take a look at some topics and suggestions that we’ve listed below:
Things to do - A recommendation of what your guests can do whilst staying at your property. For eg. "Fun for all the family at ..."
Local events - Create a post promoting an upcoming day or festival, for which there's potentially very little internet exposure, is a great chance for you to appear highly in a search result for your "Village Fete"
Where to eat & drink - Know the best place for your guests to have a Sunday Roast? Or the best cheap eats for lunch? Your viewpoint as a local expert will be really appreciated by your hungry customers.
Experiences you offer - Do you happen to have another passion or business? A dab hand at painting? An avid cyclist? Or keen baker? Then why not offer tutoring or lessons in your specialist field!
Discounts or arrangements with other businesses - There are likely to be a variety of experts who offer experiences, both at their own premises or who are mobile and can come to you, offering the likes of "Spa Treatments" or a "Private Chef". There's no harm in reaching out to them, I'm sure they'd appreciate referrals, so there's potential for you to even get a discount for your guests.
Recipes - Have you received flattering feedback for your cookies, the ones you include in your welcome hamper? Then why not share with your customers, so they can take the holiday nostalgia back home with them.
Your walk or a day out - Is there a nice circular route that can be taken from the properties doorstep? Or somewhere a little further afar that would be worth sharing?
Local amenities - Taken a trip to the greengrocer? Got a good butcher? Or want to show off the old sweet shop? All of which will go down very well with guests, whilst simultaneously promoting your local community and businesses.
Pets - Everyone loves a cute picture and no one likes the idea of leaving their pet at home. If you want to promote your dog friendly property, then what better way to do so, than by using your own furry friend as a poster boy/girl?
Your garden - If your property happens to have lovely grounds, established shrubs and it's own wildlife, then why not share with your guests? Make them envious and want to stay by taking a snap of your resident woodpecker or your rhododendron in bloom.
Renovations - Have you recently decorated the bathroom, or replaced the sofas? Show the world that you care about your property and your guests, by uploading its fresh new look.
Cycling routes - Biking enthusiasts will be drawn to your holiday let if you have a page dedicated to what you have on offer. Do you know of local hire? Why not go that step further and draw your own map?
Ecotourism - Many of us are more and more aware of the impact we have on the planet and will consciously choose the green option, with their holiday accommodation being no different. Is your property energy efficient? Do you use locally sourced goods? Recycle?
A competition - There's nothing like a giveaway. People love being in it to win it and why not use this to build hype, whilst also promoting your business! The prize could be as simple as a bottle of bubbly, or even a luxury stay at your holiday let!
Birthday Milestones - As we get older, it can be harder to see family and friends all in one place. So what better an opportunity than someones 30th, 40th or 50th birthday to plan a get together?
Celebrations - There are loads of reasons why we choose to get away from it all. Why not create pages based upon an Anniversary? Christening? School reunion? Stag or Hen do?
A recent review - Share your testimonials and recent feedback, it gives reassurance to those who are hovering over that book now button.
FAQ’s - If you get asked the same question again and again, (or even if you don't) it's worthwhile to have a list that can be referenced to. With the likes of 'Do you supply towels?', 'How many car's can we park?' or 'Will you greet us on arrival'. This is also great for SEO purposes.
Or by simply documenting your everyday goings on, it may be more interesting than you think!
Now this next piece of advice may sound straightforward, but can be very rewarding and doesn’t require a lot of additional effort. Once you have written something, post it everywhere. You’ve spent time creating this post for your website, why not use it on your social media? Go that step further and email it to your customers as well!
It is important that you exist in as many places as possible. But by promoting yourself and then using the options available to you, in conjunction with one another, will truly enable you to get the best results.
A little preparation
Why not use a calendar? This way you can pencil in times for you to blog, broadcast and post on social. You can even plan to write about particular topics that would be more relevant at certain times of the year. With lets say, a piece based around “Have you booked your holiday for next year?” in October/November, or a “Reasons to visit *your location* in the Autumn” post in February/March.
Once you start drafting in ideas for different times of the year, factoring in the likes of holidays - where you can post images of Easter baskets, Pumpkins at Halloween or Christmas decorations, you’ll soon have lots of interesting content.
It may also be worth experimenting with when is best to launch a post. You may find that sending email broadcasts in an evening, when a majority are able to look at and take action upon, will be more successful, than possibly a morning mail out. It’s also worth factoring in the day of the week, is it best for your guests to receive an email on a Wednesday, or a Saturday?
Whilst we strongly recommend that you utilise as many channels as possible, these are all just different paths a guest may take to your website. It would then be a shame for a potential customer to arrive, only to be greeted with a negative first impression, struggle with navigation or get frustrated with the booking process. Just remember that the whole point of maintaining and promoting your business - is to get new business.
Let SCRUMPY help. Over 15 years of experience in building software and marketing websites has given us a great understanding of what does and doesn’t work. SCRUMPY is the all in one business solution for the self catering industry, exclusively designed for and used by holiday property owners and agencies.
If you’re not already a customer of ours, then we’d love the chance to introduce ourselves and show you how we could help. At SCRUMPY we do so much more than just websites, and with our feature packed platform, all of our customers benefit. Everyone also gets a listing on www.shortbreaks.com - our very own way of further promoting our users, because your success is our success.
Let us help
Time is possibly your biggest barrier. You could argue that writing a few sentences and adding a photo, doesn’t exactly take that long… But we appreciate that not everyone has the time available to them or would prefer to let the ‘professionals’ do it.
If you are interested in well written and informative imagery for your holiday lets, then let us know. We have a very talented content writer with many years of experience working in the industry - who simply loves writing and coming up with ideas.