… there are certain things I won’t compromise on:
- the price
- the control of my business
- my terms and conditions
Three guiding principles, that sometimes I do wobble on (I’m only human) but always come back to. They’ve served me well so far in my holiday home business as at the end of the day it’s about the profit I make. Here they are:
1. I don’t go cheap
I could achieve 100% occupancy if I lowered my prices. On average I charge 20% more than similar cottages in my area, because quite simply, it’s worth more! I know I offer value for money to my ideal guests. If I lowered my prices, it would open me up to the mass market. In other words guests just looking for somewhere ‘OK’ to stay, when I offer ‘special’.
I don’t want this. I want guests who appreciate and are willing to pay for my extra touches. Not those looking for the ‘best’ place they can find for a particular budget.
I disagree with “any booking is better than none”. There’s a lot of work goes into getting a booking both behind the scenes and on changeover day. All that has a value. Plus each booking comes with a wear and tear cost and the intangible cost of owners being on stand by to help those guests during their stay. Each booking has a lot of me in it.
That’s why my holiday cottage is worthy of those higher prices. And the guests that I target and market to, appreciate this and will pay for it.
More bookings doesn’t equal more profit, if those bookings are low value. I’m not selling myself short and working for peanuts! Profit per booking is what counts not the quantity of bookings.
2. I don’t list with the large listing sites
I admit every now and again I do wonder if I should join them again. But I know it’s not right for me and my holiday home business and I do jolly fine without them thank you. It doesn’t take me long to remember the pricing hassles I used to get from Airbnb as I couldn’t fit my pricing structure into their boxes. Or the high fees Owners Direct charge, where owners are merely a commodity. I don’t want to be a commodity!
And the annoyance of only being able to communicate with my guests or enquiries, through their portal – no thank you. I want to build relationships from the off.
I don’t want to go back to all those frustrations, extra costs and giving control of my business to those guys. I’ve built a marketing strategy around getting bookings directly and by using smaller, local, niche listing sites to drive traffic to my website. I don’t want to jump back into bed with the large listing sites thank you very much!
3. I don’t accept any old booking if it doesn’t feel ‘right’
I’ve touched on this already in point 1. I won’t accept any booking if the price isn’t right. And I don’t routinely discount just so I can get a booking.
To add to this point, I have my terms and conditions drawn up my way, for a reason. So if I get an enquiry from a party who want to bring children to sleep on airbeds, a total of 6 people in the cottage when I only want 4 in there, I’m not going to accept that booking.
And I’ve made a decision to not advertise as pet friendly. If I did, I know this would really open up my market. I do accept dogs – there’s a difference but I don’t promote this feature.
I have had a few dogs to stay and in fairness they’ve been no bother. But only one at a time and only if I’ve specifically been asked. I’ve never owned a dog myself. I have no real basis to be wary of them – I know that, but it’s how I feel.
Is sticking to these principles a case of cutting my nose to spite my face?
Others may see it that way; I don’t. And that’s what matters.
I’ve always chased the quality of the booking, not the quantity. That’s where the profits lie. And if I can continue to do that without compromising then I will!