Monday, September 17, 2012

Free Book Offer for Holiday Home Owners

Now summer is coming to an end, most Holiday home owners will find their rentals slowing down and coming to an end.

So what to do now?  Now is time to take stock and think about next year, yes NOW is the time to start preparing for next year.  It is never too early to start planning for next years bookings, as in the next few short months holiday makers will start to make plans for next year's holiday.

So what should you be doing?

There are three main things you should be doing now:

1) Assess your results for this year.  Did you do as well as you expected?  Did you come across any problems?  Did you marketing reach your target market?  Did you meet your financial targets as you wanted / needed?

2) Look at your marketing.  Did you reach the market you wanted to effectively?  Did you get the results you wanted from your current marketing plan?  Should you change / extend your marketing to be more effective?  Are there any new products / services to help with your marketing?  Do you know and understand your target market and what they want?  Do you need or want to change your target market?

3)  Does your property need updating or changing to make it more sellable?  Do your photos need updating?  Are they good enough?  Do you need to change some furniture or decoration to make it more appealing?  Can you make some simple changes to bring in a higher level of client thereby increasing your rentals and profits?

These are the main things you should be thinking about, with a view to get it completed by December, ready for the end of year / new year bookings.

If you need some advice and ideas, take a look at this FREE book written by Award winning Letting Expert and Marketer, Wendy Shand.

For your FREE copy, click here

Monday, June 4, 2012

How flights can affect your bookings

This is an interesting article for Algarve Holiday Home Owners.  It is important for home owners to be aware and understand how the transport access affects their bookings.  If there is a lack of flights from a certain location, there is little point in targeting or expecting to gain customers from that region.

Fortunately, Faro is a very accessible location from many countries across Europe and further.  In some cases, more accessible than Lisbon.

Read more here:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daily Mail 'Website of the Week'

Here's what the Daily Mail had to say about this
week when we featured as their website of the week....the strengths AND the weaknesses....

Website Of The Week:
By Fred Mawer

It's a cliché, but true: family holidays are precious.

And that means many parents go to enormous lengths to try to ensure that everything will be just right, in terms of the location of where they are staying, the facilities on offer and how safe it is.

Sunny days: Tots To Travel aims to propel families into trouble-free holidays

Wendy Shand's award-winning company Tots To Travel taps into this need for reassurance.

All the 350-plus self-catering properties on have been vetted and thoroughly inspected by trained-up mums, to ensure that they are safe, well equipped and fun places to take the family.

The growing selection of properties is spread over France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK. Many rentals are part of clusters of cottages, with communal facilities such as a swimming pool. But there are lots of more private properties too.


The amount of detail given about each property listed on the website is very impressive.

I'm looking at a gîte called, Abelia in the Charente in France. The local Tots To Travel inspector, Penny, provides an exhaustive review of its interior and grounds, even pointing out that there is a 70cm wall on the side of the patio ('supervision may be needed here').

There is also a list of all the baby-friendly facilities - everything from the children's play area to safety window catches.

Nineteen photos are supplied: these are not glossy like those in brochures, but down to earth, so you can see the layout of the rooms, and what the bathroom looks like.

Equally commendable is the copious information on what's in the area - the nearest shops, child-friendly attractions, beaches etc.

And backing all this up is a comprehensive fact sheet that also covers stuff like how far away the nearest doctor is.

A big thumbs up, too, to the 'getting there' section, which not only says how close the nearest airports are to Abelia, but also which airlines fly to the airports from the UK.

The website's search facility is pretty good, and can highlight, for example, properties with enclosed pools, enclosed gardens, those offering babysitting, and those under an hour's drive from the nearest airport. You can also narrow your search to properties with availability on a given week.

Lastly, Tots To Travel is not just an online operation. You are very much encouraged to talk to staff on the phone if you have any queries.

Comprehensive: The site offers a wide range of properties, and detailed reviews


Tots To Travel is an agent, and as such is not liable for the quality of the properties or responsible if things are not up to scratch.

To be fair, all this is spelt out very clearly in the terms and conditions, and Tots To Travel says it will try to help sort out any problems.

The website's home page is probably a little bit flat: it doesn't convey quite as well as it could just what a fantastic resource is.

And I could do without the online shop selling travel-related family kit.


Inspiring: 3/5
Useful: 5/5
Easy to use: 5/5

Read more:

Monday, February 13, 2012

New year, new season

So now Christmas is long gone and the new booking season should be in full flow.  For many of the holiday home owners I have spoken to recently, bookings are coming steadily.  Last year for many was a bit of a strange one, with a quick start and then everything suddenly slowed, last minute bookings were much higher than previous years and it was all a bit strange, but most owners found they had a great if not better year than 2010.

Most owners are currently in the throws of the prep work needed to get everything ready for Easter time when most property owners find their season starts, some earlier, some later.  Many owners / managers are busy decorating, cleaning and gardening.  Getting all your stocks and guest items ready for those first arrivals of the year; or maybe you have already had them!  What is your routine, do you do the same preparation every year, do you make improvements every year?  It is very important to keep improving your product to stay ahead of the competition (of which there are many), even if what you have works, it can always be improved!

I am conducting a short survey looking at the booking trends for 2012, its very quick, if you have a moment to give me a hand please Click here

Many thanks and if you have any feedback you would like to share, please do!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

For a holiday home owner, this needs to be seen!

This Christmas we raised a toast to another very successful year and, in spite of the current economic climate, we are looking forward to an even bigger and better 2012.

As I write, in the last week of December, we are ending the year up by an amazing 30% on forward bookings for 2012 compared to this time last year all within what I think you’ll agree is really a pretty shoddy economic climate.  25% of these bookings are repeat bookings, people who have travelled with us before.  This is my favourite stat because I truly care that we are delivering on our promises.
So this is a thrilling end to the year which I think reflects the energy, enthusiasm, value and commitment that the Tots Team demonstrate.  For families who book with us we deliver peace of mind and save them stress and time and for holiday home owners we represent a successful partnership that brings not only bookings but advice, support and a stronger, more successful business proposition.

Original post can be found at Holiday Home Rental Site (Tots to Travel)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

More new properties added in December than ever before

I am delighted to announce that December has been our “best month ever” at, with over 25 more fantastic, family friendly holiday homes coming on board this month.

This growth, in preparation for the 2012 season, indicates the growing success of a formula that works in partnership with property owners in supporting them to create profitable holiday home businesses.

I am convinced that in these torrid economic conditions, it is partnership that wins over isolation, and innovation that wins over stagnation. The temptation within this climate is to retreat, to cut back on your marketing and to leave things up to lady luck.
In my opinion, that is the opposite of what you should be doing.

Now’s the time to find new and exciting ways to delight your clients and new ways to reach the market…and that’s exactly what we’re busy doing here at Tots HQ.

We’re busier than ever trying new things, innovating and being courageous, you’ll see the results of all our hard work over the next few weeks and months…

Moreover, now’s the time to find your property’s niche and to examine what you could do differently to stand out from those property owners who have opted to do nothing new.
So congratulations, and welcome to all our new partners who have been courageous in trying something different for the 2012 season!

Merry Christmas & a happy and fully booked 2012

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Social Media, do you 'get' it?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a training session being offered through Tots to Travel with leading Social Media expert Karen Skidmore, hope some of you were able to catch it.  It was a good one with great advice for those starting out and those who are already using it, but not really sure how to do it effectively.

If you think Social Media is just for the kids to Tweet and watch silly videos on You Tube, you are very wrong.  It is not the latest thing, it is THE thing which will only keep growing!

A few months ago I posted a video regarding the power of social media, but Im sure the numbers are now out of date.  But just gives an idea of the power that these platforms can have for a business and can give access to your target market.

Some interesting things that came from this webinar were:

  • 1 Billion people use social networks, most using a variety but the main ones remain Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linked In.
  • The average Facebook session lasts 37 minutes
  • 400 million use Facebook daily
  • The largest growth of users of Social Media are Women aged 30 to 45!
Cant you afford to miss out!  If you need advice or help, I can help, just ask.