Making the most of your holiday cottage advertisement
Thank you for advertising with us.
To help you make the most of your listing we have put together some ideas for creating and maintaining your holiday cottage advertisement.
Setting up your advertisement
We think you will find your advertisement very easy to set up, but we are always here to help if you have any problems
Before you start it is always a good idea to make a list of your 'unique selling points', it might be your great location, quirky decor, fabulous view or the age of your property. Whatever it is, aim to make sure the qualities that make your property a great place to stay are clearly spelled out in your finished advertisement.
We all know that a picture can do a lot of the 'talking' in an advertisement. It might be obvious, but it is worth spending some time choosing your best photos. We need photos in jpeg format, at least 640 pixels wide, so that they can enlarge when clicked upon.
Choose your first picture carefully, as this will appear on your summary text listing. This has to entice visitors to find out more!
Make sure you have good quality photos, with a mix of exterior and interior shots. If either are missing, people can suspect one of 'hiding something'.
If you have a picture of one of your 'unique selling points' such as a garden or a great view, it is a good idea to make this appear higher up the advertisement.
We offer 20 pictures per advertisement - try put up as many images as you can. Use picture captions - try and 'set the scene'... "Lovely, spacious gardens" is much better than 'outside space'.
Please make sure you use unique text in your main description and summary listing. Please do NOT just copy from your website. Google looks harshly on repeated text and it can affect page ranking. Obviously you can relay the same information, but please use synonyms and different word order.
The 'summary' text
This is just as important as your main description - maybe even more so! Visitors will scan the summary listings to find something that takes their fancy. What you put here can convince a potential client to go to your main listing, your availability calendar or even straight to your website. Make sure you convey all the best points about your property! This field is limited to 330 characters.
Length - If the text is too brief it can look as if you can't be bothered to enthuse about your property and if you can't be bothered, then why should people want to come! One doesn't need to write much, but if you are enthusiastic about your property, then people are more likely to respond in kind.
Of course too much text can be off putting as well. Use the 'preview' facility and check out how your advertisement looks aesthetically - it will help you decide if you have the appropriate amount of text.
Tone - writing in an approachable, chatty way can only help people react positively to an advertisement.
Try and paint a picture of the kind of holiday people can have in your property - engage vistors' imagination, help them imagine themselves in your property. It really can help persuade people to book.
Ensure you describe what is available in the property; number of bedrooms, living space, kitchen facilities, bathrooms and outside space. This is especially important if there is no link through to your website.
Describing the local area can also help attract visitors. It is best to assume that people know very little about the area and what it can offer. A good description means that people don't need to leave your advertisement to browse for information about the locality.
Near a great local pub or restaurant? Then do mention this too!
Choose your icons carefully
The icons tell visitor more about the facilities your property offers. The icons also determine which ‘speciality’ pages your listing will appear on. Visitors to the sites can also search by facility on the Advanced Search pages. Please make sure that your icons accurately reflect what is available. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us.
We have specific criteria for the following icons: Eco Property, wheelchair access and easy access.
Please make sure you fulfil the criteria if you choose to display these icons.
If you choose to advertise your property as eco friendly, please give some indication as to your 'green credentials' in your main description. If you have a 'Green Tourism' award this can be shown on your advertisement.
There are 7 categories that your property can appear in that need to be set by us. If you think that your property qualifies for any of the following please let us know.
National Park - your property needs to be in or within 3 miles of the border of the park.
Unusual - your property needs to have something obviously unusual about it. i.e., an old lighthouse, windmill, glamping etc.,
Romantic Cottage for Two - Your property should have just one bedroom and a maximum limit of 3.
Glamping - you need to offer glamping facilities.
Boat or Waterside Property - holidays afloat or cottages with private moorings, waterside cottages with direct access to the beach, lake or river or self catering accommodation offering boats for private use.
Luxury - your property needs to have been awarded a luxury, 5 star or 4 star gold category by one of our affiliate partners.
Beach - your property needs to be on a beach or within a mile of the coast.
Let us know about any awards you have. We can add the award icons to your listing.
Ensure you have the right number of calendars. One calendar per advertised property is included in the price of the listing but you might wish to add additional calendars for any properties that you frequently let together to accommodate larger groups.
The Last Minute and Big Cottages date search is property size specific. Visitors to the site looking for a cottage of a particular size will retrieve properties in that size range and the next range up.
Eg: A date search for '2-3' will search the calendars for cottages in the '2-3' and '4-5' size ranges
A date search for '8-11' will search the calendars for cottages in the '8-11' and '12-15' size ranges
So for example if you have four courtyard cottages sleeping 2 each, you might wish to purchase an additional calendar for the '8-11' range – ensuring that your listing will also be retrieved for searches for both '6-7' and '8-11'.
Maximise your exposure
Once your advertisement is up and running there are a couple of things you can do to maximise your hits.
Maintain your calendars
There are many ways to search and browse for properties on our sites but the home page date search is one of THE most popular searches on both sites. If you have availability, make sure your property appears!
Properties with any availability within the two weeks of the current date will also appear in the 'Very Last Minute Cottages' section on the Last Minute Cottages home page. The cottages change each time a new visitor arrives at the home page. Click refresh to see!
If we synchronise with the calendar on your own webpage or on one of your other advertisements*, relax - you don't have to do anything. If you have vacancies they will automatically appear in this search.
Otherwise, to appear high in a date search you MUST make sure your vacancies appear in these calendars. You can find them via the calendar link on your administration page once your advertisement has been set live.
If you forget to update, you will be sent an automatic email reminder after 25 days as a prompt. After 28 days your listing will go to the bottom of any date search and will sport the legend “We cannot guarantee that this property has availability on your chosen dates“. This text will disappear and calendars will appear higher up the date search once you have updated.
Remember - visitors to the site are able to see when calendars were last updated. It can be off-putting to see an unmaintained calendar.
We can synchronise our calendars with the following availability calendars:
Anytime Booking, Availability Calendar, Bookalet, Bookster, Freetobook, Google Calendars, Holiday Bookings Online, Holiday Rental Management, Holiday Live Booking, Homeaway, Independent Cottages, Inn Style, Owners Direct, Scrumpy, Supercontrol and Trip Advisor.
Adding discounts or special offers can be a great way of enticing people to click through to your main listing. These appear as a 'Special Offers' link when searchers retrieve a list of suitable venues. The special offer ribbon will also appear on your listing when it appears on the home page rotas.
This field does time out after two weeks, so it is worth making a note in your diary.
Properties with a current special offer also automatically appear on the “Latest Offers” pages on Last Minute Cottages and we highlight properties with special offers in our social media postings.
We actively use social media to help promote individual properties and we encourage our advertisers to keep in contact and let us know if they need extra help with a promotion. We can't promise to always publicise every promotion as we have a lot of properties on our books, but we love to hear from you.
Social media is a great way of keeping websites high in Google rankings. Please like us on Facebook and Google+, we will be delighted to reciprocate.
A good way of appearing in our social media timelines is to mention us in your Twitter and Facebook postings. Mention @bigcottages for Big Cottages and @henpartyvenues for the Hen House and @lmcottages for Last Minute Cottages.
From time to time you may need additional exposure for your listing and the following options are available:
Cottage of the week
Each week (Monday – Sunday) we feature a specific property as our property of the week. This is a static advertisement on the home page for 7 days, linking to a single advertisement. Contact us for more details and prices.
Special offer of the week
We also highlight a particular special offer each week. The Special Offer of the week headlines the ‘Latest Offers’ page and the thumbnail appears as a static image on the home page for a week. Contact us for more details and prices.
For an extra payment of just £40.00 + VAT per annum your property can appear on the home page Featured Properties rotas. Our featured properties appear on our home page, 3 at a time, and change each time a new visitor comes to the site. With between 2,000 and 6,000 visitors each day your property will appear many times a day and this can provide useful extra exposure.
Last Minute Cottages monthly newsletter
Each month we send out an email newsletter to promote last minute vacancies. We give advance notice to our Last Minute/ Big Cottages advertisers who are invited to appear as featured properties in the newsletter. The offer is always on a first come, first served basis, and a feature placement is secured by payment via BACS. Please contact us for details and prices.