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Behind the Scenes

Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns: We are Authentic!

Gazing into a (non-authentic) Crystal Ball at Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns…

What are the trends and what lies ahead?

There is always a big push on holidays and travel in January, as soon as the Christmas and New Year excitements haves died down, when all the travel writers and others get out their pens and tell us what ‘everyone’ is doing, where to go and what to think.

And this year is no exception. I can’t say I pore over these articles myself, but one can’t help reading bits out of the Sunday papers, and I must admit to following Luxury Travel Blog on Facebook (for people who like the finer things in life!!), and 101 Holidays.

And we talk to lots of our guests and who better to trust than the actual punters (as John and I are ourselves, too…).

One or two bits have caught my eye. Reassuringly for us, apparently, so they say, or so we’re told, in 2014 even more people will choose self-catering holidays/holidays in rental accommodation in preference to staying in a hotel and on Christmas Day, no less, someone called Alan Hazel wrote a very interesting piece in the Luxury Travel Blog (‘for those that like the finer things in life!!) about travel trends in 2014. Apparently throughout 2013 the demand for private rentals has been rising and the rise will continue. Why?

And a reason given is one our guests have been telling us for years, that they value the privacy, seclusion and independence that staying in your ‘own place’ can give you.

One reason given is one that our guests have been telling us for years, that they value the privacy, seclusion and independence that staying in your ‘own place’ can give you. It is your holiday, to spend it as you wish, as yourselves and not as merely one of a passing, anonymous crowd. Some of you may have used Airbnb, where one can stay with ordinary people in foreign and other cities, getting a unique taste of their life as a resident rather than a tourist – enjoying a unique, ‘authentic’ local experience. This apparently has helped lead the trend.

Unique is another overworked word (there are so many!) but it does explain what most of us want these days. We don’t want to be swallowed up in an anonymous crowd, doing what everyone else is doing. We need to feel special, to be ourselves, to enjoy the type of holiday that really suits us, not a convenient format that ‘everybody’ is expected to want. So this explains another reason for the move towards small, individual holiday cottages and villas where one is greeted by name, and valued and enjoyed for oneself.

And leading on from ‘unique’ I go straight the other very overworked word, ‘authentic’. Apparently holidaymakers are looking for an ‘authentic’ experience’…
Obviously it is vital to be authentic, but it is one of those words whose meaning you think you know until you try to explain it. I tried looking it up on Google and quickly found myself being told all about ‘the raw, naked, unhindered expression of beingness of the soul’.

Being rather more down to earth I felt more at ease with Ask Jeeves, which tells us ‘The word authentic originated from the Latin word authenticus which means original or at first hand’. I think that brings us closer to understanding: not hearsay, rumours or falsehoods, but something genuine and trustworthy.

And apparently, that is what luxury travellers want. They want to get to know a place at first hand from those that live there. That way you don’t feel like a tourist, being shepherded about as a ‘foreigner’ but someone who knows themselves where to go, what to do, where to eat; it saves time ad also avoids possibly extensive and unhappy choices of venue or activity. Far more important even than that, one feels part of the new destination, within it and not outside looking on.

So we and all our Premier Cottage colleagues are already providing the authentic experience – maybe we’re even helping to lead the trend. We all know the Peak District like the back of our hand, we all can advise on places to eat, good walks to go on, places to avoid even… We’re all there, on the spot, to help our guests make the best use of their precious time away.

And so yes, Tom’s Barn and Douglas’s Barn and all our Premier Cottages colleagues can honestly claim to be authentic, and to provide a genuinely ‘unique and authentic experience’!!

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