In spite of the long silence and apparent inactivity a great deal has actually been happening behind the scenes and there is a lot to tell you all about. I am sorry to be away for so long…
The first item to report is that our new website is one stage nearer being born (still early days). Like all these things, it takes time to decide what one wants (and then find someone who is able and free to take on the project). Styles and expectations change, so we have been conducting some spontaneous research of Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn guests and friends who search for holiday cottage accommodation on Google. It has been intriguing.
“What is the first thing you look for?” we asked. There has ben an enormous variety of responses, although good photos did crop up several times. ‘A quick loading website” said one, who says if a site doesn’t load instantly he will turn away. ‘Photos” said another. ” I always want to see good – realistic looking – photos that one doesn’t feel have been photoshopped to death.” “The first thing I always want to see” said another, “is what the cottage actually looks like. It’s got to appeal to me or I’ll not bother to look at anything more”.
“I need to see the prices and availability before I look any further” said another, not wanting to get excited about a property that was out of their league. Several said their priority had to be free WiFi, as like so many these days they needed to be able to keep in touch with work; others cannot bear the thought of missing out on emails or their Facebook friends.
“A property that is easy to get to” was another requirement from someone anxious not to spend too much of their precious holiday time on the road; “Safe parking” surprised us, but this (female) guest was adamant that she would not go anywhere where parking, or the secruity of her car, could be an issue.
The final chunk of requirements probably point more to the need for the honesty and quality of photos than anything else. “Cleanliness” came up several times, “a good bed” too, and “excellent cooking gear”. One can only get a sense from photos, which leads us neatly to the opinions of guests who have already stayed at the property in question.
Not surprisingly, lots of people said they wanted access to the property’s TripAdvisor reviews, without which they would not go further. As we know, we owners can bleat on and on about how wonderful we and our properties are, but if the punters don’t agree, one is not going to attract many guests.No one suggested the latest Jaguar was an essential requirement although perhaps some wouldn’t say no. Certainly for a brief moment last week our daughter, Ruth, felt quite at home in one she was invited to sit in at a wine tasting we went to in London last week! I couldn’t resist throwing in this photo!