Google+ Rent a Cottage Scotland: August 2012

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fine Chisel Theatre at the Fringe August

Cottage Scotland video of Fine Chisel Theatre at the Fringe August

Thursday, 9 August 2012

How to set up and run a successful Self Catering Holiday Cottage Part 2

How to set up and run a successful Self Catering Holiday Cottage Part 2

Attracting guests, setting up a new  web site

Having bought a holiday cottage in Lower Largo Fife we realised that with busy working lives, our time was very limited to stay at the cottage. The solution? Rent it out and make some money.
What would we call the cottage? The family were duly consulted. The name Castaway Cottage was decided. This was derived from the location in Lower Largo Fife being associated with the author Daniel Defoe, creator of Robinson Crusoe. There is even a famous Crusoe statue in the village. Castaway Cottage where every day feels like a Friday..hmmm a bit cheesy… perhaps?
As we lived an hour away in Perth we arranged for a housekeeper to clean the cottage and do the laundry for the changeover, usually on a Saturday.
How do you market and advertise a cottage staring from scratch?
This was the early days of the internet, 10 years ago. No social media, blogs , twitter or Facebook.  We simply did a search for holiday cottage Fife and took note of the top listings on the net. I employed a website designer on the same basis and inserted the cottage in some the directories at the top of the search pile. I also entered the website in as many free listings as possible. We were off and running!

The next step was to try Visit Scotland.
The cottage was assessed and given a star rating, a disappointing 3 star. Entry into the Visit Scotland brochure and website were arranged for an extra fee. It all felt like they were doing us a big favour but always at a cost. Disappointing from an organisation that receives massive public funding. The 3 star rating would do little to attract visitors. It was clear most guests were looking for 4 star or higher. Less than 4 star attracted little attention or enquiries.
As it turned out most enquiries were coming from our own website by email.

Our main attraction and strength was the location of the cottage right on the beach in Lower Largo. The village also had a decent restaurant, local shop and pub within staggering distance. St Andrews, the main visitor attraction in Fife was only 15 minutes away by car. Within our first year we had over 30 bookings.
But our website began to slip out of sight on the search. How do you keep your web site on page one of google? My next post will answer that question.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Scone Palace Perth Interior video august 2012

Scone Palace Perth Interior video august 2012
Near to our self catering apartments Scone Palace makes a great day out with a lot to see in the interiors and fantastic gardens.
Check the Scone palace website for details

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

How to set up and run a successful Self Catering Holiday Cottage Part 1

How to set up and run a successful Self Catering Holiday Cottage Part 1

 The Purchase

I have been asked on many occasions how to set up and run a successful Self Catering Cottage. I thought it was time to write a blog post on that subject.
We run 8 successful Self Catering properties in the Fife, Perth and Angus areas of Scotland and have done so for over 10 years. They are a mixture of cottages and apartments. How did we start?.
It was by accident that we stumbled into the business. Close friends were needing some funds to finish the building project of their new house in Fife near St Andrews. Funds were running rather low and they were adding a swimming pool. So the holiday cottage had to go!.
My wife was shopping in Tesco of all places in our home town of Perth. She met our friend who said the cottage in Largo near St Andrews was about to go on the market. We will buy it, don’t advertise it! The deal was done.
What did you get at Tesco today I innocently asked…. A self catering cottage was the answer. Oh yes, what aisle was that in I replied?

So that was the start. It had all the furniture, hand painted stuff, beds, dining table and chairs, sofas, all a bit tired but it was perfect for our needs. We could walk right into it and use it right away and bought at a bargain price thanks to our friends. We had a 200 year old 2 bedroom cottage on Main Street Lower largo in Fife which was right on the beach.

But questions needed answered. We had bought a cottage I had not even seen.
What would we call the new cottage? Would we use it much? Where is Lower Largo? Are we mad?

In my next post I will discuss how we decided on a name, set up a website and started marketing our self catering holiday cottage by renting it out.

Read part 2 of How to set up and run a successful Self Catering Holiday Cottage