A year ago Mark and I started to focus on the promotion of The Green Holiday Cottages as a self catering holiday destination. Mark had worked really hard at the renovation of the site but we had to begin to build up a holiday business. Neither one of us had much of a clue where to begin, bearing in mind that I trained as a nurse and Mark trained an English teacher but has been building for the last 18 years. Our task seemed daunting. (It still does)! That said, after feeling like I was on the longest holiday we started to formulate “A Plan”. This “Plan” changes fairly often as we learn something new or realise that something isn’t working. However, no matter how many times “The Plan” changes the goal stays the same.
Goal – guests booking stays at the cottages.
We have used many methods to encourage people to visit The Green Holiday Cottages. Despite all the hype about FB, Instagram and Twitter “word of mouth” and personal recommendations remains an important referral system. Relying on one method to communicate your brand I have learned is not enough, you have to be doing a lot of promotion, a lot of the time, using a lot of different methods.
As well as making sure you have made the beds, washed the floors, emptied bins and cleaned the bathrooms! Multi-tasking has taken on a whole new meaning for me. As for home – it is more chaotic than ever. (Those of you who know me will hardly believe that’s possible as housework was never my chosen occupation!). Who needs clean clothes anyway?
Early in April I had the chance to attend a Cross Border Tourism Conference in Carlingford and travelled via the Carlingford Ferry. It was a beautiful day and Carlingford Lough, Cooley and the Mourne Mountains all looked pretty impressive. The ferry gives tourists and visitors travelling from Dublin to Belfast a great excuse to have a bit of a detour! There is so much more to see and experience off the main road. Who wants Apple Green when you can have a walk in the Mournes and coffee at Carrick Little Café?
Being “off the beaten track” might work to our advantage. I think that this is one of the USP’s (Unique Selling Points) of our part of the world. I was in Carlingford for about 3 hours but I felt like I had a mini break! The combination of mountain scenery, sea air and time to have a coffee as I waited for the ferry was a lovely treat on a work day!
The month ended with the Easter holidays. We were delighted to be fully booked for the entire holiday. Of course, we were anxious that everyone enjoyed their stay and the experience of being at The Green. The weather was brilliant at the start of the week so there was lots of outdoor cooking, paddling in the river and exploring in the field. As Easter was so late it gave our guests time to enjoy the bluebells as they bloomed all along the Mill Race Path. The weather changed towards the end of the week and our guests started to venture a bit further afield with trips to Newcastle, Carlingford and the Silent Valley. Our visitor books were full of positive and happy comments on the accommodation, stay and activities in the area. Bring on year 2!