Sometimes you still have to ignore the analytics and go with your gut
I’ve mentioned before my exploits as a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra) and it will come as no surprise that after a string of blisters, tweaks and strains I managed to tear a calf muscle last year. The prescription was rest and regular swimming so I’ve been dropping into different hotels as I travel around and discovered that you can now get day passes via apps like PayAsUGym for some posh places that are normally guests and members only.
The thing about swimming that normally puts me off is that you can’t listen to a podcast whilst exercising and so I found myself in a fabulous spa at a brand new hotel putting in the lengths as my mind wandered. The first thing of interest was that I had the pool to myself. It was a Sunday morning, It’s a huge hotel and I’d had to park off site as the three storey car park was full so hundreds of people were staying there, yet during the couple of hours I was in only two people arrived which I’d imagine also made the receptionist’s job a bit dull.
It doesn’t take complex analytical software to work out that the vast majority of guests don’t use the facility and so any sensible business would close it down except that’s not quite how it works. The hotel is part of a luxury brand, guests want to feel special when they book and tell their friends about where they are staying so the pool and gym are crucial parts of the marketing and even though they probably won’t use it, may tip the balance when a customer is looking at two closely priced hotels.
I had the same experience during the years I owned Niche Retreats, a premium cottage agency in Cornwall- you could have a chauffeur to collect you from home or on a tour of the county, private chef, masseur, boat trip or we’d try and arrange anything if you asked. I imagine people sitting at dinner parties showing off pictures of the beautiful house they are going to stay in and wondering how much the Indian head massage is but in the end pretty much nobody booked any of these things. They are anything but useless however as they have served the purpose of conveying prestige and luxury, the guest feels special and they are more likely to spread the word about us.
This principle doesn’t just apply to expensive or luxury items. When a new owner joins us they often say that one of the reasons they contacted us in the first place is that our website has such extensive information for potential guests. You can see where to go, what to eat and read interesting facts about the area. That’s what they would want to see before they booked a holiday so they understand why we are successful. I can let you all in on a dirty secret here- less than 1% of visitors to the site look at anything other than properties to rent and that fraction probably includes lots of owners checking out the information around their place and people who arrived on the site looking for info who have no intention of booking anywhere. For a while in Cornwall we had a string of phone calls to order Chinese takeaways and couldn’t work out what was going on until we realised our local restaurant didn’t have a web presence so we were the top result on a Google search and our number appeared in the snippet in the search results.
So have a think about what you could provide in your holiday home to add to the experience- fancy coffee machine, bikes, house Kindle or iPad? They won’t be used much but just might swing you a few extra bookings which makes them well worth the investment.
Contact Simon on:
t. 01202 707 357
a. 2 Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset BH13 7QD
Simon Tolson owns Rumsey Holiday Homes in Sandbanks and a portfolio of holiday cottage agencies in Cornwall.