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East Anglian holiday cottage owners learn tricks of the trade at industry conference

PUBLISHED: 08:25 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:25 19 July 2018

Local cottage owners attending the cottages.com owner celebration event at Holkham Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher

Local cottage owners attending the cottages.com owner celebration event at Holkham Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher

Matthew Usher

Holiday cottage owners from around the region were taught how to better market their properties and how to increase bookings during an industry conference.

The cottages.com owners celebration at Holkham Hall. (L-R) Simon Law vice president at cottages.com, Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East Anglia, Claire Wright, CLA regional surveyor, Tim Breitmeyer, CLA president, Alexandra Persson, EMEA account manager at Booking.com, and Steve Nettlemill of cottages.com. Picture: Matthew UsherThe cottages.com owners celebration at Holkham Hall. (L-R) Simon Law vice president at cottages.com, Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East Anglia, Claire Wright, CLA regional surveyor, Tim Breitmeyer, CLA president, Alexandra Persson, EMEA account manager at Booking.com, and Steve Nettlemill of cottages.com. Picture: Matthew Usher

Cottages.com hosted the event at Holkham Hall, which was attended by around 150 owners from Norfolk, Suffolk and 
further afield.

Guests heard from leading figures in the local and national holiday lettings industry about trends in accommodation bookings and how to maximise the appeal of their properties.

Simon Law, vice president of property at cottages.com, said the market was changing with holidaymakers both in the UK and across Europe opting for more frequent, shorter breaks – a trend which required greater flexibility from owners.

“If you are on the ball now you can rent almost twice the amount of time that you could in the 80s or 90s,” he said.

“There are a lot of things affecting the market and how people are booking their holidays. The concerns people have are changing their buying habits but there has been a greater increase in rentals generally.”

Mr Law added that “booking compression” – a shortening of the gap between people booking and taking their holiday – had changed “immeasurably” in the past few years.

Guests also heard from Booking.com’s Alexandra Persson, account manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa,

She said a shift in the type of holidays people are taking – for example the growing trend for “bleisure” holidays, blending business and pleasure – could lead to new demands on the industry.

“We need to adapt,” she said. “Artificial intelligence is coming, a lot of guests want a very automated process. It does not matter about having the personal feel in the very beginning – it needs to be speedy and convenient.”

She added that the sheer amount of choice in the market could lead to “option shock” among consumers. “The one 
thing they rely on is the brand,” she said.

Cottages.com has around 800 holiday properties in Norfolk and Suffolk and a regional office in Lowestoft.

Area manager for East Anglia Victoria Schofield said: “Tourism continues to be a real driver of the regional economy and we’re proud to have a committed network of owners who play such a key role in welcoming new and returning visitors to East Anglia.”

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