Few people will need to convince themselves that the way most people book their vacations today is radically different from, for example, ten years ago. Or even five years ago. The arrival of the Internet means that the search for destinations, the evaluation of options and, ultimately, the reservation of your trip, can now be done from the comfort of your own seat. If you wish, travel brochures, guides or even travel agencies can be a thing of the past. This is particularly true for people looking to book a vacation with a kitchen in the United Kingdom, where the key success factor for vacations is to ensure that beautiful, comfortable and well equipped vacation home.
However, ask yourself: are you really taking full advantage of the opportunities that the Internet really offers? For example, are you sure that you are completely eliminating the middleman when you book your rest? Have you really taken full advantage of the (potentially) information available to you? Do you recognize the telltale signs that make the difference between true emotion or serious alarms? The next 5 points should help anyone who wants to book their next vacation in a cabin in the UK.
1. Have you booked directly with the owners?
You may be booking your cottage online, but you are probably still using a reservation agency. An agency that can charge the owner of ‘your cabin’ a commission of up to 25%! In addition to the fact that, ultimately, this commission is charged in one way or another, the key problem for you is that you are probably missing the best cabins.
Why? Simply because there are now so many online portals available to cottage owners that allow them significant exposure to their future customers, for only a nominal annual fee. Therefore, anyone who is angry enough to separate from a quarter of their billing has a product that is quite poor on offer or is simply asleep. Or both. In other words, using a booking agency increasingly means that you are missing out on the best available cabins.
‘But how do I know that I use such a portal and not an agency?’ I hear you think. Easy: if the site you visit allows you to link directly with the owner of the cabin, you will most likely be using a portal. Agencies would never give up that control, as it is the only way they can make sure they get their considerable commission.
2. Did the website show you availability?
This may seem like a trivial point, but trust me, it is not. People who own popular country houses want you to know that they are popular. First, a cabin with minimal availability, quite rightly in most cases, will give you an immediate hint of its quality. Second, people who own and manage a set of popular and high-quality vacation homes do not want to waste their time, or even their time, responding to endless inquiries when they are unavailable. And believe me, a good rural house can reach (almost) an annual occupation of 100%.
Show availability on your website serves very well for these two purposes, and anyone who has high quality cabins with high occupancy would be a fool if they don’t show it.
3. Could you read any independent comments about ‘your’ cabin?
Very few holiday home websites will not have any form of the “this is what our guests said about us” section on their website. And I am sure that in 99% of cases, these are genuine quotes. What I am not so sure about is how representative is the contribution of ‘Mr and Mrs. McBride of Colchester’.
So be sure not to rely solely on this. Take a look at http://www.tripadvisor.com and see if anything has been written about the cabin you are investigating. Or search Google for the name of the cabin and the word ‘review’. The most respectable and truly excellent cabins will appear with meaningful and unbiased comments. If they don’t, you can think twice.
4. How long did it take the owners to answer their questions?
Simply put, any vacation business managed with the degree of professionalism and attention to detail that you would expect will answer your questions promptly. Without waiting for them to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (be careful, many are close enough!), The message you sent at 8 o’clock on a Wednesday night should really have an answer at the time Lunch the next day at the latest. Anything slower than that should make you wonder how quickly they come and deal with that tap you can report. And you must ask yourself if you are really in the service business, or if the country houses you own are only a cozy way to generate income in exchange for the least possible sweat.
5. What did the Terms and Conditions look like?
The key to an excellent vacation is the general “mood” of the vacation business to which you are delivering your well earned cash. The least you should expect in return is a professional, friendly and proactive attitude, aimed at ensuring that you and your family have the best possible time. Testing this in advance is possibly one of the most difficult parts of your research.
Calling the owners of your specific country house is a way to get a good idea of who you are dealing with. Another is to closely observe the ‘language’ used on the cabin website. Does it exude a certain degree of heat, or is it rather cold and in fact? Do you have the feeling that the owners are really anxious to have you on the site or are you simply someone who helps them pay their bills?
Possibly the best way to prove this is to consult the Terms and Conditions. Are they reasonable or fill you with fear? If it’s the latter, don’t be too surprised if your holiday home is decorated with notices of what to do and what not to do. In fact, it is not the best environment to enjoy your two weeks of summer happiness.