Archive for the ‘Cottage Owners’ Category

How can Sykes Cottages Help Cater Your Property to Families?

Friday, May 30th, 2014
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For many of us, our busy lives mean that we don’t spend as much quality time with our family as we would like to. School, work and social events seem to be trying to keep us apart from our loved ones and any time we get to spend together is often rushed. This is why family holidays are so important; they are a time to switch off, forget the day-to-day and just spend quality time with the family. If you have a holiday cottage with enough space, it can be a great idea to make sure that it caters for families and at Sykes Cottages we’re happy to help our cottage owners do just that! 

We’re here to help

Rushmore Lodge in Kent. Reference: 16229

If you’re unsure of anything or want suggestions of how to make your property a little more family friendly, then don’t hesitate to ask your area manager or give us a call and speak to a member of our owner care department. We know what appeals to families and we’re more than happy to share that knowledge with you! Why not make life a little easier for new parents by having a cot, high chair and maybe even a baby monitor available? And if you want your property to attract families with toddlers then installing stair gates, rounding any sharp corners with cushions and not having anything dangerous within reach of curious hands will be really appreciated by parents. Parents of older children and young teenagers will really appreciate things that will keep them entertained such as trampolines or slides in the back garden or DVDs and books to provide entertainment no matter what the weather decides to do!

We categorise your property

Category

Baby friendly, toddler friendly, child friendly and just all round family friendly; we have them as pages on our website. These are the first places that potential guests will look and your property will be included on all the pages that are relevant, making sure that your property is seen by those most likely to book it! Can you provide a cot? Then you’ll be on the baby friendly page; if you have stairs and provide a stair gate, then you’ll fit in just fine on the toddler friendly page; and if you have added little extras such as books, DVDs or other fun things to do then the child friendly page is where your property belongs.

Extended Family

Wonderful dining table perfect for a large family at The Hall in Middleton
Property reference: 903958

We understand that family does not just involve those living under the same roof, and often families who live in different parts of the UK like to holiday together. If you have the space and your property is in a convenient location that would appeal to multiple-household-holidaymakers, we will be more than happy to advise you of anything you may be unsure of when catering for these guests. Things such as how bedrooms would best be configured, how many guests can comfortably stay in the property and if there is enough parking for multiple cars are all things to think about to ensure that larger families have a brilliant time on holiday!

Don’t Forget Those Furry Family Members

Image via Flickr

To those of us who share our lives and homes with a four-legged friend, they really are members of the family who deserve a holiday just as much as us humans do. Whilst it is not possible for every property to be pet friendly, if you have the facilities where a dog will be safe it can be a fantastic idea to open up your cottage to furry family members. This will not only increase your bookings but will also ensure that your guests have a fantastic time, as they will not be worrying so much about their pooches being left behind in a kennel. We are more than happy to suggest ways for our owners to make their property appealing for pet owners, or you can take a look at our tips to making your holiday cottage pet friendly for a few important things to keep in mind!

We’d love you to join us

These are just some of the ways that Sykes Cottages can help you cater to the family holiday market and get those all-important bookings. If you have a property that you feel is family friendly and you want to join an award winning self catering booking agency, then take a look at our owners page or give us a call for more information.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

How to Make a Holiday Cottage Pet Friendly

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
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Are you trying to think of a way to get your bookings up? Why not consider making your holiday cottage pet friendly? After all we do live in a pet mad country! Back in 2012 TravelSupermarket.com ran a survey and found that 39% of pet owners like to take their animals away with them, and when you consider that around one quarter of households in the UK own a dog you can see how big the market we’re talking about is.  This is why here at Sykes we’ve produced a little list of things that you should consider when trying to pet proof your cottage, so take a look.

In the House

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Firstly, make sure that any potentially toxic items are kept well out of reach. Things such as cleaning products are the main concern here so it might be best to keep them in a high cupboard well away from any overly curious canines or if they can’t be kept high enough it might be worthwhile putting some sort of lock on the door. Then there is also the issue of cables, to stop these from getting chewed you should tuck them away behind the appliances or even invest in some cable protectors that should deter even the most persistent of pets. Finally there is the issue of hair. This tends to be one of the biggest reservations about making a cottage available to people bringing their pets, however when dealt with properly it isn’t that much of a problem. Having said that it is definitely worth investing in a powerful vacuum to make sure you get it all up between stays, and if you make the vacuum available to them many pet owners will have a quick run around with the hoover.

Outside

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

The main concern with a garden at a holiday cottage is whether or not it is escape proof. Believe me, as the owner of a dog with Houdini-esque capabilities it is definitely worth your while to make sure that the garden is properly secure. The fencing should be high enough to prevent any larger animals from clearing it and you might even consider sinking it below ground level to deter any digs for freedom. You should also be careful about products that you use in the garden, things like weed killers and slug pellets often pose a risk to dogs and so should be avoided. One other thing to consider is the dog mess, guests will be especially grateful if you leave behind some waste bags and a little shovel for them to use to clear up after their pooches.

Little Touches

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Then there are the little things that you can do which might make all the difference to the holiday goers. Some people invest in things like a food and water bowl for the cottage just in case the guests forget theirs. You could also leave some old towels in the property for drying off the pooch after those long walks, as it will help preserve the carpet and will cut down on the cleaning on changeover day. Or if you want to go the whole hog then you could even consider leaving a little canine welcome pack with some biscuits and maybe a couple of tennis balls which would definitely go down a treat.

Hopefully we’ve thought of a few things that might have slipped your mind but if you have any suggestions then we would love to hear them. Or if you want you can always take a look at our other pet friendly cottages to see if you can get a bit of inspiration there.

 

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Sykes Special- Interview with a Cottage Owner Part 2

Friday, April 25th, 2014
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Today on the Sykes Cottages blog, we’re bringing you an interview with another of our fabulous cottages owners. After the success of our last post, in which we spoke to Stephen Bacon about his holiday cottages in Norfolk, we decided to continue our investigation into the background behind the cottages that we work with and get some insider tips on owning and letting out a holiday cottage from the experts. Today, Megan Graham, who owns a stunning romantic getaway in North Wales, has kindly agreed to talk to us.

Cottage owner and her dog

Megan and her dog, Ben

Thank you for setting aside some time for us! Tell us a bit about yourself, Megan.

I am 55 years old and 8 years ago, I purchased a converted woollen mill in North Wales. Since then, I have spent quite a lot of time (and money) renovating and extending my own cottage as well as converting my holiday let, Watermill Cottage. I have a Rough Collie dog called Ben and thoroughly enjoy taking him on long walks in the hills surrounding the cottage (when I am not working of course!) I am hoping that the holiday let will top up my pension when I retire.

How did you come to own the cottage?

It is located in the grounds of my own cottage, which is a converted woollen mill. Watermill Cottage originally housed part of the mill workings. It had become rather dilapidated over time and I converted it into living accommodation approximately 5 years ago.

Can you tell us a bit more about the area that the cottage is in?

It’s on the banks of the River Wheeler, just outside the village of Afonwen in North Wales. I really enjoy the wildlife, the peace and tranquillity of the area, and the range of walks just outside the front door; the Offa’s Dyke path is within easy walking distance. The cottage also comes with fishing rights and offers guests the opportunity to see badgers which is fascinating as many people have never seen them in their natural environment.

Cottage in North Wales

Megan’s property, Watermill Cottage

What features do you think make your cottage more marketable?

The underfloor heating is a fantastic addition and I always leave a welcome pack for my guests including a complimentary pint of milk and bottle of wine, together with tea, coffee, sugar and guest soap. The cottage also accepts 2 well-behaved dogs which makes it much more marketable to pet owners. There are extensive dog walking opportunities adjacent to the property, where dogs can exercise off their leads in safety. The surrounding area and fishing rights are also great selling points.

What is your favourite part of the property?

The views down to the river and the under floor heating! I am also hoping that the newly refurbished kitchen will be a great asset.

Do you get to spend a lot of time there?

I have never slept in it but I am always in and out of it as it is next door to my own home.

Have you ever had any visits from special guests that have ended in a rewarding experience?

A couple came for their honeymoon and said it was absolutely perfect for them. They really enjoyed the peace and quiet after a hectic wedding day. Another guest was writing a book and had been struggling to make progress, however she said sitting in the window of the cottage and at the picnic table overlooking the river had provided her with inspiration and she was able to write a few chapters during her stay.

Cottage bedroom

The bedroom at Watermill Cottage

Why did you decide to start renting out the cottage?

To supplement my income.

Do you have any advice for people thinking about renting out a holiday cottage?

Always ensure that the cottage is welcoming, spotlessly clean, warm and nicely furnished. I like to include a few extra personal touches such as a welcome pack, slow cooker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, portable fan heater, OS Maps, walking books and places of interest in local area. Basically, I do my best to try to ensure that the accommodation is as close to hotel standards as possible.

How did you find out about Sykes?

Through my daughter as she is friendly with one of the managers.

How do you find working with Sykes?

They provide excellent service! Everyone is very helpful and accommodating and the joining process was very quick and simple. I also like that working with Sykes means that I don’t get pestered by time wasters!

We’d like to say a big thank you to Megan for taking the time to answer our questions. If you’d like more information about Watermill Cottage or if you want to book a holiday in this delightful property, please visit our website.

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Benefits of Letting Your Property with Sykes Cottages

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
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Whether you’re new to the world of holiday lettings, or you have been renting out properties on your own for years, making the choice of whether or not to join an agency is a big decision. It may come as no surprise that at Sykes Cottages we think that joining a dedicated holiday lettings agency is the best way to go whether you’re a veteran at holiday lettings or you’re just starting out! We work with owners from all lettings related backgrounds; from those who have a number of properties and have been working full time letting out holiday cottages for years, to those whom have just recently got a second property through investing or inheriting. Read on to find out the benefits of joining our other fantastic owners at Sykes Cottages.

Twenty Five Years’ Experience

Some early Sykes Cottages brochures, including hand drawn images of properties.

Whether it is your first time renting out a property, or you have been doing it for years, there can often be a lot to research and a lot to sort out. It’s always great to know that you have help and advice on the other end of the phone should you need it. This is where Sykes Cottages can come in to help; with over twenty five years’ experience working alongside holiday home owners, there is nothing that Sykes Cottages doesn’t know about the world of holiday lets. So you can be safe in the knowledge that there is an experienced and well trained team behind you, making sure that you get as many bookings as you can!

We won’t let you miss a booking

The team here at Sykes Cottages celebrating having made 100,000 bookings for our owners in 2013

If you’re working full time alongside managing your holiday let, or you’re just a busy person, there may be times when you can’t answer the phone or reply to an email enquiry quick enough. A customer may be enquiring to a number of different cottages at once, and if they don’t get a reply you may lose their custom for good. We realise this and at Sykes Cottages we have a friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated reservations team who work from 9am until 9.30pm seven days a week answering enquiries and taking bookings from customers. This gives you piece of mind that even if you’re not available to take a booking, we are!

Personalised, Easy to Find, Property Page

Property shown here is The Dairy. Reference 3700.

Perhaps you’re not the most skilled wordsmith, or your hands are a little shaky with a camera and you’re concerned about how you can describe and photograph your property to present its full potential on a webpage or in a brochure. Well no need to fret as at Sykes Cottages we have a talented editorial team who will create fantastic copy to describe your property and our regional managers will be happy to take photos of your property to show it off in its best light!

We do the marketing for you

Our 2014 selection of holiday brochures

In order to attract potential customers you need to be seen, and with all the varieties of marketing channels available, ensuring you reach potential customers can be timely and costly when doing it alone. At Sykes Cottages, we have a dedicated and talented marketing teams for both online and direct marketing, covering everything from sending out printed brochures to keeping up with social media. We’re not afraid to invest money in our marketing channels and have one of the biggest in-house marketing teams in the industry. We’re always working to ensure that potential customers find us and therefore, find you!

Your cottage stays your cottage

Image via Flickr

At Sykes Cottages we never forget that your cottage is just that; yours. We work together with our owners and whilst giving help and advice we will never tell you what to do and we will always respect your wishes. Whilst we will work hard to ensure we get you bookings, you can still make your own so that family and friends or even your own existing guests can book through you.

Apply for an Owners Information Pack

These are just some of the benefits to joining Sykes Cottages as one of our owners, if you’d like to hear more then why not apply for one of our free owners’ information packs or give us a call on 01244 356695 and someone from our friendly owner care team will help you get the ball rolling with letting your cottage with Sykes!

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

How to make the most of your cottage grounds

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
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With summer just around the corner, the days of relaxing in the garden at weekends are almost within reach. There’s nothing better than dusting off the deck chairs, rooting out your sunglasses and spending some time in your garden and it’s no different when you’re on holiday! Holiday cottages with gardens and patios are really popular with our customers, especially during the summer months, so we’ve put together a few suggestions for cottage owners on how to make the most of their cottage grounds this summer.

Holiday Cottages with Large Grounds

For holiday cottages with lots of outside space, the possibilities are endless. All too often, large grounds can be neglected and lacking in imagination, though they offer the potential to make your cottage really stand out. So here are just a few tips on ways that you can take advantage of your large grounds:

Tennis Courts

Holiday cottage with tennis court in Yorkshire Dales

Groom’s Rooms, Yorkshire Dales, Ref 22462

A tennis court can make a fantastic addition to your holiday cottage if you have plenty of space to spare. Cottages with tennis courts are always in demand in summer, especially after the hype of Wimbledon. Throw in some complimentary rackets and tennis balls and your guests will benefit from having the perfect afternoon activity right on their doorstep.

Swimming Pools

Holiday cottage with swimming pool in Isle of Wight

The Springs, Isle of Wight, Ref 2906

Swimming pools are always included in people’s dream holiday check-lists, making them the perfect feature to help make the most of large grounds and maximise your cottage’s appeal. Children and adults alike will love splashing about in the pool in good weather; you could even provide a few pool games and inflatables to add to their enjoyment!

Holiday Cottages with Smaller Grounds

For holiday cottages that have less space to play with, there are still plenty of ways that you can make your outside areas more appealing. Small, perfectly formed gardens and patios can still be a big selling point for any holiday home and here are just a few of our suggestions to help you make the most of your grounds:

Patio Furniture

Holiday cottage with garden in Northumberland

The Old Farmhouse, Northumberland, Ref 3520

A drab patio or terrace can be instantly spruced up by the addition of some well-chosen patio furniture. Whether it’s a garden bench for reading in the sunshine or a table and chairs for some alfresco dining, it’s always nice to be able to take advantage of good weather when we get it. No one wants to be stuck inside when it’s sunny!

Fire-pits

Holiday cottage in Lake District

22 Thirlmere, Lake District, Ref 22525

Having an outdoor fire-pit is a great way to impress potential holidaymakers. Guests will be able to gather around the fire-pit on summer evenings and chat late into the night whilst enjoying a couple of glasses of wine over the crackling flames. This fashionable addition to your patio will ensure guests have the relaxing holiday that they deserve and will definitely persuade them to return again and again.

Hot Tubs

Holiday cottage with hot tub in Isle of Wight

The Summerhouse, Isle of Wight, Ref 20969

Our cottages with hot tubs are extremely popular and they’re always the first to get booked up, year on year. We get so many enquiries from customers wanting properties with hot tubs so any cottage with one installed is guaranteed to be in high demand. As hot tubs require relatively little outdoor space, they’re ideal for cottages with smaller grounds and will help your guests to have a luxurious holiday experience that they will never forget.

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.