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Welcome to our June Owner Q&A!

This month, Rachel, Sales and Operations Manager for Property Recruitment, is back answering your questions about: how we market your holiday lets, getting a property ready for the summer season, and how to prepare for any damage.


How do we market your property?

Each year, we spend over £20 million on a huge array of marketing activity, to drive hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers to the website weekly. Customer expectations are always changing, and our dedicated team of tech experts keep the Sykes websites fully optimised and user-friendly for the 36 million visitors that visit our website every year.

Here are a few of the ways we encourage those customers to book your property:

TV and Radio

This year, our brand exposure has benefitted massively from a heavy investment in TV and radio activity. Our TV ad was seen over 53 million times and our radio broadcast ran to an audience of 4 million people a week! There’s more exciting activity like this planned in the new year, so keep your eyes and ears tuned!

Social Media

The Sykes Family has around 610,000 followers across its social media across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and drives massive amounts of impactful engagement with our brand every day. By the end of this year, the Social team will have arranged a whole host of celebrity and Instagram influencers to have holidayed with us, tagging Sykes in their snaps and sending thousands of their followers our way!

Partners and Affiliates

Thanks to our network of over 500 partners and affiliates, your property will be featured on some of the world’s biggest travel websites, like TripAdvisor, HomeAway, Airbnb, and Expedia. No extra listings to manage, subscriptions to pay, or descriptions to write – our owners don’t need to lift a finger! Nearly 35% of all bookings made through Booking.com alone are from international holidaymakers visiting the UK from as far away as New Zealand, Thailand, Japan and America, so we really do make sure your properties are seen by customers worldwide.

Performance Media

Our Performance Media team is also continually bidding for top ranking on more than 500,000 key Google and Bing search terms, and also creates tailored digital ads across every device and different digital platforms, to promote your properties to the absolute max.

Search Engine Optimisation

What’s more, our Search Engine Optimisation team produces a constant flow of engaging web content on our blog and for your property pages, keeping us at the very top of organic search engine results for the most popular holiday keywords.

Email Marketing

We use cutting edge technology to send highly targeted and personalised emails to our existing customers across all the Sykes brands. Steered by each customer’s behaviour, we send holidays we know they’ll love, reminders of what they’ve already viewed, along with price reductions, to help maintain our fantastic rate of customer rebooking.

Print Marketing

We also send over 500,000 printed mailings annually, with rebook offers and other great incentives, aimed directly at customers who’re returning from holidays with us.

PR

Our PR team has developed strong relationships with leading regional and national publications, like the Times, the Sun, the Daily Express, and hundreds more. Each week, we use these relationships to get Sykes Holiday Cottages valuable media coverage, so that we’re appearing in all the publications our customers are reading. Their activity includes promotion of our expert industry info, special offers, and standout properties, as well as hosting journalist stays and creating larger scale PR campaigns throughout the year.

Innovation is a key part of what we do here at Sykes, so we’re always investing in the latest marketing techniques and technologies, to stay at the front of customer’s minds.


What can I do to ensure I’m ready for summer?

It seems like only yesterday that we were helping you prepare for Christmas and New Year, but Summer 2019 is upon us – our busiest time of year! We expect to have on average 30,000 holidaymakers a week check in to our properties over June, July & August. Back during May half term alone, nearly 10% of each week’s bookings were made within 5 days of departure. You never know how many last minute bookings you might receive throughout summer.

Here are a few ideas to help you keep your busiest weeks as organised as possible:

  • Linens: Stay ahead of the game this summer and make sure you have enough towels, bed sheets, tea towels, and so on for extra bookings. We have some special offers on linens with BlueJigsaw, for all Sykes owners. So, check out your Owner Newsletter for more details on exclusive savings!
  • Welcome hampers: It’s a good idea to bulk buy the biscuits, cakes, local produce, or little extras you include in your welcome hampers. Could these be made up in advance too, to reduce time on changeovers?
  • Property-related emergencies: do you have a contact list of plumbers, electricians, cleaners, and gardeners on hand? It’s worth having a list of tradesmen and women you can rely on because there are some things we just can’t always plan for! Bearing in mind our recent weather, ensure you or someone is on hand to support with any emergencies around boilers and hot water.
  • Your guest book: is there enough space for your guests to leave feedback in your guestbook? If not, It’s always better to invest in a new one, so it will last to the end of the summer season. Did you know we can add any guest feedback to our website, as long as we have the guests authority, just let us know.
  • Breakages: Occasional breakages are inevitable with any holiday let, so having a small stock of spare plates or glasses ensures you’ll always have enough for the number of people your property sleeps. Supply plastic tableware for outside areas and leave clear, friendly instructions about using them in your welcome folder, to help keep accidents to a minimum. Remember to check the all-important garden furniture for any damages/wear and tear in advance of guests arriving.

How can I prepare for damage to my property?

As mentioned, general wear and tear or the odd, small breakages are inevitable, so it’s key to be ready to handle anything swiftly and with as little disruption to your guests as possible. Bulk buying on essentials like linen, crockery, utensils, and tableware makes things a lot more economical and prevents you from having to rush around suddenly before changeover. To help reduce accidental damage to expensive appliances, like dishwashers, washing machines, hot tubs, and thermostats, it’s important to leave polite instructions for using them in your welcome folder.

Of course, there are also times when substantial damage can happen by accident. In these instances, take photo evidence and report it to your Owner Relations team as soon as possible on 01244 617977 (select option 5). The damage will need to be repaired before your next guests arrive, so now’s the time to call on those local trades folk from your list, or dig out the tin of paint you have stored away for patching up. However you approach it, always remember to make us aware, so we can work with you to resolve the problem fast. We’ll review the damage with you and agree an action plan with your guests. If additional costs for repairs, cleaning, or replacements are required, these can be deducted from the Good Housekeeping Bond many owners operate.

In some cases, customers will have taken out a Damage Insurance Policy for their Sykes break, so we’ll be able to help you claim. In the very rare situation that damage is non-accidental, we work with you to recover any necessary costs and could potentially review guest blacklisting for any further Sykes booking. Each case is unique and our Owner Relations Team are here at all times, to make sure your experience with us always remains a positive one.


That’s all we have time for this month.

We hope you’re looking forward to the summer ahead. It’s going to be a busy, but exciting few months.

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