Category Archives: Letting advice

School holidays in England 2015 (by county)

Booking a family holiday? If you’re based in England, our up to date list of English school holiday dates for 2015, county by county, is below. Click on the county to skip to the dates for your area and then start your search.

The dates below are a useful guide, but it’s important to double-check with your child’s school before booking a holiday.

Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Cumbria
Derbyshire
Devon
Dorset
East Sussex
Essex
Gloucestershire
Hampshire
Hertfordshire
Kent
Lancashire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
Norfolk
North Yorkshire
Northamptonshire
Nottinghamshire
Oxfordshire
Somerset
Staffordshire
Suffolk
Surrey
Warwickshire
West Sussex
Worcestershire

Buckinghamshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Mon 13 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Cambridgeshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Mon 13 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Cumbria

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

Derbyshire

Spring half term Sat 7 February 2015 – Sun 15 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Devon

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Dorset

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July

East Sussex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Essex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Gloucestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Hampshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 4 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Fri 24 July 2015

Hertfordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Kent

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Thurs 2 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 25 July 2015

Lancashire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Fri 24 July 2015

Leicestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 11 July 2015

Lincolnshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 24 July 2015

Norfolk

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

North Yorkshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Northamptonshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Nottinghamshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Fri 3 April 2015 – Sun 19 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Oxfordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Somerset

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

Staffordshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Fri 3 April 2015 – Wed 15 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

Suffolk

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Surrey

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Wed 22 July 2015

Warwickshire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Sat 18 July 2015

West Sussex

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Thurs 23 July 2015

Worcestershire

Spring half term Sat 14 February 2015 – Sun 22 February 2015
Easter Sat 28 March 2015 – Sun 12 April 2015
Summer half term Sat 23 May 2015 – Sun 31 May 2015
Summer holidays Begin on Tues 21 July 2015

 

More like this…

School holidays in Wales 2014 & 2015

School holidays in Scotland 2014 & 2015

School holidays in France 2014 & 2015

Calendar sync is now live: less admin, more bookings

calendar-imageWe’ve added a new calendar syncing feature to make it easier for you to keep your calendar updated and ready for bookings.

Calendar sync automatically imports updates to your Holiday Lettings calendar from other calendars. This will also automatically update your TripAdvisor calendar.

You can sync your Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor calendars with HomeAway, Google, Airbnb, Yahoo and any other calendar that uses iCal technology.

(Please note: your Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor calendars won’t push out updates – only import them.)

More about how calendar sync works

How to sync your calendars

Log in, go to Properties > Update calendar and select Sync with other calendars

More about how to sync your calendars

What’s in it for you? How calendar syncing gets you more bookings

Sync your calendars and you will…

1. Receive better quality enquiries
When travellers can see your true availability, they can send more relevant and specific enquiries your way. You’ll save their time and yours – no more “sorry, we’re booked for those dates”.

2. Accept more booking requests
Sick of having to turn down good money because you’re already booked? Fully updated and synced calendars mean no more misunderstandings getting in the way of you and paying guests.

3. Give travellers the confidence to book with you
When your calendars are synced, the ‘Calendar last updated’ date on your ad will refresh every day. Potential guests will see this and know you’re on top of your game.

More about the benefits of keeping your calendar in shape

How TripAdvisor reviews work

How TripAdvisor reviews workThere’s no better way of tempting a traveller to book than showing them reviews from happy guests who’ve stayed at your place. You may already know how to collect reviews, but here’s a bit more about how the reviews process works from start to finish.

  1. Your guest can write a review via your Holiday Lettings or TripAdvisor advert. When they click on the button to write a review, they’ll be taken to a form on TripAdvisor.
  1. Your guest will start by adding a few details such as the name on the booking and their date of stay. This is so you can verify the reviewer actually stayed at your home (more on this later). The rest of the form guides them through completing their review.
  1. When the guest hits ‘submit’ at the bottom of the form, they’ll be asked to sign in to TripAdvisor. If they don’t have a TripAdvisor account, they can create one for free or sign in via Facebook or Google.
  1. Your guest will know if they’ve submitted their review correctly because they’ll receive an email from TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor checks the review to make sure it meets the posting guidelines. This can take a little while, particularly during busy seasons.
  1. When the review is ready, you’ll get an email letting you know. You’ll then have five days to verify that the guest stayed. Log in to your Holiday Lettings account and go to Properties > Manage your reviews. You won’t be able to read the review at this point (more on this in ‘Need to know info’ below). If you don’t verify the review within five days, it will be posted to your advert automatically.
  1. The review will be displayed on your Holiday Lettings advert and your TripAdvisor advert. The review will appear on your Holiday Lettings advert as soon as you’ve verified it (or when the five days is up). It might take a little longer for your TripAdvisor advert to update and display the review.
  1. You can post a response to the review by logging into your account and going to Properties > Manage your reviews. Find out more about responding to reviews.

Top tip! If you haven’t written a review on TripAdvisor before, it’s a good idea to have a go. You can review accommodation, restaurants and attractions: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/

Need to know info

Why do guests have to sign in to write a review? The vast majority of websites that allow people to comment now require some kind of sign in. This is to stop any misuse of the system, take away absolute anonymity and make sure that owners can’t post fake reviews about their own home.

Why can’t reviews be read before being posted? To make sure that the reviews posted are a true reflection of other guests’ experiences, you’re not able to read the review before it goes live.

If you’ve received criticism and respond well to the review, that’s just as appealing to potential guests than having lots of glowing 5/5 reviews. It shows you’re willing to take on board feedback and make improvements. You’ll be able to see the guest’s name and their holiday dates before the review goes live. More about verifying reviews.

Where’s the review? If your guest has told you that they’ve written a review, you’ve been waiting for a while and you’ve not received it, make sure that:

  • Your guest wrote the review on the correct advert.
  • They received a notification email from TripAdvisor thanking them for their review (if they didn’t receive this, they may not have completed the review properly or signed into TripAdvisor).
  • The guest is aware of the posting guidelines. They can check the status of their own review by visiting their TripAdvisor account.

If, after checking the above, you still haven’t received the review it could be that it didn’t meet the guidelines. In that case, your guest can try and resubmit their review.

Check out our help section for more information on how reviews work.

More like this…

Collecting reviews

Responding to reviews

How romantic is your place?

Romantic escapesAh, l’amour! Your home doesn’t have to be in “Pair-ee” for your guests to get that warm, fuzzy feeling on holiday. With honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays and even ‘babymoons’ giving couples a reason to book a stay away, it’s well worth knowing how to get them to choose your home for their romantic escape.

  • Did you know that you can display up to three different price tables on your advert for different group sizes? Even if you normally accept larger groups of four or six, consider adding a price table for two so couples can book. Log in and go to Properties > Update prices to add new tables.
  • Couples are often happy to travel out of season and last minute, and can be very flexible when it comes to length of stay and changeover days. Having couples stay at your place is an easy way to fill shoulder season weeks/weekends.
  • A hamper with some flowers, chocolates and a bottle of bubbly (especially if it’s a special occasion such as an anniversary) will really impress and might result in a repeat booking and a glowing review.
  • Have a box of ‘things to do for couples’ leaflets ready. That way, you can tailor them to suit couples rather than including leaflets about adventure playgrounds and other more child-oriented activities. Include info about local theatres, restaurants, museums and romantic walks.
  • Set the scene in your photo gallery: decorate the dining table for two complete with candles, flowers and a bottle of wine. Beautiful sunsets, secluded beaches and lamp-lit restaurants help to stir up feelings of romance.

More like this…

What’s in your welcome hamper?

A picture tells a thousand words – why photos matter.

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Print_Logo_COE2014_en_US2014 is the first year that holiday rental properties have been included in the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awards. And it’s all in recognition of your hard work.

The results are in for the cream of the crop, so congratulations to all of you who won – you’ve provided consistently excellent holiday experiences for guests over the past year. Take a look at our champions.

Winners will see a ‘Certificate of Excellence 2014’ stamp on their TripAdvisor and Holiday Lettings listings. You can see an example on Greenbank’s advert, one of our fantastic Yorkshire winners. Here’s proud owner Linda.

Linda. Owner of Greenbank Home 503822

Make sure you’re in the running for 2015

It’s all about the reviews – how many you’ve gained and the ratings you’ve received. Simply collect them from guests every time they check out.

It’s easy to do and it shows you’re committed to providing great holidays.

More about collecting reviews

Getting your certificate

We emailed the winners with all the details and they should have received their certificates by now – read our FAQ if you’re still waiting.

If your certificate got damaged in the post and you’ve contacted us about resending it, you should hopefully receive it next week.

Why updating your calendar is the key to securing bookings

Keep your up to date to avoid disappointing travellersEvery week, we’re contacted by travellers who’ve found their perfect place to book but are worried about the accuracy of the availability calendar. And who can blame them? Booking a holiday is one of the biggest commitments of time and expense people make each year so it’s no surprise that your potential guests want to feel confident that everything is present and correct before booking.

If they can see that the calendar hasn’t been looked at for several weeks, it also raises a question about when the advert was last maintained and no one wants to book a place that has out of date info.

With this in mind, we’ve made a few changes to how your availability is displayed and we’ve got some invaluable tips so travellers feel reassured when booking with you.

What we did:

  • We’ve moved your ‘Calendar last updated’ date to the top of the availability calendar section so it’s more obvious to travellers.
  • The ‘Calendar last updated’ date now also appears next to your name and response rate so browsing travellers can see at a glance when the availability was last looked at. They don’t even need to click on the availability tab to be able to see this.

What you can do:

  • Update your calendar often, ideally every week. Log in and go to Properties > Update calendar. If you’ve got no updates to make, it’s still worth making a small change to the calendar (and then changing it back) so your ‘Calendar last updated’ date is refreshed.
  • If you’re using our online payment platform: don’t rely on our automatic updates, especially out of peak booking season when you might not have confirmed a booking for a while.
  • If you’ve got an annual listing and aren’t using our online booking system, you’ll be solely responsible for updating your calendar so it’s even more important to be logging in often to update.
  • If you need to close your place for refurbishment or maintenance, mark this off your calendar so you don’t have any disappointed holidaymakers on your hands.
  • You’ll soon be able to sync your Holiday Lettings calendar with other calendars you have on the web, making updating multiple calendars at once quick and easy. Go to Properties > Update calendar > Sync with other calendars.

Follow these tips and travellers won’t need to worry when making a booking.

More like this:

How to fill those last minute gaps in your calendar

Fill up your rental calendar with short breaks

Do you know your audience?

From intrepid walkers to loved-up couples, there are many different types of traveller out there, all with their own specific needs. We’ve identified the most common groups to get you thinking about your audience, how you can accommodate them and how to encourage them to book with you, whatever your property type and season.

How romantic is your place?Romantic escapes for couples

Did you know that you can display up to three different price tables on your advert for different group sizes? Even if you normally accept larger groups of four or six, adding a price table for two can increase your bookings. Log in and go to Properties > Update prices to add new tables.

Many couples are flexible and are often happy to travel out of season so encouraging couples to book is a great way to fill off-peak weeks.

More on marketing your home to couples.

familiesFamily fun

Most families will want to get out and about as soon as their holiday starts. Go to Properties > Update location info and write about places of interest nearby on your ad. It’s a good way to remind travellers why your place is great for families and will encourage them to book.

Are you only accepting couples when you’ve got space for more? Investing in a sofa bed and a few z-beds could really widen your audience if you have the space to accept larger families as well as smaller groups.

dogPet friendly

Before agreeing to accept pets into your place, ask yourself: is there adequate outdoor space? Are you prepared for the odd ‘accident’ on your furnishings? Are there places nearby where dog owners will be welcomed?

According to a poll by travelsupermarket.com, two in five Britons now take their pets on holiday so the potential market is definitely out there. Log in and go to Properties > Update description > Suitability to change your pet preferences.

child-friendly-holidaysBaby and toddler safe

Demand for safe holiday homes for babies and toddlers is growing; there are even websites dedicated to helping travellers find suitable places for their little ones. Describe your baby-friendly credentials, such as a cot and highchair, by logging in and going to Properties > Update description.

Child-friendly holidays: are you stocked up?

Hen and stag parties

party

From our experience of talking to owners about accepting stag and hen parties they tell us that, despite their initial concerns, these groups have been some of their most considerate guests and have been a pleasure to host. As more and more hens and stags are taking a break with friends before their big day, accepting hen and stag parties can expand your audience and increase your bookings.

wildlife Walkers and wildlife enthusiasts

It doesn’t matter where your home is, wildlife is all around us. Parks and nature reserves are usually only a short walk/drive away even in busy cities. Photos of the local wildlife and green spaces look great on your advert and help to conjure up the feeling of getting away from it all. You can add photos by logging in and going to Properties > Add/update photos.

quietThe quiet life

Many of us look forward to our holidays simply for some peace and quiet. If your place is in a secluded spot away from traffic noise and pollution, describe its serenity in your advert. Recommend local ‘hidden gems’ including museums and restaurants. These travellers will be looking for places to visit away from the tourist trap. Go to Properties > Update location info to talk about what there is to do nearby.