How to write a description that will get guests booking

Shot of a young man working on a laptop at homeThe secret of writing a great description is to put your guests in a holiday frame of mind – that way they won’t be able to resist booking with you. By following our tips and taking a look at some examples of successful descriptions, you’ll be writing your own enticing text in no time.

Note: we’re focusing here on how to write your main description (the block of text a traveller sees first when they click your ad), which is an extension of your search results summary.

Your description should:

  • Include your unique selling points (USPs). What sets your place apart from the competition? A sea view, wood burner, Jacuzzi and garden are all worth mentioning.
  • Appeal to your target audience. For example, if you’ve got a two-bedroom cottage that’s perfect for couples, talk about how romantic your place is and why.
  • Focus on the type of holiday you’re offering. For example, if you’ve got a ski chalet in the Alps, make sure your description mentions some of the skiing facilities (without going into too much detail).
  • Say a little about the location. If you’ve got beautiful beaches nearby, mention these. Attractions such as theme parks, museums and restaurants are also worth including.
  • Be checked for spelling and grammar. If travellers can see that you’ve taken care with your advert, they’ll be more confident that you’ll take good care of their holiday too.

Your description shouldn’t:

  • Include a detailed description of the layout of the house and room dimensions.  It’s important to remember that you’re not selling your house, you’re selling a holiday.
  • List general facilities such as a washing machine and a toaster – that’s what your facilities tick boxes are for. You can check them by logging in and going to Properties > Update description.
  • Contain too much general info such as T&Cs, directions on how to get to the property or check-in/check-out information.
  • Be more than a few paragraphs. If you write too much in your main description, your reader is likely to skim through the text and USPs that you might have mentioned further down.

Here are a few examples of descriptions that work well:

Apartment in Prague, Home 222333

“This beautiful 4 bedroom, partially air conditioned apartment, with huge terrace is located on Bethlehem Square in the heart of Old Town. Just a short stroll to the river (2 minutes), Charles Bridge (3 minutes) and Old Town Square with is famous Astronomical Clock (4 minutes). All the magic of Prague Old Town is literally on your doorstep.

The historical apartment building is adjacent to Bethlehem Church and is close to many cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, boutiques, department stores and antique shops.

This 4 bedroom apartment sleeps up to 11 people. It has 3 bedroom each with queen sized beds, a twin bedded bedroom, and 3 additional sofa beds in the lounge. It has a great kitchen, and two bathrooms – one with bath and shower cubicle, and one ensuite to bedroom 4, with shower. The cafe style dining area opens onto a huge terrace where you can relax with a glass of beer or wine after your day of sightseeing.”

Villa in Chianti, Home 70883

“Casa Mazzoli is a very ancient stone farmhouse on two levels brimming with character and restored with total respect for its innate simplicity. All rooms are furnished to excellent standards, in an elegant country style with old terracotta floors and original beamed ceilings. There is a fully equipped kitchen with a beautiful fireplace and a dining table, a dining room, a living room and a library. The hosts live in the nearby self contained barn. There is a 5x10m swimming pool for the exclusive use of the guests, in a private ,enclosed area with a beautiful array of plants.

Casa Mazzoli is situated 3km along an unsurfaced road in a peaceful corner of Chianti. It is near the pretty cosmopolitan villages of Panzano (3km) and Greve (8km), where it is possible to find fashionable wine bars and very special restaurants. The position is perfect as its in the heart of the region only 30 km from Florence and Siena.”

Chateau in Cahors, Home 1197773

“A fabulous twelfth century chateau in the style of a fortified farmhouse, with many beautiful original features such as stone staircases, original beams, huge working fireplaces, and a vaulted stone “cave” which makes an exceptional dining room. Set in 60 acres of private woodland and arranged around a totally private courtyard, with swimming pool. Almost every room in the property has stunning views over rolling countryside.

The property has been renovated to an exceptionally high standard and is furnished with many works of art and antiques. Divided into the main chateau, which has 5 bedrooms and 5 bath/shower rooms, plus the guest house with a further 4 bedrooms and 3 bath/shower rooms. Every room is individually decorated with its own unique charm. The main chateau contains a magnificent fully equipped kitchen with professional quality range cooker, 2 conventional ovens plus combi oven, fridge, freezer and dishwasher. The guest house contains a second smaller kitchen with hob and fridge. There is ample dining space inside the properties and also in the courtyard for those preferring to dine al fresco.

The house is only a mile away from the beautiful medieval town of Penne d’Agenais, which contains many lovely restaurants and artisan stores.”

 

More like this

Be inspired by your guests
Think like a local – what’s in your area?
Do you know your audience?

 

What to see and do in Cyprus – from Jan to Dec

Rowena skiing in Cyprus

Rowena, our guest blogger, tells us why there’s so much more to Cyprus outside of peak summer season.

Cyprus is popular summer holiday destination, especially as it’s only a four hour flight away from the UK, but what happens on this beautiful Mediterranean island outside of peak summer season?

As a holiday home owner in the village of Anarita, I’m lucky enough to be able to visit Cyprus at different times of the year. As such, I wanted to share with you ideas of where to go, what to see and what to do in Cyprus – no matter what the season.

January and February
Head to the mountains and go skiing

Yes, that’s right – you can go skiing in Cyprus. The Troodos Mountains are worth a visit at any time of year: the views are incredible and you can breathe in the fresh mountain air. In winter, the mountains are covered in snow and Troodos is transformed into a delightful skiing resort.

The Ski season normally runs from January to February. There are four ski lifts and a full day’s ski pass will cost you 23 euros. What’s more, it’s less than an hour and a half drive from our holiday home. If you’re lucky, you could be skiing in the mountains on day one and sunbathing by the pool back at the house on day two!

March and April
Discover Cyprus – walking and biking

This is the perfect time to discover Cyprus – be it walking, horse riding or by mountain bike, the weather is warm but not too hot to go and explore the wonders of the island. From coast, forest and mountains, the Island has a wealth of stunning scenery. Equipped with good footwear, plenty of water, sun lotion and a hat to protect you from the sun’s rays, discover the miles of wonderful paths of The Akamas Peninsular, Avakas Gorge and Troodos Mountains.

May and June
Explore Cyprus – enjoy the history and culture

The east of the island is rich in mythology with thousands of years of history and culture that has been influenced through the ages by Greek, Egyptian, Byzantine, Venetian, Roman, Ottoman and British rule. When staying at our holiday home, you can explore some fascinating places including some UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all just a short drive away.

The Tomb of the Kings in Paphos dates back to the 4th century BC and you can walk along the scenic coast discovering the ancient tombs.  Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) is said to be the birthplace of the Goddess Aphrodite and is well worth a visit, particularly at sunset. Or visit the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia (in the village next to Anarita). Here you can see the ancient ruins, some of which date back to the 12th century BC, and visit the museum.

Aphrodites Rock1

Aphrodite’s Rock

 

July, August and September
Fun in the sun

Temperatures soar and the air con in our home becomes essential! There’s nothing better than relaxing on the sun longer under the parasol and cooling down in the pool. No wait, that’s a lie: if you’re feeling more energetic, a trip to the nearby Aphrodites Water Park is a must or a trip to one of the many beaches, all just a short drive away.

There’s plenty to keep the family entertained, from boat trips at Paphos Harbour to snorkelling and diving. Also worth a visit is Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station, a sandy beach which is home to loggerhead and green turtles. To get there a 4×4 is recommended or try a guided tour so you can learn more about these endangered species and their nesting environment.

October and November
Golfers paradise

This is a great time to visit Cyprus for any golfer. We are in a superb location for golf with Aphrodite Hills and Secret Valley just a 15 minute drive to the east, and the Nick Faldo designed Elea Golf course to the west, approximately 10 minutes drive away.

If you need a break from golfing, the courses resorts have plenty of other activities on offer. Aphrodite Hills has a village square with restaurants, shops and bars, sporting activities including tennis and segway hire, a luxury spa to relax and unwind, and a large children’s play area with activities.

December
Escape to the sun for Christmas and New Year celebrations

December can enjoy some sunny days so if you can’t face the hectic Christmas frenzy, why not escape to the sun. Relax and unwind on Christmas day and celebrate in style in Cyprus. You can also visit one of the regions many wineries where you can learn more about the production of wine in Cyprus, see the vineyards and taste the local wines.

A visit to Paphos Harbour is a must and you will find many restaurants, bars and tavernas open where you can celebrate the arrival of the New Year.

Our holiday home is in the beautiful village of Anarita on the resort of Anarita Chorio and is the ideal base to explore and enjoy the delights of Cyprus at any time of year. We have availability throughout the year and hope you have the opportunity to stay with us to discover the incredible Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Our Cyprus holiday home1

Rowena

Gorgeous places to go gooey over dairy products

Nothing beats a decadent scoop of ice cream or lashings of golden butter on your toast. But where do the crème de la crème of dairy goods come from? From potting cream on a Cornish farm to making mozzarella in Campania, we’ve got some top spots for enjoying your favourite dairy products.

Cream in Camelford, UK

5308838

Home 5308838

It’s not just the cat that gets the cream at Cansford Farm. Watch the cream being separated, help pasteurise the milk and pot up some cream. You can even feed the calves and milk the cows. It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Cornwall without indulging in a cream tea – can you resist one on the farm?

The neighbouring Cornwall at War Museum is well worth a visit: sit in a bunker listening to the sound of bombs dropping around you, wander round the Officer’s eerie mess or take a trip across a former airstrip. Alternatively, you could follow the scent to St Kitts Herbery, where you can try their Bergamot Perfume or select a plant from the nursery.

Book your Cornish break

Chocolate in Bruges, Belgium

478427

Home 478427

The Choco-story exhibition follows the humble cocoa bean from its early days in the Americas to its present day popularity in Europe. Drift through the galleries and learn about the health benefits of hot chocolate as well as cocoa-growing methods, before tasting pralines made while you watch.

How about working off the tasting with a stroll along the city’s picturesque canals? On your way you can admire the quaint architecture and take in an exhibition of elaborate local lace. Stop as you cross the canal over St. Bonifaciusbrug bridge to catch dreamy views of the swan-filled Minnewater Lake.

Find a place to stay in Bruges

Cheese in Campania, Italy

271834

Home 271834

Calling all pizza fans! Here you can see how the Caseificio Michelangelo factory has made mozzarella for over half a century, from the first drop of milk to the finished cheese. You can make your own using traditional production moulds and tubs, then step outside and feast al fresco under the orange trees.

Pluck up your courage and venture down the nearby Amalfi Coast’s twists and turns – your rewards are Amalfi Cathedral’s shady cloisters, Positano’s sun-drenched beach and a zesty sip of chilled limoncello. Why not sail to the gorgeous island of Capri too? You can hike to the Roman emperors’ imposing holiday pad at Villa Jovis or marvel at the Blue Grotto’s ethereal light.

Book a pizza-filled stay in Campania

Butter in Cork, Ireland

181141

Home 181141

Find out more about dairy history at the Cork Butter Museum (did you know people used to preserve butter in bogs?). You can see a keg containing butter that’s over a thousand years old and a collection of butter bricks. Afterwards, wander past the retro wall displaying butter wrappers over the years.

You can spy dairy motifs throughout the city’s Shandon district, for example the cow above the former butter market. Absorb the nearby hilltop’s panoramic views over Cork city centre and stroll through Shandon’s quaint squares and alleyways. Pause in its art galleries to see inspiring works and check out the antique centres packed with quirky treasures.

Find your favourite Cork getaway

 

Holiday Lettings homes in the Press – January

Our owners have been gaining plenty of column inches this January. If you’d like your holiday home to be considered for a feature in the press, please get in touch by emailing press@holidaylettings.co.uk.

Here are some of January’s highlights.

Blaencwm, Home 138744 & Stargazer’s Loft, Home 236711

The Hay Festival in Powys (May 21-31) is attracting more lovers of literature every year, so it’s no surprise that demand for a holiday rental in the area rises at festival time.

Two homes advertised on Holiday Lettings were included in The Telegraph’s Hay Festival: accommodation booking guide. The article picks up on how the little touches at Blaencwm (Home 138744), such as fresh hens’ eggs and a pool table, make this holiday let a great option for families and friends. Cosy cottage Stargazer’s Loft (Home 236711) is singled out because of its close proximity to the festival (just two miles away).

138744

Blaencwm (Home 138744)

 

236711

Stargazer’s Loft (Home 236711)

 

Chestnutt CottageHome 1148897

As many travellers are leaving the tent at home and looking for self-catering accommodation, media interest around holiday lets near festivals is increasing. Chestnutt Cottage (Home 1148897) was featured in The Telegraph’s Latitude Festival: accommodation booking guide as it’s just a 20 minute walk from Southwold. Guests can also rent a beach hut situated on Southwold Promenade and this got a special mention.

1148897

Chestnutt Cottage and Beach Hut (Home 1148897)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villa Anne, Home 108952

Congratulations to the owners of Villa Anne (Home 108952) in Crete, Greece, whose child-friendly villa appeared in The Times’ The 50 best villas in the Mediterranean. Their villa has been fully child-proofed, putting parents’ minds at ease.The pool is alarmed to international standards and short wetsuits for all ages are supplied. Read more on The Times’ website.

108952

Villa Anne (Home 108952)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock, Home 5128209

Paula and Greg’s aim when renovating their traditional Victorian villa in Broadstairs, Kent, was to “retain as much of the character as possible but give it a modern touch”. The owners’ unique and quirky holiday let, Woodstock (Home 5128209), was featured in 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine. It includes an interview with the couple about why they bought the property and what their vision for it was. It also includes some fantastic images of their home which show the owners’ careful attention to detail and style.

5128209

Woodstock, Home 5128209

 

5 ways to keep guests coming back

Picnic blanket, basket with food and wine, champagne, grape and sign WELCOMEMany owners tell us that guests who return year after year are incredibly valuable to them. They tend to book early, are more likely to rave to family and friends about how great your place is and, sometimes, become friends for life.

So what can you do to encourage your guests to return? Here are five ways to keep them coming back for more:

#1 A warm welcome

If you can be there to greet your guests in person and show them around, that’s brilliant. Don’t linger too long, however, as they’ll want to get on with their holiday as soon as possible. They probably won’t be in the mood for a detailed presentation about how the cooker works; that’s what your welcome pack is for. A friendly exchange and a short tour is enough to make them feel at home.

If you can’t be there, that’s fine as long as you’ve already given your guests detailed instructions about how to gain access and how to contact you should they have any problems. It’s also a good idea to give your guests a call shortly after checking in to ask if everything is ok.

#2 The VIP treatment

First impressions are important so, if you want your guests to return, each one needs to feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment. A welcome hamper full of goodies and little extras, such as a vase of fresh flowers or some homemade treats, will keep guests coming back to your place rather than trying somewhere else in the area next year.

Get to know your guests: if you know that they’re bringing a dog, get a couple of squeaky toys and some dog treats. If they’re travelling with young children, a few activity books and some crayons will be appreciated.

#3 Keep in touch

It’s a good idea to set up a mailing list so you can email all of your previous guests if you’ve got some news about your holiday home. For example, if you make some improvements to the property, such as the addition of a hot tub or extra bed, you could send an email to let them know and even include a picture. Don’t forget to include a link to your Holiday Lettings advert so they can make a booking online.

You might want to catch previous guests at a point when they’re likely to be planning their next holiday. Log in to your account to check when they made last year’s booking and send them a quote around the same time the following year. Add a personal message to encourage them to book again. Or go the extra mile and send previous guests a Christmas card featuring a picture of your home to act as a reminder.

#4 Extra incentives

Consider offering returning guests exclusive discounts and offers. For example, you could send an email shortly after their stay to say that returning guests get a percentage off their next booking if they book within one month. Or maybe you could let all of your guests know that if they make a repeat booking, they can stay an extra night for free.

#5 Saying goodbye (for now)

A successful check-in is just as important as a successful check-out. It’s great if you can meet your guests on their last day to collect the keys from them and wish them a safe journey home. But if you can’t be there, make sure they know well in advance what the check-out process is.

Send them an email shortly after they leave to welcome them back next year and to ask them to write a review of their stay. If they do leave a review, don’t forget to respond to it, reinforcing that you’ll be pleased to see them again soon. And for a final touch, consider leaving them a few little souvenirs from the local area, such as notebooks and keyrings, to remind them to come back again.

More like this

Useful info to include in your welcome pack

What’s in your welcome hamper?
Collect reviews with our email template
FAQ: How do I send a quote?

Useful info to include in your welcome pack

welcomeYour welcome pack is one of the most useful resources for your guests. Along with other info, it should explain how to use appliances in your home and what to do in case of emergencies.

Use a binder with tabs separating each section so the information is easy to find. Along with your tips, place a welcome letter at the beginning of your book to help your guests feel at home when they first arrive. Don’t forget to leave it somewhere your guests will easily find it, such as a table near the door in the hallway or on the dining table.

Here’s a list of information we recommend including in your welcome pack:

Essential information:

  •         Emergency numbers/contact information
  •         Address of the nearest doctor’s surgery and hospital
  •         Area maps
  •         Wi-Fi network and password
  •         Beach/park passes
  •         Check-out times and departure instructions

User guides for:

  •         Appliances
  •         Entertainment systems
  •         Water, plumbing and heating systems

Inventory of household supplies:

  •         Toilet paper, paper towels, linens, etc.
  •         Food items

Area amenities:

  •         Restaurants – include menus for takeaway and delivery options
  •         Supermarkets, farmer’s markets, nearest shop
  •         Local attractions – hiking trails, best beaches, amusement parks, etc.
  •         Local dog park or dog-friendly beaches

Transport options:

  •         Bus routes
  •         Taxi services
  •         Car and bike rentals
  •         Airports, train stations, etc.

More like this

What’s in your welcome hamper?

More space for photos – change your gallery with the season

We’ve increased the number of photos you can store in your advert to 100. Your gallery will still display 24, but with all that space to add extra pictures it’ll be much easier to keep your gallery up to date.

Instead of having to upload new photos over existing ones, you can now simply move them out of your displayed gallery to your store of saved photos and swap new ones in. This means you can keep your gallery looking fresh and seasonal all year round. Here are some ideas about using your gallery to attract bookings for each season.

Spring

Holiday Lettings - Daffodils

Home 58919

Well-lit photos of your home with extra springtime touches (for example, the table laid ready for dinner complete with a vase of tulips) help to freshen up your gallery. As the trees start to blossom and flowers start to bloom, get out and about with your camera and take some pictures of the local area too – for example,  bluebells in a nearby forest or a field of daffodils.

 Summer

Home 546568

Summer brings some of the most beautiful sunsets so it’s a good idea to get some snaps when the sun’s going down – especially if you’ve got a balcony with a sea view. If there are beaches near your home, head down on a clear day and get plenty of pictures. If you’ve got a garden, capture some of the ways it can be enjoyed. You might want to set the table for an al fresco lunch,  or bring some of your outdoor toys or equipment into shot, such as a trampoline or swing.

 Autumn

autumn

Home 4613676

As the leaves start to turn red and brown and the nights draw in, it’s time to get some autumn photos of your home and area. If you’ve got a wood-burning stove or an open fire, a softly lit picture of the room with the fire blazing away will help potential guests imagine themselves relaxing there on a chilly day. Pictures of local indoor attractions, such as museums, theatres and water parks, make good additions to your gallery for when the weather is less favourable.

 Winter

christmas

Home 1378232

Take several photos of your home dressed for the Christmas holidays, complete with twinkling lights and a tree. If you get snow in your area in winter, pictures of dazzling white landscapes are really effective. Local area photos such as nearby Christmas markets and wintry woodland walks also work well.

To start adding photos to your gallery, go to Properties > Add / update photos.

 

More like this

4 top tips on how to order your photos
Photography tips to get guests booking

Top 20 Family Travel Bloggers – 2015

Let’s face it, going on holiday with children can be a little challenging at times so the prospect of travelling internationally, and on a regular basis, can be even more daunting. If you’re putting off a family trip to avoid hearing “Are we nearly there yet?” and worrying about packing everything apart from the kitchen sink, then worry no more: our top 20 family travel bloggers are at the rescue.

They’ve been there and done that with children in tow and have lived to tell the tale. In fact, they’ve found that travelling with children offers a whole new perspective and, with careful planning, is as easy as ABC.

family

The Family Adventure Project

Stuart, Kirstie and their three children have a passion for adventure. Their mission is to spend quality time together as a family while exploring the world. From ideas on where to go hiking and sailing to practical advice such as choosing the right cycling gear for kids, The Family Adventure Project is a great place to start. @familyonabike

World Travel Family

Having completed a year of non-stop round-the-world travel, the authors of World Travel Family blog offer a fantastic insight into what to expect when travelling full time with children. You’ll find ideas and tips on the practicalities, and advice on how to adapt your travel style to accommodate your kids. Find out how “seeing things through children’s eyes is magical.” @worldtravelfam

Family Rambling

Jody and her family have been rambling since her two daughters were infants, so they’ve learned a lot about travel over the years. They share their family tips, info on how to make flying with children look easy and destination advice. Family Rambling’s focus is on inspiring others to enjoy fun family travel. @JodyHalsted

Mummy Travels

Mummy Travels aims to shed light on the reality of travelling with “a bump, baby and now, a single-minded toddler whirlwind of energy”. Cathy Winston of Mummy Travels has visited 55 countries and her award-winning writing has been published in a string of national papers and magazines, including the Independent and National Geographic. From travel checklists to destination guides, Cathy’s valuable advice and sense of humour make for a great read. @mummytravels

Family Road Tripping

If you don’t mind travelling in the car with children for long periods of time, Family Road Tripping is for you. Molly Thornberg, her husband and four children are experienced road trippers and their blog has heaps of advice, including how to keep children entertained with car games and how best to pack. @FamilyRoadTripn

Family, Food and Travel

Combining Kerrie’s passions for food and travel, this blog offers travel info such as hotel reviews and where to go for days out, and recipes including hearty soups and healthy Mexican dishes. Kerrie’s dream is to take her boys to every continent – she embraces the challenge and shares her tips on travelling with twins. @BusyMomofTwins1

Jetlag and Mayhem

 Nicola’s love of travel didn’t end when she had children. In fact, it’s her mission to introduce her children to the travel bug and “turn them into mini jetsetters!” Nicola has loads of advice on planning your trip and her handy printable packing checklists help you get organised. She also blogs about the latest travel gadgets and has a catalogue of destination guides. @JetlagandMayhem

Mums Do Travel

From family volunteering holidays to Bushcraft courses, Gretta Schifano shares her experiences of family travel with much humour and knowledge. On the blog you’ll find holiday ideas, recommendations for attractions to visit with kids and honest opinions on accommodation. And to top it off, her competitions page is regularly updated. @grettaschifano

Traveling Canucks

Canadian new parents, Cam and Nicole Wears, are the brains behind Traveling Canucks. Their aim is to show that it’s possible to balance family and a career with travelling the globe. They started off with backpacks but swapped them for luggage on wheels after their two sons were born. Their blog is packed with advice and tips on travelling with children and how to save for the next adventure. @travelcanucks

Where’s Sharon?

Sharon’s blog about her adventures with her family is proof that travelling with kids can be even more rewarding than travelling without. Sharon’s aim is to reassure parents who are thinking about taking the plunge and offer a new perspective to seasoned family travellers. The family has travelled the globe, blogging about “the good, the bad and the ugly of family travel.” @WheresSharon

Gone With the Family

Lisa’s mission is to show her kids the world. She’s been travelling with them since her eldest daughter was four months old – she’s now 17 so the family have plenty of experience under their belt! As Lisa says, “I believe that travel is one of the most educational experiences a child can have and I delight in traveling with my children and seeing the world through their eyes.” @GoneWithFamily

The Talking Suitcase

Dana and husband have been travelling with their two energetic children since getting out of debt and saving up. The Talking Suitcase is all about how to travel with two children while sticking to a budget. Dana has practical advice on how to make funds go further without sacrificing comfort, covering everything from keeping kids entertained to getting cheap flights. @suitcasetalks

We 3 Travel

Tamara of We 3 Travel has a clear philosophy when it comes to family travel: “the more you involve kids in planning the trip and prepare them for what you will visit, the more they will get out of the experience.” From city stays in Barcelona to zip-lining in Costa Rica, We 3 Travel  offers advice on planning ahead plus first-hand experiences of what it’s like to travel with children in tow. @tgruber

Travel with Bender

The Bender family left Australia in May 2012 and have been travelling the world ever since. The family have visited dozens of countries and stayed in over 100 hotels and apartments, so they’ve got heaps of first-hand experiences to share when it comes to travelling with children. Their award-winning blog aims to show other families thinking of open-ended travel that, if they can do it, you can do it too! @TravelwitBender

The Q Family Adventures

From camping to cruising to skiing, The Q Family Adventures blog has advice on where to stay, what to see and what to pack. The Q Family has been travelling all over the world ever since the children were babies, and their reviews of hotels and travel gadgets are an invaluable resource. @Theqfamily

Jet with Kids

For the past decade, Anya has been testing out her travel parenting skills on a global scale. With her son, she has travelled to 5 continents, 32+ countries and circled the globe on an around-the-world tour. And as a published author of a guidebook about flying with children, Anya has the answer to  all of your questions about taking to the air. @JetWithAnya

Family Travel Times

If you want to read about travelling with children from the perspective of a child, the Family Travel Times is the blog for you. That’s because the whole family contribute, including the two children, Jess and Robert. Join them on their travels from days out in the UK to adventures around the rest of the world. @sarahjebner

The Vacation Gals

The Vacation Gals are three professional travel writers (and mums) who share their ideas for family trips, but also blog about travel without children. Their award-winning blog covers outdoor adventure holidays, travel gadget reviews, romantic escapes and “girlfriend getaways”. @TheVacationGals

The Mum Blog

London-based British Mum Liz Jarvis has been travel blogging since 2009. Since then she’s won a host of accolades and been featured in many top family travel blog lists. Liz has many interests from travel and gaming to movies and chocolate, so there’s plenty to keep you entertained. @LizJarvisUK

Baby Routes

Combining parenthood, travel and a love of the great outdoors, Baby Routes is a fantastic resource for any parent who loves walking with their children. Kate founded Baby Routes in 2012 and since then she’s been reviewing places to go walking, putting outdoor gear for kids through its paces and sharing her tips for successful walking with children. @babyroutes

badge-for-top-bloggers-family

5 of the Best Desert Island Holidays

Feel like getting away from it all on your own desert island but want to be more jet-setter than shipwrecked castaway? We’ve selected places to stay on some of the world’s most spectacular private islands.

Collanmore Lodge, Collanmore, Ireland

1

Home 1367000

Clew Bay has an island for every day of the year. At its heart is Collanmore Island, an outstandingly beautiful setting with sensational bay views. Why not take them in from Collanmore Lodge? Check out its private bar, hot tub, sauna and landscaped gardens too – they’re perfect for relaxing in after a day exploring the island.

The island is only a minute from the mainland and 12 minutes from Westport town. Start your cycling trip on the famous Great Western Greenway trail there. Climb iconic Croagh Patrick, the nearby pilgrimage mountain. You can also walk to Westport House and Country Estate, one of Ireland’s favourite tourist attractions.

Apurawan Villa, Puerto Princesa, Philippines

2

Home 285430

Gaze at the South China Sea all day from your own white sandy beach when you stay in this gorgeous Apurawan villa. Make coconut oil and sample it in delicious local fish dishes, or plant fruit and tropical hardwood trees in the garden. At night, you can fall asleep soothed by the sounds of the waves and rainforest.

The Subterranean River National Park is worth a special trip when you’re in this area. Here you’ll find the earth’s longest navigable underground river and, reputedly, its most beautiful. It winds through a spectacular cave for 8.2 kilometres before flowing into the sea.

Coconut Villa, Koh Mak, Thailand

3

Home 229585

 This luxury villa offers abundant tropical gardens with stunning views across the water to the islands in the Marine National Park. Fancy a swimming pool? Sunbathing areas? Traditional Thai massages? It’s all included here.

Dotted among the island’s 10,000 palm trees you’ll find a temple, three fishing villages, rubber plantations, two uninhabited beaches, a market and three diving schools. You can kayak to small offshore islands or take a boat trip and go snorkelling.

Citronelle, Eden Island, Seychelles

4

Home 271784

Sit out on your apartment deck in one of the world’s most exclusive residential marinas when you stay at Citronelle. Stroll down the pontoon to book a boat trip or spend a day island-hopping around Praslin, La Digue or Cerf.

You can watch giant tortoises and birds in their natural environment, or dive among reefs, wrecks and canyons teeming with exotic life. Take a trek inland on jungle trails, try a great local restaurant, or simply enjoy the gentle pace of island life.

Sekawa Beach Cottage, Savusavu, Fiji

5

Home 13272

Wake up in the cool of this Fijian forest cottage to the sounds of tropical bird song. Wander along your private beach collecting shells. Or take to the water and admire Savusavu Bay’s characterful Fijian villages, immaculate coral reefs and picturesque fishing boats.

Savusavu town is charmingly quaint, a sweetly perfumed South Pacific port filled with hibiscus flowers, surrounded by gentle verdant hills and tucked into a wide bay. Here you can do it all, from visiting waterfalls to watching rugby, or just relaxing in a hammock.

Looking forward to 2015

Rowena, owner of Home 163206

Rowena, our guest blogger, tells us why she’s looking forward to 2015.

It’s the start of a brand new year and I’d like to make it the best yet for our holiday home.

Last year was a slower year for our rental in Cyprus, which left me wondering why. Was it generally a quieter year for my region or did my personal commitments distract me from promoting our lovely property? The latter, I suspect, as I got married in 2014 and had other obligations that got in the way.

So, now Christmas is over I’m looking for ways to make 2015 a fantastic year for our holiday home bookings.

Increase our online exposure

An article in Travel Weekly back in 2012 revealed that 80% of holiday bookings are made online. And with the popularity of booking from mobiles and tablets soaring, I need to ensure we have a strong online presence for our home.

I’m going to continue advertising on Holiday Lettings (which also means my reviews from past and future guests will appear on TripAdvisor) and increase our impact by running deal adverts at key times of the year. Deals are great: travellers love a bargain and I’d like to fill my empty weeks.

Keep our advert up to date

I’ve updated our advert with fresh content and new pictures from our recent trip to Cyprus. It’s easy to forget that your advert needs refreshing regularly, but it’s really important to make sure everything is accurate and relevant for current travellers.

Things like out of date prices, calendars and photos won’t sell our home to potential guests. Show your guests you’re on top of things, and they’re more likely to book.

Plan home improvements and maintenance

I’m always looking for ways to improve our holiday home. For inspiration I think about which features I like to see when I book a stay somewhere.

I’ve got some exciting ideas planned (more on that in a future blog post) and we’re off to Cyprus again in February to make some improvements and do essential maintenance on our home. This will make it even nicer for our guests and for us to enjoy.

Keep in touch

Many of our bookings are from repeat guests, but there are many more who have emailed us on their return to say how much they loved our house and would like to book again for future holidays.

In 2015, I’m going to improve my communication and contact these past guests to remind them of our lovely holiday home. This could be just the boost they need to plan their next break at our place.

So to everyone out there who is also working on attracting guests and increasing bookings for the year to come, I wish you a very happy new year. And here’s to a successful 2015!