Tag Archives: Cyprus

How I’m trying to reach the top of the search results

Rowena, Cyprus holiday homeownerRowena shares her strategies for getting her holiday home in Cyprus to the top of the Holiday Lettings search results.

The high season is fast approaching and although we’ve had some bookings confirmed, we still have a lot of weeks available and need to get the empty dates filled!

It’s important to me that our property stays at the top of the listings on Holiday Lettings. I’ve mentioned before that tourists can be put-off looking for self-catering holidays abroad because of the cost of flights, and these are especially high for European flights to sunshine destinations like Cyprus. Plus, our property in Paphos faces a lot of tough competition from other holiday lets, so I need to ensure that our house stays at the top of the search results.

How properties are ‘ranked’

I’m not quite sure how the rankings are worked out on Holiday Lettings, but my personal thoughts are that it must be similar to Google. Like Google, or most search engines for that matter, they don’t give away how they ‘rank’ you. But what we do know is that it helps to keep your content fresh, relevant and up to date.

One of the major factors that can only assist with where you appear on Holiday Lettings is responding to enquiries within 24 hours. Quick responses will help you stay at the top. I also try to make sure our availability and prices are regularly updated and that content is appropriate to the season that we are trying to get bookings for.

Researching the competition

There are currently 23 properties listed in Anarita, the village where our property is located. It has been at number four in the search results for a while now and I’m determined to get it to the ‘top of the props’!

If you search for Paphos (the region where our property is located), there are 47 pages of properties and I’m pleased to see that regularly updating and refreshing our advert has resulted in us appearing on page two. However, I want to get on page one to try and generate more enquiries: it’s down to me as the homeowner to do this.

My tactics so far

Here’s what I’ve already done to achieve a good place in the search results:

  • Asked our guests to leave reviews – we have 10 in total and our overall rating from past guests is 5/5
  • Allowed new guests to book online with Payment Protection
  • I respond to enquiries quickly, and always within 24 hours
  • Included photos of our property and the surrounding area together with photo descriptions
  • I regularly review and amend content to keep it up to date and appropriate to each season
  • I use social media – our property has been shared 136 times on Facebook (and that’s not only by me… promise!)

New things that I’m trying out

So what have I done recently to try and achieve an even higher ranking?

  • Added two more photos so that I’m now at the full capacity of 24 photos
  • Added prices for 2015
  • Updated the intro on our advert
  • Added a link to our property’s website

So fingers crossed this will help our home climb even higher in the property charts! Watch this space and here’s hoping we’ll start receiving more enquiries and bookings soon. I’ll keep you updated!

All the best,

Rowena

Why we visit our holiday home out of season

Rowena discusses her Swiss Franc mortgage

Holiday homeowner, Rowena, tells us how the out of season visit to her property was for more than just a holiday.

We’ve just returned from a week’s visit to our holiday home in Cyprus, and what a wonderful time of year to visit. Unfortunately, the week we picked happened to be the coldest weather of the season, with snow falling on the mountains.

Typically, it’s back to glorious sunny days again now that we’re home! However, we were still able to get a couple of days of sunshine, catch up with neighbours and visit the tourist places that we’ve never seemed to have time to do on previous trips.

The benefits of a winter visit

I think it’s important to visit your own home at different times of the year so you are able to prepare your house for all seasons and also be able to give your guests information on what they can expect during that season, what the weather is typically like and what they can see and do.

As a result of our visit we bought an electric heater for the evenings to keep the home nice and warm. It’s surprising how quickly the temperature can drop once the sun comes down. You can blast hot air through the air conditioning units but this is an expensive way to heat the house. We also made sure there were plenty of fleecy blankets to keep people warm at night.

Cyprus at Christmas

A gallery for all seasons

We took some photos so we can show people what our home is like in the winter season. We also made a few home improvements, something we try and do every visit. We brought out with us a new hairdryer and extra games for the playstation, checked the fly screens, which were fitted earlier in the year and changed both the shower curtains. We bought a new lamp and cushions for the lounge and gave the kitchen a deep clean ready for the new season.

Mixing work with pleasure

The most fun we had was seeing Cyprus in December with all the Christmas lights, including the village of Anarita where we are located. We also managed to enjoy some quality time with our neighbours, including a Christmas party, and Stewart and Ann who manage our property so well throughout the year.

All in all a very successful trip – my only wish was that we could have stayed longer!

All the best!

Rowena

We’re all going on a winter holiday…

Rowena - image with houseblog

Holiday homeowner, Rowena, shares what she’s doing to encourage winter bookings.

Trying to let our holiday home during the winter months last season was a bit of an enigma. We remained empty for pretty much most of the winter, with our first booking in early April.

This year I want to ensure we get at least a few winter bookings, so what can I do to make this happen?

Here are my thoughts so far.

Update our advert

Cyprus is a wonderful place to holiday in the winter (we have booked a week in December ourselves), so surely all I need to do is tell our potential guests why they should have a winter holiday here? Therefore, first things first, I have updated my advert on Holiday Lettings. I’ve added information on the weather, activities available and why they should visit Cyprus for some winter sun.

Offer a discount or incentive

Selling your best facilities and offers through the search results

Selling your best facilities and offers through the search results

I now need to entice potential guests and try and offer an incentive, after all I don’t want my property to be empty, so I’m happy to offer a good discount. I don’t want to be too competitive. I once lost a 4 week booking because an owner on a nearby resort offered it at a rate that would mean we would practically lose money if we matched it when we factored in cleaning, change over and utility fees. I want to be fair, but still offer a good deal for our guests. Our weekly rate is already reasonable but as I want to fill empty weeks I’m happy to offer a good discount for longer stays, as such my incentive is a discounted rate if people stay for 2 weeks or more during the winter months, with further discounts available for longer stays.

Increase our exposure

It’s all very well telling them why they should go and offering a discount but I now want to let as many people know about our offer and why they should have a winter holiday here. We have a 100% response rate and lots of reviews from past guests, so we are listed quite high for the area. Spotlights have also worked really well for us in the past, so I decided to run another spotlight to increase our exposure to holidaymakers.

Fingers crossed this year we will get some visitors to our holiday home. We know they will love it – we just need to get them there!

What do you do to get winter bookings? Any tips or advice very much appreciated!

Rowena

A sizzling hot summer season… in more ways than one

Rowena

Find out why Rowena’s summer season has been her best yet for bookings. 

The summer season is in full swing and I’m pleased to say it’s been our best yet! We’ve been pretty much fully booked for the whole of summer 2013 at Anarita Chorio with just a two-week gap left to fill in September. Fingers crossed they’ll get booked soon too.

We’ve already had some great feedback from our guests, including some useful, constructive comments. Some guests who stayed with us in May advised that while they absolutely loved the house, they felt it would benefit from having fly screens fitted. This is something we’d considered before but we were concerned about the costs involved. As mentioned in a previous blog, pretty much all our home improvement budget for this year was used to fix a leaking roof issue. So we didn’t think we’d be able to afford fly screens until next year at the earliest.

Well, that’s what we thought anyway! Then we received a last-minute enquiry for some dates in July. We replied promptly, sending a quote using the Holiday Lettings online booking tool, and to our delight we got a notification that the booking had been paid in full. Suddenly we had some extra funds to reinvest into our property, so we got on the case and the much-needed fly screens are now fitted and ready for our next guests!

So overall we’re celebrating a great summer season. How have your summer bookings been going this year? Any tips on how I can fill those September dates?

All the best!

Rowena

Managing our holiday home from a distance

Rowena - image with house

Rowena tells us about her on-site management team that help her to manage her holiday home in Cyprus from the UK.

The thought of something going wrong with your property is a big concern for many overseas property homeowners, especially when you live far away. I don’t know what we’d do without Stewart and Ann, our on-site management team. They live at the resort where we have our holiday home and provide an invaluable service. They give us peace of mind that our property is well looked after and take care of emergencies when needed.

During the winter, Cyprus can experience heavy rainfall and a common problem is damp in houses. Unfortunately our house is no exception! Last year Stewart reported a problem with damp indoors. The damage was promptly sealed, filled, sanded and painted in the hope it wouldn’t happen again. But on one of Stewart’s recent weekly rounds he noticed more damp and we realised we needed to take action to stop the problem reoccurring and causing lasting damage.

The ever-helpful Stewart sourced a reliable builder and we were quoted 250 euros to fix the problem once and for all. Not cheap, but worth the investment in our minds, so we went ahead with the work. Now the problem is resolved and hopefully fixed for the long term.

Without having someone on-site to spot the problem, help find a cost-effective solution and oversee the repair works, we would have had to travel over to take charge, costing us even more money. That’s why it’s a good idea for holiday home owners who live far away from their properties to find someone reliable nearby – a neighbour, a friend or a management company – who can deal with issues as they arise. Because they always do in some shape or form!

Do you work with someone on-site? Have they ever had to assist with issues at your property?

All the best!

Rowena

Welcome to my diary of a homeowner!

Rowena

Holiday homeowner, Rowena, will be regularly sharing her experiences with us on managing and running a holiday let. Read on to find out more about her and why she decided to invest in a holiday home. 

As both a journalist and a holiday home owner I was absolutely delighted when the team at Holiday Lettings approached me to write a regular blog about my experiences of letting my holiday property in Cyprus. I’ll be writing about topics and issues that affect holiday home owners and I’ll also keep you up to date with our successes – and our trials and tribulations too! It’s good for us holiday homeowners to share tips and advice so please let me know what you think, if there is anything you would like me to write about in particular or if you wish to share any views and experiences.

A bit about me: back in 2007 when the economy was still thriving my other half and I took the plunge and bought an off-plan property in Cyprus. To say we had a few hiccups along the way is probably a bit of an understatement, but five years on we find ourselves the proud owners of our very own place in the sun. Although when I say our very own, that’s of course not strictly true – we share it with our guests too!

We bought the property with the idea of looking for a long-term investment, but if truth be known we really bought it because we fell in love with the area and the concept. And we haven’t been disappointed, it’s everything we had hoped it to be and although there are many times when I wonder why we did it, I just have to look at our photos and it instantly takes me back there – to our little slice of paradise.

We finally took ownership of our holiday home in August 2010 – a newly developed townhouse on a small resort called Anarita Chorio, set next to the beautiful Cypriot countryside and close to the Med. Our initial thoughts were to look for a long-term tenant but unfortunately we didn’t have much interest and the returns from long-term lets were unlikely to cover our costs, let alone our mortgage.

rowena

So we had a rethink and as such we went back to Cyprus in March 2011 and set up our home for holiday lets. Our sole intention was to create an environment that would be friendly and welcoming to all our guests, we wanted them to feel that our home was their home and the perfect base for them to relax and enjoy their holiday. This is my ad – I hope you like it!

We’ve tried various ways of getting bookings – some more successful than others! We’ve found that holidaylettings.co.uk has delivered many enquiries and is our main source for rentals. 2012 was the first full year since we’ve marketed the property and we’ve managed to get quite a few bookings with guests telling us that they’re planning to return, which is always rewarding. With that in mind we’re very much looking forward to the new year ahead!

All the best,

Rowena

Proud to own a holiday home in Cyprus

cyprus-flag
Rowena owns a holiday home in Cyprus. She shares her thoughts on the bailout and how she expects it to impact her holiday let business. 

In the last few weeks Cyprus has been dominating the press with news of the bailout and the threat of Cypriot banks collapsing. As the owner of a holiday home in Cyprus it’s a worrying time.

Luckily we don’t have any savings in Cyprus, just a mortgage, and as we’ve always planned to keep our holiday home as a long-term investment we’re not too concerned at this stage. My sympathies are of course with the people of Cyprus and anyone affected by the crisis, but on a personal level my main concern is: will it put people off travelling to Cyprus?

There seems to be some misunderstanding as to how tourists are affected. I think ‘The One Show’ on BBC1 covered it very well the other day when they reported from Paphos and interviewed tourists who said it hadn’t been a problem for them. The banks are open, people can get money out of ATMs and there are currently no shortages of petrol, food or any other necessities. Most importantly, the sun is still shining and the locals are as warm, welcoming and friendly as ever.

It seems that whenever a crisis befalls Cyprus, the people of the island don’t fall apart – they come together and unite in their love and passion for their country.  And while there may be hard times ahead, I’m sure that Cyprus will recover and thrive and prosper again. There are already talks of building on the tourism industry to make it even stronger and help support the economy.  So I’m proud to say I still love Cyprus – its charm, history, culture, beauty and most of all its courageous people.

I will keep you updated on how we’re doing as holiday home owners on the island. Do you own a holiday home in Cyprus, or are you considering travelling there for a holiday? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

All the best!

Rowena

My simple steps for boosting enquiries

Rowena - Ad refresh

It’s a good time as any to review and refresh your ad. Rowena shares what she does to help give her enquiries a boost. 

There are a few simple steps I always abide by that can really help boost enquiries.

General advert update

I make sure everything on my advert is up to date and seasonalised with new year prices and an updated availability calendar. I remove my ‘pitch’ for long term winter lets and update my descriptions with the promise of some summer sunshine!

Photo update

Sunny holiday shots are key to attracting bookings in the bleak winter months, so make sure your advert has lots of them! We make sure all the photos do our home justice and are a good representation of the type of holiday our guests can expect.

Optimise your exposure

It’s also a good time to consider using some extra advertising opportunities available through Holiday Lettings like Spotlights and Late Deals. Since our Spotlight went live last month we’ve started seeing more enquiries.

Always act fast

If you’ve received an enquiry from a potential guest chances are they’ve enquired with at least one of your competitors too, so sending a quick response with clear information is absolutely key. You can sign up for free SMS text alerts every time you receive an enquiry. Now there’s also the new Holiday Lettings mobile app, which is free and a great way to manage enquiries and bookings when you’re out and about.

Now over to you: what do you do to get the enquiries flowing at this time of year? Do you have any tips or advice to share with other homeowners?

Good luck!

Rowena