Round up for 2020 New Forest self catering accommodation

The outlook is good for self-catering holiday rentals 

The National Park’s biggest accommodation provider New Forest Cottages reports on 2020 - and encourages property owners to look ahead to potential opportunities in 2021

New Forest Cottages in Woman and Home magazineEstablished in 1978 with one self-catering cottage rental, over forty years later with over 140 properties and shop front offices on Lymington High Street, New Forest Cottages is the largest and oldest holiday cottage letting agency in the New Forest. Which makes it undisputably qualified, to report on a mixed year for the business of holiday cottage lettings. 

Self-catering holiday properties fared well in the long hot summer

After a slow start with enforced closure, the long, hot summer and freedom from lockdown meant the New Forest was full of visitors with almost all accommodation options booked out for those few precious months.

With the hope of the new vaccines offset against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring to European holidays, New Forest holiday cottage owners could strike lucky and can feel quietly optimistic for bumper bookings in 2021. 

Where to get those bookings? 

So, why use a letting agency rather than do it yourself? 

Taking the stress and hassle away is a major tick for property owners who market their property with New Forest Cottages.

The team are based in shop front offices on Lymington High Street, making it easy for potential property owners to come in for advice and invaluable industry knowledge, such as how to get the best return on investment, where to buy locally, estimated income etc.

The company enjoys a great relationship with property owners who live both locally and outside the area. And all owners are welcome to telephone or pop in if they have any questions, would like to bounce ideas or just a chat about the New Forest and tourism. 

New Forest Cottages Jayne and DebbieNew Forest Cottages Manager Jayne Barratt says: "We are often asked about who we work with locally. We have a large network of local tradesman, cleaners and caretakers which we recommend, and which other property owners have said are reliable and do a really great job – both of which are critically important when letting a holiday home." 

What does this agency do that most others don't? 

Local knowledge of the New Forest and the surrounding area is what stands New Forest Cottages apart from online competition.

Then it's the personal touch and service, based on that knowledge. Sharing where there are lovely walks, places to eat, drink and shop, beaches to visit and quiet spots close to where guests want to stay makes the difference and converts enquiries into bookings. 

And then - it's the marketing!   

Targeted marketing and promotion 

The company has a huge online presence and an ongoing campaign of targeted marketing and PR to attract enquiries.

Recognising the importance of visibility online is paramount and the company also employs a dedicated IT team to ensure New Forest Cottages remains at the top of the Google search results. 

The New Forest Cottages website devotes a page to each property with a 'LIVE' availability calendar and intuitive, simple online booking system. Viewers can see lots of photos and a full narrative of the holiday home, plus gardens and outside space. 

Most New Forest Cottages properties now also include a brilliant 3D interactive virtual tour of each room and short video - giving a real sense of the property's proportions and ambience. Here's an example, with an introduction to the fabulous Hanger Farmhouse at Netley Marsh. 

The page also details information about the location, including the nearest shop or farm store, and supermarket as well as where to eat and drink, things to do, nearest bike hire and the closest beaches – promoting lots of local businesses.  

cute little cottageThe company is very active with the growing number of social media followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Public Relations work involves inclusion in travel features in print and online and press trips for media to review New Forest Cottages properties. These appear in national newspapers and high profile circulation magazines such as Sainsbury's, Woman and Home, Period Living, Wedding Ideas, Prima, HELLO! and many more.

The company also has an enormous database of past and potential visitors who are regularly sent newsletters. These promote forest life, events, heritage and suggestions on how to fill holidays with adventures and how to responsibly explore the New Forest, being mindful of the National Park's free-roaming animals and habitat. 

Opportunities for property owners in 2021

2021 is going to be a year of uncharted territory for the UK holiday industry.

large country houseSome of 2020's bookings that couldn't be taken because of Covid have rebooked for 2021. And, if staycations continue to rise because travel to Europe becomes a tangle of red tape, there could be a shortage of properties in the New Forest. 

Jayne Barratt says, "We'll be urging our customers to book early if they want to holiday at a certain time. School and bank holidays, large holiday homes, cottages with swimming pools and dog-friendly cottages (which are increasingly in demand) book quickly in 'normal years'. So, visitors should book as soon as they can to ensure they get the location and property – otherwise, they may be disappointed". 

New Forest Cottages portfolio appeals to a wide range of tastes and budget. Guests can choose from traditional thatched cottages, barn conversions, seaside retreats, rural escapes, romantic boltholes and sprawling country houses sleeping 12 or bijoux apartments for 2. 

These self-catering properties aren't just for holidaymakers. They are also the perfect solution for New Forest locals to suggest to friends and family as a place to stay if they are short on space when they come to visit. On arrival at their chosen abode guests are also given a key fob entitling them to great discounts at local restaurants, retail, health and beauty and days out.

Contact the team to find out more

New Forest Cottages logoIf you’re interested in letting your property with New Forest Cottages, contact Property Manager Debbie Todd for more information on 01590 679655.

You can see the New Forest Cottages portfolio of over 140 self-catering holiday homes at www.newforestcottages.co.uk 

View the New Forest Cottages portfolio at www.newforestcottages.co.uk




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