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With Y Stabl and Y Capel open to the public its now finding a routine to get it all running smoothly and successfully... something that I imagine will take me a fair while to figure out!
I've decided not to sign up with any agencies as I would like to keep a handle on my bookings without a second party having control of my calendars. With that said I fully understand that sourcing my own bookings will be much more challenging as I will be in direct competition with the large agencies to begin with, though in my mind what we offer is an entirely different service.
Not only do we have remarkably unique accommodation, we are also marketing ourselves, and we are definitely a unique selling point!
I have designed and launched my own website (www.nantawen.com) using wix.com, the first step in my own marketing. So far the enquiry form and contact form has been reasonably effective. I have also started listing with websites that drive traffic to our website; www.romanticretreats.co.uk is an independent listing site that specialises in romantic holidays- ideal.
The next big figure to get on board with is Trip Advisor, as a newly opened business reviews will be a solid advantage in securing more bookings. Unfortunately to list with TA in order to get reviews you have to be willing to allow them to take your bookings for you and then they receive a small % as a commission.
As stated above I'm not interested in handing the reins of my bookings over to someone else, I am an independent business and I'd prefer to keep myself as independent as I can for as long as I can. The more I read about business such as mine it seems (though many are happy being managed by an agency) there are many who are working towards becoming independent of agencies and big listing sites, so if I can stick it out from the get go then I'm hoping I'll be in a stronger position as time goes on.
TA do accommodate for this, you can list with them without them taking your bookings, but you have to pay an annual fee of some £450, as a fledgling business this is a steep price to pay for reviews, but one that I would say is a necessity.
I figure I can stick with it for a year and see how we go, if it gets us bookings then its a price worth paying!
Other than that I am fairly free of any other companies that may place any restrictions on us. As I become a little more established (and frankly, get some money in the bank!) I can look to signing up to some further listing sites or marketing companies to really push us out there, but to begin with I think I need to be quite selective in where I can afford to invest our money in marketing,
Luckily I have Mam as an excellent resource at hand. She has been successfully running and developing Dwr Y Felin Log Cabins for the last six years, and currently when she receives an enquiry if she's fully booked she then forwards them to our website in case they would be interested in booking a stay with us. She is also a perfect sounding board for any ideas that I have, grumbles I make and a tireless support in keeping me going as I get started "being my own boss"