Friday 25 December 2015

Does the Holiday Cottage need WiFi Internet?

You may think people staying in a holiday cottage will want to get away from regular life and not spend time on the Internet. However we've found it is an essential Utility service for guests staying at our cottage. Our cottage sleeps two persons. Those guests will typically consume 1.5 Gb of Internet bandwidth per 24 hours during their stay. Some people have used a lot more. The speed of our link is around 16 Mbps.

We have found we had to go for an unlimited usage allowance as our guests will use 50 Gb of bandwidth during a month. Our TV in the cottage uses Freesat to deliver routine services so it does not place demands on the Internet link. We have the option to increase the speed using Fibre optic Internet and we already have a standby Internet solution if for any reason our main link fails. We use a business quality service to provide a quicker fix time for when faults occur.

The problem for some holiday cottage owners is their building is in a remote location with poor Internet connections. This will put them at a disadvantage compared to better served locations and as guests become more technically savvy, matters will get worse.

Edit: 7th Jan 2016
Correction: We've a young couple staying in the cottage at the moment and they are burning through 10GB per day. The usage allowance should be 300 GB per month! Owing to personal circumstances, they are using the cottage as temporary accommodation rather than a holiday home.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Great Holiday Cottage Agents

In April 2015 we broke away from our original Holiday Cottage agency (Cottages4you). They are part of the Hoseasons Group so we were expecting great things. Sadly though they were great on imposing Health and Safety rules, they were very poor at attracting bookings.  We had just a handful of bookings over the previous year through them and lost money as a consequence. After trying all their advice they were still unable to attract bookings.

A friend suggested we tried Sykes Holiday Cottages. Though their fees are about the same the difference in bookings has been astonishing. Our cottage has been fully booked pretty much most of the time since we changed over agencies. We've altered nothing in the cottage. The road outside is busy as you expect on the main road through a market town, but inside we have tried to make it better than a 4* hotel suite.

We'd recommend Sykes to others looking for an agency. They communicate well, pay promptly and produce good results.

Edit: 30/8/2020

We no longer recommend Sykes. They have changed for the worse.

Edit: 1st July 2021

Sykes have finally exhausted our patience. We have given them the contractual termination notice of 6 months. We've seen their latest one-sided owner contract document which casts them in the role of all powerful, imposing corporate standards while avoiding responsibilities; not acting in a partnership.  They've imposed rental discounts without real consultation, added service requirements on the owners without compensatory reduction in agent fees. To top it all, they offer little support in the event of unfair reviews on their website.