‘The Future of Self-Catering Pricing’, Robert Kennedy, SuperControl

Robert gave a thought provoking talk which highlighted the changing trends on booking patterns and pricing data which has led to a need to change the traditional “seasonal” pricing model. Robert asks questions like “How often do you create discounts?” and “How often do you put prices up?” Robert suggested that the pricing model of the future is moving towards “pricing based on demand and supply” where “platforms increasingly compare different types of accommodation.”

We also need to look beyond pricing to things money can’t by offering simple incentives to make your guests feel special. Here are two links to give you some ideas to help you give your guests enjoy a more memorable stay with you. http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/uk/735512-Holiday-cottage-What-would-make-you-feel-welcome and http://www.blakelowcottages.co.uk/holiday-cottages/hamper/

‘Water Control and Leak Detection’, Charles Dwyer, Lowflo Ltd.

Charles spoke about the innovative and effective water management systems. He explained about their sub metering and control for underground problems. Water saving devices can be fitted to any property. Charles also gave an overview of Irish Water and how plans to reintroduce domestic water charges in early 2017. While there is a flat rate charge for domestic properties, Self-Catering – May be considered “Non-Domestic”. Charles gave lot of ideas of how to save water, check for leaks and how to deal with insurance claims. LowFlo has offices in Dublin & Cork

‘Our role as employers’, Maura Costello, Conflict Management Services

Maura gave an insightful presentation on the “very litigious area” of employment where “workers most often more familiar with their rights than the employer is”. There is a lot of free information available and the Citizens Advice site is great source of employment information. Maura advises us to “Work on the basis of if it can happen, it will happen and when it does happen be pro-active”. If you are facing a difficult situation with an employee, it is advised to “take legal advice at an early stage”. Keep a full account of events and have someone present if you have to have “difficult conversations”.

‘Overview of European Self-catering Industry’, Carlos Villaro Lassen, EHHA

Carlos gave a wonderful presentation on the contribution self-catering makes to the European society. Having highlighted some of the regulation problems in other countries, we can consider ourselves lucky in Ireland to have the government support for our sector.
Carlos surprised the group with many stats including the fact that self-catering capacity is double the capacity of hotel. With 20 million beds, “Our industry has the largest capacity of beds in Europe, almost twice that of hotels”. This of course has wide reaching benefits in the community and increasing employment. And this is a growing sector as “Booking.com is growing on short term rentals” In the EHHA, many companies have seats but trade associations like ISCF hold 6 out of 11 seats in EHHA.

EHHA Best Beach Holiday Home Award Ceremony

Carlos continued giving a background on the Best Holiday Home in Europe Award 2016 and thanked the sponsors SuperControl. He shared details of the other entrants in the category and showed a stunning array of photos of some spectacular European holiday homes. But winning award in the Best Beach House Category went to Liz and Roger Pickett, Bettystown, Co. Meath. Carlos presented the certificate to the winners and photos were taken with them and the sponsors.

Liz & Roger Pickett

Liz spoke about the benefits of being “Part of the energy and larger community in Europe” through their EHHA membership and acknowledged that this had been made possible through their ISCF membership. Liz gave us a background on their wonderful thatched cottages, which have been with Liz’s family for several generations. For generations, the family have focused on maintaining, improving and driving the business forward which Liz said “would not have been possible without the team work and passion”. Liz also placed emphasis on establishing a rapport with the guest though “personal contact, social media, newsletter”.

‘Handling Reviews’ – Robert Kennedy, SuperControl

Reviews and how to handle them is very topical and Robert covered how we need to appreciate that reviews let us know that we are giving guests what they want. Although responding to all reviews is a must, Robert recommends that you shouldn’t respond in “the heat of the moment” but appreciate than in the long run “these comments are helping you to improve your property and business”. Robert gave some great tips on how to “turn any negative reviews to your advantage” by using them as a way to “market your property and highlight USPs”.

‘Driving Traffic to Your Website, SEO’ – Jason Coburn of Freak.ie

Jason spoke to attendees about how to drive traffic to your site under the categories; your content, site and network. Jason mentioned the importance of having a “key words strategy” to attract visitors to your site. You can check out competitor website to see what keywords they use. Meta description are also an important way to draw visitors and this gives a website summary. Site architecture is very important as poor site speed puts people AND Google off, therefore mobile responsiveness is a must. Make sure to include rich information, video preview, and stars.

Jason has created a blog post as a companion piece to his presentation which you can access by clicking the link http://freak.ie/hi-seoweb-traffic-presentation-bit-intense-please-break/

‘Basic Social Media Tips’ – Ali Campbell, Ali Campbell Creative & ASSC

We were so pleased to have our Scottish guests from the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers and Ali gave us a compelling overview of why to get on the social media band wagon, or was it bike? The “internet is like a bike, you can get anywhere in seconds”. In brief, Facebook is easy to build a gallery, Twitter great for sharing pictures and become a lot more visible, Instagram young demographic – visual, YouTube great for sharing videos and Pinterest – 70% female market.

Wondering what to post? 80% share others and 20% own content. Main message is to “Be Visual”.

‘Affiliation Marketing’ – Philip Kelly, Empathy Marketing (Pigsback.com & Dealrush.ie)

Philip explained the role of the advertiser, the publisher and the Consumer in Affiliate Marketing. He also talked about the Cost Per Action Model of affiliate marketing such as Pay Per Click, Pay Per Lead or Pay Per Sale which is the method endorsed by Pigsback.com & Dealrush.ie.

They are promotions companies which publish your product on their two sites giving a total access to 1.5 million potential customers. These sites operate “Pay per Sale” which means they are free to advertise on unless you make a sale. “you come to us with an offer” and “we put it on our website and bring customers to you”.