A guest recently asked me why I did not keep up to date with my blogs and in truth I am not sure, just managing the cottages seems to take up a lot of time. We have an online booking system that gives the availability of the properties, the prices and allows them to be booked and paid for automatically but yet I seem to spend a lot of time answering enquiries by phone or by email. I think people still like to have the reassurance of contacting a real person.
I seem to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, especially at this time of year, this is the time when all the entries are completed for next years brochures, this typical of the tourism business we are planning a year in advance. I compiled a list of the brochures and websites we market ourselves through and one of my intentions is to keep these up to date as much as possible, this list includes,
- Northern Ireland Tourist Board
- Northern Ireland Self Catering Assoc.
- Holiday Villas and Cottages Magazine
- About Britain
- Visit Britain
- Farmstay UK
- Perfect Getaways in association with Ryan Air
- Stilwell’s Cottages Direct
Each one of these has there own requirements, descriptive text of a certain number of words, photographs, prices for different sizes of house different times of the year etc. It would be great if one template would fit all but maybe that would be boring and in any case each is targeted at a different market segment so requires a different emphasis.
It may be noticed that we put a great effort on promoting the cottages outside Northern Ireland, ie Farmstay Uk Visit Britain etc, there are several reasons for this, firstly I believe we are in the tourism business, ie we should be striving to bring visitors into Northern Ireland as a primary economic function. We have few natural resources like coal or iron that can be exported so for NI plc to grow it’s economy we have to sell our tourism product like an export ie it brings new money in to the economy, anything else is just a recirculation of money within NI.
However the main reason is because I believe we live in a very special part of the world and I believe it is important to share this with people who will appreciate it. Every day I look out on the Mourne Mountains and they are truly beautiful mountains, I am sure psychologists can probably explain why we find landscapes beautiful, I don’t know why but the Mournes really are. I think one of the reasons is that they are comprehensible, what I mean by this is that they are not a big range of mountains and they are not that high that they are daunting, they seem like you discover all you want about them in a single visit. I was on a trip to the Italian Alps and the mountains just seemed to go on for ever and the peaks ended high in the clouds, they were probably a paradise to the technical climber but for the likes of me they were just too foreboding and off-putting.
The Mournes you know you can tackle and have a good days walking, and they are good walking mountains, I have had guests comment on how resilient the ground under foot is and they describe other mountainous regions in Ireland and the Uk as needing Wellingtons rather than Walking boots.
Having said, look at the top of this blog to see a photo of the Mournes from the Cottages, and see if you can appreciate why I enthuse such much about the view we have.