Cottages

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When it comes to travel PR, I reckon that no type of client is tougher to promote than self-catering companies. And particularly UK-focused ones; those clients selling villas or apartments abroad may at least be liable to debut an exotic, unheard-of Greek island or Spanish province every so often.

But when it comes to Britain, most areas are known and – sensibly – cottage firms and the like mostly stick to the same, safe-bet regions: Cornwall, Norfolk, the Lake District and so forth. The homes themselves rarely have the happy attribute of newness, while editors are permanently reluctant to commission features about or reviews of a self-catering home: firstly, that sounds rather dull, and, second, much less availability awaits interested readers than at a hotel.

So what to do? There are a few possible tacks. You’re much likelier to score a feature about the wider area than a specific cottage, so delve into that: is there a forthcoming film being shot there, or a significant 50th or 100th anniversary coming up? Or do any of your clients’ homes have an amazing, little-told backstory (Sarah Hartley likes those)?

You might ask your client for some recent or forward-booking stats, and see if anything surprising is occurring. Perhaps Devon is outperforming Cornwall for the first time in two decades; maybe people are suddenly keener on the Western Lakes?

If there’s a home your client is especially keen to promote, or one supported by great images – this being another key concern – then see if it has any unusual and alluring attributes (e.g. direct beach access; Arts & Crafts interiors in line with the current trend) and pitch me a round-up of ten homes along that same theme, suggesting yours as the first. I wouldn’t expect you to find me the other nine.

Lastly, Valentine’s Day isn’t too far off, and media round-up requests are likely to ensue. But every PR will claim their cottage (or hotel, for that matter) is romantic and cosy. Try to go further; could one of your client’s properties be prone to views of incredible sunsets (ideally from its hot tub!) – and you’ve got the photos to prove it – or have 15 successful proposals been made there in the past five years? Specific facts like that will mean you stand out from the cottage crowd.

What Richard Thinks…

“James was the first person to alert me to this news of a significant, unusual discount. Were my Metro travel-news pages currently in action, I’d be using this and Abercrombie & Kent would be assured of a mention.”

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