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Discovering and reaching your target market

An important part of promoting – and equipping – your holiday property is identifying who your guests are likely to be. Knowing your target market will help you focus your marketing efforts and most importantly, let your property outside the high season, which is usually relativDiscovering and reaching your target market
ely easy to fill.

Research is the best way of finding out your target market. The best and most reliable way of doing this is to spend some time in the property and local area yourself. Visit in peak and low seasons to gauge off-season appeal of the area. While you’re there, get out and about and take a look at who else is staying there. Walk in the parks, stroll along the beach and dine in the restaurants to get an idea of the local tourist profile. Get to know the people who run local businesses. A nice touch would be to negotiate discounts for guests or find local businesses to support yours. This is a win win and will also encourage local businesses to point holiday  makers in your direction.

You might discover that your chosen location appeals to everyone or find that it’s much more of a niche market. The area may be more family-orientated, a hit with dog lovers, preferred by couples or popular with retirees. Understanding who your audience is means you can kit out your home with their needs and preferences in mind and then market directly to them. It will also give you an idea of how large your potential audience is and your potential length of season.

A good example is if your are by the sea or in the countryside you can have a wet/drying room where guests can leave their wet or muddy clothes.

UK population trends 

Of the four lifestage groups in the UK (pre-family, no family, family and third age), family is forecast to grow the fastest and will become the largest group by 2015 with a predominance of families with children aged five to nine. 

The over 55s is another high-growth group – over one-third of the UK’s population will be over 55 by 2025. 

Families – setting up your home for families means providing games and toys, baby and toddler equipment and child-friendly safety measures. Don’t forget to list activities and attractions suitable for families in your welcome pack. As a unique selling point (USP) for parents, consider providing a baby-sitting service.

Pet owners – many holidaymakers like to take their pets with them so if you choose to allow dogs you widen your scope for holiday lets. To make things easier for you, charge a separate rent for dogs (typically between £10 and £20 per week) to pay for e
xtra cleaning costs and state your rules for pets clearly (e.g. how many pets you allow and where they can go in the house). Nice touches are food and water bowls plus dog treats in your welcome pack.

Couples – smaller properties (one or two bedrooms) in quiet locations suit couples. Provide some romantic nice touches such as a bottle of champagne, scented candles and spa products. A USP for couples could be a complimentary meal for two at a local restaurant or at home provided by a catering company.

Silver surfers – they tend to be affluent and take several holidays a year. They will welcome your nice touches for couples (see above) and appreciate simple things such as lever taps and a support rail by the toilet.

Accessible accommodation – around 11 million people in England (20% of the population) have some form of disability. This isn’t just reduced mobility, but includes impaired vision or hearing and allergy-sufferers. Catering for this market group needn’t be expensive and it can widen your target audience considerably. Nice touches include an entrance ramp (also good for pushchairs) and non-feather pillows and sofas. Visit England’s brochure, ‘Easy does it’ provides comprehensive information on how to make your accommodation more accessible.

Tell them about it 
Once you’ve identified your target market and catered for them, don’t forget to tell your potential guests about your nice touches and USPs in all your publicity. On your advert, clearly state what you’re offering. If you don’t highlight what you’re offering you could be missing a sales opportunity.

Tell guests about Holiday property features