Behind the scenes of the first year running Sunnyside Cottage

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In June 2023, I launched my first pet-related business, a dog-friendly holiday let called Sunnyside Cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay. 

In the first year, the bookings and takings have doubled compared to the previous year, and I’m sharing how in this podcast episode.

It has always been a dream to have a holiday cottage and to make it as dog-welcoming as possible, so this has been an absolute joy. 

It’s also been an opportunity to try out the tactics I teach my clients when it comes to publicity and visibility.

Since opening the doors, I’ve worked with journalists, bloggers, and influencers to get the word out about Sunnyside Cottage and put it firmly on the dog-friendly map. 

With social media, I’ve used Instagram and Facebook and cross-promoted through my blog and the social media pages of my coaching business. 

I’ve also utilised the network I’ve built up in the industry and been fortunate to have friends and family spread the word.

This episode takes you behind the scenes so you can see what I’ve learned, plus tips and insights you can apply to your business.

Listen in on the player link below:

Below is the availability for the first half of 2023 and 2024, and the cottage opened for bookings in June.

You can see the most up-to-date availability here

The booking calendar for Sunnyside Cottage in the first six months of 2023
Almost fully booked for the first six months of 2024

Key topics and timings in this episode:

What to expect from this episode. (0.40)

Background to how I came to buy the cottage. (2.19)

Celebrating being fully booked this summer. (3.25)

The increase in income at the cottage from £12,000 a year to £23,000. (4.07)

Keeping the expenses lean and why I’m a frugal Fiona! (5.06)

The support I have from Baytown Holiday Cottages when it comes to marketing the cottage. (6.16)

The first set of publicity we had including the Guardian, The Sun, Yorks Press, Dotty4Paws and WoofWagWalk and from Lynne Taylor coaching. (7.20)

PR and reviews since August 2023. (9.10)

Newsletter and blog coverage that has led to bookings and inquiries. (18.03)

Why it helps to take people on the journey with you. (20.40)

Why you SHOULD get excited about your business. (21.05)

How taking care of guests will pay off and why you can’t be too over the top! (21.27)

Using your network to build your client base and cross-promoting on your other social media. (22.52)

The importance in having courage in your own convictions and doing what you think is right for your business and ignoring what other people say! (24.02)

Why there is no ‘one thing’ that has made Sunnyside a success but lots of things working together. (26.10)

Striving for constant improvement. (26.45)

Supporting people who have supported me when it comes to items I have in the cottage. (27.05)

Ways we can work together if you’re feeling inspired and want to work on raising your profile. (29.03)

Links mentioned in this episode:

Book your stay at Sunnyside Cottage on the Baytown Website: https://baytownholidaycottages.co.uk/our-cottages/property?s=sunnyside-cottage-robin-hoods-bay

Doing visibility my way at Sunnyside Cottage

https://rachelspencer.co.uk/behind-the-scenes-sunnyside-cottage

Is this the UK’s most dog-loving holiday cottage: https://houndy.dogfuriendly.com/sunnyside-cottage-most-dog-loving-escape-in-robin-hoods-bay/

The car-free seaside town with the best fish and chips: https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/24472698/north-yorkshire-robin-hood-bay-staycation-travel-fish-chips/

Sunnyside Cottage wins award from Theo Paphitis: https://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/24144500.sunnyside-cottage-wins-award-dragons-den-star-theo-paphitis/

Yorkshire’s most dog-friendly cottage wins award from Theo Paphitis: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/yorkshires-most-dog-friendly-holiday-cottage-in-robin-hoods-bay-receives-award-from-dragons-den-star-theo-paphitis-4535881

Dog-friendly cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay wins business award: https://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/24155140.dog-friendly-cottage-robin-hoods-bay-wins-business-award/

Dog-friendly cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay wins business award: 

https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/24151093.dog-friendly-cottage-robin-hoods-bay-wins-business-award

The former smuggling port with rock pools, quirky cafes and quiet coves:

https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/robin-hoods-bay-rock-pools-quirky-cafe-coves-3013507

Discover the Jurrasic Age graveyard of the North Yorkshire Coast: 

https://www.coastmagazine.co.uk/places/discover-the-jurassic-age-graveyard-of-the-north-yorkshire-coast

Where does a dog-friendly cottage agent go on holiday? https://www.eastrustoncottages.co.uk/dog-friendly-holiday-cottage-robin-hoods-bay/

What’s the difference between dog-friendly, dog-welcoming and dog red carpet?

https://thepawpost.co.uk/travel/difference-dog-friendly-welcoming-red-carpet

Further reading on this topic

How to write a press release for your pet business

How to find stories in your pet business

Why thinking What’s In It For Them will improve your pitch success

Five steps to get your pet business in the press

Three ways I can help you secure press coverage

How to find stories in your pet business journalists will like

Is my Pets Get Visible membership right for you?

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