Staycations & Competitors

The Challenge

What was our brief?

At the time of our appointment Cottages & Castles regularly placed small ads in the national classified travel sections, in niche travel & tourism magazines and in some indigenous newspaper supplements with the express purpose of driving requests for their physical brochure.​

Competition from the likes of Airbnb and other​ self-catering accommodation providers was ramping up considerably and UK holidaymakers were increasingly conducting research, booking and sharing travel inspirations online. ​

We wanted to show the team at Cottages & Castles how we could increase their search visibility and use social platforms like Facebook to increase newsletter sign ups and bookings. Helping to promote their ever-expanding range of properties, and attracting new owners so they could develop and grow their existing​ accommodation portfolio.​

The Solution

How did we respond?

One of the main challenges from the outset was the modest marketing budget that we had at our disposal – the nature of the sector is that businesses like Cottages & Castles make a competitive commission on every booking - and we had to ensure we could demonstrate value for money and make sure every marketing pound spent was spent in the right place.​

We started with a root & branch audit and set up of the Cottages & Castles Google Analytics account, carried out by our Insights team. Our search marketing specialists then began to explore ways to get the most out of organic SERP listings & ensure that on-page and off-page SEO techniques were maximising organic visibility. ​

Building out the right combinations of targeted keywords and compelling ad copy, location & interest targeting for display, ongoing account​optimisation and the best use of video in YouTube created the foundations of a healthy and sustainable paid search strategy.​

Cottages & Castles’ offering is made for social media. Their fantastic range of properties is complemented by fantastic imagery and – often user-generated - video collateral & their range of ‘inspirations’, from pet-friendly breaks to romantic getaways & stunning waterside retreats, allowed us to deploy some clever targeting and inject some contextually relevant yet fun copy into our paid ads. Facebook’s lead generation ads were also ideal for driving newsletter sign ups and building an engaged database. ​

The Results

Increase in paid search conversions year on year​
Cost per conversion decrease for same period
Increase in property owner bookings​

We have always found the team at Space & Time to be highly professional but very friendly and personable at the same time. They are currently working hard to maximise the return from our budget & we are seeing some great results - long may it continue!​

Mathew Bettoli, Digital Marketing Manager at Cottages & Castles​

How did we go beyond?

Providing ongoing training in SEO was a fundamental part of the relationship – ensuring that the client had the relevant knowledge to enable them to prioritise and manage elements of what is an increasingly important space.​

In addition to this we were able to call on other areas of expertise around the agency – such as consumer research and UX - to share useful sector insights and help the client explore other areas such as CRO and website design. 


Cottages & Castles

Amidst tough competition from the likes of Airbnb, Cottages & Castles, the UK's premier quality premier self-catering properties in Scotland, needed some highly effective activation to leverage the staycation opportunity during the pandemic.

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We'd love to chat

Space & Time

0808 250 7861