Letting With Us
Despite a growing number of ‘local’ agencies claiming to be on the ground, local and responsive, Dart Valley Cottages is different. We’re not owned by a private equity firm, nor do we have any ambition to sell out to them or to be something that we’re not. We’re local, we’re honest, and we’re here for two main purposes: to provide guests with truly memorable holidays in South Devon for all the right reasons, and to help owners realise the true potential of their holiday homes, providing a friendly, personal service along the way.
When a guest calls it will either be Nina, Mandy, Will or Fiona who answer their call. There are no call centres – we’re here in the area and we know our properties. It’s part of our values and our promise to offer a truly local, honest service.
Standing Out from the Crowd
We’re incredibly proud of our website, which received an astonishingly large percentage of direct bookings compared to other businesses locally. That’s because our content is optimised by our team, and we constantly evolve with the trends of our customers, listening to and acting upon feedback. We know a number of our guests now book on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, so our site is optimised to ensure that properties are easily viewable across a wide range of devices.
In addition to our own site, we also advertise through a growing number of large booking platforms (known as OTAs) such as Airbnb, Vrbo, TripAdvisor Booking.com and many more. Our booking system integrates directly with these channels, which means we have total control of your calendar, content and pricing. We also uplift the prices to negate the platform fees which you as an owner would traditionally pay, to ensure the owners get their agreed rates.
We also know that, in an ever-changing market, properties evolve quickly. Our operations team work Monday-Friday every week and, should you require any changes to your listings, these are usually actioned on the same day. For new owners we can also get adverts up quickly with holding images and basic content to start generating bookings. We’re also very receptive to owner feedback, and will be as accommodating as we can with this.
Our audience on social media and following of repeat booking guests is also growing. We reach them through personalised and targeted e-marketing campaigns, including direct emails and social media adverts, as well as pay-per-click advertising on Google. On the opposite end of the spectrum we utilise a broad range of offline advertising, including adverts and copy in local, regional and national magazines, as well as sponsoring local events and activities.
An Ethical, Hands-On Approach
Our core offering involves marketing your property through creative photography, optimised listings, multi-channel advertising, and comprehensive communication with your guest throughout their journey. We’ll manage sales enquiries, manipulate intelligent pricing which reacts to changes in market demand, ensure your housekeeper is kept informed and up-to-date, provide your guest with comprehensive instructions and advice on your property, and check in with them too, to make sure everything is okay. When they’ve left, we ask every guest for feedback, and if they’d like to hear from us again, ensuring that we can keep in touch with anyone who might consider visiting your home in the future.
We might be experts in marketing your property, but we aren’t afraid to help with your property management too. This might include:
- Sourcing a cleaner and/or linen supplier
- Arranging legal safety and compliance tests (Fire Risk Assessments, Gas Safety Certificates, EICRs and PAT tests)
- Reactive maintenance
- Out-of-hours on-call services
- Advice on insurance cover for you as an owner, and for your home
- Resolving complaints
Despite everyone’s best efforts, issues do occasionally arise, often with no rhyme or reason at all. We’re on call to ensure that we can get the problem solved for your guest, and work tirelessly to do so. If they have a good experience with your property, they’ll be a loyal customer, and we value loyalty. If we incur additional costs to fix problems for you, we simply charge this back – there’s no additional cost.
Owners are all supplied with their own login to the website to keep track of their bookings as well as add and remove owner bookings as they wish. Accounts are settled for the months bookings at the start of the following month.
If you already own a property in the Dart Valley and would like to let with us, our owners James and Fiona Gardner would be more than happy to speak to you! Please call us on 01803 771127 and we’ll do our best to arrange a time to come and meet you for a no-obligation discussion.
We always prefer to visit the property and meet owners face to face, to help us give an honest appraisal of the property and it’s letting potential. We can supply checklists of all the basic requirements for getting started as well as feedback on the potential niche audience we would expect the property to attract and suggestions that will help capitalise on the properties features, from simple changes to configurations of rooms, to full-scale interior design.
Of course, you may be looking for your dream Devon home and have a few options, or be about to let a property for the first time. As property owners ourselves we’ve been through this exact journey, and would be happy to guide you through it too. Please get in touch; we’re happy to offer advice on a potential property purchase, or look at the best way to launch your new rental property.
If you are looking for a holiday property to buy, we have a few suggestions for what sells best:
- Parking, or a provision for parking included with the price of their stay (eg a parking permit)
- Outside space is always a winner – ideally an enclosed space works well, especially if you’re looking to accept family groups or pets
- Views! If someone comes to stay by the sea, or looking for a countryside retreat, they’ll want to see it!
- Accept pets, if you’re able to. A lot of people travelling to the area do so for walking, and have pets with them… they’re part of the family!
- One bathroom for every two bedrooms, and ideally a separate toilet or ensuite
- Provisions for dining space and living space, proportionate to the number of guests (ie, if you sleep six, have six spaces to sit and eat!)
We are very passionate about the business we are in and could go on into the finer details of plug socket locations, showers and fridge freezers if we were to continue! If you’d like to find out more then we have a handy inventory guide, which we’re happy to share with you! Just reach out and we’ll be happy to guide you through the process and offer advice tailored to your property.