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Winter newsletter for owners

Welcome to your quarterly Unique Home Stays Owners' update! With the new year in full swing and a positively frenzied January out of the way, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all of your hard work over the busy Christmas and New Year period. Your extra attention to detail during the festive season does not go amiss, so once again we thank you for ensuring your guests continue to have the kind of holidays dreams are made of. A special mention goes to Pauline, housekeeper of The Bay, who abandoned her own family on Christmas morning to fix an iffy boiler, ensuring the holidaying family could enjoy a warm and blissful Christmas day. It is acts such as this which really set Unique Home Stays' owners and housekeepers apart from the rest and so we theme this edition of your quarterly owners’ newsletter around good housekeeping!

As well as this you can look forward to all your usual news, staffing and property performance updates. I am delighted to report that bookings (October-December) were up by an impressive 18% on the same quarter in the previous year. Remember to take a look at our latest property additions too - there have been some real standouts. I hope you enjoy your winter newsletter and think you will agree this has been three months to remember!

Francesa Reed
Unique Home Stays
In The News

Whilst you have been keeping guests happy, our dedicated Marketing team have been working hard on getting the word out there to keep bookings rolling in! From October to December we secured more than 61 pieces of stellar press across the portfolio. Our highlights included a winning pitch to The Sunday Times who included Pelsham Manor in their round up of best places to stay for Christmas, Tatler’s feature on Cornucopia and two big spreads in gorgeous bookazine Modern Rustic including Filly Island and The Oyster Catcher.

We’ve also been seeing stars over the last few months, enjoying several appearances on prime time television. The Cable Hut provided the beautiful backdrop for chef Lisa Falkner’s Coastal Cottages series on This Morning, whilst Property Consultant Clare also had a starring role in Channel Four’s Million Pound Properties when she was followed viewing a lighthouse in Wales.

Back in November we also managed to secure an exciting TV opportunity which saw ITV's Tonight show come and film us take part in a unique workplace experiment (catch it on ITV Player if you missed it). We always strive to think outside the box, looking for innovative ways in which we can work more effectively, and as a result of the show we have adopted new strategies which have seen our productivity go through the roof! The exposure was great PR for Unique Home Stays as a whole, resulting in an influx of web visits and bookings which is exactly what we had hoped for.

Unique Home Stays
Unique Home Stays


Faerie Door Cottage
Occupancy Levels

This quarter (October-December) congratulations goes out to the following properties which all hit 100% occupancy levels for dates available to sell: The Osprey, The Hop Store, The Creamery, Eirianfa, Faerie Door Cottage and The Viewing Gallery.

Burdock Fox
Confirmed Bookings

Burdock Fox was crowned the winner for acquiring the most confirmed bookings between September and October, closely followed by Bohème, The Cable Hut, Barefoot Beach House, EirianfaFilly Island, Pollyanna and The Secret Holt.

Unique Home Stays
Team Unique - staff update

All the talk of travel and adventure has sparked the wanderlust of two team members who we waved a fond farewell to last month. Property Advisor Sara is jetting off to road trip Australia, whilst Marketing Assistant Annabelle has moved to Barcelona to work for a travel adventure agency. We wish them both the very best and look forward to the postcards! Meanwhile, we welcomed Carol to the Advisor team who brings a wealth of customer service experience from the boutique hotel industry and Harriet is making the transition from the Advisor team to assist with the immense marketing task. Kahdine has also returned following her maternity leave, and we are delighted to have her back in a new role as Chief Operations Officer.

Unique Home Stays
The Unique Home Stays Housekeeping Awards 2016!

To thank all those who go above and beyond the call of duty and take a personal pride in their work day in day out, we are delighted to present our first Unique Home Stays Housekeeping Awards! We looked at the aspects of a housekeeper’s role before making our selection, and considered which were regularly going above and beyond the basic expectations which are detailed below:

• High level of cleanliness and faultless presentation of your home for each and every guest arrival
• Meeting and greeting the guests, showing them around and welcoming them to the property
• Fires laid, stock cupboards re-stocked, cleaning items replenished, drawers and cupboards checked
• Paths and steps cleared, flowerbeds tidied, outdoor furniture cleaned and pools/hot tubs sanitised

The shining stars below deserve a very special mention for the dedication and pride in which they undertake their housekeeping roles:

Pauline Reynolds, The Bay
Pauline is one of our longest standing housekeepers and takes beautiful care of The Bay and all who are fortunate enough to stay there. This Christmas, there was a problem with the property’s boiler which Pauline reacted to in her usual stellar manner. She went right out to the house to see how she could help the guests, leaving her own family Christmas to help others. She managed to organise them an emergency plumber who came out and fixed the problem, and the guests were delighted that everyone had done everything they can to fix the problem.

Charles and Linda Whittingham, Eirianfa
These owners are exemplary. OK, so they’re not strictly ‘housekeepers’ as such, but they carry out the role of housekeeper AND owner and manage to impress guests time and time again with their ever-bidding hosting skills. The feedback guests leave speaks of occasions such as being brought a bottle of champagne because the boiler took half an hour to return to full service, delivering a daily newspapers by hand and, when a guest casually noted that there wasn’t a juicer, the owner went and bought one for them to enjoy for the remainder of their stay. Hats off indeed to the Whittinghams, we are ever-impressed by your model hosting skills.

Meirion Appleton, Florin
The owner/housekeeper superduo at Florin, Meirion and Ffion, are fully deserving of a mention in our housekeeping chart because they really exceeded expectations following a stay late last year. This gallant owner went over and beyond the call of duty when, without blinking, he offered the guests use of his car to travel all the way back to collect a spare set from Windsor – a cool 250 miles drive away.    

Claire Goddard, The Cable Hut
This outstanding housekeeper is new to the role but already showing non-Unique housekeepers how it’s done. Claire once chased dozens of fearsome-looking cows out of the garden armed only with a cleaning broom and with no fear for her own safety (we don’t recommend this!) and often comes up with ingenious thoughtful ideas which the owners have implemented such as a special hair drying mirror for guests and doggy litter bags and clean dog blankets for guests with dogs.

Unique Home Stays
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