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Autumn newsletter for owners

Alas, the curtains have now fallen on the Great British Summer and here we reflect on what a fruitful one it has been. July 1st sent mercury soaring to 37.6 degrees in some parts of the UK, making it the hottest July day since records began, but after a promising start the Met Office reported this summer wetter and cooler than the average. Nevertheless, the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of your guests, 95% of whom told us their overall experience was good and exceeded expectations, and 89% stating they would be likley to recommend to a friend!

Whilst industry reports show that the majority of self-catering property lettings agencies have seen a negative turn in terms of income this year, Unique Home Stays has continued to strive ahead, bucking the industry trend. As leaders in our field, by marketing your home with us you can rest assured that enquiry and booking levels remain high. In fact, we are delighted to report that this summer saw a 9% increase on last year for both confirmed bookings and occupancy levels. The bookings team have also increased enquiry to booking conversion levels by 5% on last year, which is an excellent result (more on the team below)!

Our monthly detailed Google Analytics reports also show a positive result in terms of website success. Compared to the same time period last year (July 1st-Sept 30th), the Unique Home Stays website attracted 386, 578 unique users, which is a 13% increase on 2014. Moreover, the mobile site has seen a 28% increase in unique users compared to summer last year.

One result of a busy season that is often overlooked is that of VAT.  Speaking to many of you on the topic, we appreciate VAT can be a daunting subject. With an increasing number of owners routinely exceeding levels of income that push them over the VAT threshold, read on to see how you can ensure that you are working within the law.

We hope you enjoy the autumn edition of your Owners' Newsletter, where we reveal the top performing properties of the last quarter, as well as share our Press and PR highlights as you prepare for the busy festive season ahead!

Francesa Reed
Unique Home Stays


Occupancy Levels

Again, this quarter has seen a record number of properties hit 100% occupancy levels. Big congratulations to Sweetpea Cottage, The Raven, Ellenglaze, Lofty, The Bay, The Boat House, The Edge, Little Otterling, Puddleduck, The Osprey and The Little Charcuterie.

Blue Point
Confirmed Bookings

Blue Point has been crowned the winner for acquiring the most confirmed bookings within this quarter (July to September), closely followed by Eirianfa (which gets a special extra mention for its glowing feedback), Tempest, Daydreamer and Faerie Door Cottage.

Unique Home Stays
In The News

The Unique Home Stays marketing team celebrated a record-breaking quarter, achieving no less than 68 pieces of press in glossy magazines, high-end blogs and broadsheets. Highlights included features in The Telegraph, Coast, Country Living USA and Property Consultant Sam even featured in a spread on dream jobs in Women’s Own magazine, talking about how much she loves visiting your beautiful homes.

On top of this, three Unique Home Stays properties featured on television, including Moontide on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Artists’ Beach House on BBC News and The Oyster Shell, which was used as a swanky backdrop in a promotional video for presenter Andi Peters on Good Morning Britain. Our Property Finder Claire Towl also had a starring role on Channel 4’s Million Pound Properties, visiting a unique lighthouse in Anglesey for one of her clients. Appearances on national TV send web visits and enquiry figures soaring, so this quarter has truly been a huge success for the marketing team.

Unique Home Stays
Unique Home Stays
VAT registration- is it right for me?

Many businesses view becoming VAT registered with trepidation and are afraid it will open a can of worms; more paperwork, more hassle, with HM Revenue & Customs looking over your shoulder. But like everything in life, change creates opportunities.

HMRC sets the VAT threshold for each financial year and you must pay VAT if your UK turnover of taxable goods and services goes over the VAT threshold in any 12 month period. The VAT threshold for 2015-16 is set at 82,000. Until told otherwise, Unique Home Stays assumes that owners are not VAT registered.

There is little point in marginally being over the VAT threshold. If you have breached the turnover threshold and are obliged to register for VAT then we will work with you to maximise the income from your property sales. It will also provide an opportunity for you to reclaim VAT on your expenses, fittings and more.

We know that VAT can be a cause of worry for many owners, and each individual situation needs to be looked at on its own merits. If you are approaching the threshold, your accountant will be able to advise on the best way forward. You can also contact the office, or our trusted accountant Paul of Cornish Accounting Solutions should you have any questions.

Unique Home Stays
Unique Home Stays
'Tis The Season...

Last month you will have received an email from Claire Ray, prepping you for the fast approaching festive season. We would like to take this opportunity to remind and thank you in advance for ensuring that you go above and beyond expectations to delight your guests this Christmas and New Year.

We know that alongside you, our brilliant owners, there is also a huge team of dedicated housekeepers behind the scenes who we think deserve a little extra love this Christmas. To recognise and reward their hard work, we are taking nominations for Unique Home Stays Housekeeper of the Year! Send us your stories and we will pick our favourites to announce in the next Owners' Newsletter.

Unique Home Stays
Staffing updates

The increase in booking and conversion levels is by no means by chance! Here at Unique Home Stays we have been busy recruiting and investing in new staff to ensure we have the best in local talent when it comes to selling your beautiful homes. This summer we welcomed Harriet, whose extensive travels, customer service experience and bubbly personality have seen her hit the ground running in the bookings team. More recently we appointed Bryony, who last year was shortlisted for Employee of the Year by the Cornwall Hub Awards and won an award for her contribution to her previous employer. The pair are already an asset to the bookings team!

In conjunction with the increase in bookings and with Kelly soon to be embarking on the exciting journey of motherhood, we decided to employ a full-time Hamper Administration Manager. Tracy is super organised and full of great ideas for the hamper department, which serves to enhance the guest experience and really sets us apart from the rest.

Unique Home Stays
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