New Forest Cottages turns 40!
The National Park’s biggest accommodation provider celebrates with record number of properties.
Established in 1978 with one self-catering cottage rental, New Forest Cottages are celebrating 40 years in business. This year marks an impressive portfolio with the holiday rental agency representing over 155 properties, which includes an amazing 25 new properties added in the last six months.
New Forest Cottages are the largest and oldest holiday cottage letting agency in the New Forest with a wide range of properties to suit all age groups, budgets and tastes; from thatched cottages to comfortable town house and luxury apartments, all set in forest, rural, town, village and coastal locations throughout the New Forest.
New Forest Cottages Director, Trudie Russo says “The company’s success is the result of our relationship with our property owners, our wonderful staff, the New Forest community and our network of local tradesman, cleaners and caretakers. Together we work to provide visitors with memory making holidays at every point of service. I really feel everyone we work with has a genuine love for the area and are superb at what they do. The culture of New Forest Cottages always has been and will remain property owner and visitor focussed in equal measures.”
Visitors tell New Forest Cottages they come to the area because it’s still a beautifully tranquil destination filled with wildlife and heritage - as well as fantastic beaches, coastline and easy day trips. The booming staycation trend is for more frequent visits and short stays across all age groups, throughout the year.
Trudie added “Visitors from 40 years ago who enjoyed happy holidays as children with their Mum’s and Dad’s in the seventies, now bring their own families to recreate childhood memories picnicking, climbing trees, paddling streams and days on the beach. It’s a break away from the routine of screens, phones and computers back home.”
In sharp contrast to the type of holiday guests enjoy in the New Forest, mobile devices, data analytics and technology channel the way visitors research and book holidays.
New Forest Cottages parent company, Toad Hall Cottages based in Devon, handles all online promotion very effectively, with New Forest Cottages appearing top of Google search results for ‘new forest self-catering’. The past 40 years have seen a massive shift to online bookings with reservations nowadays made within a few clicks on their live online booking system.
Trudie adds “We are very in-tune with what visitors want and for some, it remains a printed brochure, which we continue to produce. Our shop front offices are on the High Street in Lymington and are frequented as much by our owners for a quick chat, as potential visitors.
For us, it’s all about good old-fashioned customer service coupled with radical technology. The phones are busy too. Since New Forest Tourism closed, there isn’t a phone number for visitors to call and our staff being local, can answer questions about where to eat and drink, attractions, things to do, days trips, events etc. The local community is also featured in our newsletters, holiday information and through our PR and Marketing to regional, national and international press pushing The New Forest area as a UK holiday destination.”
New Forest Cottages are an avid supporter of the local community. Earlier this year they sponsored Lymington's Ocean Brothers to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in aid of the British Skin Foundation. They also sponsor a number of local events, including the Summer Spectacular and Classic Car Show (this year's 19th 'Spectacular' is taking place on Sunday 5th August at Woodside Park in Lymington).
Having worked in the New Forest rental and holiday lets market for 16 years, Trudie offers potential property owners invaluable industry knowledge and experience on how to get the best return on investment – where to buy locally, short lets, estimated income or whether it would be more beneficial to let long term through New Forest Cottages sister company, Ridgeway Rents.
Trudie concludes “To be celebrating 40 years is such an achievement in the current economic climate. Especially so, because New Forest Cottages is at its most successful – let’s see what next year brings!”.