This Morning’s Unprecedented Solar Eclipse Is No Cause For Alarm
I love you readers but we only have 14 hours to save the earth!
Like many people I got up early last Wednesday and switched on the TV to something rather unexpected! There was a brilliant parody sketch on with a panel of people talking about how it now looked certain that Donald Trump had been elected. They had even got Andrew Neil to play the role of the anchor as well as other BBC reporters. As I waited for Alan Carr or somebody to swan on in a ridiculous wig with the punchline it gradually dawned on me that this was really happening.
Imagine if we’d been sitting around in 1976 fantasising about the conversations we would have with our grandchildren in 50 years time talking about prime minister Scargill, president Mandela and president Trump- as Meatloaf said ‘Two out of three ain’t bad!’
Newspapers and commentators immediately started talking about the end of the world as we know it but although there has been some market instability in general rather like after Brexit at the moment the order of the day seems to be keep calm and carry on. We don’t know what is coming but the world will keep turning and everyone will get on with their lives.
Expect the Unexpected
Now this is supposed to be a column about renting out your holiday cottage not a political blog so I will endeavour to get back to the point. What will a Trump presidency mean for our industry? The truth is we have no idea. The two biggest things to think about are currency and confidence.
The value of the pound, particularly against the euro is a key factor in creating demand for Cornwall. I don’t think we are ever competing against Florida or Bali it’s those shoulder period customers I go on about so much choosing to go walking in Cornwall rather than Tuscany which will make the difference. Sterling strengthened against the dollar for a while but has fallen back to more or less where it started and remains at the same level against the euro. It’s the progress of Brexit that will make the difference here rather than influence from across the atlantic.
Confidence is a lot more difficult to predict or even measure but it’s easy to understand. It means that we are competing against staying at home and not going on holiday at all although it is possible that it could lead to people choosing a more economical holiday in Cornwall rather than going abroad so the effect may be much more balanced.
Be prepared to react
The most crucial thing to take on board is that whether you are looking at a world perspective or local issues in your village things may change and it’s important to consider if you need to react. Circumstances may lead you to market your place differently, offer short breaks where you wouldn’t otherwise, accept dogs or upgrade your furnishings but the key thing we are talking about here is price.
We set prices for 2017 in April so the truth is they are a best guess calculated without the benefit of knowing the level of 2016 bookings and with no knowledge of 2017 market conditions. I have just been through and adjusted pricing based upon performance this year and advance bookings for next year and I strongly recommend that you do the same.
Don’t be dogmatic
Just as with discounting remember that the price is an arbitrary figure. It is not based on buying stock and adding 15% margin, the right price is the highest that a guest will pay. As I often say we could argue that every price is wrong- if we sell it was too low and if we don’t it was too high! Put all thoughts out of your mind of the costs of running the place and your personal circumstances. The guest will not pay more because you have a big mortgage and 2 kids at university to support. My job is to get the most revenue for an owner and the right price is the same whether they are a multi millionaire or struggling to make the cottage pay.
Look at the evidence and make a decision based on logic. Web statistics are a key part of this process but that’s another whole column to write!
Just remember everything will be alright in the end (and hello to Jason Isaacs)
Newspapers around the world react calmly to the Trump victory