A Unique business blossoms

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A new decade is set to bring a new identity and record-breaking year for luxury holiday home agency, Unique Homestays.

The UK holiday property sector is a growth industry attracting huge interest from investors.

But as key agencies sell out to large international corporations such as Airbnb, Expedia Group and Sykes (with recent acquisition from Vitruvian Partners), Unique Homestays is proud to stay independent.

Three years ago, the Cornwall-based firm set out on a mission to refine its collection, design and build a new website and devise a multi-channel brand awareness campaign – which it has now launched. Rather than portfolio growth like others, Unique Homestays only accepts around 10% of homes that enquire.

In its 18th year, the company is proud to stay under the same ownership of sole director and founder Sarah Stanley. Unique Homestays has tripled its workforce since its last website (in 2013), employing 35 members of staff (33 in Cornwall) and is on track to bring £14.8 million into the UK travel economy this year alone with only 188 properties on its books – an increase of 18.4% on 2018’s £12.5 million. By focusing on the highest quality homes and service, the average booking value has risen by 20% on 2019, now at £2,340 per booking.

Head of brand, Francesca Reed, said: “When we got our heads together around the table it was unanimous that we wanted to take a pared-back and understated approach, continuing to innovate in an increasingly noisy marketplace, with cutting-edge technology.

“The new mobile-first website is clean and refined, allowing the properties to do the talking. The design draws more from the owners, who are fascinating in themselves. We also incorporate local, independent chefs, galleries, wellbeing providers and restaurants in a bid to support small businesses too.

“We’ve worked with some amazing photographers, digital specialists and designers to create an ownable style. To showcase the new look, we’ve invested in a big brand campaign to run across titles from World of Interiors, Conde Nast Traveller, The Sunday Times, Guardian and more. We will be promoting our new film on digital channels including YouTube. The new website and marketing campaign are huge investments for us, and I hope continues to show creative and committed we are in marketing own owners’ homes.”