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Best of Wales
2 Feb 2011
‘Staycation’ gives Welsh holiday business staying power
A new Welsh online holiday cottage business is soaring, achieving its target turnover of £200,000 in its first year of trading thanks to the rise of the ‘staycation’.
Best of Wales, the brainchild of former colleagues Llion Pughe, 30, and Gareth Mahoney, 32, was set up with support from Venture Wales, and is attracting bookings from across the UK as well as from international markets and is on course to double its turnover in 2011.
The online holiday let business, which offers luxurious four and five star accommodation at self-catering cottages and apartments across
Llion, who runs www.bestofwales.co.uk full time from Cemaes, near Machynlleth said: “We’ve had a really successful first year partly due to a growing trend for people to holiday closer to home. A harsh economic climate, plummeting exchange rates and an ongoing threat of travel disruption all played a part in encouraging people to holiday in the
Set up in February 2010, Best of Wales turned to Venture Wales, the leading business support organisation in
The Best of Wales website launched with just 30 available properties, aiming to have 50 properties available by the end of the year. But business has been strong and the website now offers over 100 luxury cottages and apartments with plans to double this figure over 2011.
Llion explains, “We’ve seen our properties steadily increase as our current clients recommend us to their friends. We offer property owners a flexible service and without restrictions on when owners can or can’t use their own accommodation. We also offer some of the most competitive commission rates making us all the more appealing to those who are looking to make money from their property investment.”
2011 will also see Best of Wales link up with Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel and review site. All of the properties featured on Best of Wales are now listed on the travel website, providing a shop-window to a wider, international audience and giving holiday makers access to a range of feedback including property reviews.
Llion says: “In our first year we wanted to concentrate on attracting bookings from the
It is also hoped that plans to offer additional services including a visiting masseur and an in-house chef in order to enhance the five star offering as well as a bespoke Welsh experience will also drive business development.
Those interested in immersing themselves in Welsh culture will be able to book Welsh lessons through Best of Wales which, following the recent launch of a Welsh version of the website, now offers a fully bilingual service.
Says Llion: “There’s little catering for Welsh speakers in the market. Twenty-two percent of our bookings come from people who are based in
“We’ve had a great first year of trading, and have big plans for 2011. Building on our list of properties, attracting visitors from around the globe, catering for Welsh speakers and learners and offering competitive prices are just some of the things we’ve got planned for the year. By giving holidaymakers access to Welsh lessons we hope to offer a truly unique service and a memorable experience to visitors and build our business as a result.”
Phil Cooper, Chief Executive of Venture Wales, said: Llion and Gareth have made a real success of their entrepreneurial ambitions, evolving Best of Wales from a small online start up into a quickly growing business. We’ve worked with Llion and Gareth to support and advise them on the best way for the business to reach its potential.
“When they first approached Venture Wales they had strong ideas about where they wanted to be in the marketplace and were determined to develop a high-end product pitched at holidaymakers seeking real luxury from self-catering accommodation. Their reputation is quickly spreading through word of mouth and this has resulted in many new and returning guests and a growing number of available properties.”