Sunday, 24 August 2014

Merlin Farm's latest award - Unique Eco Escape

Our Cornish Eco Cottages have won 'Best Eco Escape' in the 2014 Unique Holiday Cottages Awards! 

Awards Judges said "The Eco Cottages stood out for their truly luxurious feel as well as its extensive list of baby and toddler equipment and clearly investing in a lot of equipment which allows them to be a first class eco friendly self catering provider".

Anna Fern, founder of Unique Holiday Cottages added "This year’s standard was incredibly high but it was your cottages in this category that stood out above the rest".

Thank you to the judges and Anna for our award, including us in your collection of unique properties and for all your help promoting us throughout the year via social media.

We are delighted to receive recognition for our efforts in providing exceptional self catering accommodation. 2014 seems to be a triumphant year for us as this latest accolade joins our 'Gold' Green Tourism Business Scheme award, 'Gold' Quality in Tourism award and 'Certificate of Excellence' award from Trip Advisor. We have also been shortlisted for a 'Goldstar', a further award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for representing the greenest 2% of the total 2400 membership. The winners will be announced on 10th November 2014.

 Lowenna admiring our beautiful glass plaque
awarded by Unique Holiday Cottages

Click to visit Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

Friday, 1 August 2014

An answer to the summer school holiday madness in the UK?

OK, so this is my suggestion, and I suspect many will probably agree, let's see.....

School summer holidays = chaos, silly season, expensive, too busy, stressful (aren't holidays supposed to be relaxing?). Anyone have anything to add to the list? 

As a resident of Cornwall I want to hide away from the invasion. I want to escape but I can't. It can take up to four times longer than usual to get from A to B. It is a stressful and unpleasant experience going to the supermarket, into town, etc (tail backs into Newquay for miles on a rainy day when all the tourists jump in their cars). You simply can't just 'pop' into town, it takes hours! You can't find a car parking space. It is a strain on infrastructure and a logistical nightmare for police, emergency services, hospitals, road/rail networks, refuse, and water supply/treatment. Not to mention mobile networks and broadband speeds! We had to wait over 2 hours for our meal to arrive in our local pub, the place was quite literally mobbed! As a business they need this, they can't turn it down but in effect they are ruining their fabulous reputation they have gained the rest of the year by trying to meet the demand in the six week season. OK, moan over and sorry to offend holiday makers, it's not your fault! 

As a holiday cottage complex owner I want and need people to visit our beautiful County and occupy our cottages (preferably all year round). We don't think of guests as a commodity, we enjoy what we do and we have met some fabulous people over the ten years, many becoming friends. Cornwall is a wonderful place to visit for families all year round, so why do we have to box ourselves into this silly six week season??? Take a leaf out of Germany's book. Their school summer holidays span over a 3 month period, 6 weeks staggered (by county) from June to September, and rotating ever year. We could do this! Imagine a steady influx of families from June to September, Cornwall would be a pleasant place to visit and live instead of a potential nightmare. Businesses like mine could average their prices over the 3 months instead of hike them. I don't like having to charge our guests as much as we do but due to school fines families no longer come outside of the six weeks summer holiday. We need to charge more in this period to keep our business afloat over the rest of the year. I am fed up of having to justify this to frustrated guests who question our pricing structure and why we can't offer deals in the summer season!

Many businesses choose to/can't afford to open and staff up until Easter, then it's a struggle to carry this through between Whitsun and the summer holidays. 

It's not rocket science, lengthen the seasons, improve the visitor experience, make Cornwall, and other tourist resorts a more pleasant place to be. By staggering holidays, accommodation providers can lower their prices, parents won't have to break the law by taking their children out of school in favour of a cheaper out of season deal. Why are responsible parents being made to feel like naughty children by wanting to spend a holiday with their child(ren)? The same could be done for half terms, the entire months of February and October we could welcome families, a different half term week for different parts of the country. 

I don't want to offend anyone by writing this, I just want the school holidays to be a pleasant experience for visitors and residents. It has never been explained to me why the school holidays have to be fixed like this by a politician or school head. The only negative comments have been from some parents with children in different schools but by staggering holidays by county this would only effect a small number of children spanning borders. This could also enable families who work in the tourist industry to take a holiday in the summer themselves as it will be easier to find cover in a not so chaotic season. 

Please feel free to debate on this or enlighten me on any areas I may have missed. 
Thank you for reading,