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Alastair Sawday: What have they done for you lately?
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debk



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 1056
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: Alastair Sawday: What have they done for you lately? Reply with quote

http://www.sawdays.co.uk/

Seems A.S. is currently quite the topic here at LMH, eh? Smile

In that theme, I'm hoping that some of you Sawdays experts could help me?

A few months ago I ordered an AS application for a friend who is just getting started with a villa out in the Portuguese countryside. In the process, AS started emailing me even though I never filled out an application (nor read anything about costs). Two weeks ago they called at the last minute and asked to take a look at our places. Three minutes ago, I received a call saying all 4 of our Lisbon properties have been accepted to their upcoming Portugal guide, 2007-2009.

Lovely news. Ummmm. Do I want to do this?

I'm feeling quite unprepared to respond to them. Could some of you who are already AS-involved please share some feedback with those us who have never ever seen an AS guide?

1. Does the book bring in reservations?

2. Does the web link bring visitors to your pages?

3. Are the guests high maintenance? Or are they willing to value the quirkness of local building codes? Our only problem has been with a guest who totally did not grasp our emphasis on the historic aspects of this area, specifically in regards to historic buildings. That means the stairs definitely do not adhere to 21st century building codes, the walls are very thick and the windows, therefore, deep-set and small (what??? no huge picture windows?? Shocked ), etc, etc.

4. Having joined once, did you resubscribe for another two years?

5. Any other feedback, suggestions or comments?

The price offered is reasonable, so I'm mostly worried about the type of guest. Some of their writeups look hoity-toity... and that frightens me. I want to attract the independent travellers who are engaged and looking for something unique, something OTHER than a Ritz look-alike.

Not sure I'm making sense but hope you can see through my ramblings as it has been a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad week. Rolling Eyes
debk
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we'll have to wait for Catherine to reply, but I was thinking of asking the same thing! I've got the application forms to fill in, but I don't know if it will be worth it for me as my cottages have been moreorless full from 5th April - 5th Nov this year and I've already got 35 weeks booked for next year with my current advertising, all of which is internet based. Having said that, I still have a couple of internet sites that are not performing which I could ditch if I went with the AS guide instead (assuming I were accepted of course!)
I'm very tempted to give it a go.
CatherineS, I know you have done very well with Sawday, can you divulge what percentage of bookings you have got from the guide as opposed to other advertising? Also what were the guests like?
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Fraise



Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 2083
Location: Charente Maritime and Middle England

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange! My application form arrived in the post this week .I don't know if I will bother or not?

www.thepetitmanoir.com
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debk



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 1056
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. A parallel conversation in another thread seemed worth repeating here:

Quote:
the a.sawdays guide was discussed quite a few times by our guests...


comments like this sway me in the direction of signing up.

Catherine, Janskov, keithfenton and others... any new updates to provide now that you've been with them for a while?

thanks much,
debk
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janskov



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 124
Location: Croatia, South Dalmatia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just signed up this year and the Croatia catalogue is not out until November. So we will have to just wait and see.
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debk



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 1056
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the Croatia catalogue is not out until November


Oh, well, I guess it's too early to see results then. I'll check in again on November 2.

No, wait, you'll still be swamped with AS inquiries. I'll wait until November 5, when you've booked all of 2007 and 2008. Smile

Good luck!
debk
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janskov



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 124
Location: Croatia, South Dalmatia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Careful now. Us foreigners do not understand irony. Smile
You are just lucky I am Danish. We have it as a national hobby and think that we invented it. It gives all sorts of problems with other nationalities when they think that we actually mean what we say.
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debk



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 1056
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We have it as a national hobby and think that we invented it.


Hmmm, maybe that's why I love the Danish!
debk
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Normandy Cow



Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 2692
Location: Normandy

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susan wrote:
I think we'll have to wait for Catherine to reply,

Yes, absolutely I will be renewing next year (assuming that I will be "accepted" again!! Laughing ), I think it is fantastic value for money (cheaper than Holiday-Rentals for example).
It's difficult to tell exactly how many enquiries I got directly from the AS website and the book, as often they contact me via my website rather than from the AS enquiry page, and also I have not been very good at analysing my stats (too busy on LMH!!!!).
But, I am convinced that being able to say that we have been inspected and accepted by AS, on other listing sites such as H-R and OwnersDirect, has been a major contributing factor to our success this year. Very Happy

Deb:
I don't think that the type of people who read the AS books are "high maintenance". I think that the recent TV program which featured Mr Sawday himself inspecting a chambres d'Hotes in France did a disservice by calling the books "luxury hotel guides". This is not what they are about. They are about unusual and special places, not necessarily luxurious (although they are definitely not "coal-holes"!) I think that people who read these books tend not to be the type of people who would want to stay in a 5-star hotel, rather they want to stay somewhere nice, comfortable, and with a bit of charm. I went to Paris with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we booked into a small hotel on the left bank that we got from the AS website, simply because I did not want to stay in some faceless big chain hotel. Our room was 140Euros per night - not particularly cheap, but not outrageous for such a great location, and the hotel itself was really lovely.
Deb, having seen the photos of your place in Portugal, I think that it is absolutely the type of place that the AS guides are looking for, so I am not surprised that you have been accepted! I hope that you will find it worthwhile, should you decide to take the plunge. (And if you have never seen one of the books, I suggest you pop in to your local WH Smith or Waterstones and take a peek so you will see the quality for yourself). Good Luck!!!
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Last edited by Normandy Cow on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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debk



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 1056
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's a glowing recommendation. Thank you so much!

And that's a good idea to try to find a copy of the guide. None of our local stores have any decent English-language book sections, but I'll check it out anyway. Worth a drop by. Bookstores usually are...

I did finally spend some time on their site looking at Lisbon places. (Like I said, it all caught me by surprise.) And I know of most of the listings, and not all are luxury nor even high-end.

I just want to make sure I'm fishing in the right pond, you know? (After having our first totally unhappy guest, I'm especially focused on doing my best to ensure it doesn't happen again. Confused )

Unless I see/hear anything to the contrary, I think I'll take the plunge. My first print advertising, too. Seems odd, in a way. I hope they'll still be capable of paying online with their credit cards?

Ack, I've no experience with non-tech-saavy guests! Do you think that will be an issue? Do people call you to make reservations? I've actually never had that happen. Shocked Laughing
debk
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vallenuova



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Urbino, Le Marche, Italy

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it's far too late for the original poster to use it (by the way, I'm curious to know if you did join and if you had bookings already) but I just want to give my opinion on AS.
We've been in for the last 4 editions (yes, it does mean that we like it), it started bringing guests when our area was still very very unknown and "off the beaten path", guests are 99% nice, "low maintenance" people (by "low maintenance" I do not mean that they do not require good service but that they tend to know what to expect and won't ask for 5 stars hotel service in a country B&B).
At the moment we also joined their Green Accommodation guide (published last year) and we're seriously thinking about a further project they proposed recently.
One of the best things about being in the AS guides is that my property has been featured in newspaper articles with selected properties in the guide. This brought even more bookings. 15-20% of my bookings come directly from AS (both website and paper guide).
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goosie



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 407
Location: Cotswolds

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

any updates on you sawdays people - are they worth going for?
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Giddy Goat



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Posts: 9060
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the answer's yes - we were already fully booked for this year (I mean for the periods it was realistic to expect interest for) by the time the new "French Holiday Homes" edition was published Goosie, which was last October. But checking out our web stats for recent visitor paths, 11% of them were from Sawday; once they see the availability calendar, that's that but we've had a handful of telephone enquiries on top from people who have spotted our entry in the book but haven't been on line to explore further.

The cost is pretty high but at least you're in the book, and even if you didn't re-subscribe for the next edition (they come out bi-annually,) books tend to have a longer shelf life than two years. In the meantime, you do also get two years' worth of exposure on their website.

The jury's still out though and I'll have a better idea next year!
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just had my first definite booking from Alistair Sawday (i.e. the client mentioned that is where they found us). Only thing is it is for 2 weeks in August which would have got booked anyway (or maybe not next year, credit crunch and all that??)
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Giddy Goat



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Posts: 9060
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done LV - no, you'd have got it booked I'm sure, but I'm glad it's working and maybe a bit of your success will rub off on me!
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