Thursday, 15 July 2010

The power of the press

A couple of weeks ago, Her Outdoors got a phone call from a journalist: Would we be interested in being featured in The Observer Magazine on July 18th as one of Europe's new eco campsites?

HER OUTDOORS: Um... Yes. (If we had money, we'd be advertising in The Observer fordeityssake. If we were going to choose one paper, that would be it.)

JOURNO: Could you email a few photos over tomorrow?

HER OUTDOORS: Er... OK.

Cue montage of scenes the following day, rushing around, spreading sand, weaving wood, moving and erecting the yurt, tweaking the porch, strimming, tidying, putting the cover on, then shooting the pic two posts below, which hides the fact that the wall wasn't even roped all the way round, the kitchen wasn't plumbed in and the compost toilet interior hadn't been built.

We sent the shots over.

I figured I'd have this week to take more shots, add them to the écovallée website, post them on greentraveller.co.uk (who've very kindly done a deal with us) and have everything ready for the suspected deluge of interest on the back of said article.

But I was wrong. The deluge started last Sunday, when the article actually ran.

As of this moment, we have one week available until mid September (July 31st to August 7th if you're interested.) I know (aah bless, he's fallen in love with the italics button) that wouldn't have happened off the back of an ad - whatever the size. I am stunned, grateful, excited and a little scared (Her Outdoors will be pleased by this - she says my blog lacks emotional content).

It's a powerful thing, the press. And in the case of this particular newspaper, which I've read has been under threat over the last few months, long may it continue to wield it.

(Oh, I don't know if it got lost in the ether, but they didn't use the photo; just grabbed one from the website. Never mind, it meant I had time to plumb in the kitchen and build the toilet before our first guests arrived. Which is a relief.)

UPDATE: That week's gone now, sorry. No room in the yurt now until mid September - and two people have asked about then!

4 comments:

Jim & Katie from Lewes said...

Congratulations on your grand opening!

And for sticking with it after all the stuff the French system threw at you...

May your campsite be a happy and prosperous place. We'll come and stay with you one summer when we have more than £3.50 in our holiday fund!

All our love

Jim & Katie

Alex Crowe said...

Thanks guys. Our love back atcha.

Rupert Hughes said...

I'm so pleased for you after all the hard work and now fully booked through the season - that's fantastic.

Didn't see the article in the paper (don't buy any papers anymore - blame it on kids and the internet), but just read it on guardian.co.uk. You're an official top 10 European glampsite! How superb!

Bits of free advice that may or may not be things you're already doing/done:
Have you thought about setting up a Facebook page for Ecovallee? Also, make sure that you can be found on Trip Advisor so that all your happy punters can leave you wonderful feedback after their fabulous sojourn with you.

Both these channels have worked reasonably well for other holiday-type businesses that I know.

Hope this summer is a huge success.
Love to you all.
Rup

Alex Crowe said...

Cheers Rup. It probably helps to have our pricing nearly a third of what we intended a few years ago; but then I'm sure we'll be meeting a wider variety of people. We could never afford what some yurt camps are charging, even when we had money.

Yes, we do have a facebook page and are on Trip Advisor. We've also listed with greentraveller.co.uk and goglamping.com - both of these will probably lead to more editorials which is what really seems to excited people. We've got a journalist coming to see us tomorrow from a completely unrelated source.