So, you are thinking of letting your holiday home. You’ll want to know what makes us different, as well as lots of details. Read on for answers to most of the frequently asked questions…
Who are we?
We are Forever Cornwall. We specialise in unique, cherished holiday homes all around Cornwall’s coastline and creeks. In our collection we have beach houses, contemporary homes, barn conversions and apartments, as well as ‘traditional’ cottages. All are hand picked and beautifully equipped for the perfect break in Cornwall.
What makes us different?
We have five clear values that drive the way we do business. We hope they chime with you.
- Bespoke: We are small, personal and helpful, and work closely with you.
- Experiential: We give guests brilliant start-to-finish holiday experiences.
- Local and independent: We are truly local and independently owned and managed.
- Ethical: We care about local communities and the environment.
- Effective: We achieve high occupancy, high annual income, and keep our costs as low as possible.
What does Forever Cornwall do?
The list is long, and includes:
– Helping you get ready to let, and advising on room configuration, decor, furniture and furnishings. Anything that helps you to create the best possible holiday home.
– We can offer a popular interior design service if you need it.
– Signposting on compliance, fire, risk and safety.
– Making sure photos and text descriptions show off your property in the best possible way.
– Marketing and advertising you effectively online and in the media.
– Taking all enquiries by email and phone, answering guest questions.
– Taking payments and holding deposits securely, and paying you.
– All customer liaison before and after the stay to build strong customer satisfaction and loyalty.
– Property management for some owners.
– Maintaining standards.
– Being your expert in the business, and helping you continue providing premium sustainable accommodation.
Do you offer ‘full service’?
Yes. You can opt for Owner Managed where you appoint and pay housekeepers and manage your property or Full Service where we look after housekeeping and property management for you. Our standard commission covers Owner Managed, and we quote Full Service on an individual basis
Who does the housekeeping?
Housekeeping is provided by an individual or team local to your property. Some owners already have housekeepers in place when they come onboard with us. We have lots of contacts and can make recommendations, and of course we can also offer a fully managed service if you require it. We liaise closely with the housekeeper who gets regular updates from us on who’s staying — and who then makes your property sparkle. They also report issues and possible breakages to us. Together with your housekeeper, we are your team!
How does the interior design service work?
Some of our owners find this really helpful, whilst others have no need for it. We work closely with Helena, an excellent independent interior designer. Helena works direct for owners who we refer her to. She will visit the property and meet you, discuss your needs and budget, then give you mood-boards and product lists. She can procure for you and manage contractors. Helena is also our photographic stylist on all photoshoots.
What commission does Forever Cornwall charge?
Our standard commission is 17.5% + VAT (making 21% total). Our aim is always to achieve a high annual income for you and to make sure we ‘pay for ourselves’ and more.
What income can I expect?
We will give you a careful evaluation and can provide letters to mortgage companies if you need this.
Who pays for the photos?
Photos are the one thing we charge for that’s not covered in the commission. The set price for the shoot is £500 + VAT. It’s a really important investment and includes up to a day’s photography from a highly experienced architectural/lifestyle photographer, plus a stylist, photographic props, and management from a Forever Cornwall director on the day. There will usually be 20-30 photos. Any photos that have to be taken to update marketing at later dates are paid for by us.
How and when do owners get paid?
We will make payment to you at the end of each calendar month, and take our commission at the same time. Payment to you and commissions are based on the value of the all weeks of occupancy with starting dates in the relevant month. Every penny of deposit and any other guest payments made to us are held in a secure Client Account until after guests check-in.
Do we need a Welcome Pack?
Yes. The welcome pack is specific by us, is procured and put in by your housekeeper, and charged to you (average cost £15-20 per stay). We encourage buying fresh and local — and cleaning/washing products should be eco-friendly.
What happens if guests have problems during their stay?
We will state the housekeeper’s name and mobile number in the Guest Directory as the first point of contact for emergencies during stays. If properties are well managed calls are rare and usually about simple things, but of course sometimes crises come up — WiFi, heating, plumbing are the most likely. Guests do also often call Forever Cornwall instead of housekeepers, in which case of course we’ll liaise with the housekeeper.
Is there a security deposit, and what does it cover?
All guests agree to a level of security (£200, £350 or £500, depended on the property). We call this the Housekeeping Bond and guests agree to be charged an amount up to this level, following their stay, in the event of any damages. Alternatively guests can pay a non-refundable waiver which insures them up to the same value. The Housekeeping Bond covers breakages, damages, additional cleaning, removal of excess waste and late departure.
What if we don’t want to take dogs?
That’s fine, it’s your choice. Some properties are suitable for dogs and some are not. Dog-Friendly properties do let more weeks in winter when they are popular with walkers. We charge an extra £25 per dog for you. We suggest you keep half for additional wear and tear – and give the other half to your cleaner in return for some extra cleaning time.
Do you limit the time we stay in our own property?
We do not have a specified maximum number of “Owner Weeks”. Rather, we take the view that we have a shared objective with you; to make your holiday home investment a good source of income.
What about refunds and compensations?
There are very rare instances where guest’s holidays are materially affected by a problem to the extent that it is appropriate to offer a refund or compensation. We will always discuss this with you carefully before making any agreement with a guest. Refunds, when they occur, are usually partial and a matter of good customer care. Our job is also to mediate between owners and guests in the rare instances when there are disputes.
I hear you are into sustainability?
Yes we are. Like everything else, tourism has an environmental impact. So in everything we do, we aim to minimise that impact. Of course not every property we represent is an eco-home (although some are), but we do try to make sure that each one makes its contribution to greener tourism. We urge owners to switch to green energy electricity tariffs, brief housekeeping teams to use eco-friendly cleaning products, to encourage guests to recycle, and to buy local in support of surrounding economy.
We have a Carbon Neutral scheme, which all owners subscribe to. Being part of it costs £37 per bedroom per year and in 2019 we planted over 17,000 trees thanks to owner’s support. The company also offsets the carbon generated by all of its activities.
We will be stepping up our approaches to sustainability in 2021. Our aim is to be fully carbon neutral (or ‘net zero’) as well as making sure that we, and all of our owners, are following environmental best practices to ensure that, together, we are making the best contribution we can in the fight against climate change.
Do we have to comply with fire and safety rules?
Yes. As the ‘responsible party’ you are obliged to make sure you are have gone through a Fire Risk Assessment process and enacted anything necessary. Similarly you need to make sure that electrical appliances are inspected regularly, and that C02 alarms are in place. None of this is onerous and we can advise you — there is lots more information here: https://www.forevercornwall.co.uk/resources/compliance
What about accounting records?
HMRC has specific tax rules for furnished holiday lettings. In practice it’s fairly simple but you should get professional accounting advice. We will send you monthly income records, and we can send some other sorts of report should you or your accountant need them. You may find this link helpful.
What marketing do you do?
Here’s a summary of our marketing approaches. Each property will be marketed through the most appropriate channels.
– Our website; we are constantly evolving it, it’s mobile friendly, searchable etc of course. About 70% of bookings come this way. Online payments are through SagePay and Elavon which is a global top 5 payment partner.
– International marketing. We can also take international payments etc, and do particularly well with German visitors. Our website carries German, Dutch, and French translations.
– We invest heavily in Google Adwords and Google Display Advertising, and actively manage keywords for the locations and style of property we represent.
– Affiliate websites — some properties also get a CoolStays, Host Unusual, or Airbnb listing, which in conjunction with our marketing helps to build year-round occupancy levels. We fully manage these channels and answer all enquiries in the minimum of time.
– Our eNewsletter. Our mailing list stands at about 20,000 – existing customers and others who have subscribed or expressed interest. We mail a monthly newsletter which has in-depth content, as well as special offer and new property alerts.
– We run advertisements and features in Cornwall Living magazine, both in Cornwall and in Bristol & Bath and London editions, with editorial slots every month.
– Social media which includes a strong following on Facebook and Instagram – this includes Facebook advertising.
– PR features in national and other regional press. We have had coverage in The Guardian, Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Coast Magazine, Cornwall Today and many niche titles.
– Online PR lifestyle bloggers. We have had coverage on Luxury Lifestyle, Little Green Shed, Feet on the Ground, Dog Friendly Cornwall, and others.
– Our Welcome back Promise. All Forever Cornwall guests get an automatic entitlement to a 5% discount off any property at any time, and “our owners” are entitled to the same. This is a great boost to customer loyalty.
– Friendly bookings and cross-selling; whist most bookings are online, we take phone calls all week and Saturday mornings – answering questions prior to bookings which also allows us to cross-sell (eg when one property is booked we can offer another).
We hope you like our approach! You may have other questions and we’ll go through all of this when we meet.
Kind regards, Phil Gendall
Managing Director, Forever Cornwall