Monday 31 August 2009

Flying Swimming Pool at Biot, Alpes Maritime, South of France

The peace and tranquillity of this picturesque hilltop village located between Antibes and Nice was disturbed for a few minutes in the late morning of Friday 28th August 09 around 11.00 a.m.
Notices had gone up in the village's additional parking zone in Chemin due Jeu de la Beaume, a large area of grass opposite the Biot football ground that a helicopter would be landing to collect a swimming pool.
Out of the sky came the red monster that landed and collected a swimming pool that had recently been off loaded from a transporter. A few minutes it took off again with the pool attached to a rope and headed north.
What happended next? Find out here

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Do you need to let your holiday home this autumn?

We are fast approaching the end of August, but there are still people seeking last minute holidays.

If you have a self catering holiday rental you need to maximise it's earning capacity, particularly if you have a mortgage to service plus the normal running costs of holiday home property.

The self catering rentals market is an all year round business in most locations and although the peak summer season is closing, you should still be looking for more bookings and showing your property's availability for the 2010 season.

At we don't charge a lot of money to advertise a property. A one year advertisement costs £11.75 including VAT that is approximately €13.41 or $19.23 (depending on current exchange rates).

The rates for people paying in euros have improved so much over the years. Further down we have some details fom the site in Spanish and French and when that was prepared the cost was around €17.05 now it is €13.41 on the exchange rate at 25th August 09

That is really good value considering an advertiser can change the prices, details six photos as often as they want, have a link to their own website and monitor performance.

The advertisement lasts a year and that means if it is added today, it will take in next year's summer season too.

Don't leave the property empty, advertise it. Find out more here

Anuncie su propriedad con es una manera effectiva y barata de anuciar su propriedad. Cuesta 11.75 libras (sterling – incluido el IVA) cada año (El coste semana es 1,90 libros/approx. 2,85 euros). El anuncio dura un año.

Es facil de usar (pero tiene que escribir los detalles en ingles). Hay que proveer 6 photos incluyendo el precio de alquiler y las fechas disponibles. Podrá conocer detalles cuando quiera. Tendrá su unico “Login Code” y puede pagar “on line” con tarjeta de credito (via “Secure Trading y HSBC bank). Tan pronto, tengamos noticia de que el pago haga sido hecho su propriedad estará “disponible” (Si tiene su propra web, podemos conectarlas). Cuesta 11.75 libros (sterling) cada año para cada propriedad para anunciar en

Placer une annonce sur pour votre maison. est une façon effiace et moins cher pour faire de la publicité de votre maison secondaire. Le côut est de £11.75 livres sterling (compris la TVA) par ans.(ou approx. 17,50€ euro). L’annonce est valable une annee.

Il sera facile pour vous d’utiliser le systeme (mais vous devez ecrire votre annonce et les details en Anglais). Il faut soumettre 6 photos, le prix de location et les dates de disponlibité. Vous pourrez mettre à jour les details quand vous le voulez. Vous aurez votre propre “Login Code” et vous pouvez payer en ligne par une carte bleue (par “Secure Trading et HSBC bank). Quand vous avez payé et nous avons verifé tous les details, votre maison secondaire sera en “live” (si vous avez votre propre site web, nous pouvons faire creer un lien).

Le côut est selement de £11.75 / 17,05€ par an pour faire la publicite de votre maison secondaire sur

Sunday 16 August 2009

Where have all the car hire rentals gone?

We are now in mid August 2009 at the height of the summer season and for the second week in the row The Independent has featured this story, not only as a news report but also in the editorial. It appear that holidaymakers are finding a severe shortage of rental cars in countries like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and other destinations.

Small cars are particulary in short supply and on the blog in early July I reported the story under “ Book your car hire early this summer - you might not get one at the last minute” of propblems of some people I knew who tried to rent a car at Nice at the last minute and could not find anything apart from an Audi TT that was rather expensive for the week. In the end the person looking after the villa they were renting was able to arrange a rental from a vehicle body repair company that provides courtesy cars.

Car rental companies say they have not been able to buy enough vehicles because of a fall in manufacturing and tighter lending conditions. Normally there would be a large choice of small Citroens, Fiats, Fords, Peugots, Seats and VWs. According to the Independent report “Lease Europe” the industry body for car hire companies was saying that firms had been unable to get the finance needed to expand their fleets and the rules restricting the movement of vehicles across borders to meet demand had compounded the problem. are Holiday Autos agents and their Managing Director Stuart Nassos told The Independent that the shortage was blamed on shortages in the recession as car manufactuers have cut the number of cars being built, therefore fewer are available and also there is a lack of credit. The two combine to create a perfect storm.

Stuart Nassos advised holidaymakers not to rely on an airport booking which may be cancelled at short notice, but to book a car from a city location.

Holidaymakers and business travellers should book in advance and make sure they take out car hire excess insurance which is usually much cheaper than buying it from the car rental company when you collect the car. acts as introducer agents for well known providers like insurance4carhire and questor insurance.

The recession plus the unsettled weather in northern Europe has also been another contributory factor to the shortage. People have suddenly decided to take a last minute holiday in warmer countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain, in fact at we had an email from an agent in the Algarve ten days ago saying she was so busy arranging last minute self catering villa holidays.

The Independent article quoted Michael Taride, President of Hertz Europe telling the BBC that there is a seasonal shortage of rental cars every summer, but it seems to be more acute this year because car makers have cut production due to uncertain economy. There has been a big increase in domestic and US inbound travel and holidaymakers are deciding to go away at the last minute.

An obvious solution is to use older cars in the busy season, however it looks like most hire companies don’t keep car for too long. The Independent’s editorial is of a similar opintion on the 15th August with a headline “ Bring on the old bangers”.

It was a different situation in Ireland when I checked on Friday to rent a car in Dublin for a long weekend commencing 27th August. Both holiday autos and Irishcarrentals had an excellent supply of small cars. Unfortunately the weather won’t be as hot there as in the Algarve.

Dublin is having a very busy summer with visiting cruise liners

Dublin is getting a good number of tourists vistiting the city this year from cruise liners. According to a report in last Thursday's edition of The Irish Times the cruise liner business remains a growth area. Dublin port (pictured on the left) is set to experience a record year with some 75,000 cruise line passengers visiting the capital and surrounding area.
Back in 1994 there were only six ships a year visiting. This year eighty three are expected to visit. The main season is April to September and this reflects the change of cruise holidays to take in northern Europe.
In 1994 Cruise Ireland was established to co-ordinate the tourism industry in the ports of Belfast, Dublin and Waterford. In 2006 Tourism Ireland carried out a survey that estimated that each visting passenger average spend is €113.
Cruise liners visiting Dublin range from the small Delphin, a German vessel carrying 443 passengers to the Crown Princess that carries 3,000 passengers. This is operated by Princess Cruises which is part of the Carnival cruise group.

Monday 10 August 2009

Advertise your holiday rental for £5 per month

I received a "flyer spam" email over the weekend from a self catering holiday homes web site.

The site is based in the UK and covers holiday rentals in many locations throughout the world. The site was set up in early 2008 and they charge GBP £5 per month. Not sure if this includes VAT, however they say they only we only charge by the month and don't tie customers into a contract. If you want to stop advertising at any time you just let them know and cancel the payment. Most companies ask for an annual fee up front or tie you in for a year. This is effectively pay as you go holiday property advertising.

Well this very goo, however if as most people will need to do is market the property 24/7 365 days (and nights) of the year to attract future bookings and last minute bookings. The cost on this fairly new site would be GBP £60 for a year.

We at have been operating since 2001, we do charge advertisers a year in advance.....however our annual charge is ONLY GBP £11.75 including VAT.

This is around 98p per month which is over GBP £4.00 a month cheaper than this new site. Unfortunately we can't take monthly payments of 98p as the charges from the credit car/ debit card transaction compqanies would be so high that it be totally uneconomic.

At the holiday homes website group we currently have 8 sites. On certain sites like Cote dazur, English cottage, Euro villa, Scottish cottage, Villa rental and Welsh cottage we include a FREE advertisement when a vacation home owner pays the £11.75 to advertise on

Apart from Internet marketing of our sites, we also advertise the sites in certain specialist holiday and travel magazines.

Lots of last minute enquiries for holiday rentals in the Algarve

Jane a local agent based in the Algarve, Portugal sent us an email at the end of last week. "we are having lots of last minute enquiries - very hot here" We replied "It is probably all those people in Britain and Ireland who had been promised a great summer (well it was in Wimbledon fortnight!) and have been wet since".
Many people thought that they would not take an overseas holiday this year. The € euro has become much stronger against the GBP £ in the last year. It has lost a quarter of its value, however the wonderful weather that was forecast in April has still not arrive. Following on from a vet wet July in the UK, people are still looking for accommodation and with the state of the market you should stil be able to find self catering bargains.
Book your villa holiday, car hire and your travel insurance. If you are worried about the airline of villa owner going out of business have you considered "Financial Failure Travel Insurance"? This costs around £5 per person. Before you can think of a day at a cold wet beach in the south of England, you are in the Algarve staying at a villa like Villa Eleanor shown in the picture above. It is at Vale do Lobo and is handicap friendly.

Described as a three bedroom semi detached attractive villa with pool that has a jet stream, close to the tennis center, 15minutes walk to the beach, close to all other amenities. Modern decor, wheelchair accessible for both house, pool and gardens, child friendly and a lovely BBQ and outside dining fresco at last! Vale do Lobo is one of the best resorts in Europe with amenities close to none.
So if you are still thinking about a holiday in the sun, take a positive decision today.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

There is still plenty of time left to advertise your holiday rental this year

It might be early August, but at we are still seeing copy enquiries like these.
"Dates required 15th - 22nd August 09"

" if available - looking to rent accomodation from 8/08/09 for 3 weeks - any august availability please? "
"Hello, We are going to visit France from 18.aug to 25 aug. Do you have any availability in this period? What about price one week stay. We are a young and nice Swedish couple.I looking forward to hear from you. Thank you"

This is only a small selection and if you have not got your self catering holiday home advertised on you won't get the enquiries.

Our site is very well established, set up originally in 2001 with partner site . It is very reasonable to advertise on it. £11.75 a year including UK VAT. What can you actually buy for £11.75. A one course meal in your local pub, however this would not include the wine/beer. Petrol for a a hort distance in your car maybe.

With your ad on You get:
6 photos per ad

You load up your own details -including availability, prices & photos.

You change your details and photos whenever you want by using your own password.

Live link to your personal website

Excellent search facilities

Main European holiday destinations covered. If the country is not already listed - we will add it.

Other worldwide destinations covered

Advice for property owners and renters on the site

Payment accepted by secure credit card on line

Stats to track number of visitors

If you have a self catering holiday home to let we would like to hear from you.