Cottages & Castles

Winning market share from Airbnb

92% Increase in paid search conversions year on year

Cost per conversion decreased by 20% for same period

42% Increase in property owner bookings

At the time of our appointment Cottages & Castles regularly placed small ads in the national classified travel sections, in niche travel & tourism magazines and in some indigenous newspaper supplements with the express purpose of driving requests for their physical brochure.

Competition from the likes of Airbnb and other self-catering accommodation providers was ramping up considerably and UK holidaymakers were increasingly conducting research, booking and sharing travel inspirations online.


One of the main challenges from the outset was the modest marketing budget that we had at our disposal – the nature of the sector is that businesses like Cottages & Castles make a competitive commission on every booking – and we had to ensure we could demonstrate value for money and make sure every marketing pound spent was spent in the right place.

We started with a root & branch audit and set up of the Cottages & Castles Google Analytics account, carried out by our Technology division. Our search marketing specialists then began to explore ways to get the most out of organic SERP listings & ensure that on-page and off-page SEO techniques were maximising organic visibility.

Building out the right combinations of targeted keywords and compelling ad copy, location & interest targeting for display, ongoing account optimisation and the best use of video in YouTube created the foundations of a healthy and sustainable paid search strategy.

Cottages & Castles’ offering is made for social media. Their fantastic range of properties is complemented by fantastic imagery and – often user-generated – video collateral & their range of ‘inspirations’, from pet-friendly breaks to romantic getaways & stunning waterside retreats, allowed us to deploy some clever targeting and inject some contextually relevant yet fun copy into our paid ads. Facebook’s lead generation ads were also ideal for driving newsletter sign ups and building an engaged database.

Space & Time

Beyond the brief

Providing ongoing training in SEO was a fundamental part of the relationship – ensuring that the client had the relevant knowledge to enable them to prioritise and manage elements of what is an increasingly important space.

Subsequently our Training division were able to support the team at Cottages & Castles to build their expertise and therefore expedite their transformation plans.

In addition to this we were able to call on other areas of expertise around the agency – such as consumer research and UX – to share useful sector insights and help the client explore other areas such as CRO and website design.

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We have always found the team at Space & Time to be highly professional but very friendly and personable at the same time. They are currently working hard to maximise the return from our budget & we are seeing some great results - long may it continue!

Mathew Bettoli Digital Marketing Manager, Cottages & Castles