Location: East Ruston, Norfolk, United Kingdom

About us, Dermot and Sue Allen and our dog friendly holiday cottages. We started with the Old Forge running it for friends in 2005. In 2007/8 we were able to develop our own holiday accommodation, The Old Piggery. The Garden Room was added, belonging to another friend and the success of these prompted a further request to add Red Roofs at Hickling which has been doing very well. In 2012 we are embarking on our next project, New Barn. It isn't new at all (approx 180 years old) but it will be a fabulous new addition to our dog friendly holiday accommodation. Keep watching this space....!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bookings for 2012 - being dog friendly counts!

Really VERY pleased with 2012 bookings.  The Piggery was booked up ages ago, there's only one tiny, wafer thin December week left if anyone wants it?  Read the guestbook to understand what it is makes people come back time after time.  Clue: it's VERY dog friendly but also a nice place for their humans!

Fiona at the Garden Room is also very chuffed with how bookings are going since she joined us.  Booked all through the summer, most of the spring and has had some very healthy winter bookings too.  There is no dog proof garden there but the location is beautiful, the Garden Room is delightful, there are some lovely walks from the door and it suits a great many people with their dogs.

The Old Forge has been slow to start this year but it has a good following of regulars who started the bookings off and now they are building well.  It's been improving year on year since we took it over 6 years ago.  Bookings for the Old Forge are historically made a little later than the Piggery so I'm not worried - we have a good year building.  Summer bookings are looking good and it also does very well in winter - the wood burning stove makes it very cosy on a cold night.  There are no dog restrictions and it sleeps up to 10 so is often full of several sets of friends or large family groups.

It is Red Roofs I am most pleased with.  The owner, Jane, took the property away from the English Country Cottages group as they just weren't working at getting her bookings and, like so many agencies, were taking a whopping 20%+ commission (and being very slack at paying the booking money).  We worked in tandem last year as she had to run to the end of her contract but at the beginning of 2012 it was just little old East Ruston Cottages going it alone.  She (and her accountant!!) were a little nervous about this year and whether I could get them the bookings they needed. They were nervous?? I was terrified!  The might of a national agency v just me and my home grown marketing efforts?  Like David and Goliath all over again!  But we have our secret weapon.... being genuinely dog friendly!  And because we are, people want to come and holiday with their dogs and know that they don't have to worry about them.  It also helps hugely that Red Roofs is a lovely property in an amazing position overlooking Hickling Broad with a fabulous large grass dog proof back garden.

So there we are other holiday property owners - get dog friendly! You know it makes sense!


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