As regular attendees of local and national awards, we were thrilled to be asked to sponsor the South West Tourism Awards 2018/2019 and excited to have been invited to talk about our experience at the South West Tourism Conference this week. We have just 24 hours left as the current winners of the Gold Award for the Best Self-Catering Accommodation in the South West and as we prepare to hand the mantle onto the next worthy winner, we have decided to take a few moments to reflect on the last year’s achievements, no matter how big or small, and some of our best moments.
- We have finally finished our complete refurbishment of Silca Blanka and Surcoat, and we are thrilled with the results! Although all of our cottages maintain their four- and five-star gold status, we like to keep them in fantastic order, so regular makeovers are required. We love the fabulous new looks and quirky accessories, and we think that you will, too.
- In a bid to reduce our use of single-use plastic and think a little more about the provenance of everything that we use, from air fresheners to soaps (and to encourage our guests to, too), we have spent some time working with a great local company to create our own scent, which is to be used in our bespoke collection of ethical products including candles, air fresheners and toiletries.
- Giving back to the community is important to us; we have hosted a number of fabulous charity events, help them to raise in excess of £20,000.
- Our guests are part of the Westward Living family and we love it when we get to welcome them back! We are thrilled to have seen yet another rise in repeat bookings this year.
- We were delighted to open our newest communal living space, nicknamed “The Barn”. This space can be opened by arrangement and is available for hire. It is a great, informal space for group bookings to get together and enjoy quality time.
- Ocean Kave won Best Events Team in the South West – a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the incredible staff that we have the privilege of working with.
- Raffles was promoted to head of guest and employee wellbeing.
- Some of our favourite moments in the year have been when we have hosted groups in several cottages. Our favourite groups included Mindz in Motion, Mencap and a gaggle of golfers.
- Raffles has finalised designs to launch his own selection of products for our canine guests, including doggy biscuits and paw balm.
- For us, Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year, but it is also a time to count our blessings and join with others. Our Christmas Eve carols and mince pies with families and guests was, therefore, incredibly special.
- We are extremely excited to be putting together a brochure of fantastic exclusive local offers for our guests, which will get our residents great value at local attractions and encourage them to explore the area.
- We have negotiated rates and special offers with nearby attractions for our guests to enjoy in 2019
Our service continually evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of our guests. It is fair to say that there is usually a surprise or two lurking around the corner! By working with other local businesses, we can support each other and continue to work hard to promote local commerce.
We would like to wish plenty of luck to every business that has been shortlisted in the South West Tourism Awards 2018/2019 - watch this space for the results!