7 tips to find your dream Yorkshire Coast Holiday Cottage and save money.
1. Use an exact search to find the best cottages
The Yorkshire Coast Holiday Cottages with the most repeat guests are usually the best, and they are often not on the big online travel agencies. You need to book direct. Do you want to know how to find them?? Maybe not even use Google???Click to learn more
Searches you should not use
If you search for any sort of accommodation using phrases such as
- “Self-catering Yorkshire coast”
- “Yorkshire coast holiday cottages”
- “Yorkshire coast holiday accommodation”
only big agencies will be on the first two pages.
Adding a particular resort such as
- “Self-catering Filey”
- “holiday cottage Filey”
- “Self-catering Filey”
may yield a few independent cottages on page 1 or more likely page 2
It is worth noting you may find slightly different lists if you change the order of the words, such as
- “Filey self-catering”
- “Filey holiday cottages”
- “holiday accommodation Yorkshire coast.”
Searches you should use.
Be more specific. Supposing you want to be by a beach with sea views and a downstairs bedroom and bathroom and Wi-Fi. Do a search such as
“Yorkshire coast holiday cottage seafront downstairs bedroom and bathroom Wi-Fi”.
This should give you the best chance of finding your Yorkshire coast holiday cottage. Having refined your search as much as possible start looking at pages 1 to 10. The big agencies should largely disappear and more independent cottages will appear as you move through the pages. This will allow you to book direct.
Think laterally as well. By changing one word with a synonym will almost certainly yield different results. Examples would be replacing “ground floor” with “downstairs” or “bathroom” with “ensuite”.
I always ignore the search results at the top and bottom that are paid for adverts. On Google they have a small green Ad in a square on the left. They are normally just the big agencies and are not always relevant if you have done a detailed search. No cottages which rely on direct bookings will appear in the Ads.
Use DuckDuckGo not google
Duckduckgo is another search engine like google. However, it uses a different algorithm. Duckduckgo search results seem to place independent holiday cottages higher and so you will find cottages which offer direct booking. There are adverts for the big online travel agents, but they do not dominate to the same extent as on Google. Duckduckgo does not track you like google so if you are concerned about privacy it is a better choice.
Whichever browser you use you can set the default browser to DuckDuckGo. You go to settings, then search and then set your default browser by selecting DuckDuckGo from the drop-down list.
2. Book direct
Online booking agencies dominate most searches for holiday accommodation on Google, but they do not have all the cottages and are rarely the cheapest way to book a cottage. How do you contact the owners direct if you see a good Yorkshire coast holiday cottage on an agency site??Click to learn more
Why it is usually cheaper to book direct
Agencies can take quite a high percentage of what you pay when you book a cottage through them. The cottage owner can see up to almost half their actual profits disappearing in some cases, so clearly it is in the cottage owners interest to get direct bookings, and they will usually pass some of their saving on to you.
Many agencies also charge you a booking fee on top of the rent. You avoid this payment if you book direct.
Direct bookings to cottages on agency sites
Agency sites do not give links to cottage owners own websites for obvious reasons. If you find a cottage you like on an agency site, put the name of the cottage and where it is into a Google search e.g. (Hope Cottages, Filey). If they have a website it will usually come up on page 1 or 2. Get in touch direct and see how much you can save. Many independent cottages now have the convenience of you being able to book and pay direct online.
The cottage appears on several different sites
It is possible to book some Yorkshire coast self-catering on several agency sites and the cottages own website. You are still better off contacting the owners direct as they may beat the special deal, so they do not have to pay the commission to the online travel agent.
Strangely all these sites may claim to have the cheapest deal guaranteed. How can that be? This happens more with hotel rooms but is starting to creep in with self-catering as well. To be a legal claim the sites have to be offering a slightly different deal. In the trade it is called “ways to sell” It may be a May special with a bunch of flowers thrown in whereas another site may be for a Valentine day special with a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine thrown in. If it is for an identical offer then I believe it is probably an illegal claim and trading standards would like to know.
3. Think carefully about what you want and beware of advertising hype.
Advertisers are clever people and will seduce you with pictures of children enjoying themselves, bottles of wine, sunsets etc.
Instead of being sucked in remember what you are looking for and stick to the features you want.
Are they really near the beach????Click to learn more
How close do you want to be to the coast?
Be aware that the address of a Yorkshire coast holiday cottage could be a resort, and yet they might be miles from the coast. On some sites “On the Yorkshire coast” could mean any cottage within about 20 miles of the Yorkshire coast. Different sites can interpret “near a beach” very differently as well. Even the word beach can be interpreted differently. Does it just mean a small pebbly shoreline at the base of a steep 200ft cliff or miles of easily accessible golden sands? Do some research and check the actual cottage position carefully and where the beaches are! Some cottages are only yards from a beautiful beach with easy access (e.g. Hope cottages, Filey)
Use our resort pages to find out what the beaches are like
4. Use a Bing local search
Search for the name of a coastal town and the words self-catering (e.g. Filey self-catering) using the Bing search engine (NOT GOOGLE, read more to find out why). Below the top few Ads you will be presented with a box with a map and a few selected accommodation providers in that area.
Google searches used to be good for this but now randomly will either show you a map with red accommodation pins or blue dots which morph into pink accommodation pins. The blue dots and pink pins seem only to show accommodation which is also on the big online travel agencies which are linked to the new Google booking system. The Google Vacation rental tab is even worse showing hotels. Google is trying, understandably, to make money from the big agencies. If you are lucky enough to see the red accommodation pins on Google then you should be seeing a good selection of directly bookable cottages.
Finding sea front properties on Bing
Go straight to the BING map. Click on it and at the time of writing all self-catering providers with a Bing business page seem to appear as a blue rectangle on the map. You have to zoom right in to make all the rectangles in an area appear. Click on a one and the cottages Bing business page opens. The business page has a link to go to the accommodations own website usually. This is particularly useful if you want to be very close to the sea. I know of no other way to so effectively filter for just sea front properties like Hope Cottages in Filey.
Bing currently works well but in its efforts to monetise Bing business then it could go the way of Google and leave out those who they cannot make money from. For the time being though it works well and is very useful.
5. Use Google street view
This lets you stand outside the cottage and view the surroundings to see if you would feel comfortable there. What is it really like?
What is it really like around the cottage?
When a holiday cottage has photos taken they will rarely show a view around the cottage that might put you off. This could be ugly buildings or sheds, a busy main road or a takeaway. Checking around with Google street view is easy and should put your mind at rest.
If you find Google Maps complicated you can go to https://www.instantstreetview.com/
Just put in the properties address, and it will take you straight to a Google street view. Then you can change the view using your mouse and clicking on the road ahead to move to a new viewpoint.
You can also check out the local seafront this way as well.
6. Choose your week carefully
Prices for a week in a Yorkshire coast holiday cottage vary enormously depending on the week you choose. Do you want to save 70% or more?Click to learn more
When is it cheapest
Prices of Yorkshire coast holiday cottages vary according to the time of the year much more than in hotels or inland cottages. It is simply supply and demand. The difference has increased in recent years because parents can be fined for taking holidays during term time. This means the demand is even greater in school holidays than it used to be. A factor of about times 3 is common for variation between lowest and highest season.
The best value on a per night basis is to take a week during January, February, November and December as long as it is not a half-term or Christmas holiday. Do avoid all school holidays if you can, including half-terms for the best deals.
Most holiday cottages offer short breaks out of the main holiday season and can be more flexible on start and finish dates.
Couples get it cheaper still
Couples can often get big discounts out of the main holiday season on larger cottages making even 3 bedroomed properties a cheap deal for a couple. This is very useful for couples as there are not many 1 bedroomed cottages.
What is it like in winter
Most cottages are centrally heated and double-glazed. Many cottages also have some form of stove or feature fire, so the cottages are suitable for all year round holidays. An example is Hope Cottages, Filey which also gives discounts for couples.
At these times everywhere is quieter and although a few seasonal attractions are closed, many are still open and the beaches and cliff walks are quieter. The walks are more exhilarating and the sea can be rough and wild. Most people find this view of nature in the raw exciting and of course the beachcombing is much better. Who knows what you might find on one of your walks along the sands. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes!
Use our beachcombing pages to find out more about winter gales and what treasures they wash up
7. Read reviews but…..
Many reviews are fake so are they really worth reading?Click to learn more
Read the reviews
Yes they are worth reading if you are armed with some knowledge. Any genuine review is obviously helpful and this is the argument used to justify so many review sites for businesses and accommodation on the internet. It is generally accepted that a customer is 6 times more likely to write a review if they want to complain so expect a few negative reviews. In fact, it is a bit suspicious if they are all 5 stars. Few if any establishments can satisfy every single persons whims.
Who wrote the review
Some reviews (e.g. on Google and Facebook) do not allow the owners to delete any reviews, so you may think they are reliable. However, did you know that they allow anybody to write a review whether they have ever stayed in the cottage or not!!! Crazy! Google and Facebook will not remove them because there is no way a cottage owner can prove that they have not stayed with them. This means anybody for whatever reason can write these reviews good or bad. There are even companies that you can find on Google who will write reviews for any business. They cost about £5 a review. Some businesses use these companies to help mask the bad reviews they keep getting. I do find it incredible that Google actually indexes companies which aim to subvert their own review systems. Nobody really knows the extent of the paid for “Reputation management” reviews. It is worth reading this news article. A search for “fake reviews” will find many similar articles. On a smaller scale some cottages get friends and family to write good reviews.
Looking at just the star rating is a waste of time unless you see how many ratings have been made. A 4-star rating on a cottage with 25 ratings is to me a much better indication of quality than 5 star on 3 ratings all of which could have been the owners friends.
It is also important to remember that some systems only allow people who have stayed at the property to respond whereas others allow anybody who wants to. There is no overall star rating system.
Some OTAs use a star rating system based on facilities which is nothing to do with the experience guests have had. So it’s all a bit of a minefield.
Conversely, if you are a disgruntled guest who was told off for smoking say then you can get some of your friends to write bad things about the cottage to get back at the owner. It happens. There have even been cases of competitors writing bad reviews for accommodation near their own to adversely affect their competitors.
To add to the confusion; Google, using a phones GPS position, often prompts people to write reviews and post photos when they are near a business or attraction. However, it is all too easy for this not to be the business the person is actually at. These reviews may be good or bad but are clearly useless for evaluating the business.
So as long as you are aware of the pitfalls read them, and you will get an idea and I bet, spot some fake ones, not just on holiday cottages but on any business.
I hope this guide helps you find your perfect holiday cottage on the Yorkshire coast. If you want to know more about the difference resorts then do go to our best resorts page