Catering for the future of ‘holidaying at home’ sector

Self-catering operators from across the South East attended a ‘Holiday Homes in Ireland’ workshop in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel last week.

Self-catering operators from across the South East attended a ‘Holiday Homes in Ireland’ workshop in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel last week.

The workshops, hosted by Fáilte Ireland, unveiled the ‘New Vision’ strategy to help support and reposition the Irish self-catering sector.

Included in the strategy is a new self-assessment categorisation scheme whereby operators can choose to promote their property as “family friendly,” “walkers welcome,” etc., as well as a number of recommendations and options to the existing classification scheme as requested by the Sector Steering Group.

Fáilte Ireland worked with the Irish Self-Catering Federation and the wider self-catering sector in 2011 on a sector review process that culminated in the development of a “New Vision for the Irish Home Self-Catering Sector” report in January of this year. An industry-led group has been working with Fáilte Ireland since January to implement the recommendations of the report.

“Fáilte Ireland realises how difficult the operating environment is for self-catering operators, something that is not helped by an over-dependency on the domestic market,” Fáilte Ireland’s Tracey Coughlan said at the workshops.

“Visitors today are looking for that something extra and we believe the self-catering operators are well placed at the heart of their local communities here in Kilkenny to offer that added value. With such a strong focus on the home holiday market in Ireland this summer, self-catering is an ideal accommodation base and option for Irish families.While staying in the local area, self-catering offers families the opportunity to engage in activities and attractions such as OPW sites, free walks, cycling lanes, just to mention a few. It is our aim to not only promote this wonderful product to the domestic market but also encourage more overseas visitors to think of a holiday home in Ireland as an option this summer.”

A change in how the sector is promoted is also being made as “self-catering” is rebranded as “holiday homes in Ireland” for domestic and international marketing purposes, in conjunction with a new tagline, “Your Holiday, Your Way.” A campaign is being rolled out throughout the summer season to promote the sector and new brand.