How Times Have Changed!
In the over 27 years since we incorporated Cottage Country Management Services Inc. (aka Cottage Country Travel Services), times have really changed. In 1988, the concept of a Private Cottage Rental Agency was new for Ontario and there were no other businesses in Ontario that were dedicated to the marketing and promotion of private cottages. Coming from careers in the Ontario Tourism Industry, we were challenged with making the market(s) aware of a new concept for the province as well as promoting our new business of providing accommodation to the travelling public.
The early years of our business, the late 80's and early 90's, presented their challenges. Cottage owners who had not rented their cottages before or had just rented to family, friends and perhaps business colleagues, were hesitant to allow 'strangers' into their vacation homes, even if they would otherwise be unoccupied. Developing an inventory of marketable cottages was the first challenge. Finding consumers interested in renting a cottage and then adequately and accurately describing the properties represented the second challenge.
Back then, print advertising was the primary means of getting the word out. Magazine and newspaper ads, brochures and word-of-mouth referrals were invaluable in growing the awareness and ultimately the business. At that time, we took VHS videos of the cottages we represented and for almost all of our rentals, met with families in our Unionville office, showing cottage videos and counseling renters on the best cottages to suit their needs.
The 90's brought the internet. We registered our domain cottagerental.com in 1996 and created a 'brochure' style webpage with some sample cottages however, digital photography, space requirements and other benefits of today's internet and features of websites were not available or practical at that time so it wasn't until the mid-2000's that our current, more dynamic website with a searchable database evolved. With over 300 cottage properties and an average of 35 - 40 photos per cottage, lots of descriptive information about each cottage, 'showing' cottages has evolved into a convenient process for anyone with a computer and access to the internet.
And now we're blogging. We hope this new feature on our website will provide our renters and owners with information and awareness surrounding cottage rentals, perhaps provide some insights that are valuable to both. We look forward to sharing our thoughts in the future.