To celebrate Small Business Saturday this weekend, Shropshire Hills Tourism is shining a spotlight on some of our hospitality businesses. Here in conversation is Paul Davis who runs Lower Farm Holiday Cottages in the Shropshire Hills.
How long have you been running your tourism business?
What made you decide to open your small business here in Shropshire?
We loved the scenery, it was relatively close to Birmingham where we have relatives stil, and my Mum and earlier generations were born here so it felt like coming home.
Describe Lower Farm Holiday Cottages for us?
Fantastic views – even the removal men said that on our first day and people echo it ever since. We have two lovely little hideaways for one couple each and we have a solid base of guests who repeatedly return. We are in the middle of nowhere in Shelve, but that means it is quiet, has great walks from the door but also that a raft of places are easily accessible after 30 minutes drive so the choice is endless. So many people say they have only scratched the surface and they need to come back for more!
What are the challenges in running a small hospitality business?
Getting the message out is the biggest challenge, as there are so many different competing platforms advertising. We like to give our guests the best possible time so we do look at all comments and try to moderate anything that is not top of its game. It has to be a balance with cost and practicability though .
With all that you have achieved so far in your business, what are you most proud of?
We received a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor this year which was a lovely boost that we are doing things right.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up their own tourism business?
The public are your customers. Listen to what they want. Sometimes they want to be left alone, others cannot take enough information.
What are your plans for Lower Farm Holiday Cottages in the future?
We have a winter refurb in Cranberry Cottage involving new TV, carpet, bed, furniture – it just needed a bit of a lift and it spreads once you start!
What do you enjoy most about running you own business?
Every day is different with guests. I love to give them a good time and point to slightly different activities which meet their interests.
Interview by Louise Welsby from Buy-From Shropshire