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Solid as a rock

With over half a century in the holiday letting industry, John Bray Cornish Holidays knows only too well the importance of attention to detail at every turn.

Words by Hannah Tapping

Established in 1971, John Bray Cornish Holidays has over 50 years’ experience in holiday letting, offering both owners and guests exceptional service. Originally founded by a former Rock postman John Bray, the company was part of John Bray and Partners for many years, before being acquired by Sykes Cottages in 2020. Still to this day, the business operates with the same original ethos at its heart – to deliver a first-class service to all. With a stunning collection of around 350 self-catering properties exclusively in north Cornwall, the company prides itself in taking care of all aspects of holiday letting, from maintenance and project management to marketing and administration.

We asked Katy Falconer about John Bray Cornish Holidays’ ethos and the company’s approach to the holiday letting business. “We understand that being a successful holiday letting agency isn’t just about securing high rental incomes and a diary full of bookings for our owners. Whilst these things are important, we believe as an owner, your holiday letting experience should be about so much more than that. Is your bolthole being cared for impeccably? Are you enjoying an exceptional service without any hassle?”

Operating from their Rock and Port Isaac offices, John Bray’s locally based team can offer bespoke property management packages to cater to all owners’ requirements, including the popular fully managed service, where all aspects of the letting process are taken care of, from changeovers to maintenance. “Crucially, we never forget your holiday home is first and foremost your own slice of Cornish heaven. It is our pleasure to take care of it for you!” adds Katy. Focusing primarily on north Cornwall’s coastline, taking in Rock, Port Isaac, Daymer Bay, Padstow and all the areas in between, the business covers this relatively small geographical area so as to preserve its property management offering, allowing timely resolutions to be provided to any arising problems… “Plus, we believe it is one of the most impressive, picturesque holiday destinations in the country!” says Katy.

John Bray Cornish Holidays proudly offers their owners the best of both worlds: the benefit from the eight-figure marketing budget and resources of its national sister company Sykes Cottages, combined with the passion, dedication and local expertise of their own in-house Owner Relations and Property Management teams based here in Cornwall. The result being letting that is smooth sailing both for owners and customers alike. Katy explains further: “More than simply a booking agent, our managed service option means we can help owners not only with day-to-day holiday letting needs, but with any maintenance or upkeep jobs, large or small. From household appliance breakdowns, to managing and undertaking full refurbishments, we will help. We truly know and love the area, meaning we can offer both our owners and guests genuine first hand advice – plus we can respond to any issues immediately, with our 24-hour on-call service.”

One of John Bray Cornish Holidays’ USPs is its steadfast focus on balancing the number of bookings achieved for owners with the income rate charged. Remaining confident in their proven marketing tools and having faith in their intuitive pricing system that adapts in line with demand is instrumental, and is the reason that they are still seeing large volumes of year-round bookings at the optimum price, despite the surge in Cornwall’s self-catering accommodation options. Plus, they are on hand to help owners every step of the way, whether that be advice on a suitable property to buy, providing booking forecasts/income projections, or offering tips on furnishing and furniture… whatever the stage in their holiday letting journey, the team are happy to help.

When it comes to the property portfolio, John Bray Cornish Holidays truly has something for everyone; a multi-generational break, a walking weekend with your dogs, or a getaway with young children, they have properties to suit all your needs. Being situated in such a beautiful, coastal area, many of the holiday cottages also boast fabulous sea views and are within a stone’s throw of the South West Coast Path. The collection amounts to over 350 holiday homes in north Cornwall and whatever your party size, getaway plans, or holiday home pre-requisites, there are stunning, five-star options for all. And with a dedicated property team on hand to help you choose your ideal accommodation, you need only telephone or pop into the offices, and you’ll be provided with any support you may need during your stay.

Despite the prediction by many industry specialists that visitors would return to abroad holiday destinations in their droves this year, John Bray Cornish Holidays has still experienced extraordinary customer demand. Occupancy levels were over 94% during the peak summer holidays and remained over 80% for September. These are staggering levels, considering the various cultural, economic and environmental factors at play.

“Going in to 2023, we believe holiday home owners do need to be mindful of the emerging booking trends and patterns that are rapidly developing. For instance, there has been a huge increase in the popularity of last minute bookings and short breaks. Demand has also grown for dog-friendly properties, and more people are now planning ‘work-cations’, where they look to work from their holiday accommodation! Being aware of these changes and growing trends will put owners in the best position to maximise their income and booking potential,” advises Katy.

“It may sound cliché but Cornwall is one of the few year-round holiday destinations… whatever the time of year or weather, the scenery is always beautiful and there is so much to see and do. Whether you prefer relaxing on sandy coves on hot summer days, enjoying warming hot chocolates in cosy tearooms on autumn afternoons, or admiring the glinting frosts blanketing the rolling countryside on bracing winter mornings, the tranquillity of Cornwall’s north coast is hard to beat! If I had to pick a very favourite spot, I would choose Tintagel, as it is a fascinating historic place, with so much beauty to see.”

So, whether you are looking to mark that special occasion, or simply planning to spend quality time with your loved ones, their incredible collection of luxury properties provides options for all. Many of the cottages boast impressive large gardens, open plan living areas and contemporary fixtures and fittings… all of which are of an exceptional standard. From exclusive waterside villas to renovated fisherman’s cottages, the choice is fabulous.


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