Couple take advantage of valuable support package

Lynn Clarke at Leaholme Cottage.
Lynn Clarke at Leaholme Cottage.

Holiday cottage owners, Lynn and Pete Clarke, have capitalised on business support opportunities available within Northumberland to turn their holiday dream into a successful business reality.

Lynn, owner of Leaholme Cottage in Newton-by-the-Sea, first fell in love with the property after originally staying there over a decade ago – and the rest is history.

She said: “We knew it was such a great family home as we had holidayed there ourselves.

“As soon as I saw the house was on the market, I knew we had to buy it. I had always intended for it to be our holiday home but it didn’t take long before it developed into a full-time business.”

Since purchasing and renovating Leaholme Cottage, Lynn and Pete have added a further two properties to their holiday-let portfolio, both apartments in Alnwick.

She added: “Our business had grown so quickly, we needed to make sure we were marketing ourselves effectively and making the most of every opportunity, so we searched for available business support in the local area.”

After signing up to the Business Northumberland programme, Lynn has worked closely with Business Growth Adviser, Chris Dawson, who has supported Lynn in the development of a funding application for a grant from NBSL and helped her to identify suitable events in the local area where she could promote her businesses and widen her network.

She said: “We developed a new website and worked alongside a web designer and a professional photographer to make sure we were able to create exactly what we wanted and make sure we had the functionality to take direct bookings.

“We had previously relied on a booking agent to keep the level of bookings consistent but thanks to a culmination of all the support we have received, all our bookings are now managed by us.”

Lynn has gone on to use her positive experience as a catalyst to share her knowledge with other local businesses and is now a fundamental part of a support group of other local holiday cottage owners to provide a platform to communicate regularly about all aspects of business.

To find out more about the Business Northumberland programme, visit www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk