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Husband and wife team from Meopham have business shortlisted for prestigious award

PUBLISHED: 09:49 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:49 10 August 2018

Founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Steve and Sarah Jarvis, Independent Cottages competes with global brands such as AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway. Picture: Valentina Photography

Founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Steve and Sarah Jarvis, Independent Cottages competes with global brands such as AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway. Picture: Valentina Photography

Archant

An innovative online business based in Meopham has beaten hundreds of competitors to be shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Independentcottages.co.uk has been nominated for Best Rural Tourism Business in the South East, organised by the Rural Business Awards.

Founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Steve and Sarah Jarvis, Independent Cottages competes with global brands such as AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway (formerly OwnersDirect).

The company plugs a gap in the market by allowing bookings to be made directly between the holiday maker and the holiday home owner.

What sets it apart as an innovative rural business is that it does not charge booking fees, saving travellers on average £100 per holiday.

Sarah said: “The standard of the applications is always very high, so to make it to the shortlist out of hundreds of entries is an incredible achievement, particularly as the business is run by just the two of us.”

When asked what helps make their business unique, Steve said: “We have a huge passion for the UK and we’re cottage owners ourselves, so we channel this into our business. We provide support to our customers and deliver a website that allows holiday home owners to promote their property independently.

“We offer excellent support for our customers with completely transparent listing fees, which in turn helps holidaymakers save money. No booking fees or commission means money that may have otherwise been diverted to a global corporation stays in the holidaymaker’s pocket and can be spent on holiday instead.

“Our five-star reviews from our customers are testament to our commitment to our business.”

The couple, who currently have around 1,700 listings on their popular website, which range from glamping experiences to stately homes, said their main aim is to continue to deliver excellent customer service while keeping staycations affordable.

Sarah added: “Our website and supporting systems are developed in-house.

“Our unique approach is that the website is easy to use, the cottage owners get results and our pricing strategy makes it affordable and encourages guests to take ‘staycations’ here in the UK.”

The Rural Business Awards South East will be held onOctober 23 at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey.

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