Being Biba was not enough

Visitors should pay their way and not just look

This blog is in conjunction with our sister web site at

Web traffic

Web traffic, for its ownDSCF9524 sake, is often a total waste of time and money.  The key is relevant,  focused visitors who will be highly likely to appreciate the contents  and will be interested in what advertisers offer. Matching visitors to advertisers is the trick.  It is quite possible to have thousands of visitors who, simply, ignore advertisers’ offerings creating nothing more than apparently healthy web stats.   The photos illustrate  typical relaxed style rooms and the sort of environment showing a style suited to a specific niche market for holiday lets.  To get the right people you need to focus on what they want and just on what they like to look at.  The same rule applies as much for our booking service at Country Holiday Lets as it does for Holiday Lets for Sale.

Biba was not enough

The rule is as simple and relevant now as it was back in the ’70s when Biba discovered that attention, fame and thousands of visitors to their High Street Kensington shop were not enough to keep the business going.  I was one of that curious throng of tourists.  The shop was huge and opposite the Junction of Kensington Church D Room 2Street in the building that once housed Derry and Toms.  The concrete front incorporates relief images of ships and planes of the future in the high optimism of the mid 1930s.  I wandered into the shop, all of 18 years old and, along with tens of thousands just like me, wandered out without buying anything.  The draw was not the goods but the spectacle which was particularly strong.   Even in the mid ’70s there was something slightly retro as if the shop were harking back to the late 1960s and all that went with those few years.   Poor quality visitors, despite the high foot fall, led to high overheads, crowds and losses that would soon close Biba for ever.

Web sites can suffer from much the same thing except that, bandwidth aside, at least there’s no need to accommodate the physical pressure of large crowds of gawkers.  Relevance and focus are all.  We try make this work, for example, by a carefully sorted large twitter following, some of the best and most extensive freely accessible advice on the internet and equally focused, relevant advertising.

An Experiment

Din Room 1We did an experiment recently with our sister business Country Holiday Lets.  Taking a leaf out of other agents’ marketing, we put one of our members cottages up on a listing site.  The experiment was successful in as far as the advertising has almost paid for itself within two weeks of a 12 month contract.  Far more interesting is that the click through from the listing site to produced a 50% conversion.   The normal conversion with Google Ad words is closer to 2-4%.    As a side remark, the nature of visitors from listing sites appears to be more awkward in certain respects than from other visitors to

ConversionD Room 3

The market is quite complex but the main point is that if the focus and relevance are right conversion / results are vastly improved.  You may encounter a web site with 1 million unique visits a year that could easily be less effective for advertisers than one with 20 times less at 50,000 visits per annum. Writing blogs such as this is all part of that focus and relevance.

Sometimes, I regret that, all those years ago, I was not old enough to appreciate my trip to gawk at the Biba shop.  The best that I can do, now, is to trawl my memory because it has long gone.  The good thing is that, at least, the memory of that trip coupled with recent experience, will underline and ensure focus and relevance.  Biba was not enough it had to do more.  This will be constantly checked and emphasised.  Get that right and, unlike at Biba, many more people will buy and come back time and time again.