Free Break – Why we keep giving them away
Free Break you say? Here’s a little insight into why we keep giving holidays away and what we get from doing so.
Hi. My name is Carl and I’m the owner of Woodfarm Barns, Barges and now Woodfarm Tuscany.
As I write this Blog Post, my business is about to launch yet another free break competition to celebrate our 10th Birthday. We have just finished a competition to celebrate the purchase of a holiday cottage in Tuscany. We had over 5,000 entrants for that one and the winner was absolutely over the moon. She posted all over Facebook to say how pleased she was, as most of our winners have done over the years. Read the post with the winners announced, as well as responses from the main winner and the runner up.
I’m writing this to explain in a very open way exactly why I do it. I don’t know if it’s why every company giving things away does, it’s just why I do.
I have been giving breaks away for quite a few years now and there are quite a few people that have enjoyed them. People who have been very grateful and who have publicly shouted about them on social media for all the world to see. I actually haven’t kept a record of how many I’ve given away but I think it’s in double figures (we are only a small business). Scroll through our social media stuff if you want to and you’ll find them.
The thing to remember about our free break competitions is that they are FREE. As we always state in the terms and conditions, you don’t have to enter if it doesn’t suit you to do what we ask. You are completely at liberty not to enter, just as much as I am completely at liberty to state what I want in return for your (free) entry. I’m just trying to market my business effectively, I’m really not after one of your kidneys.
So what exactly are we after and why do we do it? It’s really easy;
- Sharing our competitions on social media.
We ask that the competitions are shared. This is to gain exposure to more people. It ain’t rocket science folks. You don’t have to be on Facebook to enter our competitions, but you do need to share what we do on social media somewhere, wherever you choose. It’s just part of what these things are about and part of why we do it. We just happen to do most of our social media stuff on Facebook.
- Asking you to follow us on social media.
This is so you see the stuff we post about other things in the future. We do this to build our audience and maybe, just maybe, one day when you are looking to book (and pay for) a holiday or break, you will choose us. We rarely ‘sell’ what we do on social media. It’s mostly just stupid stuff that comes out of my brain, or sharing info on things to do in Suffolk, and places to go. We try our best to make it interesting.
- We gather email addresses.
We do this very legitimately so that we can build our database. We prefer to call it our VIP Rewards Group, as that’s exactly what it is! We reward people for being on it, by letting them know first about cancellations, exclusive offers and stuff, as well as letting them know about all the cool things we find out about Suffolk for you to enjoy. We NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER share your details with anyone. EVER. I work really hard to build our database, so why would I share your info? I’m daft, but not that daft. I email you every couple of weeks or so to let you know about things we discover to do in Suffolk, as well as, with our new place, Tuscany. That’s it! And maybe, just maybe, when you are thinking about your next holiday or short break, you will book (and pay) to come and stay with us as you think we are nice and we have something nice to offer. We also give away a free break to one of you just for being on the database too! Again, this is NOT rocket science.
- We are in a position to give away some free breaks now.
In the early days I couldn’t give away a jar of jam I was that broke! I’ve personally gone through an awful lot to build this business and thankfully, at the time of writing, it is working really well for me and the whole team. Over the last ten years it has provided me with a living (eventually!) as well as a number of very lovely people I am fortunate enough to call my team and my friends. In addition to that we have built a really good reputation for excelling at what we do and we have soooo many guests returning and recommending us to people, which gives us more guests! And now I and my business can withstand the financial implications of giving breaks away. But I do get a return on it; I think. Because of all the above reasons. I can’t quantify it of course. It’s a little like Pepsi advertising on the side of a bus just knowing that people see their ad. They can’t draw a line between that ad and each can of Pepsi sold because of it. But they can afford the ad.
- It feels nice.
Yes it does. I like making people happy. We do it when they pay to come and stay so imagine the feeling I get when someone stays, loves it, and it was FREE!
Why do we restrict the dates that you can come?
See number 4 above. We can now withstand giving away a few breaks. But… I simply cannot afford to do so during the middle of the school holidays, or over Christmas etc. This is a BUSINESS. I have to make money. I don’t do this just for fun, though it is enormous fun. We have to restrict when you can take your FREE break. I can only give it away when we are likely to be a little quieter. Same thing goes for why it’s a four night midweek break as opposed to a weekend. Our weekends are usually very full. And I need them to be. Because I am running a business. Now I’m really sorry again if this doesn’t suit everyone, but pleeeeease feel free not to enter if your chosen profession means you can’t take the prize. There are probably some other benefits to doing what you do. Just don’t have a pop at me for this FREE prize not suiting you. At least I’m giving something away right?
GDPR – Let’s cover off this tedious bit.
Let’s face it, the unscrupulous marketeers (crims) that used to spam and scam people will still do it. A change in the law changes nothing! We always tell you when you enter our competitions that you are going onto our database. So you go on there of your own free will. Because you would like to have a crack at winning a free break in this case. You can unsubscribe any time you wish. We don’t want to email anyone who doesn’t want to hear from us. You won’t hear about all the cool stuff anymore, or be in with a chance of winning a free break, but that’s your prerogative. And I’m fine with that. I’ve signed up to stuff before and then unsigned. I still love Adnams but I unsubscribed as they were emailing me every day!
A bit for the sceptics…
I feel compelled to address the sceptics whilst I’m on this topic as we attract them with every competition. These are the people who think the whole world is out to get them. And I’m ok with this as the world is made of of all sorts, including lots of organisations who are out to get us!!!
I am aware that there are lots of spurious ‘too good to be true’ offers out there. But when we give a free break away, it isn’t that. We give away a free break. That’s all. And we’ve given lots away now. I can’t be any more open and transparent than I have been. I’ve told you why we do it.
On the last competition we ran, people were even criticising the way we chose our winner, even though we used an online random number generator, which picked a number corresponding to the winners entries on our automatically populated spreadsheet in Google Drive. Seriously? As I said, these are always FREE and you are 100% entitled to NOT enter. We don’t force you. It’s your life and this is my business. Simples.
So that’s it! As I said, it isn’t rocket science. But it works. We are crazily busy a lot of the time. Because of what we offer, our reputation, and the way that we market what we do. It works for me and I hope it works for you. But please, please, please, if you have any issue with me giving away free holidays to nice people, just keep it to yourself and let me get on with running my business.