The owners of Holiday Cottage Advice are Alistair and Lorna Handyside. We both have a background in industry and marketing, Lorna at the London Stock Exchange and BT, and Alistair in IT and business turnaround.
Ten years ago we decided to become professional self caterers. Run properly it is a business that can offer excellent returns and avoid the daily drudge of a commute. We bought Higher Wiscombe, a run down farm in East Devon and created our self catering business from scratch, making and learning from our mistakes on the way.
Our occupancy levels and rates charged are amongst the best in the South West, and quality is our main driver, both in the offer itself and the service that guests receive.
We have continued to invest in this business year on year and in 2013 installed a 150kw biomass boiler and upgraded a further six bathrooms as part of our continuing programme of improvement.
We choose to use third party assessments to regularly audit our business and www.higherwiscombe.com has been graded Five Star by Visit England since the day it opened eight years ago. Higher Wiscombe won the Visit England “Holiday Cottage of the Year” in 2007/8, and in 2010 became the first self catering property in the UK to be awarded the British Quality Foundation marque, after eighteen months of courses, exams and assessments. In 2011 we were awarded “Best Guest Feedback” by the online review site www.mycottageholiday.co.uk for the best guest feedback in both the South West and Nationally. A full list of all the awards that Higher Wiscombe has been awarded are displayed here (link to list below)
Alistair has become fully involved with tourism, both nationally and in the South West. His current roles include being Chairman of EASCO, (English Association of Self Caterers), Chairman of Premier Cottages, the leading marketing collective of four and five star self catering properties in the UK, Chairman of the South West Tourism Alliance, the Tourism advocate for South West England for the CLA, and sits on two Visit England committees, the Industry Advisory Group and the Quality Panel. He was previously the last Chairman of South West Tourism, before Regional Tourist Boards were closed by the Coalition Government in 2011.