Cottage rentals near Toronto
Cottage rentals near Toronto this summer are quickly getting snapped up as we get closer to the Victoria Day long weekend. With popular weekend water destinations within a 2-4 hour drive of the city, renting a cottage for a few days or a week each year is more feasible than you'd think, especially with web sites like Cottage Country that make finding a suitable getaway that much easier.
The latest web site to get into the cottage rentals game just launched on March 30th at the Spring Cottage Life Show in Toronto. I caught up with co-founder Adam Brind who gave me the lowdown how his site, TwoHoursNorth.com, differentiates itself from the rest.
Why did you decide to create this site?
We created the website for three main reasons, 1) we felt frustrated that it was so difficult to search through the clutter of mom-and-pop style cottage rental websites and we knew that there was a better way, 2) we found it difficult to plan and share potential cottage rental options and 3) we believed that property owners would truly appreciate a free system that helped them manage their small rental business.
While other sites exist in the marketplace, we felt that we could provide some key missing elements like the proper search filters - so we made sure users could search by type of vacation as well as key cottage features. As a result, people can now search by filters like fishing, golf or boat trip. In addition, we're working towards building out our community to help engage users which will help keep everyone accountable and trustworthy. Finally, we knew that we could build a really easy to use custom platform that would make the process of listing, managing and booking less complicated and seamless.
How many cottage rentals are you currently listing on the site?
Currently, there are over fifty listings on the site with new listings being added everyday. Most of the listings are arriving through various digital and traditional marketing initiatives. To date, our most successful approach has been picking up the phone and contacting property owners that have and maintain their own websites.
What is the business model?
Adding a listing is completely free and we make money by marking up the cottage rental rates by a very small percentage (6-10%). Our goal is to keep TwoHoursNorth.com free from any advertising and the quality high, similar to the approach Vimeo took.
Are you able to track how many places have been rented so far? What is your goal for the end of the year?
Yes, we can actively track the number of bookings that happen through the site. In fact, to date we've been in personal contact with every user that has booked on the site. In the early stages, we feel that this type of nurturing will go a long ways. It also gives us a great opportunity to gather customer feedback. We'd like to be in the hundreds of bookings by year-end.
Any other features you plan to add to the site in the future?
Like many start-ups, we have big plans for the future and will be looking to add some incredible features to the site for both cottage owners and guests. While I can't give away all of our secrets, we think that small resorts and owners with multiple properties will enjoy a pro version with more analytics, greater tools and a booking system that is even more robust.
Ontario is also our beta market, so we'll be looking to expand to a national level as soon as we feel confident that the platform is perfect.