Adapt and Learn with Hoe Grange Holidays

SuperControl is dedicated to supporting our tight-knit community of savvy self-caterers to grow, flourish and succeed. We relish in the stories from our community and adore hearing of your successes. We recently had the chance to hear all about the journey of David and Felicity Brown, co-owners of Hoe Grange Holidays.

Situated in the picturesque Peak District, Hoe Grange Holidays has been on quite the journey from family dairy farm to multi-award-winning holiday accommodation. David and Felicity have told us all about their self-catering story and what they’ve learnt along the way.

Where did it all begin for Hoe Grange Holidays?

After taking over the family dairy farm in 1998, we started to put out the feelers for the potential of self-catering accommodation. We saw this as a fantastic opportunity to provide additional income to the farm and were excited by the prospect of building log cabins on the land. Something that David’s father had considered 40 years before but was told that planning permission wouldn’t be granted for tourism! There’s no denying it was a challenging process, but with support from our local councillor, Hoe Grange Holidays was officially established in 2006. It all began with two self-catering log cabins, focused on two distinctive niche markets, accessibility and the option to bring your horse on holiday! We have plenty of space for horses and the correct facilities; it was a no brainer. Before long, business was bustling, and we were well on our way to expanding our offering.

How does Hoe Grange Holidays stand out from the crowd? 

We were quick to realise that you cannot be stagnant in the self-catering sector. Adaptability, open-mindedness and preparing to take risks are the recipe to our success.

In 2010, we built two further log cabins to meet the growing needs of the accessible tourism market – a market that had little on offer for those who required extra support when planning their holiday. We’re proud to provide a haven for those seeking an accessible getaway, and we’ve since implemented a full range of supplementary equipment that supports a range of needs.

The next ten years would see us develop further into high-end glamping facilities, which we’ve since diversified further into bow-top gyspy caravans. We learnt that having just one point of differentiation can be a disadvantage, so diversity is a must.

Understanding our niches ensures our marketing efforts are targeted, and we can direct our advertising accordingly. We focus our attention primarily on direct bookings and learning the ropes around SEO, Google Ads, and website optimisation has helped us to achieve our marketing objectives. Our continued expansion and willingness to learn has kept our business buoyant; we adapt with the times and never shy away from an opportunity to try something new.

What’s your relationship with SuperControl? 

We first joined SuperControl in 2008; it’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years! We sought out SuperControl’s support after transitioning from a manual diary to online, and we would never look back. SuperControl is a complete game-changer, and we don’t know how our business would survive without it.

The support we’ve been offered over the years has been second to none. The team is incredibly helpful, and the training on offer is invaluable. Hoe Grange Holidays has grown and developed alongside SuperControl; we even supported Robert and Melinda to create the booking extras feature in response to our accessibility equipment all those years ago.

SuperControl has encouraged us to try new things and step outside our comfort zone; they’ve certainly shaped our perspective. Integrations such as Beyond Pricing have entirely altered our business for the better, and SuperControl has given us the confidence to adopt these for success.

We hear Hoe Grange Holidays is award-winning! How has competing for awards supported your business?

We started to explore award entries after just one year of operating. After eyeing up another excellent business that had won a gold award, we pondered, ‘what’s that?’. This led us to enter the Peak District awards, and before we knew it, we were applying regionally and nationally.

Applying for awards put a spotlight on what we do and why. It made us focus on our communications strategy and highlight opportunities for improvement while contemplating our future plans. We’ve won over 30 awards, but perhaps the biggest prize of all is that we now hold workshops with Visit Peak District to show other hospitality businesses how to apply for and win awards.

How do you support other self-caterers?  

Our journey has recently reached its current destination – supporting our industry to flourish. We now help other self-caterers to understand their offering and how to communicate it. We work closely with Visit Peak District to provide learning resources to others and proactively seek opportunities to support our local community and the wider sector.

David is a Director of FarmStay UK, a not for profit farm owned consortium that promotes the UK’s farm and agritourism industry. Together with FarmStay, we have the opportunity to exchange experiences and lobby at a national level, all while building a strong community of like-minded members.

Our approach has always been to share and learn as one. Our experiences can help develop new businesses, and we’re more than happy to share these for the benefit of the wider industry. We delight in meeting and supporting other self-caterers, and we hope to continue our mentoring role in the years to come.

What’s next for Hoe Grange Holidays? 

We will continue to take risks, learn and develop. We want to explore our potential as mentors in greater depth, but for now, we’re delighted with our balance between self-catering and supporting our peers. One thing’s for sure; we will continue to take advantage of all of the opportunities SuperControl throws our way. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.