Today’s International Women’s Day is a great day for us, as women, to celebrate, well, just where we are right now. However, as much as we’re two women who have started a business, who work side by side and who share similar goals in life, we don’t really think there’s a huge amount to remark on here, thankfully. We’re proud to live in a society in which this is the norm now. Undoubtedly there’s still much to do to achieve full equality but, in 2022 in the UK, working, being a female entrepreneur and succeeding is not wholly unusual.
Yet International Women’s Day is relevant and urgent because globally, our local achievement is still a million miles off for thousands of women and rightfully, highlighting women’s un-equal status around the globe needs constant reinforcement to bring real change. This year’s theme, eradicating gender bias, is critical in easing the way for female entrepreneurs to succeed, even here in the UK. Traditional roles and entrenched attitudes are holding back a huge wave of untapped business potential and when looked at through that lens, there’s still much to do right here on our doorstep.
One thing we continue to bang our drum about, with our UK hats on, is how we want to disrupt outdated attitudes to tourism, particularly in holiday letting. We want to see gone the ‘hobby’ attitude towards holiday letting; that somehow having a second home or business is a ‘side’ wager, a ‘something to do’ for women at home. As we see it, those days are gone. Holiday homes are businesses in their own right demanding professional attitudes to letting, insurance, safety, maintenance and promotion as much as any other role.
Moreover, guests’ expectations are high and climbing all the time. Great design, practical well thought out interiors, technology-enabled living, designer taps, ‘smart’ bathrooms, hot tubs are just some of the items you’ll find in holiday lets these days. All of them require more than just ‘turn key’ maintenance and rightly, our guests are investing their holiday in these properties so we have to invest our time and efforts into the high standards that set us apart. Our owners are keen and eagle- eyed small business entrepreneurs and, in more good news on International Womens’ Day, 70% of our properties are owned by women. Proving that this is a female-led business and unsurprisingly, the majority of those responsible for the holiday decision making are female too.
So why does this matter? Why should we want to encourage women today to get involved with holiday letting or the wider holiday property industry as a career? Because we believe our recent ‘Staycation summers’ aren’t just a covid-induced blip but a long term trend where families will stay in the UK for their holidays because the standard of accommodation is so high they won’t want to go elsewhere. Without a thriving holiday property and hospitality sector we can’t maintain our historic houses and gardens; we won’t see the next Turner Gallery built.
We have to persuade everyone to see the value in pushing standards higher and higher. We need to persuade younger female entrepreneurs that this sector needs them just as much as the high tec business parks further afield and that it will deliver returns for them. The in-built bias that we can encounter involving our age or our status, our gender or even our back story needs to slip away. Then civil regeneration and personal rejuvenation will flourish.
Go light the fire.