ABOUT THE COMPANY
Kiddieholidays was set up by mum-of-two Jo Addison, after she struggled to find holiday accommodation appropriate for a baby. The website lists accommodation and activities in the UK and Europe that are suitable for families with pre-school children.
Jo, who lives in Gomersal, had started a basic website several years ago while she worked part-time for Jet2 Holidays, and used it primarily for posting blogs about holidays for families with babies and toddlers.
The idea for Kiddieholidays had first come to Jo in 2011 when she tried to book a holiday for herself, her husband and their first child.
“My son was only little and we wanted to go to Wales on holiday, but we found it difficult to book somewhere suitable that did not cost the earth,” said Jo.
“It just got me thinking that there must be thousands of families in the same position who can’t afford a luxury place that works for them. They might just want to go camping or glamping or stay in a cottage, and it can be so hard to find somewhere”
In September 2019, when Jo turned 40, she decided to take the plunge and leave her job to work on the website full-time. She works with a team of freelance copywriters to create the content and is paid commission for recommendations from the website.
Jo wanted to develop the website into more than just a blog and listings site, creating one that families with pre-school children could turn to in order to book their holidays and days out.
To do this she needed to expand the number of listings and is keen for the site to list everything from camping and glamping through to high-end accommodation. Jo wants to help families from all backgrounds, as other sites tend to focus on the luxury end of the market.
In order to be the go-to website for families, it needed a new look with added functionality, such as a booking capability, and improved search engine optimisation (SEO).
Having never run a business before, Jo also needed advice on business basics. She wanted to understand the best way to manage her finances, understand any legal requirements and was keen develop her soft skills, giving her more confidence when dealing with clients and preparing for pitches.
Jo has received support from AD:VENTURE with SEO for the new website and has attended numerous workshops and seminars, all of which she said had been really helpful.
To help her develop her website effectively, AD:VENTURE’s specialist SEO advisor worked directly with Jo to help her research and manage her key word research. The support enabled Jo to access tools and resources to create and implement her strategy that as a small business, would normally be difficult to afford.
She also signed up for and completed the Northern Max 3 programme, a specialist business support programme for digital and technology firms in the Leeds/Bradford area.
Jo says “Like the other courses and content, this was brilliant. It was a really challenging time with childcare and limited availability but the team recorded all the sessions so I was able to access the learning in a way that suited me. The flexibility was really important and it meant I could still take part in the programme.”
Despite the coronavirus lockdown putting the business into what Jo sees as a temporary ‘hibernation’, and delaying some of her plans, she has seen her turnover double in the last year. The number of visitors to her site has increased to 150,000 a month and she is getting plenty of enquiries for 2021.
“The organisation of the events, face to face or online, has been really good. The events are well managed and always start on time, and the content is very practical and useful. Overall, they have been absolutely brilliant. The quality of the presenters is really high and the content is very thought-provoking. I have been on a lot of courses and training in my time, and these are so good compared with lots of others. I have taken so much from these, and we have covered everything from content creation to mapping and maximising the customer journey,” said Jo
“The help with the SEO has been really useful and it has made me focus on what I am actually offering. And what is noticeable is that all the advisers go the extra mile for you to really help.
“I plan to focus on the UK market over the next 12 months, working on the staycation industry, and once we see restrictions easing I will build on this with the European holiday market. It’s definitely a challenging time, but also an exciting one and I am so glad I took the plunge and stuck with my plans! I will continue working with AD:VENTURE as I build on my business, and it feels great knowing there is someone there if I need any help.”