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Competing with the big boys

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What’s it like to compete with an internet giant? Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Steve Jarvis (pictured) run Independent Cottages, a holiday cottage bookings site, and are going head-to-head against Airbnb. 

“We have unique strengths,” says Steve. “Other sites charge a direct booking fee to the holidaymaker and a commission to the owner. We charge a one-off annual fee, then all the money goes to the owner.”

Property listings are created in-house. “There is consistency throughout the site,” says Sarah. 

Then there are the usual advantages of being a smaller firm. “If we want to run a campaign related to an event we can decide in the morning and it’s happening that afternoon,” she says. 

The couple have had their own holiday cottages for 14 years, and have run the Independent Cottages website for a decade.

This combination of strengths adds up to a potent proposition.