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Property sales and the web By David Westmoreland We bought B&P back in 2011. The recession was at its worst and friends & colleagues thought we had lost the plot when we announced we were buying the ailing agency here on the Avenida. Resort resales had been relatively successful at our Luz office, being the only bespoke resort property agency in the western Algarve.

The website increased its performance in a number of areas: Number of hits increased by almost 600% Number of pages viewed increased by almost 400% Duration on the site increased by almost 700%

The move to become a mainstream estate agency was a risky move at that time. On taking over the office we immediately started work on re-building what was a tired brand and office.

Total pages viewed per visitor increased by almost 1000% This resulted in final closed sales increase of 3400% 2010 vs 2015

The website we inherited had a Google ranking of 74 (eighth page of Google), an outsourced database management system and a website that hadn’t been updated in around a decade. This was resulting in low levels of enquiries, low visibility and when found, a less than positive image of our offering. Over the next 10 months, apart from smartening up the actual office, we invested in new logos and branding, new back office system and window designs. The website was completely replaced with only the web address retained. By the end of this period we had a state of the art website that had achieved first page on Google status and in fact had an average Google ranking of 5. This has over the last 4 years developed to 3 and is only consistently beaten by Rightmove and being the highest Google ranked agent in the Western Algarve!

All in all this is a great success story of which we are immensely proud. As for our rental and management business again this area has seen huge growth. Since its conception in 2009 this business has grown from a side business looking after around 10 personal clients' properties to a rental & management company of approximately 165 properties. In 2015 the business handled around 1150 holidays. The support systems being used were fine when we had 10 units but as we grew we were starting to feel those growing pains and knew drastic action needed to take place. In the world of holiday rentals, real estate and IT you can never sit still. Because of that in 2015 we commissioned Creation Media, a Lagos based Web Design, & Business Management Solutions Company to redesign both the portfolio of websites as well as a data management system that

could handle our company’s size & depth. In July 2016 we launched our new websites for sales and rentals. These sites incorporate resort resales & B&P and also the new B&P Lisboa. The rental site incorporates resort rentals, Lagos Long Lets as well as our owner log-in areas. All the websites are responsive meaning improved accessibility and readability on smart phones and tablets The new back office systems allows us to automate many of the manual tasks currently handled by our admin team improving response times and workloads. Our field property managers work off tablets, again improving response times and communication with our owners. The rentals side of our business is also automated improving not only response time to holiday enquiries but also payment and confirmation times. Upgraded newsletters for both sales and rentals will increase our accessibility to potential clients and keep current potential clients fully aware of offers, new listings or price movements. Overall we believe this new system will allow the group to continue to grow, continue to offer our customers the highest level of IT service and our owner clients a speedier and informative level of information communication. We would welcome any comments or reviews of your B&P or resort rentals experience.  Please contact me at the B&P office on the Avenida or email: 

Tourists take a hit By the Algarve Daily News Britons are among 110,000 holidaymakers whose forthcoming trips have been plunged into turmoil as travel website has been taken offline and the Low Cost Travel Group has gone into administration leaving thousands facing losses.

Customers not covered by insurance will have to pay for their holiday again, find alternative accommodation, or not travel. Those that already are on holiday abroad, an estimated 27,000 people, should have no problem returning as their flights have been paid for, says the company.

The group was not covered by the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing agreement (ATOL) and the company admits that most of the hotel stays already paid for by customers have not been paid for by the company. A group of around 1,000 customers also have stumped up for fights which the company has not paid for with only those covered by travel insurance able to claim back the costs involved.

A plummeting post-Brexit pound to euro exchange rate crippled the firm’s financial planning. Many customers had delayed booking their holidays over Brexit fears which choked off cashflow at the privately owned company. Administrators Smith & Williamson, said, “The group experienced significant market headwinds in the run up to the EU referendum as holidaymakers delayed decisions. This was compounded

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by the Leave vote itself and the subsequent fall in value of the pound." Low Cost Travel said: “The directors wish to profusely apologise for the inconvenience and distress that this will cause to our customers.” Customers will have to attempt to get their money back through the Spanish travel authorities, their credit card or their holiday insurance. Lowcosttravelgroup Limited, Lowcostholidays Spain S.L, part of Lowcostholidays Spain S.L. and A.G are affected.  

Tomorrow August 2016  
Tomorrow August 2016