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"With three kids and work - doing it myself was no longer viable"

Ineke, owner of Somer Lake House - Cotswold Lakes, Gloucestershire | Sleeps 6+2

Having bought the lake house 11 years ago, Ineke explains why she made the decision to move away from doing it all herself, to having it fully managed by Mulberry Cottages...

So you used to do your own bookings, but you came to us exclusively - why's that?

We used to book out the house through Owners Direct - I tried to do everything myself but I’ve got three kids and work, and it was just too much. I was under the impression it would be much easier to manage but to do it to the standard that people expect turned out to be a challenge... So, I happened to walk past the Mulberry Cottages office on Bath Road in Cheltenham - I went in, met Beckie, she came out looked at the house and it was all-go from there! She took all of the hard work off of me - found a housekeeping company to do the sheets, maintenance and general cleaning; whilst Mulberry took all of the paperwork off of my hands - that for me, was really, really helpful.

How did you find the transition from doing it all yourself to someone taking it off your hands?

It was a huge relief - we had a housekeeping company that Beckie had set us up with, that she’d recommended - and then we did have a real blip because the company was sold and taken over by someone else. We then had endless problems with the house not being cleaned properly, and it just felt like it was going backwards. But then Beckie called me, found somebody else and sorted it all for me. So from that point of view, if we’ve ever experienced any problems like that, Mulberry have always taken it off my hands and managed.

Do you feel that the customers you receive from Mulberry are different to those you received through Owners Direct?

In terms of guests at owners direct, I wouldn’t say they are too much different to Mulberry. Because there was a lot of correspondence between me and the guests I got to know them quite well, and the house was always left in an OK state - so in that respect, there’s not really been any difference. I think with both Mulberry and Owners Direct, there has been a fair share of people that could have left the house in a better state - but with Mulberry, because I don’t have to deal with it, it doesn't cause me any stress at all!