Let's Stay Peak District Ltd (LSPD) is wholly owned, privately funded and operated by Mike and Bridget Cummins who live and work in Great Longstone, a village at the heart of the Peak District National Park. The only other employee is the 'organic doorbell', Holly, an energetic and vocal Border Terrier!
The business started life as Let's Stay UK Ltd (now separate, but which they also own) in 2001 by Mike who, to coincide with the Peak District's 50th anniversary as the UK's first National Park, launched the website www.peakdistrict-nationalpark.com, a commemorative book, a walks booklet and a tourist guide.
Some years later, one business became two as Let's Stay UK concentrated on replicating the successful business model across the rest of the UK with franchisees; that business, a separate entity, continues to thrive to this day.
Since then the LSPD website has grown to serve, literally, hundreds of customers and lists around 600 places to stay as well as many attractions, walks, other activities, photography and more.
Web development and milestones
In the earliest days, the website was built by novice web designers but fairly sophisticated, licensed software was soon put to good use as the website began to grow in popularity.
However, the restrictions of using such software and not being fully in control of his own destiny soon persuaded Mike to move on to another (Sheffield based) web designer as he began, for the first time, to consider the feasibility and development of his own code.
In 2008 and still dissatisfied with progress in this aim, Mike finally sourced a highly qualified, respected and expert Midlands-based web developer with whom he now has a excellent working relationship.
So much so that, in 2010, the latest phased development of the code is almost complete as it climbs to the summit of its potential. The code remains 100% in the ownership of the company; Mike and Bridget remain the sole shareholders and directors.
When customers choose to invest some of their marketing budget with a Listing Page on LSPD, they in turn benefit from being hosted on our own, super-fast, dedicated servers managed by one of the most secure, professional and reliable hosting companies in the country - award-winning UKFast (based in Manchester) - www.ukfast.co.uk. Don't settle for less.
Each and every year since the business started has been a record for Let's Stay Peak District and 2010 sees another milestone as annual sales push on beyond the VAT threshold.
Let's Stay Peak District does not employ sales staff, agents or anyone else to build the business for them. Referrals and recommendations account for most new business and around 90% of all business is retained year on year.
Advertising with Let's Stay Peak District starts from a remarkably low £60 per year and is regarded as affordable and effective. For example, a new customer in 2010 reported 6 bookings and as many serious enquiries in the first month of advertising (Feb 2010). Testimonials.
In November 2008, Bridget joined on a full-time basis and looks after the accounts of both the Let's Stay companies as well as customer liaison and a host of other duties!
In 2009, Mike appointed Bakewell's Roly Smith, aka 'Mr Peak District', as Editor, another move in the opposite direction of most competitor websites. Roly has written more than 60 books on the Peak District and walking in the UK and is a former President of the Outdoor Writer's Guild, just one accolade in a long list of writing achievements and notable CV entries.
Also, in 2009, Mike and Bridget's Manchester based son Sean was awarded an initial 6 month contract (now extended) to help with content and general website housekeeping duties. This arrangement (shared with Let's Stay UK) has eased the burden of 'hands-on' work for Mike who is now able to concentrate on the development of associated products and marketing strategies designed to take the businesses further forward over the next few years.
Philosophy - a commitment to quality
To deliver the best quality website and online marketing vehicle at the best value possible.
To continually re-invest in the product thus keeping the business ahead of the competition.
To offer a friendly, efficient, effective and affordable online marketing service to holiday accommodation and tourism business owners in the Peak District.
To deal with clients with honesty and integrity and to build long-lasting relations that will survive harsh economic climates and the difficulties these bring.
To live and work in the Peak District and to continue to grow the business ourselves.
Our objective from day one has also been to persuade people to stay overnight and not just visit the Peak District; it appears that other websites have finally caught up with this aim and we're genuinely pleased about that.