We spoke with Victoria Oliphant-Hope about her business, Secret Cabins and she got us very excited for a UK staycation in the great British countryside.
Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your business Secret Cabins…
We were given the opportunity to purchase some additional land which included woodland with streams, wild garlic and bluebells, after several picnics with our children, we thought it would be great to position a shepherds hut or equivalent and me being an eBay fiend stumbled across a structure with huge potential, which after waving my magic wand over it, it now forms “The Copper Cabin”.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Sadly as for so many of us COVID was a huge challenge, in a number of ways. We offer single night stays and the cabin was fully booked for the year, so during the lockdown periods when closed, we offered all our guests a full refund but the majority asked to change their dates, this was particularly difficult as we literally had no dates to offer, this is what fundamentally led to turning a negative to a positive and creating another venue.
If you were to describe your business mantra in three words, what would they be?
Opulence, Luxury, Seclusion
What advice would you offer anyone interested in venturing into the world of unique accommodation?
It is hugely challenging and 24/7 and having such high standards it is very demanding and I am my harshest critic! You really have to be able to turn your hand to everything. The advice I would offer is that the space has to be truly unique in both location and accommodation, think outside the box, excuse the pun!
Talk us through an average business day in your life…
Check-out for all venues is 11am, so prior to that it is checking spreadsheets, stock levels, loading with suppliers. We offer a number of extras guests can add to their stay, ranging from our private chef experience, balloons, rose petals, falconry experience etc. So many of our guests are attending to celebrate a special occasion so there is a huge amount of work involved with the logistics. After check-out it is all hands on deck, we employ a great cleaning company and all the staff are prepped and ready to go. I oversee all venues, we have a group chat with all cleaning and maintenance staff, due to all venues being fully booked and predominantly single night stays, we have a very short window of time to change the hot tubs, ensure everything is working and has had a thorough clean ready for our new guests. The venues are all self check-in so the guests have all information on how to enter the venue and all venues have their own iPad with instructions on how to use everything. I am contactable all evening with any questions or issues the guests have. It really is a 24/7 job.
Business can be an upward struggle at times, what do you do to stay positive?
Rosé helps haha! No, on a serious note, we receive such amazing feedback and reviews and sometimes after a challenging day, I refer to them and realise what an amazing unique experience we offer to guests and the lifetime memories they take away with them!
What is your go to quote when lacking motivation?
Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts ~ A “Winston Churchill” quotation I highly endorse.
How much has social media played a role in the success of your business?
Social Media has played a huge role, we are on Instagram, another passion of mine is photography and I take thousands of photos which is a perfect combo for Instagram and guests tag us with all their amazing images, stories and reels and pass on amazing feedback to all their followers.
How do you want people to feel when they stay at one of your Secret Cabins?
First impressions are everything and I strive to achieve the “wow” factor! When guests arrive the music is playing, the lights/mood lighting is on and the bubbles are chilled. I want them to escape reality and immerse themselves in the “Secret Cabins” luxury experience!
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list, do you have a secret cabin that you’d like to visit elsewhere in the world?
My husband and I spent our honeymoon in the Maldives, that is definitely at the top of my bucket list to return to. As far as a “Secret Cabin” I’d like to visit, I would absolutely love to experience the northern lights, and cabins that have stuck in my mind are “Manshausan” in Norway, they look truly breathtaking!
What’s next for you and your brand?
All our venues are predominantly couples only! In December we will reveal something very exciting that accommodates more than two people, which includes all our trademark amenities, signature styling and in addition a large heated outdoor pool! Watch this space!
Where can people find out more about Secret Cabins?
For more information and all booking details please visit – www.secretcabins.co.uk or email [email protected] Our Instagram is @the.coppercabin