Our mission is:
Here’s a glimpse into our thinking:
Who are our guests and how do we help them?Since 2012 we have helped over 3000 groups holiday in the New Forest. We’ve had the normal: family breaks, 70th birthdays, weddings… And we’ve had the unusual: pet geese, divorce parties and film shoots. There have been a few particularly special groups whose VIP was terminally ill and came to celebrate their last family get-together. Quite a humbling and amazing experience to help with. Recently COVID has caused us, like many, frustrations in our business. In response to the situation, we changed our terms and conditions immediately and proceeded to refund our many guests.
Going that extra bit…We know how important it is to get ‘the magic bits’ into a break. Holidaying in groups can add stress. We hope our Insider’s Guide’s help take the heat out of arranging things. We’ve worked up some ‘experience ideas’ for inspiration. We know which pub serves the more bizarre brews. The restaurant with the freshest fish. The perfect spot for your morning yoga and forest bathing. We’re sure that there is something for everyone here. Read more in our blog here.
Rachel Parsons – Founder and Chief Dogsbody
Rachel is the 3rd generation in her family who has worked with guests in the tourism industry. Her grandmother ran a self-catering business for years. Her mum does Bed and Breakfast. Rachel made a lot of tea for guests when she was a kid….
Three days after secondary school finished, Rachel moved to Australia to work for an adventure tourism company hosting guests in remote bush camps and farming sheep and cattle. She ended up as a travel writer for an eclectic travel brand that many pennies dropped. She says, “the most successful businesses were those with a thoughtful set up, the sharing of their knowedge, the interesting, rather than predictable style.
In 2011 Rachel started Ploughmans Cottage, and ran it for 4 years before setting up New Forest EscapesShe now works part time for New Forest Escapes and also home educates her seven year old daughter. This allows her to explore the New Forest and indulge in her love affair with trees, horses and bicycles and to develop the company brand, creative, work on the sales-side and generally steer the tiller.
Jane Wilkinson – Managing Director of Everyday Happiness.
Jane came to us to support in website marketing, swapped to accounts, took on the business admin and then the team management. Her deep love of numbers and Microsoft Excel is perfect for the business! She is absolutely central to the running of the business and her calm and smiley attitude makes her a perfect ‘Director of Everyday Happiness’.
Jane has worked in the leisure and tourism industry for 15 years. Her career has extended far and wide to give her a really in depth knowledge of this industry, always focusing on product, marketing and customer service whether at a luxury boutique tour operator, the SEALIFE centres or P&O Cruises; As well as working on luxury boats abroad. She loves to holiday and has travelled far and wide.
She moved to the New Forest area ten years ago and headed straight to the beach and activities on the water – her first love. She only really discovered the forest after reading Rachel’s blogs and recommendations about what to do locally.
Sarah Wilson – Our Queen of Office Operations
Sarah grew up in the New Forest and rode ponies here for her childhood fun.
She couldn’t keep away as an adult and has returned to be a local again. Sarah works for us part time in the office, focusing on enquiries, bookings and office admin.
She has a 4 year old boy and lives in Lymington. When not working she commonly found testing out new walks and coffee shops – ask her about the where to eat and the best coffee locations! You can be sure that the information you get will be up to date and well tested.
Susan – Principessa of Daily Bookings
Susan is not a princess! She works very hard for us in the office and has recently taken on a new sales role. Since we call every enquiry (I have to say that this is not possible in COVID times when enquiries are flooding in), we need people like Susan who are diligent, careful and know the details about our houses.
Her knowledge of the area is crucial to her sales role. She and Sarah run the majority of the daily bookings side of the business plus Susan makes sure our website is up to date and looking good!
Susan is a local and lives in Lymington, when not with us, Susan is found, trying to keep up with her boys whilst they explore the forest and coast here.
Rachel Smith – Pricing Guru
Rachel is a New Forest local, living in Norleywood, a tiny hamlet, just outside Lymington in the National Park. Norleywood is frequented mainly by wandering donkeys, and it’s where our house ‘Thatched Hat’ is – just down the road in fact.
Rachel has worked at The George Hotel, Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight for 15 years helping with their marketing and pricing strategies. She’s a stickler for details and is often found tweaking the back end pricing system for us because she enjoys the challenge of supporting owners and filling our houses with guests.
Rachel has two big kids, two horses, one dog and one husband! She rides her horses daily and has been a serious competitor in the New Forest Point to Point, and New Forest Show. She is humble about her horsey abilities, but she shouldn’t be. She has produced and competed, as has her daughter Hannah, to very high levels within the competitive equine world for the New Forest pony sphere.
Kate Porteous – Juggler of Social Media, Knower of Whats on
Kate grew up in Pembrokeshire where most weekends were spent boating on the coast. After a brief spell working in Paris and Germany, she migrated to London where she had a blast working in marketing and sampling posh restaurants.
She missed the sea and when she saw a job opportunity on the Isle of Wight with Liz Earle Skincare – she escaped the city. Taking up residence in Lymington, she met her sailing fanatic husband and spent the next 10 years marketing pots and pans and then luxury yachts. Having managed the social media for both Le Creuset and Oyster Yachts as part of her roles there, she became somewhat of a social media geek and still can’t get enough of it to this day.
She loves nothing more than getting out on the Solent and/or going for a good stomp through the forest with her sons who are 8 and 5. Where’s best to picnic with kids? Where can you get the best views to see the Fastnet or Round the Island Race? Where is best to see the bluebells in May? Which New Forest pubs have the best kids play areas (and the tastiest food and wine)? Fine dining in the New Forest? Ask Kate. Or follow us on Facebook and Instagram 😉