This is us... the Manor Cottages Team.
We all love our work and we all do a little bit of everything, so putting a title on us is not easy. We all deal with customer enquiries, we all visit the cottages so we know them inside and out, we all answer the phones, we all handle the bookings, we all make the coffees in the office (well, Jon will tell you he carries the lion share of that particular load, but he just makes such a great cup of coffee, so...) and we all live in the Cotswolds so we all give great advice to guests about where to go and what to see when they're staying in one of our cottages.
This is Chris. He’s the boss. We like to say that he spends his life just "swanning around the Cotswolds", and that's partly true... he does do that as he's often the one to do the initial visit when we take on a new cottage, so he knows the Cotswolds like the back of his hand, making him the "Go-To Guy" for information on cottages, the towns and villages, the neighbourhoods and, let's be honest, the best sandwich shops.
But as owner and boss, Chris is also is the one who keeps an eye on the day to day running of the business, the one who liaises with the finance, marketing, seo and web teams and the one who ultimately is in charge of… well, everything.
Chris says, “It’s an unbelievable joy and privilege to be able to travel around the Cotswolds every week, almost every day, visiting places that people travel to from far and wide. Yes there are challenges, but when you weigh these up with the positives there really is nothing to compare with the enjoyment of seeing the Cotswolds’ beauty first hand. Even after 10 years of traversing the many lanes of the area, I’m still finding new villages and ones where time has literally stood still. Only recently I found Withington deep in the hills, where nothing has changed in years and years, just so pretty. Most of my friends describe my job as ‘being paid to swan around the Cotswolds’. Yep, I’m happy with that”.
Some little known facts about Chris: In Chris’ early teens he lived in Penzance in Cornwall where his family owned a holiday cottage – he would ride his bike from Penzance to Marazion on changeover days with the new, clean linen on the handlebars to clean the cottage and get it ready for the next week’s guests. Also, he’s a pretty decent rugby-player and his lovely dog, Crumble, is our Office Dog.
This is Celia. She’s the longest standing member of the Manor Cottages Team, she's been with us even longer than Chris, in fact.
Celia handles Manor Cottages’ finances, payments and bookkeeping, and has done since 2001 when the business was owned and run by the people who founded it 25 years ago.
Celia says, “I love going to work in the office in Burford. Coming down the hill into the centre of town, it’s one of the best views in the Cotswolds. And I really enjoy being part of a small, forward-thinking team of great people who all strive to give excellent service to customers and owners”.
Some little known facts about Celia: She loves horses, has 2 and rides them every chance she gets.
This is Jon. If you’ve ever phoned the office and spoken to Jon, you will know he has an amazing phone manner and a nice, calm voice. Really, we think he should be on radio or doing voiceovers or something, but we wouldn’t tell him that because the office just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Jon has been with Manor Cottages for 5 years and there’s pretty much nothing he doesn’t know about the holiday cottage business and the Cotswolds, so when asked about what title we should put on his business cards, he suggested the rather lengthy “Booking Processor / Owner-and Guest Liaison / Day-to-Day Problem Solver / Coffee Maker / Office Grouch“. There was no room for all that, so we went for "Manager of Miscellaneous".
Jon says, “I really like the unpredictability of the job. We never know what we are going to be asked next; no question is too obscure, no request too unreasonable, but on occasion it’s just as well that I’m blessed with infinite patience! At heart I think that I am a frustrated estate agent – I love noseying around other people’s properties”.
Some little known facts about Jon: He’s a keen golfer and has even played with Sir Viv Richards, the former West Indian cricketer, and Will Champion, the drummer from Coldplay. He has also played cricket with Joel Garner, another former West Indian cricketer. Oh, and he makes a fab cuppa.
This is Sonja. She’s in charge of our Property Management Services as well as our housekeepers, cottage cleaners and maintenance team. She’s makes sure guests are happy at all times and that, when things go wrong in the properties, they are dealt with swiftly and with minimum of hassle and inconvenience for the guests.
“I love the variety in my job, every day can bring different challenges. What I love most meeting new owners and being so privileged to see them turning their properties into beautiful holiday homes. I thoroughly enjoy working with the most marvellous bunch of people, office colleagues through to maintenance and housekeepers”, Sonja.
Some little known facts about Sonja: Sonja is originally from South Africa. She used to live in Chipping Campden but now lives near Burford, so she knows a large area of the Cotswolds like a real local. She is responsible for the eye candy in the office… in that she has a signed picture of Bradley Cooper by her desk.
This is Hazel. She has just recently changed roles and have moved from Customer Service to Accounts. She arranges the wages for the housekeepers, cleaners and maintenance staff, she keeps the invoices to owners up to date, co-ordinate staff holidays and various other things in the office! And she's always on hand to answer the phones, do bookings and take on her "old" duties when it get's very busy in the office.
She’s been with Manor Cottages as long as Chris and remembers the office and the business from a time when it was very different than it is today with less than 50 cottages.
Hazel has had a front-row seat to the growth in Manor Cottages and has truly been an instrumental part in the success of the business from when Chris took over 10 years ago.
About the changes in Manor Cottages in the time she has been here, Hazel says, “Things have changed so much in my 10 years with Manor Cottages, but the one constant has been the staff always being able to take things in their stride. There is a good sense of ‘team’ in our office and together we have weathered many storms over the years, both literally and otherwise, including the flooding of 2007 when we had to find temporary accommodation for many locals”.
Some little known facts about Hazel: At every lunchtime, Hazel is the envy of the entire office, as every day, her lovely husband prepares her the most wonderful lunches and salads.
This is Nicky. She’s one of the newest additions to the Manor Cottages Team and she has “slotted in” beautifully, as if she’d been in our office for years. Nicky’s main responsibilities is on the booking side, taking bookings and liaising with customers as well as owners. Nicky is local to Burford as has a good knowledge of the Cotswolds.
From her very first day, she started doing the rounds of the cottages to give herself good knowledge of them as well as the areas they’re in, and in record time she’s done it and is now practically as Cotswolds Cottage Expert.
Nicky says, “Since joining Manor Cottages I have had the opportunity to work with a great group of people and to visit some beautiful properties in lovely areas of the Cotswolds. Finding the ideal cottage for a customer is so rewarding.
Some little known facts about Nicky: Local to the Cotswolds but has spent years of her life in America and in Denmark for about 6 months. She used to play hockey for Northern California.
This is Kathy. In the office, Kathy calls herself the “Jack of all Trades”, as she does everything from bookings, dealing with guests, owners and all the basic administration. She’s about as local to the office as it is possible to be, as she lives right on Burford’s High Street, only a minute’s walk from the office. Kathy and her family owns their own holiday cottages in the Lake District, so Kathy truly knows what our owners experience, another reason she is such a great asset to our team.
About working at Manor Cottages, Kathy says, “I really love my work at Manor Cottages, especially for the variety and the never knowing what to expect. Each day in the office is different to the next”.
Some little known facts about Nicky: We all love dogs in the office, but Kathy LUURVES dogs. Her own dog is called Bonnie and Kathy goes home every day in her lunch break to take Bonnie out for a walk… lucky girl.
This is JENNY. She's been with Manor Cottages for nearly a year and she handles all things relating to bookings, owners and guests. Jenny is local to Stonesfield and often takes her young family out on weekends, so she knows lots about what to do and where to go in the Cotswolds.
Jenny says, "The variety the job role at Manor Cottages offers is exciting as no day is ever the same. I love that we are encouraged to go and visit all cottages, so we have real in-depth knowledge of the holiday C=cottages we're selling on the phone and on email when guests book. It gives me great satisfaction when a person rings with a set of requirements, and I am able to help them find a cottage that will be perfect for them and their family or friends".
Some little known facts about Jenny: She loves horses and rides every single weekend. She has two lovely sons, Samuel (2) and Dylan (5).
This is Mette. She handles all things marketing for Manor Cottages. Mette is the only one in the team who has no dealings with bookings, guests and owners, but then she handles the things nobody else do, like marketing campaigns, awards, newsletters, graphic design, social media and PR.
“I work part-time for Manor Cottages and I absolutely love my days in the office. The work is interesting and exciting and spending time with these wonderful colleagues is just the icing on the cake”.
Some little known facts about Mette: She’s Danish but definitely here to stay and she has lived in the UK for nearly 15 years. She loves dogs and has 4 (yes, you read that right), they’re called Muffin, Charlie, Jesse and Cooper. She has twins, a boy and a girl, of 7.