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Powys couple launch website for unique staycation destinations

John, Laura, Charlie and Bertie Lewis

A new online luxury accommodation directory has been launched by the Powys-based couple behind successful holiday lettings business Squirrels Nest.

Husband and wife John and Laura Lewis designed and launched Wanderlist, which offers commission-free listings, on 17th August to showcase the amazing rural retreats and spaces available across the country. The couple were able to drive forward their business concept with the support of NatWest’s Cardiff-based Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub.

Squirrels Nest

Wanderlist features everything from shepherd huts to tree tents and is working closely with those attempting to diversify their income streams all over the UK by offering owners the opportunity to list their accommodation for a yearly fee of just £295 (gold package) or £195 (silver package).

Squirrels Nest

Wanderlist already has 33 property owners signed up to the platform and the aim is to significantly grow the number of listings featured. Featured properties include locations across the UK from Flintshire to Gloucestershire.

In 2018, John and Laura, decided to diversify their income and launched their own holiday lets business, Squirrels Nest, on their 130-acre working sheep farm near Llanbister. John, a carpenter with 15 years’ experience in the construction industry, built two luxury treehouses on their land, allowing them to operate an exclusive retreat.

The two tree houses are now fully booked until December 2020 but the couple are in the process of building a third treehouse which they hope will be ready by November.

Laura said: “When we launched our own holiday lettings business, we originally signed up to a popular glamping website but couldn’t get our heads around the 25 per cent commission, which is why we wanted to launch a directory of our own.

“The website is a friendly place where owners and their properties are given the care and attention that they deserve, these truly are amazing spaces that should be shouted about. With domestic tourism set for a boom thanks to the relaxing of lockdown rules just in time for the end of the summer, we hope that property owners will take advantage of commission-free exposure and holiday-hungry Brits will be inspired by their newfound appreciation of UK beauty spots.

“Once the website is established, we hope to expand the business and the NatWest accelerator hub has allowed me to take a step back from both Squirrels Nest and Wanderlist, to look at our strategy and plan for future growth.”

In April, Laura joined the NatWest Accelerator Hub in Cardiff, part of the largest fully funded accelerator network in the UK, which provides mentoring and advice for businesses looking to scale up.

Siwan Rees, NatWest Cymru Entrepreneurship Development Manager, said: “Laura is hugely passionate about Wanderlist and supporting people like herself who have had to diversify as business income from agriculture continues to fall. The couple put a great deal of determination and enthusiasm into getting Squirrels Nest off the ground and I’m sure they will replicate this for Wanderlist to ensure it is a great success.”