FOR ALL SEASONS
Keen to make the most of your holiday let in France all year round? Laura Habgood explains how to maximise its potential
Advice on how to maximise the income potential of your holiday let all year round
Renting your property in France to guests can provide you with a regular customer base and a steady income, but how can you get the most out of your rental during the quieter, out-of-season periods as well as during the peak times?
First of all, it is vitally important to define the low and high season for you and your property and to think about who your target market is likely to be during these times. During the peak seasons of summer and Christmas, your guests are often likely to be families with school-age children, so it is really important your marketing during this time reflects this and promotes the childfriendliness of your property. Be sure to mention any special features such as children’s bedrooms and games rooms, and to talk about your outside space and swimming pool if you have one – pools tend to be a big draw and feature on holidaymakers’ wish lists.
You should also refer to the best childfriendly attractions near to your property, including zoos and theme parks such as Futuroscope near Poitiers and Puy du Fou in Vendée. A property that has plenty to see and do in the local area is likely to be very attractive to holidaymakers who have children that need to be entertained!
Make a point of including photographs of any local beaches or places of interest with the sun shining, and let your guests know about any special events or festivals that may be taking place during their stay.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
‘Out of season’ can usually be defined as the period outside of the school holidays and your target market is likely to be very different during this time – it could include older people with grown-up children, families with very young pre-school children, couples without children or possibly a group of adults. House-hunters looking for a property to buy will need somewhere to stay during viewing trips too, and will probably prefer to arrange these outside of peak season as it will be quieter and less expensive.
Although the weather may be perceived as being colder or wetter during this time, you can still get some lovely sunshine in France during the spring and autumn (and some of winter!). Furthermore, beaches and other attractions are likely to be much less crowded than during the peak periods, which will appeal to a lot of people.
You will need to change your marketing during the off-peak period and tailor it to suit your target audience in order to secure the maximum number of bookings. For example, if you have a fire or wood-burning stove, be sure to feature photographs of this on your website or advertising portal so that potential guests will really be able to imagine themselves snuggled up by the fire. Post regular updates to your social media accounts so your audience will be able to get a feel for your property in all seasons. You could also consider offering special deals for underoccupancy during quieter periods to attract couples and young families to your property.
If you are able to, try to be more flexible during the off-peak season and offer short breaks or flexible changeover days to fit in with the needs of your customer, and to appeal to those who, for example, are looking for a long weekend in France.
Travel is also a lot cheaper outside of the peak season, including ferry travel, which allows guests to travel with their car and without restrictions on the amount of luggage they are able to take with them. Be sure to mention this in your marketing if your property is within easy reach of a port.
If you offer a welcome/information pack at your property, this will also need to be tailored to the type of guest visiting your property and the time of year they are staying. This will ensure that the information provided to your guests is always relevant and that the details you give them are up to date.
France truly is a place for all seasons. During September and October, the landscape starts to change and becomes filled with the beautiful colours of autumn. There are still many hours of sunshine in France during this period, although temperatures start to become slightly cooler. This is the perfect time to wander along one of the many footpaths and look at the changing colours of the leaves, or to go hunting for chestnuts or mushrooms in the forests. Autumn also signals the start of the grape harvest in France, and the
numerous wine festivals that take place are an ideal opportunity for your guests to sample and purchase the famous local tipple.
France’s Christmas markets are a big draw in winter, and those who are keen to experience the magic of a French marché de Noël will be looking for somewhere to stay, giving you another opportunity to make the most of your holiday let during the colder months. Markets are held across the country, and there are plenty of other wintertime celebrations too, such as the Fête des Lumières in Lyon. It’s a nice touch to decorate your property during this time for your guests, and you could even provide a tree for them so they really feel at home during their Christmas break.
The arrival of spring brings warmer weather and lots more festivals, in addition to the Easter break. It’s a good idea to promote any local events on your social media pages, and be sure to have information about these available at your property so that guests can get the most out of their stay.
During the summer months, your guests will be spoilt for choice for what to do. The climate during this period is usually warm and sunny, especially in the south of France, and it is the perfect time to explore the many miles of long sandy beaches and rugged coastal paths that France has to offer. Further inland, there are natural parks and open countryside to explore, not to mention fields of sunflowers and lavender that go on for miles on end.
By knowing your audience and effectively tailoring your marketing, you can turn your French property into a thriving holiday let all year round!