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French Connections
Guide to Marketing Your Holiday Rentals

If you are a French property owner, discover how to carry out the most effective marketing of your holiday let or gite, especially in a challenging market. Welcome to our new advice centre for French holiday property owners.

If you live in France and run a gite business or let a holiday home, our free guides and articles can help you to promote your property more successfully.

As one of the original French holiday property websites, we've got enormous experience of helping our advertisers get more bookings – and we want to share our knowledge with you.

Read on to discover our best tips on how to carry out the most effective marketing of your holiday let or gite, especially in a challenging market.

Getting Started With Your Holiday Rental’s Advertising Campaign

Decide on your market. Is your property best for families, groups, couples or adults only? This may depend not only on the accommodation but also on what type of holiday your location offers. It’s also important to mention whether you have facilities for disabled people and if you welcome pets.

Set your price. Research prices in your area and compare like with like in terms of space, facilities and standard of accommodation.

Budget for your advertising. Set a realistic figure and include photography costs, hosting of long term listings, contingencies for special offers and the cost of customer phone calls.

Once you’re decided on the basics, you can write your advert.

Penning the Perfect Holiday Property Ad

Show and tell browsers what a holiday at your place will offer by really taking the time to make your advertisement as accurate and as comprehensive as possible. The more detail you can give the better, as your attention at this early stage demonstrates your level of commitment and service to the customer.

good quality digital photographs to show your property’s character and unique selling points. Remember that holidaymakers want to know what they can expect, imagine themselves already there and feel reassured in making a booking without risk of disappointment.

Make your property description informative and articulate, giving your page an eye- catching title and using colourful adjectives to draw the reader in. Then wax lyrical about the history, atmosphere or special qualities of your house or gite and describe the holiday experience. Finally explain accurately the practical details of what’s on offer, both at the property and in the local area.

Find your properties’ unique selling point. Unique Selling Points – features that make your property stand out – are marketing essentials. What ‘extras’ and unique features does your holiday let offer guests?

Your USPs could be fresh food from your garden, a particularly stylish décor, a state of the art kitchen or bathroom, good onsite games or local knowledge and accessibility to landmark attractions. Are you offering specialist activities, classes, therapies or tours that appeal to a certain market sector? Do you provide internet access, which may be essential for some guests? Are you living on site and will you offer any meals? Say, too, what is unique and attractive about your local town or village, your accessibility to places of interest or attractive walking and cycling routes.

Consider adding video. ‘At French Connections, we’re proud to be first in our market to offer a video package and browsers’ search option because we know that video sells. Quick booking decisions are often influenced by watching the video because it gives a complete feel of the property.’

When you think you’ve finished your listing details, get objective feedback from someone who knows the property and someone who has never seen it. They will be more detached than you and might just spot important omissions or missed opportunities.

Managing your Holiday Rental Advertising Campaign

When your listing has gone live, it’s essential to monitor enquiries to avoid missed bookings. Holidaymakers need a reply to email enquiries within 24 hours and if you can’t answer fully in writing, then pick up the phone and call them to discuss. It could clinch the booking. If you’re away from your email, you can get text alerts or log into the owner’s area to pick up enquiries.

Look at your competitors, review your advertisement regularly to keep up to date, and add extra photographs of the property and local area. Once you start getting noticed, then it’s good to use feedback from your customers to generate even more success.

Using Special Offers to Promote your French Holiday Property

Special offers and promotions are a quick and easy way to get your holiday rental property noticed and sell extra weeks throughout the season. Among the promotions that owners offer are prices set in sterling, allowing visitors to book with knowledge of the ultimate cost, and fixed exchange rates, which also create certainty and confidence. Discounts of as much as 45% tend to be offered in return for early booking or for weeks outside peak holiday times. Incentives include free airport transfers combined with free bike hire or a case of champagne. Usability tests have shown that many browsers search special offer properties first – and some will look only at these listings.

Marketing Your French Holiday Property in a Challenging Market

With every challenge comes opportunities. You may not be able to change the bigger market forces at work but there is a lot you can do to tweak your listing to make it stand out.

Get clever with marketing your holiday rental – remember, your focus is to sell as many weeks of the season as possible and get a return. Even when money is tight, holidaymakers are not all looking for rock bottom prices – but they do want the best deal and value for their money, so you need to make sure you’re competitive.

Make offers relevant. If you introduce a deal or incentive, it should be sufficiently attractive and targeted to grab peoples’ attention. Offering a bottle of wine is simply not enough – the challenge is to be more inventive and address holidaymakers’ concerns.

Don’t scrimp on marketing costs. You may be looking at ways to cut outgoings, but advertising and marketing is one area where you really can’t afford to do this. In the past, we have seen holiday rentals responding negatively in economic downturns but this time there seems to be a much greater understanding of the importance of continuing to be noticed, especially online.

Stay businesslike – plan carefully and to spend your marketing budget wisely. Bear in mind that with the advent of widespread – almost total – internet use in this market, holiday rental advertising is actually much cheaper today than it was ten years ago, when the main means of getting noticed was a printed brochure. Most holiday rental properties can be advertised on at least two specialist host sites for less than the cost of one week’s rent.

Explore new holiday markets and try new ideas. If you have been marketing mainly to families with children, then try aiming for couples or groups outside school holiday times – perhaps with the added attraction of local sports or activities. It’s always good to make contact with previous clients and encourage recommendations, but you still need to market to replenish the supply of new business.

Finally, make the most of testimonials. Remember that prospective guests don’t have to take only your word for it. Personal recommendation by independent visitors who have had a great holiday is a compelling and powerful tool in meeting the challenge of the modern market.

Marketing a French holiday rental, property, letting or gite?

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