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Making your Languedoc holiday lets irrisistible to potential guests

 

Greg Taylor (ex-Senior Strategic Planner at M&C Saatchi Advertising and co-founder of Creme-de-Languedoc.com) gives his advice to holiday lets and B&B owners on how to market their properties - in 5 easy steps.

 

Most people who own a holiday let worry about getting enough bookings. They worry, because most of them don’t market their property terribly well, and so always struggle to attract enough visitors. They waste money and time doing things that don’t generate many enquiries and fail to spend enough time doing things that really do make a difference).

 

Rather than write a whole book on the subject (which would only worry you more) we’ve distilled what we think you should do down to a simple 5-point plan. Do these 5 relatively simple things, and we’re confident you’ll generate more enquiries for your holiday let than ever before:

 

""
Take excellent photos:

 

When it comes to property, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Take photos of the gardens of your holiday lets as soon as possible, before you lose your flowers and leaves to Autumn, on as sunny a day as possible. Clear all the clutter in each room you photograph - and add props - like a big bowl of fruit in the kitchen, flowers in the living room, wood in your fireplace. Maximise the light - either natural or buy a powerful up-lighter. Lighten your (digital) photos if necessary on a computer - there’s nothing more off-putting than gloomy gardens and bleak bedrooms. If you’re marketing a B&B, take a nice (smiley) photograph of yourselves - it will make your holiday lets seem more personal and trustworthy.

 

""
Check your rates:

 

Do a bit of research. Check what others are charging for a similar holiday lets and B&Bs to yours in a similar area at similar times. The best way to do this is to spend an hour or so on the internet. Make sure your property is competitively priced - as the internet now allows people to browse hundreds of properties quickly and easily, and anything that’s too expensive just isn’t going to get as many enquiries.

 

""
Get onto the Web:


Most people hunting for holiday lets now do so on the internet. Don’t build your own website (see below), instead, get your property on to 2-3 really good ‘directory’ websites. To find a good one, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Google.com - and type in what you think people looking for holiday lets will type in when searching. ‘holiday lets in Languedoc’ for example.
  2. Visit those directory sites that appear in the first 2 pages of Google. Try searching for holiday lets on each one.
  3. Choose those sites that are A: easy to use, B: contain lots of information and photos for each property, and C: present properties nicely (there are a lot of really ugly property websites out there - and putting a beautiful property on an ugly site makes no sense).
  4. Once you’ve chosen your 2-3 sites, make sure your best photo is the 1st you upload (perhaps the one showing the house and pool). Upload as many photos as you can (including the one of you if you’re B&B owners).
  5. Write a really good, descriptive few paragraphs about your holiday lets: the house, garden, nearest village and local activities. Also mention how you can help them book restaurants and activities, and maybe do the odd bit of baby-sitting (it’ll give you a big edge over the competition.) Don’t forget that in an increasingly competitive market people are looking to stay somewhere that offers those little extras that can turn a stay into an experience they’ll always remember.

""
Make a Leaflet:

 

Add your property to the Creme-de-Languedoc website, and you'll receive a leaflet (containing your text and photos) absolutely free!

If you design a leaflet, print it off, and leave it with as many local tourist offices as you can (and ask friends to hand it out) you’d be surprised how many enquiries it can generate. In terms of design, get a piece of A4 paper, and turn it on its side. Fold it into 3 (vertical folds) - making sure the left flap folds on top of the right one. This is called a ‘DL’ leaflet - and will fit nicely into tourist office leaflet dispensers. I’d print it double-sided if you can, as you’ll get more photos on it. Either use Microsoft Word or a design program to design it (or ‘Pages’ if you’re lucky enough to own a Mac!).

 

""
Make a Poster:


Make a poster: By poster, I mean those A4 sheets that sit on notice boards in post offices, supermarkets and leisure clubs all over the UK - with lots of phone numbers written vertically along the bottom with cuts between them so that they can be torn off easily. Make it look nice - one big photo of the holiday let's house and pool, perhaps, with some smaller ones under it. Keep the text short and to the point - maybe using bullets. Add a headline at the top - big enough to read 10 feet away - something short and to-the-point like “Beautiful holiday let near the Med, France”. Then print off 100 of them, and ask friends and family to put them up everywhere they can. There’s something about the fact that these appear locally that makes people trust them. (The owners must be local - so they’re bound to be trustworthy!)

 

That’s it. Only 5 things to do.

 

And here’s what you should NOT waste time or money doing:

 

"" Don’t create your own holiday let website: It just won’t get found on the web, and even if it did show up high on Google (it would be a miracle) people prefer the choice they get from directory sites.

 

"" Don’t pay for press ads: They’re expensive and people just don’t use them to search for holiday lets anymore. By their very nature, they give very little information and photos about a property, so won’t allow you to really sell yourself.

 

"" Don’t necessarily use a lettings agent: If you’re not around and need someone to show guests in and deal with problems, then an agent can definitely be worth the commission you’ll pay them. But don’t use an agent just because they can find you guests - you’ll be paying a hefty price for something that (using our 5 point holiday lets marketing plan above) you can easily do yourself.

 

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