How to advertise your place in France
How to advertise your place in France
If you own a place in France and are considering renting it out, you may well be a little bewildered as to how to advertise it most effectively. There are a couple of questions, however, that you need to ask yourself initially. What is my intended market and what time of year do I want to rent it out? The time of year can depend on when, and if, you need access to the property yourself. Should you have a second home, 'maison secondaire', and use it mainly in summer are you content to let it sit empty all winter? Obviously winter rentals require sufficient heating etc but be realistic as to what your property can offer. If your area does not offer winter activities, eg skiing, standard holiday rentals in the winter months may be thin on the ground but it could still be worthwhile renting it out for longer lets which may appeal to say house hunters, people on work contracts, extended holiday makers, writers etc.
Ask yourself what your property can offer that others cannot. Is your property particularly suitable for a specialist activity eg. walking, fishing or skiing? If so it may be worthwhile advertising with a specialist agency. The benefits of picking a specialist is that they are able to promote your property effectively to the market most suited to it and the conversion rate from enquiries to bookings should be greater. Our specialist agency promotes properties in France for long lets of one month or more. Some of our advertisers divide their property between holiday lets in the peak summer months and longer lets for the rest of the year. Others are happy to rent out long term year round. The majority of longer rentals are 2-6 months.
Nowadays you do need to be visible on the internet, and by this I mean to have your advert on a website that ranks highly in the search engines. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of holiday rental sites on France. Some good, some bad, many indifferent. Page one of Google is where you ideally want to be. The website needs to appear on this page by its own merits, not just by paying to appear in the 'Sponsored Links' section. Many people can be wary of these 'pay for placement' adverts and ignore them. Having your own website is also useful. While it is unlikely to feature highly in the search engines, it can provide an easily accessible online brochure with links to it from your other web adverts.
When you have found a potential advertising site be sure to have a good look at it and make sure you are happy with the presentation. The internet is plagued with sites with over the top graphics, waving flags, winking icons, moving graphics and changing photos. The home page introduces the site, it's the shop window and should be calm, clear and concise. The actual advert for your property should be well laid out and easy on the eye. Information should be easily accessible with details arranged sensibly. Be aware that many sites use similar software that effectively wraps your property details in a distracting border of adverts and links. The advertising ‘page’ you paid for is often only a centre section.
Photographs are incredibly important so ensure you are allowed a good number and check what size they will be displayed at - small photos are not so appealing.
When choosing an agency have a look at the testimonial page - satisfied customers are the best recommendation after all.
Some questions to ask the agency could include:
Can I amend the text and photos on my advert at any time for no charge?
Is there an availability calendar?
How many photos can I have?
How many visitor’s does your site receive?
What is the cost to advertise per annum?
Where are you in the search engines?
Can you provide a link to my website?
(A form of our above article appeared in French Property News, Jan 2007.)
(Published November/December 2007)