How to let your French property out for short-term holidays
- Credit: Archant
With the rise of short breaks and holiday letting platforms such as Airbnb, letting your French property out for short holidays has never been easier
After three years of enjoying their apartment in Antibes all to themselves, Jo Vickers and family decided to try their hand at letting it out to weekenders and holidaymakers. Here is their experience:
“Carrying with us a better understanding that anything can be fixed, we took our first tentative steps by letting to friends, before progressing to online promotion via social media networks, then to accommodation websites such as Booking.com using a full management agency.
“We’ve learned about organising the apartment so a first-time visitor can use the appliances with ease, leaving succinct instructions in French and English. We know to present the flat through beautiful Instagram-worthy photos, but not over-egg the offering, to prevent disappointment, and poor reviews of which we have had some.
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“If you’re considering letting your property, it’s vital to keenly match your property to the specific type of people for whom it is perfect. Our one-bed flat is just right for culture-loving couples or for a friend’s beach holiday, but not right for a family of five with a dog who wish to spread out. We also now know that it’s good to own a lockable cupboard. As the mantra among the B&B community goes: “If you want to see it again, lock it away”.
“We informed the town hall that we were doing short-term holiday lets, then chose a local agency rather than self-management, for peace of mind. We just couldn’t see how we would be able to coordinate taking bookings, managing deposits and responding to visitors’ enquiries around the clock while pursuing our busy careers and family life in the UK. The agency took this off our shoulders for only a small percentage of the income. They have more than earned their percentage cut; the number of bookings are so much more than we could have achieved on our own.
“Many people book last minute, knowing that plenty of accommodation is available through travel websites and that prices will be discounted. It is notable that flight release dates play a part in increases in our booking calendar activity. We notice that around 30% of our visitors book four months in advance, around the time when flights are released, and are at their cheapest.
“Having a facility where the visitor doesn’t have to conform to the Friday or Saturday changeover allows this flexibility for your guests and increased bookings for you.
“Thinking about how people holiday now and what they want can be instructive. I summarise our findings as this: flexibility, a clean, comfortable space, some individual features, value for money, good communication and wifi.
“We feel more connected to the town that we adore, visiting more than ever, and now have the benefit of having a fledgling business with a modest income. Sharing is the new black, isn’t it? For us, we are motivated by not leaving a place empty and, in a small way, contributing to the economics of the town where we have bought. We think that in principle ‘sharing is good’ and we can adapt the flat and ourselves to cope with the comings and goings of visitors who love Antibes as much as we do.”
1. Buy home insurance to cover short-term holiday rental.
2. Inform the town hall that you are renting out on short-term holiday lets.
3. Remove or put away anything you are emotionally attached to.
4. Provide an emergency contact for visitors.
5. Leave instructions on how to use each appliance in French and English as a necessity. This reduces enquiries on how to switch on the microwave
6. Have a last-minute booking facility and flexible changeover days.
7. De-clutter. Design-savvy travellers want a clutter-free space and attractive interior. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just harmonious.
8. Be an accessible host.
Jo’s apartment is available to rent through BnBkeys.