As an owner of a Belgium rental property many owners forget all about marketing their property and don’t set a strategy plan to follow.Here are some helpful tips and hints that many owners forget when marketing their property for self catering rentals. Remember that self catering holidays allow tourists freedom to explore a country and its culture at their own leisure, and for many if a good impression has been made will bring them back time and time again.
Who are your potential customers?
The first step is to decide who you are aiming to attract. Look at your property carefully and assess whether it is best suited to families, couples or only adults. Is there something at your property which could appeal to a certain niche market? Is there an internet connection – this is vital for some renters. Can you offer meals? Will you allow pets? Once you have the answer to the question of who your potential customers are, then you can make your marketing more effective and targeted, leading to more positive results.
Research prices in the area your property is located but remember to compare like with like regarding space and standards. Be realistic and try to assess your property from an independent point of view, so that you don’t set your rates too high and not get enough business.
Don’t forget to set aside an advertising budget to market your property. Apart from advertising, you should include in this figure any other costs for things such as building and hosting a webside, cost of phone calls to potential customers and a contingency fund.The next question is where to advertise. The internet is clearly the first choice as this is where your potential customers will look for holiday or long term property rentals in Belgium.
They will happily browse through listings and like the idea of having direct contact with the property owners themselves from initial contact, through bookings and any particular queries they may have.When looking at sites on which to place your rental property, consider whether it is established and whether it will last. Is it a site specifically about Belgium or is it an international site?
Particularly look at whether there is other good content on the site for potential renters, such as more about the regions of Belgium,activities, food and drink, traditions and customs, etc. Holiday makers like a site with more than just rentals, they like to be able to book their flights or their car hire. This “magazine” approach offers visitors a complete package, gives them a reason to come back frequently to the site and recommend it to others. It is sensible to choose more than one website to start off with and see what results you have achieved at the end of a year.
Apart from advertising on listing sites, it is advised that you have your own web site where you can present more detail about your property. Many people build their own – but usually you can tell and this can put your customers off! This is your shop front, so don’t skimp – get a professional site created. You can then use this on the listing sites so that visitors have the chance to get more information about your property.
Take time to compile your text, making it attractive with catchy phrases but remain honest. Apart from the property you need to show your potential customers what a holiday at your place will offer them. Especially anything which you offer and your competitors do not. Good quality photos should show the exterior and interior of the property.Once you have put your images and text together get a friend who has never seen the property to look over your presentation. Their feedback could be invaluable.
Once your presentation is “live” on the sites you have selected, you then need to monitor what is happening. The majority of holiday makers expect you to reply to an email within 24 hours. Your property is most likely not the only one they are sending an email to, so reply swiftly and if you are unsure as to whether your email will really answer their questions, pick up the phone and call them. Sometimes a phone call will make all the difference and they will be more likely to book with you if you have made personal contact with them.
Many owners would like to rent for more than just the ten weeks. If you present your property well and are clear as to who the potential customers are that you want to attract, the property is priced correctly, you reply quickly to enquiries, then you can achieve bookings in the shoulder months and potentially have customers all year. You will then want to roll over these bookings to the following year and have as many repeat bookings as possible.
If you think bookings are not as many as you would like, it is possibly time to call on the contingency fund we mentioned earlier and put out a special offer to highlight your property. Perhaps take an ad in a newspaper or magazine? Or email a site such as Quest Belgium with an unusual story and see if they will publish it.
Marketing your rental property doesn’t stop here, it continues right on to welcoming your guests and servicing their needs during their stay. Make sure you include an information pack and don’t just mention how to work the water, electric, etc but include the fun things which will make their holiday special. A free bottle of wine with your compliments will start their holiday on the right note and will exceed their expectations. See if you can get your local restaurant to offer your guests a discount. This kind of thing is not difficult to do and really builds up goodwill from your customers, increasing your chances of repeat bookings.