We’ve discussed in this series of articles about management of property in France, many aspects of the thought and care which goes into stress-free ownership at a distance of a holiday home here, most especially if that is let to paying guests during the holiday season.
If we’re going to go into next year’s season with light hearts, then the preparation for that starts as soon as the last paying guest leaves the premises hopefully having posted a good review about their stay! Taking a few weeks to draw breath, then preparations for repairs decoration and replacement of tired items starts now, to avoid any last=minute hiccups next spring, and to give time to rejuvenating the property so that it is fresh and welcoming for next year.
If you don’t have one already, then now is a good time to create an inventory of contents and check their current status – from absolutely fine through to needing replacement. Talking of replacement, make sure any items offered in your advertising as available to guests, are in good condition and ready for use. Les Bons Voisins Bureau Central is still scared by a weekend’s mediation between disappointed guests and caring owner when a party arriving expecting to find a trampoline and table tennis table, found that both had been judged unfit for use and removed without replacement. Sadly the owners had forgotten that their publicity already in place had listed them as attractions for guests and a family with teenagers were sorely disappointed on their arrival.
Likewise though if you do add to the attractions at your property, don’t forget to refresh your advertising accordingly – it’s harder than ever to keep pace with the standard of property available for rental so don’t hold back on listing the amenities you offer. There are some obvious instant attractions which have gone from luxury to necessity in a very short space of time – wi-fi, UK TV, dishwashers being amongst those now ‘must haves’. Beautiful bed linen is a real winner so get a new picture of the bedroom made up and ready to welcome them – quite possibly if you spot items needing replacement early enough you have the January sales to buy cost-saving replacements.
With the inventory showing up contents which may need replacing, at the same time a note can be made of the décor and whether that needs some refreshing. Once again, allowing the time to do that AND to photograph it before the serious holiday choosing season gets underway, means striking whilst the iron is hot in the autumn rather than rushing any work in the spring.
Outside the property, a certain amount of garden maintenance can throw up areas which might need some attention and possibly some additional planting. If this is done in the autumn, smaller plants can be bought at lower cost, AND have the winter to take hold and to have matured before the spring.
For your own last visit of the year, take the opportunity to have a review meeting with your property managers and reflect on this last season. They will have fronted-up to your guests, and will have heard at first hand the comments about the property – do take that feedback on board! It’s easy to slip into defensive mode but think of it as constructive and if there are some tweaks you can made to ensure happy guests next season, then that’s to your ultimate benefit.
A real life example – I went to a lovely property in Provence on holiday the ambiance of which was at odds with the undoubtedly expensive but very ‘home counties’ dark striped curtains in every room. If they were replaced with the light and airy toile de jouey pattern shouting class and France, what a different ambience there would have been. The property had shutters so the curtains were to dress the windows rather than for practical use – funny little detailed point and one which with little cost turned around the interior. Most of all beware of taking your own holiday requirements as those of the guests – you might not want to watch UK TV whilst on your own break in France, but certainly the majority of guests expect to do so.
So – good luck with your autumn review – just as important in my eyes as that spring clean which can cause a certain amount of panic and last minute spending – do it now and save on both counts! As ever if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact Les Bons Voisins Bureau Central where one of the team will be happy to help. Bon chance!
Previous articles in this series;
Sally Stone started Les Bons Voisins Property Management in 2002, the first national network of property managers in France which stretches from Calais to Cannes.
Les Bons Voisins – caring for those who care for France
Tel 0033 (0)2 96 24 74 27
By Sally Stone
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