September, time for photos…
The rental season 2015 is coming to a close. For you this might mean a break, before preparations for the next season start. So far it has been an excellent rental year for the whole Gites platform. This does not automatically mean that this was the case for every individual home owner; several things play a part in this and we can’t influence these factor the way we would like to.
We can optimise the website a much as possible though and we are already quite successful at this. We only have indirect influence on the content of the ads themselves. Only you can do something about that. To help you we have set up a knowledge base with several articles.
This is the ideal time of year to make new photos of your property. Here you see an example of a nearly ideal photo (the shutters should have been open):
Blue sky takes up about half of the photo. The house is vertically centered in the photo (it will be zoomed-in in the ad). Not the harsh light of the midday sun in July and August, but the soft light of morning or evening in September.
Make your home pose a little ; no garbage bags beside the front door, the shutters open, the sun chairs with the parasol open and a bottle on the table next to the paper. Make sure to turn on the lights inside. You can upload photos as big as 12 MB. Use photos from your camera without reducing them in size and set the camera to the highest resolution for optimum quality.
We know that not every house is photogenic, it’s in a street, lot’s of foliage etc. Maybe you can find someone with a wide angle lens, perhaps even a photographer: good photos will pay for themselves.
Make sure to read the article in our knowledge bank about optimising your photography and how to add or change your photos.
Availability and rates for 2016
This might seem a little early but the first bookings for 2016 are coming in and so are the first complaints from visitors that want to know about the missing rates and availabilities.
Make sure to have everything ready for next season so you can profit to a maximum from these early bookers.
Four points that have a direct influence on your rental succes and which need to be updated every year:
- The beste opening photo. We still see photos with a resolution that is too low. (sometimes 300x200 pixels while the photo is shown, regardless the width, with a minimal height of 1080 pixels ). Check our knowledge bank and read photo optimising.
- Rates for 2016. Make the most of different price periods: be flexible in low and mid seasons. Why not adapt the price to the number of guests. The price period system only shows future rates. If you haven’t filled in rental rates for next season the ad will show “Rates upon request” and this is something the visitors doesn’t like to see.
- Availability. Please note! We don’t know if your house is available or not so please make all available weeks green before you mark the booked weeks.
- The texts in your ad might be improved to ensure being found in search engines. Some tips: when you refer to your house use the word 'holiday home' or B&B and the name of your house.
So not “ our house” but “ holiday home Notre Maison”. Use and repeat (without totally killing the text) terms which are important for your offer. There is no harm in using the names of the town and department a few times in the text. (make sure to use the right spelling) Don’t limit yourself to a simple listing but make a story of your offer. Ads that have a clear text are more often quickly found in the search engines.
To help you determine rates you can find the Dutch and French school holidays in our knowledge bank.
Experiences of visitors
It has been going on for a number of years but this year we received many phone calls and e-mails with questions about the offer on Gites: “ Does this house really exists, is it safe to transfer money to this owner, can you guarantee that this house exists, why can’t we book through Gites, is it possible to pay your organisation?”
After a short conversation most concerns have been taken away but it worries us to see that many visitors don’t make a booking because they rather book with a travel organisation than with a private owner.
It is simply an indication of what is happening in the market but also a mood that is being created by the large travel organisations and television programmes that pay attention to scams and ruined holidays.
The means Gites has to tackle this problem in the current system are limited. When an owner has been advertising with us for four year in a row without problems, and when they registered the rental in their town and have a ‘Meuble de Tourism’ classification then we can give them a verification seal on the Gites website.
But you can also help by profiling yourself on the advertisers page. This way you are no longer the anonymous owner. Also reviews can help in this case.
We don’t believe this mood will disappear but will only grow stronger. We have to urge you to use all the means possible. From our side we are also investigation how to cope with this phenomenon.
Our rates will be subjected to a change this season:
The changes will apply per 1st of November 2015 ( the last rate change was 20 March 2014)
Main subscription € 98.00 (was € 94.00)
Extra language € 29.00 (was € 25.00).
Other rates (Last-Minute offers and translations) remain unchanged.
The increase in rates will be entirely used for our marketing budget.
A clear example of our extended marketing activities was given in our previous newsletter: all German, English and French advertissements (together a little more than 1000) are placed on Hometogo. Until the 1st of November it is still possible to activate an ad on www.gites.eu for the old rate of 25 euros. After November 1st it will be 29 euros. Ofcourse discounts apply for an extra language when you have more than one ad.
You can activate extra languages in your account (log in first) by clicking on your ad and then clicking on the flag of the language of your choice. You will be asked the whether you will translate yourself or if you want to use the translators of GItes (native speakers) for which 30 euros (one time) will be charged. If you already have a translation you can simply (re)publish it.