Hit the Slopes and the Bottom Line: Marketing Strategies for Promoting Your Ski Property in the French Alps
Ski Property Management 101: Tips for Maximizing Rental Income in the French Alps
Owning a ski property in the French Alps can be an excellent investment, but it requires careful management to maximize its rental income. To help you achieve success as a ski property owner, we’ve compiled a list of tips and strategies from industry experts.
From marketing and pricing to property management and renovation, these tips will help you optimize your rental income and attract more guests to your chalet or apartment in the French Alps.
If you’re lucky enough to own a ski property in the French Alps, you may consider letting it out to make some extra income. The French Alps are a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, so there’s demand for chalets and apartments to rent during ski season.
However, before you start advertising your ski property, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your property is up to scratch. This means ensuring that it’s clean, well-maintained, and fully equipped with all the necessary amenities. It’s also worth investing in some quality furnishings and decor to make your property stand out from the competition.
Next, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to advertise your property. There are plenty of websites and agencies that specialize in ski property rentals, so it’s worth doing some research to find the ones that will work best for you. You may also want to consider listing your property on Airbnb or other vacation rental platforms to reach a wider audience.
When it comes to pricing your property, it’s important to strike a balance between affordability and profitability. Take a look at similar properties in the area to get an idea of what they’re charging, and adjust your prices accordingly. Remember that pricing can vary depending on the time of year, so you may want to adjust your rates for peak ski season.
The perfect set-up for beds in a rental property
To ensure the comfort and convenience of your guests, it’s essential to consider the capacity of your property’s living room and dining room in relation to the number of beds you have. While cabins (smaller bedrooms with no window often) or the “coin montagne” (alcove, not an actual bedroom) with bunk beds can be a great way to accommodate families, it’s important to ensure that the beds are full length to accommodate adults if necessary. However, it’s not always essential to pack in more beds in small spaces like mountain corners (coin montagne), as properties with sufficient space, bathrooms, and privacy may be more valuable to clients. Having said that, the clients that have enjoyed the French Alps for many do tend to see “coin montagne” as totally acceptable for their Alpine stays.
When choosing double beds, consider two singles that can be made into a double bed for maximum flexibility.
Forget keys and use code entry for you and your guests
Code entry is now very popular and (even installing a lockbox has become a bit passé) it is a great option to reduce check-in friction and offer guests flexibility when entering and departing. It may also reduce the cost of creating key copies as fewer sets are needed. A very popular system is Nuki (many Airbnbs use it) where you can open or close the door of your ski property through a code that you type in on the Nuki keypad by the door or through your mobile. You can generate a new code for each new guest whenever needed or give control to your property manager. We have been using Nuki for years and it is problem-free.
The Nuki keypad is the easiest way to enter the property, providing a hassle-free experience for guests. With a Nuki smart lock, owners can open the door remotely for their guests (smart lock connected to the Internet), or a property manager can do it on their behalf. Overall, code entry provides a secure and convenient solution for ski property owners and their guests.
WIFI and streaming services for your rented French property
In addition to sleeping arrangements, make sure your property has a comfortable workspace and fast WiFi to accommodate guests who may need to work remotely while enjoying the mountains. In the French Alps most ski resorts now offer fibre optic connections (especially with central properties or new-build properties) with very fast Internet speed. We believe this can be an important advantage compared to hotel or tourist residences as the guests only use the router. Also there are no limits on how many guests can connect to the Internet as this can often be the case in hotels or tourist residences.
Streaming companies (we recommend Netflix) is a necessity nowadays and for around 10€/month, it is well worth spending it. Guests from different nationalities can choose their audio language as well as the subtitles also. Gone are the days when guest owners would proudly advertise their 150 DVD collections. Now you have tens of thousands in HD/4K quality. Often Internet providers in France will include Netflix or another streaming platform as part of their Internet Box package.
Finally, before renting out your property, it’s always a good idea to stay in it yourself to ensure that it is comfortable, practical, and ready for guests. This can also help you identify any necessary improvements or upgrades.
TV set-up in the rental property
We recommend offering a minimum 40″ flat-screen TV set in the living room and one minimum 32″ TV in one of the bedrooms. This set-up is ideal when the children can watch cartoons in a separate room. For the bedroom TV the best is to wall-mount it. New TVs nowadays come with a wifi connection so you can have Netflix or Prime Video directly on the screen without needing a decoder. If you need one, Xiaomi box is really very cheap and works fine (also Youtube).
Who drinks filter coffee nowadays?
I know that we think a filter coffee machine is fine (and cheap) but really, nowadays, with pods or bean-to-cup machines, who uses it anymore? Do not forget that people who go skiing are people used to the better things in life so, what does it cost to buy a coffee-pod machine? You can easily buy one for 50€. We recommend Dolce Gusto or Nespresso and you can buy the pods in any small supermarket in France. Dolce Gusto in our opinion is the better option (and cheaper compared to Nespresso) as you can have coffee with milk in a pod (you do not need an extra recipient for the milk). It is easier to operate and when renting a property you do not want complications for your guests. What seems like an easy operation when you are using an electronic device at your home all-year-round, can end-up being rather mysterious once you have 10 seconds to start using it in a foreign home (same with the TV remotes for example).
Also you can advertise it and guests will bring their own pods and enjoy a good quality coffee on their first morning.
Be different and offer more without going over the top!
Adding details like these will increase your rental potential by a good 10-20% in value and will easily be covered by the rental income. In France, many property rentals have terrible TV sets, often no streaming service and the coffee experience is reduced to the bare minimum.
Taxes On French Property Rental Income For Foreign Owners
Flexibilising the rental offer for your ski property: how to optimise your rental income?
For an owner with rental income targets, it is essential to know the most popular options that will allow them to optimise their occupancy rate. To meet the new expectations of Alpine guests seeking flexibility, immediacy, and transparency, the owner must implement some simple measures (see above how you can improve your property), such as:
- Adapting dynamic pricing (Yield Management*) based on occupation and current market values. The best two rental platforms which are Airbnb and Booking, offer tips based on yield management.
- Opening the property for booking as early as possible (don’t forget to update the calendar and future pricing!). A way round this problem is to set a high default minimum price per day that you change once you set the season prices.
- Allowing for different arrival days (instead of just Saturdays). This can be a problem in the French Alps as many of the tourist residences operate between Saturday and Saturday. If you offer flexible arrival days, this enhances your attractiveness.
- Offering short stays. We recommend 3-4 days minimum stays.
- Promoting their offer with occasional promotional operations (most platforms will help you with that).
*Yield Management: a marketing and sales technique based on dynamic pricing according to tangible data such as market trends and the ski resort’s influx each week.
By offering more flexibility in their rental offer, owners can better meet the demands of guests and increase their occupancy rate, leading to higher revenue. These simple measures can be easily implemented and provide significant benefits for ski property owners in the French Alps.
FOUR TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY’S PROFITABILITY
By implementing these rental tips, ski property owners can increase their rental income and improve the overall profitability of their investment.
- Increase the number of weeks available for rental, especially during the summer season when demand is higher than the supply for chalet properties.
- Avoid switching between rental agencies/platforms from year to year (especially when you are starting), as it takes approximately 3 years for a ski property to establish its clientele and increase profitability through customer loyalty.
- Focus on the “high season periods” of the winter season (school holidays are Christmas, New Year and Feb school holidays in Europe), which account for 80% of the winter rental revenue.
- Conduct minor renovations to refresh your property (if needed of course), allowing you to increase the rental price and improve your rental income. Also, follow our tips above!
How much tax do you pay on your French rental income?
As a non-resident property owner in France, you are required to pay tax on your rental income in France. The tax rate is 20% for EU/EEA residents and 30% for non-EU/EEA residents.
IMPORTANT: You only pay tax on profit, and in France, with furnished holiday lets, you can deduct:
- All property management fees and costs related to the rental of your ski property
- Pro-rata service charges, utilities and other costs related to the time when the ski property was let
- Property depreciation (usually 1/25th based on 90% of the property price you paid). For example, if you paid 400,000€ the calculation is 400,000 x 0.9 / 25 = 14,400 You can deduct from your rental income: 14,400€ each year.
- Mortgage interest if you have taken a French mortgage
- The easiest way is to use an accounting firm to do all the calculations and optimise your rental income and tax to pay. Often, you will have no tax to pay in France as furnished holiday lets are very tax-friendly. You can contact Magnin, the biggest accounting firm for French Alps property owners.
However, there is a tax treaty between France and many countries that can reduce the tax rate for non-residents as you deduct what you already paid to French Revenue from tax that you pay in your home country.