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Attracting end of season rentals

For many ski property owners, the end of the season is fast approaching and you might think that it’s all over, but from the daily activity on Ski Lettings I can see that although visitor numbers are falling, there are still plenty of enquiries and bookings for last-minute ski trips.

If you still have spring availability, it’s never too late to attract some last minute bookings, so in this post I thought I would give you some ideas that you can put into action right now to make the most of the season before it ends.

Get Social – If you are a regular user of Facebook, then you probably already have connections to all of your family, work colleagues, friends, friends of friends and complete strangers that you’ve met on nights out, so what better place to start than with the people that you know best. To help spread the word, create a Facebook page for your ski property and offer an incentive for last-minute skiers, then encourage all of your friends to visit and ‘Like’ the page. This will appear in your friends timeline for all their friends to see.

Twitter is a great tool for sending out short messages (called tweets) to your following. If you live in the resort, then you are perfectly positioned to update your following on breaking news, lift closures, up-to-date weather conditions etc. To get started, create an account for your ski property, upload an image and fill out the profile page including your web address. A search for your resort will show who is already tweeting on the subject and you can start by following these people and joining the conversation. Gaining a following can take a while, but if you are tweeting useful and interesting information about the resort and not using it purely to promote your accommodation, it will build up over time.

Pimp your website – How does your website perform in the search engines? It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your site looks if people can’t find it. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a huge topic in itself, but there are some simple things that you can do to improve your website’s visibility and I would recommend that you take a look at this fantastic Beginners guide to SEO. If you don’t have your own website, the same rules apply to listings that you have on rental websites. For example, your listing on Ski Lettings can not only be found via our built-in search, but also stands up in it’s own right as a web page on the internet. Provided consideration is given to the headline and description details of the property, your listing can rank very well on the search engines.

Ok, so you’re on the 1st page of Google, but still no bookings! What’s wrong? I come across websites like this all the time. They’re probably already getting large numbers of visitors, but people just aren’t booking. Getting the SEO right is only half of the story. SEO will bring people to your website, but it won’t keep them there and it won’t always result in more bookings. Your website needs to communicate every detail about your accommodation, your photos must be attractive (more on this in a moment) and you need to include up-to-date pricing and availability. Also, don’t make your visitors hunt around your site to find contact details. Make sure that there is a way for them to get in touch with you, no matter what page they are on.

Find a partner – Have you considered partnering with complimentary services such as ski hire shops, transfer companies or even your local ski shop back home? These guys all service the same potential customers, so why not cross-promote your ski accommodation with their complimentary services. This could be as simple as leaving flyers in the ski shop showing your latest offer for the Spring season or agreeing a discount from the ski hire or transfer company in resort, which you can then use as a little extra incentive for guests to book with you.

Say ‘Cheese’ – Have you ever looked at your photos and wished you had of taken them on a bright sunny morning rather than late at night on your last stay after a few bottles of wine? Me too! If you have time, photographs and videos of your property are going to be one of its biggest selling points. I always fancied myself as quite a good photographer, but there is a huge difference between what I can do with a point-and-shoot camera and that of a professional. If you don’t have the budget for this, spend a bit of time preparing your property before reaching for the camera. If you do a google search for ‘Staging your home’ you will find some useful advice for creating that ‘Show home’ look.

If taking new photographs isn’t an option, there are free online utilities that will let you upload a photo and use the software to remove blur, brighten images, crop and rotate etc. It isn’t perfect, but if this is your only option, give something like www.piknik.com a try.

Repeat visitors – Lastly, encourage previous visitors to stay with you again. In the past I’ve offered a small discount to those that have stayed in my apartment. Now I have a couple of regulars that have stayed several times.

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas here, but you have any of your own, let us know about them in the comments section below.

Image provided courtesy of PugnoM