How to ‘show and tell’ when you market your French holiday let
Does your online property listing grab browsers’ attention? Great images and an engaging description make holidaymakers want to stay on the page – and that’s what leads to enquiries. Here’s how to use photos and video and how to write your property description.
We recommend that you use both photographs and video in your advert to help grab the attention of browsers, sell the holiday dream and convert interest to bookings. Aim for 20-30 large format photos and make your ‘thumbnail’ lead photo stunning and unique. If you can, share a two minute video to engage the viewer and show key points of the property.
Choose a fabulous ‘thumbnail’ photo – vital to get browsers to your page. It should show your property as unique and an attractive exterior view of the house is ideal. Only use a swimming pool image as thumbnail if it also shows the house, a stunning view or a beautiful lounging/dining area.
Use brief but poetic captions to enhance the impact of photos and draw the browser in. Your distant view caption might be ‘Dusk settles over vine-clad hills’ and your outdoor meal caption might read ‘Enjoy our table d’hote in high season’.
Include images of the house, both inside and out; the garden, including places to sit and the pool if you have one; attractive architectural or decoration details; local places of interest; local colour like markets and festivals; activities that visitors can enjoy.
When taking photos:
• Use landscape rather than portrait shaped photographs and avoid panoramic pictures. Large format photos – minimum 500 pixels wide – have more impact on the page.
• Shoot on a sunny day when the house and garden are in the sun but not when the sun is directly overhead.
• Use a tripod to help you get better pictures. Take time, plan a few shooting sessions and play around until you get it just right.
• Outside, keep vehicles out of the picture, make sure the garden is tidy and the pool cover is removed.
• Indoors, turn on the lights and shoot early or late for correct exposure.
• For interiors, use the widest angle possible to help make the room appear bigger.
• Make an effort to ‘dress’ the shot. Include people only where your guests socialise such as games or communal outdoor meals.
Tips on writing a great property description
Your description needs to give a summary of the facts, the fun and your enthusiasm. When writing, try to meet these aims:
• Give an air of quality and professionalism.
• Set the tone for a culture of service.
• Allow holidaymakers to visualise detail and plan their holiday programme.
• Give confidence to book.
• Attract visitors looking for a range of holiday experiences.
• Make a personal connection that more easily converts to bookings.
• Manage visitors’ expectations, leading to greater satisfaction.
• Sell extras like meals and activities.
• Help larger groups to know what’s on offer for different interests.
Strategies that we see owners using successfully start with establishing an identity. Give your house a name and use it; try to make it French but easy to pronounce. Also, decide on your strongest selling point and make that prominent.
When describing the property and facilities, write about things the images can’t show, like the quality of linen and mattresses or the peace and quiet. Give local information – accessibility to restaurants, bars, supermarkets, activities like walking or cycling and local attractions like markets, chateaux and historic sites. List a few dates of important festivals, parades, concerts and special events.
Be honest but enthusiastic. Pass on your passion for your place and catch the reader’s eye with lyrical phrases and buzzwords. Finally, check that your description is succinct and that grammar and spelling are perfect, with no errors or repetition.