'Le San Diego' Nice Holiday Apartment
a Superb 3 double Bedroom Seafront Apartment in Central Nice for up to 6:
click here for a description

Holiday Homeowner?

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A step-by-step Guide to making your Holiday Rental Easy to Book with the help of VillaRenters

And turn those Vacancies into "No Vacancies"

So many properties, so few customers!

You probably know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of Holiday Rental Properties worldwide, and the competition is increasing all the time as standards rise. If you already have your own website, you are on the right track. Every year, more and more holiday-makers (a BBC survey says up to 75%) are using the internet as their sole method of searching for holiday homes. Glossy brochures are yesterday's news.

If you do not yet have your own website, you can still utilise the VillaRenters system, but if you can build one it is recommended. Where else can you show off your property to its full potential?

If you don't have your own website yet, click here to see how I did it. Here I will reveal how I made my website without any knowledge about website building and more importantly how I optimized my site for the search engines to generate traffic to my site.

Once you have found her, never let her go!

This line from Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific sums it up. You have made great efforts to get your customer (and it is quite likely to be a "her") to your website, so now comes the crunch - how to turn her from a potential customer into a real-life booker. The best way to start is to:

Join VillaRenters

VillaRenters is a British-owned company, but its facilities are valid throughout the world. Don't be fooled by the name - it's equally suitable for apartments and cottages.

Joining VillaRenters is without an annual fee, but there's just a one-off set up fee of £50 for unlimited number of properties. I use it myself and it has helped transform my marketing effort. It gives you the following marketing facilities:

List your Rental Property! 

You can list your property on VillaRenters. No annual fee, just a one-off set up fee of £50 for unlimited number of properties. If they find you a booking they charge you a commission of 10% - and that includes the cost of payment by credit card. This commission is only 2% if a customer books on your own website using the VillaRenters availability calendar. No bookings, no charge - it's as simple as that. And there's no charge for putting your own bookings through the system.

If you are less than enthusiastic about paying commission for a booking in, say, August, which you expect to fill anyway – no problem. Just mark the dates unavailable on the calendar and no VillaRenters customer can book. Of course, if you still haven’t rented those dates by June, you can open them up again.

Or you could up your website prices by 10% to cover the cost. But always remember that 90% of something is a lot better than 100% of nothing!

Will they actually get me bookings?

VillaRenters has about 10,000 properties throughout the world, and processes over 30,000 bookings annually. The more you use them, the higher your index becomes and the nearer you get to the top of the list in their search engine. And the nearer the top you are, the more bookings you get!

As an added bonus, France and Britain, which we are concentrating on, have been neglected in the past - so there are a lot of prospective customers looking at a small number of properties. Not a bad time to join!

You will get some bookings, although it is difficult to quantify them. I tend to regard bookings from VillaRenters as a bonus - I am much more interested in how they help convert my own enquiries into bookings. All of the following features help:

Accept Credit Cards!

You are in the travel business; that means that many of your customers come from abroad – at least they should! Yet how many websites do you see in Britain that demand a sterling check as a deposit? They won’t be seeing many French, Germans, Americans and so on. VillaRenters let your customer pay by credit card, and charge you 2% commission - the customer also pays a 4.5% surcharge which is included in the rental price.

I admit I was sceptical when they first brought this charge in, but customers seem happy to pay it for the convenience and security of using a credit card. In fact, although we offer our UK customers the facility to pay by cheque, 90% of them opt to use a credit card.

This is probably the single most important benefit I got from joining VillaRenters. It certainly boosted my bookings tremendously.

If you are still asking people to send you cheques, you are losing business - particularly from abroad - your customers will go somewhere else.

Get verified testimonials from previous guests! 

You are looking for a holiday cottage or apartment. You find two you like the look of. One has no testimonials. The other gives you a verified list of comments from satisfied guests. You are spending a lot of money on your holiday. Which one do you follow up? Right!

VillaRenters allows guests who have been through the system to add their comments, thereby ensuring that the comments are genuine and not just your friends saying something nice! And people do read them.

If you have no testimonials on your website, you are losing business - your customers will go somewhere else.

Add an online availability calendar!

You are looking for a holiday cottage or apartment. You find two you like the look of. One asks you to fill in a form to find out if the dates you want are available. The other has a calendar that shows you that your required dates are available. Which one do you follow up? Right! VillaRenters gives you an online availability calendar free of charge.

Click here to look at my availability calendar and see how it works. Note the high occupancy rate! If you want to embed it in your own website, it could like this.

If you are still asking people to call you or email you for availability, you are losing business - they will go somewhere else.

Accept bookings online!

You are looking for a holiday cottage or apartment. You find two you like the look of. One asks you to fill in a form to make a booking. The other lets you book online – NOW! Which one do you follow up? Right!

If the availability calendar shows the dates are available, your customer can make an immediate booking - subject to any restrictions on length of stay or day of arrival you may have specified. You are then sent an email or text message telling you of the booking and you email back to accept it. In the meantime your calendar has been automatically updated, so no-one else can book the same period. If the customer has been directed from your website, the only charge you incur is 2% for payment by credit card. If the booking has been generated by VillaRenters you pay 10% commission which includes the credit card charge.

This is probably the second most important benefit I got from joining VillaRenters. It certainly boosted my bookings tremendously.

If you are still asking people to fill out a booking form by hand, you are losing business - they will go somewhere else.

Activate instant confirmation online!

As a further refinement you can activate the Instant Confirmation option. In this case the customer gets immediate approval for his booking without waiting for you to come back to them. It's a nice feeling to wake up in the morning and find out that overnight somebody in Australia has made a booking and paid the deposit!

This is a very powerful tool, but it depends on you keeping your VillaRenters calendar up-to-date at all times. Since you will have accepted the deposit automatically there are penalties if you cannot honour the booking because you were already booked.

If customers can't book immediately, you are losing business - they will go somewhere else.

Manage your bookings!

VillaRenters has a "robot manager" that will send out emails chasing payment, giving arrival details etc. The following management functions are included:

Fully customisable online holiday home booking system

A rental business model suitable for one property or thousands Contract template with customisable terms and conditions Automated emails chasing payments

Arrival instructions automatically sent to your customers Automatic cancellation policies

Central booking calendar that integrates with Villarenters.com that can be integrated with your own website, making double bookings a thing of the past

Access to your online member account means you can track the status of your bookings from anywhere at any time

All booking details, customer information and communication stored centrally

With RentalSystems you can update property details in seconds

Create your own extra pricing models

Create your own automatic discounting models, last minute long stay or early bird discounts are calculated instantly

Credit card authorisation for breakage deposits, damages can be claimed online.

If you are still doing all this yourself manually, you are wasting a lot of your time.

How financially secure is VillaRenters?

VillaRenters will be collecting money on your behalf so you'll want to know how financially stable they are. The VillaRenters and RentalSystems businesses were acquired by the Daily Mail & General Trust PLC in August 2006 for the group's travel subsidiary Teletext Ltd, so they should be a pretty good bet financially!

Are there any downsides?

VillaRenters still has a few gremlins which are rapidly being sorted out. The only downside is that in order to receive your credit card payment from them in full, you have to wait until your guests have completed their stay. If you can't wait then there is an "Early Payment" charge of 1 - 1.5%. You can always regard it as paying 3% rather than 2% commission, which is still competitive given there are no set-up or monthly charges.

If you can live with this - and it's not particularly onerous - the the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages

So what are you waiting for? It's a win/win situation!

Click here to join VillaRenters now!

The Promenade des Anglais area

If you arrive in Nice by plane, you come straight out into Nice's most beautiful avenue – the Promenade des Anglais - the Mediterranean’s Champs-Elysées. This magnificent seaside promenade runs between the luxury hotels (the 5 star Negresco Hotel is the most famous one) and the beach. All in the shadow of the very typical feather duster palms. Roller skaters glide round between sun chairs, limousines and beach restaurants. This is Nice’s cosmetic face.

As the Promenade is 7 km long, starting from the centre and ending to the airport, you have to look for a good location. Therefor you will love the location of our 3-bedroom apartment, which is centrally located on the Promenade des Anglais, the most desirable address of Nice, just 800 metres or a 10 minutes walk away from the Negresco Hotel. And, you will also be happy that the 3 double bedrooms are located at the quiet rear of the apartment, overlooking a quiet private residential area, so you can sleep well.
If you are looking for a hotel on the Promenade, these are the links of the most favourite ones: Le Méridien, Westminster, West End, Negresco, Radisson SAS. Please note that the average hotel room in Nice is quite small, even the Negresco Hotel gives you only 25 m². And be aware to book a room with a good sea view! For the Radisson hotel, please note that this is located near the airport and far away from the centre.

If you are a couple, an apartment will give you more space, luxury and value for money. If you are a family of 4-6 or you are 2 couples, renting an apartment is a steal. It offers you a lot of opportunities. Some couples that book our apartment for three weeks (the same is possible for a stay of one week) do the following. First week: they enjoy having the place all to themselves. Second week: friends are coming over to join. Third week: family from the other side of the world comes over, having holiday and a family reunion at the same time. I think it is an excellent idea to invite friends to your holiday home: you share costs and a nice holiday together, but you also find privacy with our 3 private bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. If this sounds great to you, please have a look at our apartment on the Promenade des Anglais.

France travel links

Nice Promenade Apartments
3 bedroom holiday apartment to rent in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais

Holiday villas, farmhouses and Chateaux with private pools in France

Nice Holidays - TravelSavvy travel guide to Nice

Rentals in Nice


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