Where should you invest if you’re looking for a profitable holiday rental in the Alps?
Homeowners who want to get a head start by investing in a fast-growing resort are currently focusing on the Grand Massif. This ski area has seen a 25% increase in visitor numbers in recent years, and still lacks the high-end tourist accommodation to accommodate this new audience – all of which is great news for new investors.
In this article, OVO Network explains how the Grand Massif’s great location and the state of its property market make it a strategic region for rental investment. We also explain how to set yourself ahead of the competition to maximise your rental income.
Grand Massif: a great location
Easy access to plenty of great skiing
The Grand Massif is a ski area in Haute Savoie, in the French Alps. Nestled in the Giffre Valley, in the heart of the mountains, it covers five resorts: Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval.
The Grand Massif ski area offers 265 kilometres of pistes, with a difference in altitude of over 1,500 metres. There are almost 150 ski slopes suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
The Grand Massif is just 50km – or one hour – from Geneva and its international airport. Being so close to Switzerland and the airport means the area benefits from a large international clientele, including French, Swiss, German, British and Belgian holidaymakers.
The area is also well connected to France, with quick access to the A40 and A41 motorways. It is close to major French cities such as Lyon, Grenoble, Annecy and Chambéry, all of which can be reached in less than two hours by car.
These cities make it a great choice for French guests and allow visitors to the Grand Massif to combine a mountain experience with a city break.
Finally, the Grand Massif is close to other high-profile ski areas. Les Portes du Soleil, one of the largest ski areas in the world, is less than an hour’s drive away.
The Trois Vallées ski area is also close to the Grand Massif, as are other popular destinations such as Chamonix, Megève and La Clusaz. This makes it a great destination for visitors who want to explore the region while avoiding the crowds and high prices of the more touristy resorts.
A unique and eclectic destination
Above all, the Grand Massif is a unique mountain destination, encompassing five traditional villages which each have their own charm: Les Carroz d’Arâches, Morillon, Samoëns, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval and Flaine.
Les Carroz d’Arâches
Les Carroz is an authentic, family-friendly village with a lively town centre and a friendly atmosphere. Situated at an altitude of 1140 metres, this resort offers a wide variety of après-ski activities, including bars, restaurants and shops.
Situated at an altitude of 700 metres, Morillon is a small family-friendly resort. It has good access to the ski slopes and offers plenty of activities such as snowshoeing, ice fishing and sledging.
Samoëns, at 720 metres, is the largest town in the Grand Massif. It is known for its traditional Savoyard architecture and its heritage, in particular its medieval church.
Located at an altitude of 800 metres, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval is a picturesque village surrounded by mountains. The resort is famous for its impressive nature reserve of glacial amphitheatres and waterfalls. It is ideal for hiking and discovering nature.
Flaine, which rises to an altitude of 1,600 metres, is a modern and dynamic ski resort, designed in the 1960s by architect Marcel Breuer. Its unique modern aesthetic and wide variety of ski runs for all levels make it stand out from its neighbours.
Each of these villages offers a unique experience to visitors, making the Grand Massif a popular destination for holidaymakers.
Investing in the Grand Massif: opportunities and trends
An investment that meets all the required criteria
Profitability and income maximisation are key goals in rental investment.
Investing in the Grand Massif perfectly delivers these criteria. This destination offers the opportunity to invest in a chalet in a popular tourist area, with attractive amenities for guests, and in a growing ski area.
This offers the prospect of a high rental yield, as well as high growth potential. In addition, the Grand Massif is a fast-growing destination offering attractive long-term value.
A booming region
The local authorities have measures in place to promote the development of the region and anticipate the growth in tourism.
The development of infrastructure
In 2021, a new cable car was opened in the Grand Massif, linking the resorts of Flaine and Les Carroz. With a capacity of 10 people per cabin and a speed of 6 metres per second, this new means of transport will be a catalyst for the development of inter-resort activities and make it easier for skiers to get around.
Other measures taken to meet the growing demands of tourists include the introduction of training programmes for hospitality professionals and the renovation of existing infrastructure.
In 2020, for example, 60 million euros were invested in the region, with particular attention paid to two areas of equipment:
- The Grand Massif must be able to regulate the constant and growing flow of tourists, so the domain invested nearly 16 million euros in 2020 in the creation or renovation of ski lifts.
- The production of artificial snow is also a crucial issue. This makes it possible to extend the ski season, increase the capacity of a ski area and also to anticipate future climatic issues. No less than 11% of the overall investment was allocated to this.
A better communication strategy
The region has also made efforts to market itself to tourists, highlighting the attractions of the area and the cultural or sporting events that take place there.
In 2017, the Grand Massif joined the social networks of Instagram, Facebook and more recently, TikTok. The community managers post beautiful photographs of the slopes, highlight partnerships with local athletes and share posts from tourists visiting the area.
A unique label, “Origine Grand Massif”, was created in 2014. This initiative aims to promote the richness of the region’s terroir to visitors while contributing to the local economy.
In addition, the Grand Massif is the very first ski area to obtain the Green Globe label, in recognition of its efforts in sustainable development and its desire to raise holidaymakers’ awareness of environmental protection issues.
Demand exceeds supply
A shortage of accommodation
The Grand Massif has approximately 90,000 tourist beds (87,200 in 2021, source ASMB 2022 Observatory), spread over the five villages of the resort. Only 6,100 beds are classified as furnished accommodation.
Despite this already substantial figure, there is still a real shortage of tourist accommodation in the region in relation to demand, particularly during peak periods.
In 2019, there were 4.1 million overnight stays sold in the Grand Massif, of which 2.51 million were in winter and 1.48 million in summer.
In 2021, there were 2.4 million overnight stays, 0.81 million in winter and 1.46 million in summer. However, this period was hit by the Covid pandemic, with lifts closed.
So, two things stand out:
- Even when demand is very low, the supply of tourist beds struggles to meet the needs of holidaymakers.
- The Grand Massif is a year-round destination. Its summer attendance is stable, despite the health crisis.
Finally, the figures for 2023 show that the resort should now return to its usual attendance curve.
A growing search for luxury accommodation
The Grand Massif property market is constantly evolving, with trends changing according to customer demands and new accommodation offers.
While in the past, hotel rooms, guest houses and traditional chalets have satisfied tourists, today their needs are changing. High-end properties and luxury chalets are increasingly popular with guests, who are looking for spacious and comfortable living spaces where they can spend their holidays in comfort. One of the reasons for this change is a reaction following the bans and restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 period.
In addition, luxury travel is becoming more democratic. Today’s holidaymakers are younger (35-40 years old compared to 50-60 years old a few years ago), with children. They often live in big cities and are looking for outdoor activities and memorable experiences, and also want to impress on social networks.
A development similar to that of La Clusaz
The resort of La Clusaz saw strong growth in its property market between 2010 and 2020, with a significant increase in property prices due to the resort’s growing appeal to investors and those looking for second homes.
Like Grand Massif today, La Clusaz was reliant on a varied and high-quality accommodation offer and an effective marketing strategy. Today, the village is a popular ski resort with high seasonal rental demand and high property prices.
In terms of property prices, in particular, it is interesting to compare the two destinations.
According to data from the FNAIM Real Estate Observatory, the current average price per square metre for a flat in Grand Massif is 4,200€, while the average price for a house is 5,200€ per square metre. These figures are comparable with those of La Clusaz in 2011: 4,500€ on average per square metre.
For comparison, La Clusaz had an average price per square metre of 7,500€ at the beginning of 2023.
How to brand your property in Grand Massif
Investing in the Grand Massif means you can take advantage of prices per square metre that are still relatively low compared to the rest of the Alps. These savings on initial investment costs can be put to good use, for example, to adapt your chalet perfectly to the demands of your future guests.
Luxury living spaces and decor
One of the best ways to help your chalet stand out from the competition is to carefully renovate the property and decorate it to a high standard.
The most sought-after properties are those that offer a mix of modern amenities and traditional charm, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
The decor should be in keeping with the expectations of the holidaymakers: soft and soothing colours, quality materials, designer lighting, and comfortable and practical furniture. It is also a good idea to opt for choose fixtures and fittings that are durable and will last.
All living spaces should be functional and well laid out. Go for a large, bright living room that opens onto a balcony, terrace or garden, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy the view and the surrounding environment.
It is also important to invest in quality household appliances, multimedia and bedding.
Ideally, the interior of a rental chalet should be renovated every three to five years.
Add wellness equipment to increase demand
If you want to make your seasonal rental property more appealing to guests, adding wellness facilities is crucial. There is nothing guests like more than a real moment of relaxation after a tiring day in the mountains.
It’s well worth thinking about installing a steam room, sauna or swimming pool. Equipment like this can increase the value of your property while attracting more discerning tenants.
However, it’s important to resist the urge to add equipment just to follow the latest trend. Consider the size of your property and its location to ensure that the equipment meets the needs of potential guests.
Your chalet’s setting is also an asset you can exploit. An outdoor sauna, for example, will offer stunning views of the mountains and will give tenants a real mountain experience.
Offer five-star services
As well as decor and equipment, you can also offer additional services that will make life easier for your guests.
You could offer a concierge who will be available before and during the stay. This service will meet all requests and needs of tenants, from booking restaurants and activities to renting ski equipment and planning ski lessons.
Another popular service for holidaymakers is transport. If you offer a shuttle from the airport to the chalet, tenants will not have to worry about car rental or transfers. This will give them a great start to their stay and make a good first impression.
Finally, why not offer to arrange to have shopping or ski equipment delivered to the chalet? That way, guests can enjoy their stay without having to worry about the details.
Make each guest’s experience special
Finding your market
With so many different types of tourists visiting the mountains, it is tempting to try to attract them all. However, the best strategy in mountain holiday rentals is often to specialise. By concentrating on a single target clientele, it is easier to propose a tailor-made offer that will appeal to them.
Guests with children, for example, appreciate the “Cool for Kids” label we offer on OVO Network. This gives families confidence that they will spend their holidays in a child-friendly chalet, with spaces equipped with safety gates or protected plug sockets.
Similarly, pet owners will be delighted to be able to book a chalet that will accept their four-legged friends. They will be even more grateful to find bowls, litter boxes, toys, or an enclosed outdoor area on site.
If you want to appeal to an international clientele, your chalet will need to include certain amenities such as a television with international channels, a welcome guide in several languages and plug socket adapters for different countries.
It’s also worth choosing to work with a rental agency or concierge service that offers a multilingual service.
The Grand Massif is a booming destination full of potential. Property prices are still relatively low and rental demand is very high. These are all assets that guarantee a profitable investment.
Owners who manage to distinguish themselves from the competition with well-chosen facilities and a well-thought-out marketing strategy can expect an attractive rental income.
OVO Network, the leading provider of high-end chalet rental management in the Alps since 2008, is at your disposal. We help chalet owners analyse real estate trends and develop a winning marketing strategy to maximise their rental income.
Our profitability calculator helps you to make a good initial estimate of how much a property could earn for you.
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