Property Management / Starting Out

How to find a great property manager in the French Alps

Two key concerns new owners always want to discuss when launching their Alpine property rental business are “Who will look after my property?” and “Who looks after guests if there is an issue or problem?” The answer to both? Your local property manager.

With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, OVO Network proudly partners with over 100 different local property management solutions across the northern French Alps. We begin this new series about property management with the 10 most frequently asked questions owners put to our team about property and guest management.

Q1 – What do property managers do ?

‘Property management’ means different things to different people. When we use the title ‘Property Manager’ we describe the person or agency employed by an owner with two main areas of responsibility:

  1. ensuring rental properties are ‘guest ready’.
  2. supporting guests of all ages, cultures and nationalities from just before they arrive in resort to just after they leave.

Q2 – Does OVO Network have a property management arm to their business?

Our business focuses on providing business solutions, reservations management, advertising, marketing and PR to facilitate owners setting up and running their rental property business. Rather than have our own property management arm, we recommend like-minded, professional local property management solutions, who provide the necessary expertise and experience to reassure owners that their properties and guests are well looked after. These property managers work in parallel with our activity, and commit to working to our specified service levels.

Property management is not just about cleaning!
There’s more to property management than cleaning and making beds. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.

Q3 – What skill set is required to be a property manager?

Our Property managers efficiently balance and address the requirements of their team (cleaners, laundry, gardeners etc), their owners, OVO Network procedures and protocols, and of course, guest expectations. They also need availability to work through peak holiday periods and weekends, and to be on call in case there are any issues when guests are in the properties. Managers, and their network, work hard to deliver clean, well-prepared properties week in, week out. Managers need great problem solving and communication skills. Plus being based in the Alps, the managers and their chalet teams sometimes have to drive and work in challenging conditions! See the example from one of our owners below…

Q4 – How does an OVO Network owner find a property manager?

Wherever possible we recommend property managers to our owners. Many managers approach us directly, or are recommended to us by our existing owner and manager network. Our management community is made up of:

  1. Property management and concierge companies
  2. Estate Agents who also offer property management / concierge services. 
  3. Independent property managers, who work for either one or two owners, and tend to be very hands on and take care of cleaning, laundry and guest management themselves. 
  4. Owners who live locally, and prefer to meet all of their guests, and look after their properties themselves.
  5. Owner-sourced property management solutions – ie some of our owners arrive with their management solution already in place.

“We take as much care when choosing which managers to partner with as we take when choosing which owners and properties to partner with.”

OVO Network

Q5 – Are there any specific entry level qualifications?

While OVO Network and the management solutions we partner with are all independent businesses, we are all working towards the same aim – to provide excellent services for owners and guests. We are interdependent, we each have defined roles and responsibilities.

We partner with property managers who:

  • Are trustworthy, practical problem solvers 
  • Have good networks of local service providers
  • Are great ambassadors for the local area
  • Understand hospitality
  • Are good communicators
  • Agree to follow essential procedures
  • Are great organisers
  • Enjoy what they do and take pride in doing a great job

As you can see from these recent reviews from one of the property guest books, a good manager really can make a great impression. Thank you Corinne!

We had a wonderful stay – lovely views, great weather and best comfort and spa bubbles. A special thank you to Corinne for her kindness and to the owners for their much appreciated gestures and attention to detail. All the best.

A happy family!

A lovely stay in great company! Thank you for your warm welcome and attention to detail. The kids really enjoyed the tennis table. Corinne took care of us during our stay, we were very pleased to meet her. See you soon!

Maryne et Co.

Q6 – Do managers need any specialist equipment?

Our property managers don’t need much, but what they do need is the ability to reach their properties in all weather, and to stay in touch with their guests, OVO Network, and their team. They therefore need –

  1. A reliable car (equipped with snow tyres / chains, or better still a 4×4 in winter)
  2. A smartphone or laptop/tablet to access emails , texts and our back office system OVO PIMMS.

Q7- Are OVO Network managers fluent in French and English?

Pre Covid-19, 35% of our guests were non French speaking. Since Covid-19 and travel restrictions, border closures etc, we have welcomed mainly French guests, although we expect to welcome more overseas guests again in future. We would therefore say that property managers need to have a reasonable level of written and spoken French and English, as well as good listening skills. We support managers and guests by sending out pre-arrival information on behalf of managers in French and English.

Q8 – How does OVO Network ensure a consistent level of management services across so many different management solutions?

We take as much care when choosing which managers to partner with as we take when choosing which owners and properties to partner with. We’re all interdependent and we’re all accountable to each other. Wherever possible we recommend property management companies and individuals that we already know, or those who have been recommended to us. There are some superb management solutions out there.

Different companies have different working methods, different owners require different services, and the properties are different, and so we devised a Manager Charter. All Manager partners must agree to work to this charter in return for being recommended to owners.

We respect and trust our partners to deliver a high standard of service, in the same way they trust us to deliver our responsibilities. Guests are normally quick to feedback on issues or poor performance, or if they feel we or the managers over promise and then under deliver. Happily this does not happen often.

OVO Network prides itself on the quality of its service for owners, managers and guests. As part of this we have developed the OVO Network Manager Charter, clarifying the responsibilities and commitments of us all. 

Every owner and manager is required to sign up to this charter, to help ensure guests have the best possible holiday experience, owners enjoy a hassle-free experience, and managers can smoothly manage their responsibilities. The aim is to allow us to work efficiently, in partnership, achieving success for us all.

Q9 – Does OVO Network support owners who manage their properties themselves?

Yes we do, although the nature of the support has been impacted by Covid-19. Pre-Covid we held face to face meetings to share our approach, our and guest expectations, and good practice. We also met to train managers in using our systems. However, since social distancing and restricted travel we have transferred this process online and following a successful interview-like chat, we now offer potential managers, including owner managers, two online training courses. 

Making a to do list
Making a zone specific cleaning task list in each rental property is one of the aims of our cleaning course. Tasks can then be sorted according to required frequency, products to use, order of tasks on changeover day etc.

The courses are available online to anyone. We also produce a bimonthly owner/manager/team newsletter. And we are really looking forward to being able to restart our twice yearly events for owners and property managers.

Q10 Do all managers receive training?

Yes they do. We provide training on the communication timeline, hospitality cleaning, how to create a support network, the minimum level of service required, and problem solving. In addition, all managers can choose to take the two training courses outlined in question 9 above.

We’re recruiting ! If you are interested in becoming a property management partner please contact us to find out more.

We hope this information about property and guest management solutions has been informative and useful. Over the coming weeks we’ll continue to focus on our fabulous manager community to give an idea of the impact a good manager can have on a property rental business in the French Alps.

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