Starting Out

How to start a successful ski chalet business in France

With its world-renowned ski resorts and thriving winter sports culture, France offers an exceptional opportunity to start a successful ski chalet rental business. The consistently steady influx of tourists ensures a high demand for comfortable and well-equipped accommodation, making ski chalet rentals a profitable investment.

But, how do you go about starting your business? What are the practicalities and what procedures do you need to follow in order to do it properly?

In this blog post, we present a comprehensive guide on the steps to take when starting a ski chalet business in France. The key areas we will cover include:

  • Setting goals and objectives;
  • Choosing the right location;
  • Acquiring the perfect property;
  • Legal and financial considerations;
  • Marketing and branding strategies;
  • Providing an exceptional guest experience;
  • Pricing, reservations and management;
  • Building relationships and customer loyalty.

Read on to find out more about each step…

A step-by-step guide to starting a ski chalet business in France

1. Setting goals and objectives

Before you dive into your new venture, it is crucial to determine your key objectives. Clearly defining your goals and vision will serve as the guiding force behind your decisions and actions throughout the process.

Are you aiming for maximum profitability, creating a luxurious retreat, for example, or focusing on providing a family-friendly experience?

By setting your objectives, you can tailor your strategies, target the right audience, and align your efforts to ensure a coherent and successful business model. So think carefully about the following:

Personal use

A vital consideration is how often you plan on using the chalet yourself. It’s understandable that you’ll want to use and enjoy your own chalet, but in order for it to be profitable, it needs to be available.

Ultimately, owners who occupy their property throughout all the peak weeks (Christmas, New Year, and school holidays) will generate less revenue than those who open their calendars to paying guests as much as possible.

What are your financial goals?

Next, determine whether you are aiming to simply cover costs and make a small profit or if the business is purely an investment project. Although maximising profits is a common interest, for some, owning the perfect property in the Alps isn’t all about the money it makes, whereas for others, it may be their sole source of income.

Either way, consider how much of a return you require on your investment to make it worthwhile. Also, think about how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage and what budget you need for updates and renovation.

This will require you to have a thorough understanding of the costs associated with running your rental business, so you can conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

A man works on a laptop looking at graphs
Setting clear financial goals is vital to laying a consistent foundation for your business – photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Launch date

Careful planning of your launch date is essential in order to maximise profitability and capitalise on peak weeks for bookings. It’s crucial to strike a balance between setting a realistic timeline and ensuring your property is available for potential guests during lucrative periods.

For instance, if you aim to secure bookings for the Christmas season, you need to have your property listed by autumn at the latest. Delaying the launch until early December may result in missed opportunities, as many people will have already made their holiday plans by then.

By strategically timing your property’s availability, you can optimise your chances of attracting guests and establishing a successful ski chalet from the get-go.

2. Choosing the right location

The next crucial step in establishing a thriving ski chalet business is the careful selection of a prime location.

Seasoned enthusiasts of the French Alps may already have a cherished spot in mind where owning a second home has long been a dream.

However, if your motivation is primarily driven by investment prospects or if you are yet to determine the ideal locale, the decision-making process can feel overwhelming. It requires thoughtful consideration of various factors, such as:

  • Property prices;
  • Target market;
  • Accessibility;
  • Proximity to ski resorts;
  • Local amenities;
  • Popularity and year-round appeal;
  • Potential for future growth.

For a more detailed overview of how and where to buy a ski chalet in France, take a look at our guide.

3. Acquiring the “perfect” property

When it comes to acquiring the perfect ski chalet, there’s no one size fits all approach. Different guests will have varied preferences when it comes to things like location and facilities, however, there are some common factors to consider, such as:

  • Safety, cleanliness and comfort;
  • The versatility of amenities (in order to capture the widest audience);
  • Facilities which will enhance the guest experience, or the possibility of adding them (hot tub, sauna, games room, etc);
  • A unique selling point.

These are just a few basic factors to think about, but in order to establish a business which can be successful within a competitive industry, you’ll need to go the extra mile. Take a look at our guide to creating the perfect rental property for more tips on the topic.

If you’re buying a property to renovate, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve from the project. For example, will you be able to reconfigure the spaces in order to achieve a cohesive feel which flows well from one room to the next? Make sure to avoid re-purposing the chalet only with the sole purpose of cramming in as many guests as possible.

After acquiring your property and preparing to register your ski chalet business, it is important to adhere to specific administrative procedures. These include:

  1. Declaration at the local Mairie: Informing the local town hall (Mairie) about your business operations and obtaining the necessary permits or authorisations.
  2. Insurance: Securing appropriate insurance coverage to protect your property, guests, and business against potential risks and liabilities.
  3. Obtaining a SIRET number: Registering your business with the relevant authorities to obtain a SIRET number, which is necessary for conducting legal operations and fulfilling tax obligations.
  4. Tax declarations: Understanding and fulfilling your tax obligations, including declaring income and any other taxes related to your ski chalet business.
  5. Safety: Complying with safety regulations and implementing necessary measures to ensure the well-being and security of your guests.
  6. SACEM: Handling copyright licensing for any music played or performed at your chalet, typically organised through SACEM (Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique).
  7. Tourist tax (taxe de séjour): Familiarising yourself with local tourist tax regulations and fulfilling the necessary requirements for collecting and remitting the tax.

Our comprehensive article on legal requirements delves deeper into each of these procedures, offering practical advice and guidance on successfully completing each step. By understanding and fulfilling these administrative obligations, you can confidently establish your ski chalet business while ensuring compliance with the necessary legal frameworks.

A man writes on a piece of paper with a pen
Ensure you adhere to all the necessary legal procedures before launching your business – photo by Scott Graham

5. Marketing and branding strategies

Once you have successfully met the legal requirements, it is time to shift your focus towards crafting a compelling marketing and branding strategy for your ski chalet business. This entails several crucial elements:

Captivating chalet photography

High-quality, visually stunning images of your chalet play a pivotal role in attracting potential guests. At OVO Network, we’re renowned for our expertise in chalet photography and can help you showcase the unique charm and features of your property.

Browse our gallery below to see a few examples of the breathtaking pictures that can truly bring your chalet to life…

Building an engaging website

Developing a user-friendly and visually appealing website is essential for capturing the attention and interest of prospective guests.

OVO Network specialises in creating websites tailored specifically for ski chalet rentals, ensuring an intuitive and immersive experience for visitors. A professionally designed website can effectively showcase your chalet’s amenities, location, availability, and booking options, ultimately driving conversions and maximising occupancy rates.

Implementing effective digital marketing techniques

To boost your online visibility and attract a wider audience, implementing various digital marketing techniques is crucial.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) helps your website rank higher in search engine results, making it more discoverable. Leveraging social media platforms allows you to engage with potential guests, share enticing content, and build a community around your brand. And email marketing campaigns can be used to nurture relationships with past and potential guests, offering exclusive promotions and updates.

By incorporating these marketing and branding strategies, you can effectively showcase the allure of your ski chalet, reach a larger audience, and establish a strong online presence.

Let OVO Network assist you in creating an enticing visual identity and implementing successful digital marketing techniques to elevate your ski chalet business to new heights.

6. Providing exceptional guest experience

Delivering an exceptional guest experience is paramount when it comes to ski chalet rentals. To achieve this, several crucial elements need to be considered:

Firstly, working with a reliable and professional team is vital for ensuring a smooth and enjoyable stay for guests. OVO Network can recommend outstanding property managers who possess the expertise and dedication necessary to maintain high standards of service.

Secondly, guaranteeing cleanliness, comfort, and safety within the chalet is essential. OVO Network has a comprehensive checklist of rigorous standards, ensuring that chalets meet exceptional cleanliness and maintenance requirements.

Moreover, offering personalised services and amenities tailored to guests’ preferences through concierge services can elevate the guest experience. OVO Network’s concierge team is well-equipped to cater to individual needs, making each guest’s stay truly memorable and bespoke.

Furthermore, collecting and actively responding to guest feedback is crucial for continuous improvement. OVO Network excels at this by providing channels for guests to share their experiences and suggestions. This feedback is carefully reviewed and used to refine and enhance the overall guest experience.

By focusing on hiring reliable staff, ensuring cleanliness and comfort, offering personalised services, and actively seeking guest feedback, OVO Network aims to provide an exceptional guest experience that goes beyond expectations. Our commitment to excellence in all aspects of chalet rentals ensures that guests have a memorable and satisfying stay.

A family of four stand outside a chalet admiring the view
Providing the perfect guest experience is key when running a ski chalet business

7. Pricing, reservations and management

Strategic pricing, efficient reservation processes, and effective management are critical aspects to consider when launching your chalet business. Here’s how you can excel in these areas:

Determining competitive pricing strategies

Conducting thorough market research is essential for setting competitive pricing that attracts guests while maximising your profitability. OVO Network provides valuable support by granting access to an expert Revenue Manager and professional account managers who can recommend effective pricing strategies tailored to your chalet.

Implementing a dynamic pricing model

Implementing a dynamic pricing model for different seasons and demand fluctuations is of utmost importance. There are distinct peak and off-peak seasons, and demand can vary significantly throughout the year. But, by adopting a dynamic pricing approach, you can optimise revenue and maximise occupancy rates.

During peak weeks, increasing your prices can capture the value associated with escalated demand. On the other hand, during quieter periods, competitive pricing can attract more guests and ensure a steady stream of bookings.

Adapting your strategy based on factors such as market conditions or local events helps strike a balance between attracting guests and maximising profitability. This dynamic pricing model enables you to effectively respond to fluctuations in demand and ensure a consistent flow of bookings.

Streamlining the reservation process

Simplifying and streamlining your reservation process is essential for a seamless guest experience. Utilising Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Air BnB and allows potential guests to easily find and book your property. OVO Network can assist you in effectively utilising these platforms, expanding your reach and simplifying the overall operation.

A couple happily look at a computer
Making the reservation process as streamlined as possible ensures a hassle-free experience for guests

8. Building relationships and customer loyalty

Fostering customer engagement is vital to create memorable experiences and build credibility. One effective way to engage with guests is through personalised communication, tailoring messages and interactions to their specific needs and preferences.

Additionally, offering incentives such as special discounts or loyalty programs can further enhance guest engagement and encourage repeat bookings.

Another crucial aspect is encouraging guests to leave reviews and testimonials, as positive feedback builds trust and credibility. OVO Network takes care of this aspect by actively collecting and showcasing guest reviews, strengthening your chalet’s online reputation.


Starting a successful ski rental business involves considering numerous factors that contribute to its overall success. To recap:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives provides direction and purpose;
  • Choosing the right location ensures accessibility and market appeal;
  • Acquiring the perfect property aligns with guest preferences;
  • Legal and financial considerations guarantee compliance and stability;
  • Implementing effective marketing and branding strategies boosts visibility and generates bookings;
  • Providing an exceptional guest experience through professional staff, cleanliness, and tailored amenities creates a lasting impression;
  • Implementing strategic pricing, streamlined reservations, and efficient management maximises revenue;
  • And finally, building relationships and fostering customer loyalty through personalised communication and incentives solidifies the business’s reputation.

By carefully considering and implementing these aspects, investors and second homeowners can lay the foundation for a thriving ski rental business in France.

Ready to launch your own chalet rental business in France? Partnering with the experts at OVO Network could be the game-changer you need. Our unrivalled knowledge and experience in the industry, coupled with a comprehensive range of services, can elevate your venture to new heights.

Whether you need assistance with dynamic pricing strategies, digital marketing, or guest communication, our team of professionals is here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our advisors for a personalised consultation or try our short-term rental income calculator today.

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