Upmarket property rental agency Snow Lodge was launched in 2009 by Sébastien Masson, who had renovated a luxury chalet in the popular ski resort of La Clusaz. He launched the chalet with the concept of offering guests either a top-end hotel or an exclusive private rental of the whole property.
However, at the end of the first winter season he took the decision to focus on private property rentals and to expand the business with a range of upmarket chalets. To drive this growth Delphine Donzel joined the agency in April 2010, bringing with her a range of experience in the hotel and vacation rental markets.
It was at this time that Snow Lodge as a property rental agency really started - with just one chalet and four apartments all offering guests luxury accommodation. To help grow the agency they undertook a range of market research to develop the concept of their offering and chose to focus on offering the finest properties alongside a range of exclusive guest services such as transfers, private chefs, ski hire and child care.
Once Snow Lodge had identified the direction for their business, Delphine started looking for potential partners to work with on third-party advertising to help build awareness for their brand. Having heard of the OVO Network through industry contacts, Delphine contacted them and set up a meeting to discuss the support they could offer to the growth of Snow Lodge.
"We recognised the potential of Snow Lodge from the start, but needed a partner with the expertise to build awareness for our brand in both the UK and France. Snow Lodge provides an exclusive offering in the La Clusaz area and we want to continue to build and develop this for our customers and their guests,"
Snow Lodge recognised that they needed to address a number of key areas if they were to become the upmarket rental specialist they aimed to be. These were -
While the Snow Lodge team had extensive experience in the rental market, they recognised the need for specialist knowledge to help with Snow Lodge’s marketing and promotional activity in both the UK and France. The agency was investing in advertising on a number of third party websites, but this was proving to be less effective than they had hoped.
The personalised service offered by Snow Lodge meant that the reservations process was very time consuming. The team needed a faster, more efficient reservations system that would still deliver the highly personal service Snow Lodge required.
With a small team, offering a first-class service together with a range of supporting services such as private chefs, transfers and ski tuition, Delphine recognised the need to try to save time through their operations and management systems. By freeing up the time of key personnel, they would then have more time to deliver the quality service that Snow Lodge wanted to become known for.
Following the initial meeting with the OVO Network Delphine saw the potential for a long-term partnership, with both companies bringing a range of skills to the table. For Snow Lodge, OVO offered the marketing insight needed to help build the profile of the agency and generate increased demand for property owners, together with the technical expertise to deliver a tailored, more efficient reservations system.
"OVO’s expertise - particularly in marketing and reservations - has become an integral part of our operations, and our growth. They took the time to understand us and what we wanted to achieve, and tailored their service to us. As a result the partnership has proved extremely successful,,"
Following the implementation of the OVO Network solution, the team at Snow Lodge quickly experienced a range of benefits -
Since joining the OVO Network Snow Lodge has seen its profile increase dramatically, with awareness for the quality and range of services offered by the agency much improved. OVO’s understanding of advertising on the key third-party websites, together with their proactive approach to marketing is continuing to help build the Snow Lodge brand and generate both new and repeat business.
Snow Lodge switched to the OVO marketing, booking and management system ahead of the 2010/11 ski season and were delighted with the increase in demand they experienced following the change. While they had their own website they chose to switch to the OVO websites to take advantage of OVO’s online marketing expertise.
The co-ordination and efficiency of the OVO Network system resulted in the reservations and management of bookings becoming far smoother. The automated system ensured that everything from customer enquiries to payment reminders were managed by the advanced technology, leaving the Snow Lodge team free to focus on areas such as customer relations and business development.
"The beauty with OVO is that they are always trying to improve their service and make things easier for their clients. Add to this the research they put into understanding the fast changing rental market and implementing initiatives to help us take advantage of these changes and we see the benefits of working with them year round,"
Following the switch to OVO Network’s marketing, reservations system and website, Snow Lodge quickly saw an increase in demand from both the UK and French markets. Through OVO’s expertise, the marketing activity of Snow Lodge was tailored more precisely, creating a more differentiated approach in the competitive Alpine market. As a result, the profile of Snow Lodge became significantly stronger, attracting new properties - the agency now has eight chalets and four apartments - and gaining new and repeat business for the agency’s owners.
In addition, the efficiency of the reservations and management system ensured that the Snow Lodge team benefited from major time savings, enabling Delphine to change half of her original role to support the development of the agency. The time savings have also enabled the team to further enhance their customer relations, ensuring they deliver the high level of personal service they are committed to.
The reservations and management of the guest requests and additional services have also become much easier, with the OVO system allowing complete co-ordination of the various activities while ensuring the first-class service Snow Lodge prides itself on.
"The OVO system has saved us so much time and has undoubtedly helped us improve and grow our business. Their partnership approach and forward thinking has ensured we now have a clear advantage in a highly competitive market and we will continue to build on this over the coming years,"