Marjo Strang and her husband Coen, originally from The Netherlands, had lived and travelled extensively in Europe for work, but once they had children they wanted to buy a property that would feel like ‘home’ whenever they returned to it.
They initially bought a chalet d’alpage near Annecy, which they owned for eight years until they needed something larger. They started their property search and fell in love with a traditional chalet near the unspoilt Alpine village of Manigod.
In need of extensive renovation, it offered the space they needed for their family, while being close to the skiing and to Lake Annecy. They bought it in 2001 and renovated it into two individual apartments, both different in style, offering spacious, private and flexible accommodation for their extended family.
As well as being used as a family home, Marjo and Coen, also chose to rent out both apartments to generate an additional source of income. Offering luxurious accommodation in a stunning setting, their properties – Tournette and Etale - were ideally suited to the growing, high quality rental market.
"Because we had moved around so much, the whole family benefited from having a real ‘home’, but particularly my youngest son. The chalet is our family base, where we feel most relaxed – it is a very happy place for us all,"
Unfortunately, Marjo found that generating bookings and managing the properties was more expensive and time consuming than she had ever imagined. In particular, the challenges she faced were -
While the properties did rent out for parts of the year, Marjo found that it wasn’t easy to get the right people renting the property at the right price.
In the past Marjo had used other rental companies who took up to 30% of the booking value, but did very little in terms of proactive marketing and management of her property.
Despite having a property management company, Marjo still found that she had to spend a lot of time ensuring that the property was presented properly and trying to maximise the bookings.
Marjo met with the OVO Network team and quickly felt very comfortable with their honest, professional approach to property rental and was attracted by the overall OVO Network solution, which co-ordinates bookings, marketing and management.
As their service fee was only 10% of the booking value and with their co-ordinated system, Marjo recognised that straight away she would benefit from switching to OVO.
"Even at our first meeting, the OVO team gave some great tips on ways to improve the performance of our properties. They really are experts at what they do, and I trust them completely,"
The OVO Network system brings a range of benefits for owners, but for Marjo the key ones were -
The OVO Network team developed high quality websites for each apartment, with professional photo shoots and home styling done at both properties. This presented them in the best possible light, with a 360° tour of the apartments, together with expertly written copy to entice visitors.
OVO's booking, marketing and management system meant that Marjo no longer had to get involved in time-consuming admin and co-ordination with property managers. Instead, the OVO system managed everything – advertising, payments, automatically answering customer enquiries, advising of any special requests, co-ordinating with the property managers and more – to ensure a smooth, seamless, professional experience for both Marjo and her guests.
In addition, OVO's automated system ensured that any customer enquiries were responded to immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round. As a result, bookings weren't lost and guests got a first-class service from the start.
"Working with the OVO Network has been so much better than we ever expected. The quality of their marketing, their booking technology and their management of all aspects of the rental process – it all means I can get involved as much or as little as I please. Added to this, is an exceptional team of people who are honest and completely trustworthy – I recommend them to everyone,"
Prior to joining the OVO Network, Marjo’s apartments were booked for around five weeks in the winter and about four in the summer. Since joining OVO four years ago Marjo has received 174 bookings for 177 weeks and 15 weekends, and the income they generate has grown in line with the occupancy. In addition, Marjo and her family have regularly stayed at the properties, ensuring they continue to enjoy their property investment.
While the bookings and revenue have increased, the time Marjo needs to put into managing the properties has dramatically reduced, leaving her free to pursue other interests.
Following the success of the Manigod properties, Marjo also chose to use the OVO system for another property they own in France. In the first year of switching to OVO the occupancy increased to 17 weeks and her income doubled.
"The beauty with the OVO system is that it takes care of absolutely everything. It has transformed the way I view property rental – there's no hassle, just an easy revenue stream and a lovely home for us to return to as a family"