14 pre-summer jobs to get your chalet guest ready for summer
Though the last winter guests are barely out of the door, spring is an important time to get on top of the jobs that are hard to do in-season. With a general shift from the back-to-back rentals of winter to short breaks and long weekends, it is a great opportunity to make the most of this quieter period.
To make your life easier we at OVO Network have created a spring checklist to allow you to review your off-season tasks and assign them to your managers. If you have a beautiful chalet in the French Alps, visit our “add your property” page to see how OVO Network partners with property owners to build successful holiday rental businesses.
Store winter equipment
Sledges, snow shovels, buckets of salt and owners’ ski gear all need to be packed away. Make sure that any leftover firewood is re-stacked tidily.
Check your outdoor furniture is in good condition
Outdoor furniture should be useable, comfortable, and splinter-free. There are lots of lighter aluminium chairs around in the shops at the moment (which won’t need sanding back and re-oiling each year), along with low-maintenance granite or concrete-topped tables, classic teak furnishings, wicker and glass combinations.
Check that there is enough furniture for the capacity of the chalet, it’s there for the guests to use so there should be a seat for everyone!
To find out the basics that contribute to a guest’s perfect stay at your chalet in the French Alps check out the OVO Network minimum equipment list.
Set up outdoor spaces
Set up the outdoor dining area, a sunbathing spot, somewhere quiet to curl up with a good book, and the lounge-style coffee / apero area. Check that the outdoor lighting and sound system is working well.
When to plant up
The Alpine summer planting season is quite short – plant up too soon, and there is a risk plants will be lost to frost, too late and plants and flowers won’t be at their best when guests arrive. Local garden centres are great for getting good advice on planting at altitude.
If you are expecting lots of families with children think about planting a vegetable patch with cherry tomatoes, peppers and the like so that guests can help themselves. Little touches like this contribute to making a holiday to remember for our guests and could help to turn your first timer into a repeat guest. To find out more about enticing people to book another stay check out our blog post about attracting and keeping loyal repeat guests.
Garden services contracts
There’s huge demand for gardening services during changeover days, so as not to disrupt guests. Check in early with your gardner and make sure that you’re still on their schedule. Check of your outdoor areas for fallen branches brought down over winter which may be in need of attention.
Plan your welcome basket
Offering a welcome basket gets the holiday off to a very good start. If you already provide a winter basket think about changing to a summer theme. Make sure to check that whatever you are supplying will be available all summer long. If you’re on the fence about offering an arrival gift read our post about the importance of providing a welcome basket for some helpful ideas and tips.
Fences and barriers
Snow and ice can take their toll on wooden outdoor structures such as balconies, terraces, barriers and fences, as well as the exterior of chalets. Check for any movement and rot. If they need re-treating then now is the time to do it.
Set up any outdoor equipment such as trampolines, table tennis tables and basketball hoops. Make sure that it’s all in working order and still safe to use.
If you have an unused sections of garden think about how you can make use of it to improve the guest experience. A pétanque court, for example, makes an excellent addition to any French garden!
Check your guest instructions for the safe use of equipment such as the trampoline, hot tub, sauna, etc. Here is an example of safety guidelines for trampolines and hot tubs.
We have already found a wasps nest this year! Check behind your shutters, under the eaves and any other places pests might have made a home. It’s no longer possible to call the fire brigade to remove nests, so have the number of a professional pest control company to hand.
Mice are very common unwanted house guests in Alpine chalets so make sure to stock up on natural mouse repellent!
Accidents can happen
Guests from abroad may be caught out in their search for a doctor, vet or pharmacist by lunchtime closing hours. Even though many guests travel with medical supplies it is important to have a stocked medical kit. Check your kit to see if anything needs topping up after the winter.
Our medical kit includes a sheep tick and a vacuum sting/ venom extractor, as we have bee hives and sheep close by. It is also worth having Biafine for burns too.
Check that your property A-Z has advice about what to do in the event of finding a sheep tick or being stung / bitten.
Many summer guests head out and about during the day, then return to the chalet for their evening meal. A barbecue is on the OVO Network Alpine chalet Minimum Equipment list – is yours still in good condition? Is it still easy to clean? If your BBQ is looking tired there are some very sleek easy-to-clean models on sale this spring.
Dust off the barbecue tools, buy in some charcoal, long matches, and have fire prevention equipment near the barbecue station.
Many lakeside and city properties have air conditioning, or adapted windows which allow guests to keep cool while staying safe. Chalets in the mountains can heat up too. Have a think about how your guests will keep cool at the chalet. If nothing else having a few plug-in fans handy can make a world of difference to an over-hot guest.
Blackout blinds and curtains
These are super useful, especially in kids’ bedrooms in the summer. If you have blinds make sure they still working properly and if you don’t, think about using the off season to add some.
Prepare for stormy weather
Summer usually means glorious weather but summer storms are a fairly regular occurrence in the Alps. Work out how to alert guests if you know there’s a mountain storm approaching. Summer storms can be pretty violent and unexpected. It’s much more enjoyable to watch them from the safety of the chalet, than to be caught out in one!
Make sure that you leave clear instructions for turning the main electrics back on after an electrical storm. Leaving a torch somewhere handy is a good idea too so guests don’t have to fumble around in the dark if the electrics are cut off.
Getting on top of these jobs over spring means you are less likely to have any nasty surprises during summer when there are fewer opportunities to take care of them.
Spring is not the only downtime that you can use to tackle these types of jobs though. Autumn normally has a similar rental pattern to spring. Check out our “Alpine property Management Autumn To do List” for our best tips for making the most of the quieter Autumnal months before winter.
Find out how much your property could earn
If you have a chalet in the Northern French Alps and you are interested in getting into the holiday rental market then visit our “Add your property page”. You will find lots of information about how OVO Network partners with property owners to build successful holiday rental businesses. And make sure to use our rental calculator to see how much your property could earn.