6 years, 6 months ago
What should you do to make your property stand out? That’s the question I asked myself as I scrolled through the list of HouseTrip properties in Marrakech. The first element in every listing that grabbed my attention was the headline photo. I found myself seeking properties which looked bright, cheerful, spacious and that had an authentic, local feel.
Once I found a property that attracted me, I would then glance at the price and click through to the details – its location, the size of the property, how many people it sleeps and if there’s free wifi. I always pay special attention to the property description. From my extensive travel experience, I’ve learned that in most cases, what you see/read (in brochures) is what you get. In other words, if a listing doesn’t say it’s in a quiet area, it probably isn’t. The same goes if there’s no mention of a pool or wifi. In this sense, I always look for keywords/phrases in a description that match the type of property I’m looking for. Examples include “great location in the heart of the city”, “walking distance to main attractions”, “quiet neighbourhood”, “free wifi”, “spacious bedroom/bathroom” or “panoramic views of…”.
A personal note from the owner expressing a warm welcome and generous hospitality (such as providing fresh fruit in the property, information about the city, etc…) also works well. This gives the listing a personal touch which potential guests (especially if it’s their first visit) would appreciate. This personal touch may make the difference when guests are choosing between two or more similar properties.
The property I stayed at in Marrakech turned out to be exactly what I’d hoped for. I loved the gorgeous interior and the sunny roof terrace. As I walked around the souks, I spotted many items such as brass vases, mosaics, Arabian lamps and colourful chiffon curtains that made the property I stayed at so wonderfully authentic. People who book a holiday rental do so for a variety of reasons, the most important being the ability to stay in a foreign place yet feel like a local. This is something property owners everywhere should focus on – create an interior that exudes an authentic air by using local art and crafts. It doesn’t have to be expensive – in the souks of Marrakech, I found many lamps, vases, mirrors and carpets which were a steal (and my bargaining skills aren’t even good!) – and don’t go over the top!
Having stayed at numerous HouseTrip properties, I’ve realised that there is a fine balance between creating an authentic feel and making the property look like a home cluttered with personal items and family photos. The best properties I stayed at achieved this balance by simply having a small variety of centrepiece items like a table and carpet, a few large vases, paintings by local artists or locally-woven place mats on the dining table. Through such subtle touches, the owners provided their guests an authentic experience without giving them the feeling that they were staying in a stranger’s house.