A woman preparing her property for the summer rental season, making a bed with white sheets and a blue over blanket

Prepare for the summer rental season: our top tips to prepare your French holiday villa or gite

With the first signs of spring in the air – in the South of France at least – it’s time to make sure that your property is clean and ready for peak season and the arrival of your first holiday guests.  Here’s our list of the top 10 tasks for anyone preparing to rent out their holiday home to guests.

1. Declutter and deep clean

This means windows and doors, getting into all the nooks and crannies so that your place looks immaculate when your first guests arrive. This is also a good time to clear out anything that is dated, damaged, or not suitable for guests (you will probably have accumulated many additional items during the previous season, and not all of them will be wanted!) Check everything that is provided for guests to use – electronic equipment (DVD players, consoles, etc.), kitchen appliances, bedroom fans, air con, and heating equipment – is in working order. Also, check light bulbs are working and that smoke alarms are installed and working. If you have an open fire, wood burner, or a gas fire or boiler you should also have a working carbon monoxide detector.

2. Check your inventory and replace any damaged items

As you check everything, record the condition of the property i.e., any marks on walls, furniture, etc. It’s a good idea to leave a copy of the inventory in your house manual or guidebook. Make sure all linen, mattress protectors, throws, rugs, sofa cushion covers, curtains, etc. are clean and in good order. Make sure you have enough equipment in the kitchen to cook for the maximum number of guests your property allows. Make a list of everything that needs replacing and ensure that your rental is fully equipped before anyone arrives.

3. Remove or lock away all your personal or favourite items. 

If you also use your property for family holidays or extended periods you will also have your possessions in various rooms and on display. If there’s anything that you don’t want guests to use or access or potentially break, make sure these are put away and secure before your first guests arrive.

4. Check your linen stores and refresh any that are past their best

Make sure you have enough linen of the correct sizes for all the beds, including any sofa beds. This means you need two sets of linen and towels for each guest so you are prepared if you have a back-to-back booking. If beds are different sizes, make sure it is clear which linen is for which bed as this will slow the cleaners down during the changeover if they have to search for the right-sized linen for the beds.

If you are not able to prepare your property for the start of the 2024 rental season and you are in one of the areas we cover, get in touch to find out about our property management services. We are happy to carry out a spring clean/regular clean on request.

Top tip! If you’re working with a local management company, like South France Holiday Villas, make sure ALL your laundry items are marked clearly with your name or your property’s name. This can be done easily with waterproof laundry markers or iron-on labels although they sometimes come unstuck when washed on hot temperatures. On older linens, check to make sure the names are still visible and that any new items that have been added since the laundry was first marked or which are added to your stock during the season, are marked too. Don’t forget the tea towels, bathmats, face cloths, pillow protectors: anything that may need washing during the rental season. Most property management companies won’t accept responsibility for any lost unmarked linen or towels.

We recommend that you store any spare linen in a lockable box or cupboard. If it is accessible to guests they will probably find and use it, leaving whoever handles the changeover short of linen for the next changeover. 

5. Stock up on cleaning supplies and replacement fittings 

Most guests expect to find basic cleaning supplies when they arrive. Ensure that you have adequate supplies of any dishwasher/washing machine tablets, etc. you want to leave, plus a spare set of light bulbs (marked) as well as spare batteries for any smoke alarms, TV remotes, etc. 

6. Have a stock of any basic items or additional Welcome Gifts for your guests

This is a nice touch that is always appreciated, especially in France where shop opening times can be tricky to navigate. Arriving to find basic supplies, such as milk, bottled water, tea, coffee, and a store cupboard that includes cooking essentials, like oil, salt, pepper, etc. will mean your guests can turn up and relax rather than having to rush off and find a supermarket and provide a memorable experience!

7. Don’t forget the garden and any outside spaces

Gardens, terraces, and patios will undoubtedly need a tidy-up after the winter. Take any garden furniture or barbecues out of storage and make sure you have enough sunbeds and outdoor seating for the advertised number of guests that can stay at your property. It’s important to inspect all your garden/outdoor equipment to ensure it is in good condition before cleaning it and putting it into position. Check exterior lights/electrics and ensure that all big gardening jobs are done so clients aren’t bothered by any disruptive maintenance work.

8. Complete any big maintenance jobs

Check that any bigger maintenance jobs have been completed on the property and in the garden. These might include roof repairs, cleaning out gutters, cutting back any overgrown hedges, and pruning large trees. Ideally, these jobs will all have been completed during the quiet winter months but if any work is still ongoing make sure it will be finished before your first guests are due to arrive! Follow up with any trades to ensure that they’ve not only finished but also tidied up after themselves. Before and after photos will give you peace of mind.

9. Prep your pool

If you’re lucky enough to have pool or spa areas, these need to be sparkling clean by the time your first guests arrive. Check for any broken tiles or liners and ensure that the area is safe and secure. If you don’t plan to open the pool yourself make sure you have a professional booked to come sooner rather than later as they tend be booked well ahead at this time of year.

If you’re paying someone to help with pool maintenance, make sure they come highly recommended and are correctly registered and insured for the work. Read our guide to pool maintenance essentials (coming soon!).

10. Check your website or any promotional channels

Are your prices and available dates up-to-date? Check that you have great photos that show off your property and replace any that could be improved upon. If you’ve changed the property over the winter, decorated or installed new equipment, update the photos, and also ensure that the property description is current: only list what is/isn’t included. Take on board any feedback from past guests and adapt your property listing or website accordingly. You can also reach out to your past guests for reviews to enhance your listing and make it stand out from the competition.

If your property is already listed with us, login to our owners area and check the details now!


Having your vacation rental ready before the season starts means peace of mind for you and ensures that your property lives up to – and maybe goes above and beyond – the expectations of your guests. Most rental listings sites, like AirBnB and our own villa listings, share reviews from past guests, so ensuring your guests have the best possible experience will make the season enjoyable for everyone!

If you’re feeling daunted by the task ahead and you’re in an area of the South of France that we cover, you can always hire  us to manage your property.

We offer our property management services in the central Languedoc-Roussillon area, parts of Hérault (34) and Aude (11), within roughly a 30-kilometer radius from Béziers – including Valras-Plage, Gruissan, Narbonne, Olonzac, Cruzy, Saint-Chinian, Roquebrun, Bédarieux, Magalas, Roujan, Pézenas, Marseillan, and Agde.
Gina Evans-Forte
Gina Evans-Forte
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