PROVIDING as many ways as possible to pay for your French gîte can often be the key to making a successful sale.
But what could be easier than paying there and then with your website right in front of your potential client?
Online payment services are now very simple to implement and people have become very comfortable using them.
They allow you to take card payments and all people need is an email address and a desire to spend a week or two in your holiday home.
Paypal is one of the most recognised and respected services on the internet and you can set up a merchant account without going through your bank.
It is possible to open an account in Euro and link it to your French bank account so that payments can be transferred to it.
The costs are very low and depend upon the amounts involved, but you are looking at fees well below those charged by banks.
And even if people have never used Paypal they can quickly register with the company, and continue to the payment screen.
I can see the advantage of this being linked up with an up-to-date availability calendar.
If a potential client sees that their desired date is free and they can pay a deposit straight away through a Paypal button on your site, bingo!
What these online payment services generate is an instant way for people to pay, catching them when they want to buy straight away.
You could even offer a reduction on the price if payment is made online, this method is used very effectively by the low-cost airlines.
You are cutting out the steps between writing down an address, finding the chequebook, buying a stamp and popping it into the post to you.
It also means you are sending a receipt of payment immediately that can be tracked if needed, but also saving you the hassle of posting confirmation.
With an online payment service you could be taking card payments within a matter a minutes.