November 30, 2015


I'm not a salesman, I'm not even a sales-woman.       So why and how did I end up in Real Estate?
It must be a combination of my profound love for old buildings. Buildings with a story, a history. Or it could be my curiosity to look behind Medina doors in Morocco. It could also be my urge to make people happy. Because for me, there is nothing more fulfilling then give people a home feeling. Both in creating architecture and in searching for the 'right fit' when it comes to buying a house. 
A right fit can be finding the perfect home for a house hunter. But it also means finding the right destination and purpose for an ancient building.  Or the ideal stay in a riad when on holiday...

My heart takes a little jump when this works out. It's my passion. It's what makes me run around in the Medina. It's the trigger in all my photos and most of all it's the smile on my face when I succeed.
Succeed in making it a deal that has something in it for everyone.

Like for these two sympathetic Belgians from Food & Friends that invited me to Le Jardin in Marrakech. Le Jardin is not for sale, nor for hire but it's a place you don't want to miss out on when you visit Marrakech!!!
And don't forget to pass by the shop of one of the most stylish designers in Marrakech.  When I say one of the most, I mean exactly this, the area around le Jardin is loaded with stylish designer shops. From Max & Jan to the designer level at Terrace des Epices. 
So, what are you waiting for to get unique design at a H&M price?

Until we meet over a minttea!
X Marlène

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November 19, 2015


When ever I arrive in Essaouira, I get captured by the clear almost sparkling light in this town. Finding this same light in a property in the old Medina was surprising. Houses tend to be a little dark as they are built around court yards. This house however benefits from light coming from two sides, on the first and second floor and this not only makes it bright, it's filled with a fresh breeze whenever you open a window.

Interesting and eclectic, in a prime position within the bustling UNESCO World Heritage Medina, at only a few minutes walk from the beach and the many wonderful restaurants and cafes at Place Moulay Hassan.  The polyglot woman of the house, fell in love with Essaouira when it still was this little blue white fishermen town. The house was purchased some years later and lovingly restored. It was the home away from home for many years. Her beloved Moroccan retreat brought joy to friends and family and many happy moments were shared here.

Children grow , grand children make the family larger and new targets and ideas arise. More exciting times and new property dreams. The time is right for this stylish home to make someone else happy... 
if you are interested, please contact me.

The riad will soon be on (Essaouira) For Sale.
pictures taken november 2015 credits:coco-morocco

Until we meet over a minttea!
X Marlène

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November 13, 2015


Today was one of these days that took it's own turnings (if you know what I mean) I was invited by my lovely neighbours to go and look at their riad that they rent out in gérance libre. The managers decided to quit after a short period because they were tired on waiting for clients to show up. And the clients that did show up where all super enthusiastic about the rooms but complained about the lack of a pool...

Looking at the website I saw a very traditional riad, one out of many, and I was NOT expecting a lot, the website missed a soul, I missed any personal twist, and links to pages and blogs that were not working....
What I discovered during my visit was surprising.  A  home with a 'soul'. One of these places that could turn into your home away from home ....
I saw the cook preparing a delicious dinner and it all felt so natural, so genuine.

While doing the tour I saw the emotion and the love for her riad talking to my neighbour. She was telling me the stories of her clients, she remembered names and stories and she knew their little preferences. Like the couple from Paris that always wanted the rooftop room. They loved to enjoy their glass of wine in the evening on the terrace just beside their lovely little room...
She told me she made all marmalade at the house together with the cook. Always trying out new cakes and always having breakfast until noon with copious tables filled with all kind of stuff...
The place used to be known because of the lay back atmosphere and the fantastic meals at night on the rooftop...

I don't understand she told me: "my prices were more then double and everyone was pleased"

I do understand a little bit....
It's all about connecting and passion.

And I hope there is a bright new future for the place...

My advice for this riad:
Reflect all this that I experienced on your site, reflect this in your communication and get in contact with your clients rather then sitting and waiting. They might just choose one of the other ones when booking because you don't stick out and expect them to find you. 

pictures taken november 2015 credits:coco-morocco 

November 06, 2015


Remember the last two articles on ‘determine Your target group’ and ‘qualify Your prospects’? Two articles in a series of four on the topic: your target audience.
(Make sure you have read these before starting on this one).

SO, after you've determined your target market and qualified your prospects - it's time for the next step. to connect with them, and build a lasting relationship. Too many entrepreneurs believe that once someone shows interest in their business, product or service, they should do everything to 'convert' this prospect as quickly as possible into a paying customer.

This tactic rarely works and might even push prospects away from you, exactly the opposite of what you want!
Once someone qualifies as a prospect by showing interest in what you have to offer - it is up to you to build that relationship with him or her. Or ... as in other terms:


Building a business relationship is no different than any other relationship. You have to start the conversation and keep busy. And once you are together in conversation, the ball keeps rolling ...
The more often and the more places you, your company or your Guesthouse interact with your target audience (clients) ... the better. We are talking about real 'COMMITMENT' and involvement.

Some examples of engagement with your target group:

Publishing a blog post with everything that is happening in town might be interesting but is NO interaction with any specific added value for your target audience.
Giving an overview and a platform to talk art related to a specific exhibition in town (if your audience is in the art-scene) IS.

Interaction is possible in many ways!

Where are they, where do they belong to, what memberships do they pay for?

- Are they a member of a wine tasting club?
- An art gallery?
- Opera or theater addicts?
- What are their hobbies and where do they practice it?
- Do they belong tot a cooking club for men?
- Are beauty and spa centers their way to spend their leisure time?
- Is holistic life approach something that gets them going?


Depending on their lifestyle, ask them for comments, tips, Facebook or Instagram likes, retweets. Share an offer, tag a photo on Facebook, complete a survey, etc.

Make sure to offer them value!

You see, there are many opportunities to start the interaction with your target audience.
The more you engage with your prospects AND even more important, they engage with you - the better they get to know you, come to like and trust you ... and the easier it is for them to decide to book with you, refer their friends to you and give you a good referral.

Do I mean by this that you have to interact with every single one of them? NO!

We are talking about an audience, a group, a tribe! Does that makes it simple? NO. (I’m honest and have been doing it several times, it IS something you have to build up, but once it’s going and rolling it’s yours and no-one can take it away)

Why is getting the conversation going that hard?

We all want to interact with each other, it is a human need. And yet ... most people do not just engage in a dialogue with companies or organizations. So your job is to encourage your prospects to interact from the very first contact, during the process and ALSO, and here is where most of us go keep the conversation going! preferably on your site, if not then on your FB page!

Yes, comments and reviews on and Tripadviser are a ‘MUST’ nowadays but I notice that it is a torture for many Guesthouses to handle and live up to the criteria for high or low ranking as they are not very transparent and not very fair either.

I know for many of you these rankings have become a goal on its own right now, rather than worrying about what is really important.


A Facebook page or a blog linked to your website and where you get as personal as possible to communicate with them is the ultimate place to do this.
And if one then obviously your blog.

Why an own blog is important over a FB page?

Because interactions on a Facebook page only increase the ranking of Facebook. Interactions on your blog, however, make sure that not only your blog, but your site climbs up the ranking !!

AND by this easier to be found!

Upcoming:  the fourth article in this series "your audience."
The subject: the most important interaction of all.
I'm curious about your results and hope to meet you again next time as a reader!

Feeling stucked or not knowing where to start?

On to enjoying your success,
Marlène - Social Media Catalyst

PS. Please SHARE this article with your network by Clicking on the Tweet, Like, Share or Google+ buttons Clicking here in the left sidebar, So THAT ook benefit the people in your network it.

November 04, 2015


During the five years I'm living and travelling in Morocco, the Sahara had reveiled itself as close as M'Hamid to me. There was this call from the sand dunes and the red golden sunsets,  for some reason however,  when I went down South, the sun was hiding and big sandstorms were stopping me mentally from going all the way into the desert.

My intention was that I simply HAD to experience this part of Morocco, and after some procrastination I thought September would be the perfect month to make it all the way. And so I booked.  
The camp was way passed Merzouga and the most South into the Sahara. I was promised breathtaking views and an amazing sunrise, together with all the luxuries a luxury desert camp has to offer.
And so we finally made it to Erfoud, one stop away from our final destination. The second night in Erfoud I woke up and heard the wind. Stronger and stronger it became and early morning when I went out on the terrace the Sahara sand was like a golden filter on everything outside. 
The streets of Erfoud remembered me of desolate cities in Texas that I used to see in cowboy films and big clouds of sand were terrorising everyone outside. 
My hope on golden views on the famous dunes were fading away for every hour the wind was getting stronger and I was getting disappointed on yet another missed Sahara experience everyone else but me seemed to be able to enjoy.
Until I realised the deeper meaning with this hide and seek...
There was a reason for me to have to return, time after time again, to this amazing always changing desolate land of sand dunes...
At that point my perception changed and I enjoyed!
I enjoyed the camel ride covered in Hamid's turban.
Due to the mist of sand there was no sunset to enjoy, no red coloured sand dunes to take your breath away!   I took it as an invitation to come back once again!
I loved the night outside with a small group, making music with the sound of the wind guiding us through the night.
That same night out in our tents, the wind was stronger then ever before and the heat was unbearable.  We opened the entrance to get in some fresh air.  The next morning we were completely covered with sand and when we came outside we hardly recognised the setting from the evening before. 
The wind had thought us all a lesson. A lesson of deep respect. Respect for the power of nature , and also respect for the people running this camp as well as their battle to get the place ready for new clients every day again....