Advertising Websites Gite and B&B

Could I have some feedback on which Websites offer the most value for money from your possible trial and errors.
I am considering

Trip Advisor,
Booking.com
Air B@B

all of which have been recommended by different people of different age groups.
I will also be putting leaflets in the Tourist Offices, Mairie etc. etc.

Sadly it is a little more complicated than that.
It depends on what you have.

And it depends if you would like to have any control over your bookings, you won’t with booking.com or airbag.

Interesting comment Mark.
How do you have control over the clients who come to you?
The clients who are here now have described our place as "paradise"
well that could be possible…we searched for years…and no it is not perfect
but pretty lovely.
In order to find appreciative, nice people I employ the skill of an agency which specialises…and, of course their commission matches their results.
But we did make a large investment in our venture both financially and in creating something a little above average.
Makes it hard to give up!!!

You’re right, don’t have much control over clientele, but I prefer to have control over bookings. At least you can get a “feeling” for who is coming through the enquiry and subsequent follow up calls and messages. Just our preference is gusset.
BTW , we still have a gite available for the week of 19th August, normally (every year since 2005) we have been fully booked by March at the latest. Seems to be quite slow this year, anyone else noticed this?

I agree totally that by establishing communication with clients before they arrive…helping them with questions about their journey or places to visit is always the best way…and I have a contract which I send to them.My main agent collects the
funds and info and I take over from there.

I knew that this year would be a little challenging so I adjusted my pricing.
Next year will not be easier…but one thing is for certain…it is great to be here in France.

Hi Barbara and Mark

I’m following your comments with interest, as I have noticed a rise in the number of folk who propose to have a “little gîte for income” . Advertising is very important (I would think) and your varied experiences will give them food for thought… (and me too, if we ever get our gîte finished, just realised OH started re-plumbing in 2014…:wink:)

2 Likes

I think the issue is , is that there are just too many gites and chambre d’hôtes these days. I’m not saying a bit of competition isn’t a bad thing , the market just seems to be over saturated, certainly in this bit of the middle of nowhere.

You are probably right… many owners are having lean times around here… but as Barbara suggests… the extra-special ones seem to be doing fine…

Ours will be for a top-up to income, which we will certainly not rely on… but will welcome if and when we ever get it going again…:wink:

So what is stopping you getting your gite up and running?

Just about every gite I see has the same image and design
You need to use imagination…and, I am afraid make a decent investment to create
something special.

We were going to sell. We had a buyer but all the properties we saw needed so much work done to them and were tired and boreing…so we have decided to carry on for a few more years rather than moving on to something unlovable.
We will always want to do something…I think so…once a chef…always a workaholic.

1 Like

Hi Barbara

Aménagement du Bourg and the subsequent l’Assainissement works… done several years ago… mean we have to completely rearrange the plumbing, which means completely changing the kitchen/diner. We started to get the necessary bits together, but poor health and far too many other priorities have pushed the gîte to the back-burner.

Our gîte is tiny and is certainly not amongst the few “extra-special” which do exist around us. But it has its own charm and, one day, we shall get it finished…our daughter insists we do… as she does not want to inherit a ruin…:grin:

There are plenty of loveable, smaller properties on the market and, as you yourself say, you need to use imagination and make a decent investment to make something special.

Charm is a really good ingredient.
You can add to charm…when you feel you are ready and able it will be
a nice project to look forward to.
There are always obsgticles in the way…we have to try and bush them aside and deal with them one by one. Suddenly all seems clearer…
Would like to see pics when it is finished.

1 Like

Barbara, you are absolutely right. We have a French family here at the moment and they say that they have never stayed in such a beautiful and well equipped gite.
If you provide something that you would be pleased to stay in yourself, you should not go far wrong.
Have you looked at Homeaway?

Not lately…is it good for you?

It is the only one we use. We only have one week free this season and our children have already said that they would like to take it.

Evening all, on the subject of some of these sites. As a “punter”, i have used AirB** … before they brought in the service charge.
Having read the excuses that 2 of the sites used to allay and support why they did it; came to my own conclusion that it was a big penny pinching routine. But actually on something like 15 - 20% , it adds a lot to your total. Not only that, they have a cheek to add a cleaning charge ?? what.
Personally i will not book through these site any more due to their business “strategies”… and that is no matter what a property looks like…
However, if as a business you fill your books…then go with it…But if you have found leaner times since mid to late 2015 ( when 2 major sites introduced the service fee ( yes funny that, within a couple of months of each other))… then this could be a reason; that others have also stopped booking through them.

As a renter the world is your oyster but you do get what you pay for and I will not bore you with a list of what the property owner does or should be doing to make your holiday work. Nor will I list all the exspenses which are incurred each year to keep the property in rent worthy shape.Book coming out…diary of a French land lady.

Homelidays are not part of owners direct?
Was with Owners Direct for a few years and it worked …sort of until all I got were scam enquiries.

Jane tell me briefly the set up…I like to be in control of the enquiries…to know how many children and their ages. I do have a reason to ask this…for instance 6 very young ones and 2 couples is not acceptable to me…and this is because the 2 couples will be having " a nice glass of wine" together which turns into 7 and the small ones are neglected and accidents take place. You hear screaming and yelling and you are not at liberty to do anything about it. We are on sight but the property is rented.

Some people go on holiday to “chill out” others seem to go on holiday to drown their sorrows. The number of empty bottles which we have after a weeks stay is staggering.
Back to the main topic …advertising…well difficult.

Hi Regina, There is a bit more to it then that.
First will you run your business the whole year or just in the summer period?
Do you have both a B&B and a Gîte?
Do you live in a touristic area?
What kind of clients would you like to attract?
Your clients will they be mainly French or British?..

I am on my fourth year, and this is my experience to run a two bedroom B&B/chambres d’hotes 6 months of the year (April-Oct.) in a very touristic area during the summer Les Landes and close to the sea. Clients 60/40% French/Foreigners
Airbnb: clients are active (booking) from May/June and through the summer.
Holiday lettings: Part of TripAdvisor. Does not work in our area of the south west, and I only had one client from them. Left Holiday lettings in 2016
TripAdvisor Will call you up and try and make you join them with a monthly fee/yearly fee. As you discuss with them they suddenly goes down in price! I am on TripAdvisor, but not as a fee paying member. Using their TripConnect and paying 12% commission in case of a reservation. Have NOT had one up to date! Probably would have to go up to 15% commission to be more exposed.
Booking.com: Powerful and provide the clients. Yes you pay 15% (varies from different areas) but they fill out your rooms. I guess since I joined B.C. in 2015 in my first year I had 4 times more clients then with Airbnb!
BedandBreakfast.EU: Joined them in Jan/17 to cut down on the commissions and attract more busniess to my own website. Cost 90 Euro per year. Have had one client so far from them.
I have my own website www.bnbchezo.com and using FREETOBOOK.CO.UK as a booking agent (FREE AND NO MONTHLY COST) to avoid any double bookings. Booking.com has been connected to Freetobook and all information’s are controlled from Freetobook. I pay 1 pound for that pleasure per reservation, but it gives me peace of mind that double bookings are avoided.

CONCLUSION: Booking.com has taken 75% of my yearly reservation and resulting in that Airbnb is left out as their clients don’t start to search and book before its way to late. The last two years I have had two reservations from Airbnb, so I will probably leave them end of this year. BUT I think they are good to start up with and probably end with the day I slow down the business.
Booking.com paying to be on other websites! So you would suddenly find yourself on websites you have never joined yourself. However they should be removed automatically if you join any of them yourself, if not contact them.
Airbnb is probably better for Gîte, Chalets, apartments and in general weekly rentals.
Booking.com great for short term bookings and last minute reservations. (I do a minimum of two nights now to avoid people who are just using me as a pit stop overnight. It has opened up for many longer stays and you avoid all that work cleaning)
You can join the local tourist office for a yearly fee.

TECHNICAL DETAILS TO RUN ANY B&B/RENTALS:

SINCE JANUARY 2016 YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SIRET NUMBER! (And paying CFE tax once per year. Minimum 135 Euro. It all depends of your total revenue. You can apply for a reduction of the CFE tax with application form No 1327-CET. Pay attention there are two different forms according to your setup. I’m MICRO BIC (No reduction of expenses) (Revenue under 17000 euro). You will receive a letter from SERVICE IMPOTS DES ENTREPRISES telling you the amount you have to pay. Print out the form 1327 and go and see them. They will be happy to help you fill it out and explain.(Bring your cheque book) If not contact me.
SIGN UP AT YOUR LOCAL TOWN HALL.
TAXE DE SEJOUR (Only if you are in a touristic area)
DECLARE YOUR INCOME

This is a bit of a mouthful, but it give you an idea.
Good luck
Gitte

1 Like

So true Barbara, we bought a house with equally large gite - 3 beds, 2 bath etc -it had been previously let by French owner achieving 1200 for peak weeks. Apart from decorating we have done little and so I was surprised to recently be told by an agency to ditch everything ‘French’ vineyard tat (!) furnish top to tail in IKEA and shabby chic anything left ‘brown’ - oh and forget 1200 let’s go a bit lower. I checked their website and sure enough every property is ‘home counties French’ Is this what folks really want?