Anglophone gite owners: Where are your guests coming from?

I would be really grateful for some advice about nationalities, and whether you think it is important to advertise your property to the French and Anglophone markets in equal measure.

Would you say it is essential to translate your website into several languages, and if you do, does that make a significant difference to the volume of business?

For a British would-be villa owner, should they expect to fill their villa in high season (South of France particularly) with French guests, or would they be mostly English speakers all year round?

What percentage of villa rental business actually comes from ‘word of mouth’?

Sorry for all the questions but I am trying to work out the pros and cons and any advice is very welcome!

Anyone using Sawday? We used to use their books when we traveld.

A little tip some of you may want to try:

We have a .com web site with descriptions etc in French and English - you push a button to go from one language to the other.

We found our French bookings increased when we bought another domain name and made it French only: a .fr site


Rather late to come to this one. Sites like holiday-rentals have sections for other nationalities - ie abritel - so we have a few French from there. But say, 80pc of our business is British. We have had quite a few Ozzies this year, an Icelandic family and some Kiwis... as well as 1 lot of Germans, 2 Dutch and a Belgian family.

Remember though, if you are pointing particularly to French business, then you will have a short season... really July and August they don't travel much out of that period. Marketing to US, Canada and Oz for Winter and beg of the season rentals by the month. Marketing to North Europeans for travel from Easter onwards ... to end October.

Lots of sites do the translations for you ie and abritel / holiday rentals. Having your own website and sticking a google translate button in one corner is another way of doing it.

More importantly, you should decide what kind of clients you are good for... ie retired, couples, families with teenagers, families with small children, people with kids.... and aim for them. Niche marketing is now the way to go... take a look at this free book: which will point you in the right direction.

Hi Annette
We have had guests from all over this year - USA, canada, Australia, Israel (that was a surprise). Denmark, Sweden - generally we get English, Irish and Spanish, Belgians and Dutch - the latter use us as a stopping off post half way to the south. This year a lot more French as we are favoured by our tourist office and Mairie plus adveretise on Pour les Vacances. We tend to spread our advertising costs and have our own website which I have just put a translator on.
Hope this helps

Thanks Teresa - will have a look at these guys - definitely seems worth paying out for sites that work :slight_smile:

Hi there ,
Just approaching the tail-end of my first season - one gite (sleeps4) and one romm chambre d’hote.
I advertise on Abritel with added anglophone options. Not cheap - but well wirth it.
I would say that 70% of my geusts this year came through them.
June, july - a lot of dutch, belgian and german. August - only french. June and september - a mix of all with the odd spaniard thrown in.
I am really satisfied with Abritel’s services and will definately use them again next year. Best regrads,Ulla

Hi there, we did put our B&B on there as well as our Gite, but found that we get plenty of B&B through our tourist board/other free listings, so only did it for a few months, but in that time got two bookings. I find them better than Chez Nous to get around - it’s easy to put the area in France in and it narrows it down a lot, unlike CN (or they used to be hard to get round, I’ve not looked in a while). And cheaper too.
Good luck

Annette, following on from earlier posts found this
a little american for my tastes, but looks really interesting - and he suggests that ‘homelidays’ as mentioned be quite a few people on this thread and others is very good for european customers… there’s tons more info too
x teresa

Hi Karen- still on the Homelidays / B&B thread - do you get B&B from homeildays- just had a look at their website and it’s lokks very clunky / old fashioned… i don’t care of course if they bring me guests… and at 11 euro’s a month it’s not bad at all… i’m new to this B&B thing as you know and it’s proving tricky to say the least!
La Maison Verdigris

Thanks Karen, I’ll look into Homelidays too.

Thanks Claire - really helpful advice.

Hi there, we advertise on Homelidays and they seem to bring us only French, I’d say we get 99% French, Brits very rarely, Belgium/Dutch same. Homelidays will translate for you, for a fee. Our website is in english and french, but that’s what my husband does as a job, so it was easy to do. We are in SW France and I expect to get 10 weeks a year, anything over is a bonus. We’ve had that this year and a lot of B&B, which is a new venture for me, and that’s helped a lot - again, French people.
It’s worth getting leaflets printed in both English and French and dropping them round to your local tourist office(s), our local seems to favour us for some reason and we get a lot of bookings from them, esp the B&B Good luck Karen

Hi Annette,
Our customers are primarily French (90%) with perhaps 8% Belgian and the occasional British or Spanish family. I do think that French/English languages on the site are very important.
We are 45 minutes from the coast and have no swimming pool and I think that guides our clients - most British people want the sea next door or a swimming pool as a minimum. The customers we get tend to be more interested in villages, walks, activities, sports and ‘terroir’.
We fill our two gites (6-8 people and 4 people) in high season, sometimes with the odd last minute price promotion if needed.
Hope that helps!