Now I’ve finally found somebody to do changeovers I’d like to rent out our house during next summer and I’d be very grateful if anybody could recommend an English holiday company to advertise with. Thank you.
This year all of our bookings came from Airbnb.
Can’t recommend one, because we’re in the same boat - both of our agents (TotstoTravel and HolidayFranceDirect) went out of business in the pandemic - so we’ll be interested in any recommendations too (though we’re in no hurry because we’re pretty full next year from bookings postponed over the last 2 years).
Might though be worth you contacting other comparable accommodation providers in your area - they are likely also to fill up quickly next year and might recommend you as an alternative for their disappointed enquirers - we do this with other local gite owners we know.
I asked the same question on a gite owners forum on the demise of Holiday France Direct.
Simply Owners was mentioned and endorsed by a couple of people (no experience myself)
All depends whether you are only marketing to the UK market. If I had been these last 2 years I would have had no bookings. In fact, much as I loathe them, Vrbo came up trumps because my ad is for their UK site (used to be HomeAway and originally Owners Direct) but they also carry my advert on their other European sites (no effort on m y part) and that brought me Dutch, German and French guests.
I usually start with VRBO when searching for a place to stay.
I have a suggestion for you Fleur, which is if you find somewhere you like on Vrbo, then look through the ad for clues as to how to contact the gite owner directly - might be the name of a lieu-dit in one of the photos, or someone has reviewed them including the name of the gite. Then try googling and you may find they have their own website. You will pay less - Vrbo’s service fees are outrageous and they do very little for them. Also, you may not be aware that the gite owner does not receive any of your money until after you’ve arrived at the gite.
I only stay with them because I don’t want to lose my reviews and (as mentioned above) they do have the international links. But they treat their gite owners appallingly.
I understand Sue. What a shame they don’t look after the owners. In fact one year I did just what you suggest - cancelled the VRBO booking and made it again, directly with the owner. I paid the deposit directly, months before our stay, and was slightly worried that I may not get it back if the owners had problems. But everything was fine.
Many gite owners are trying to make a living and part of their terms and conditions will include the recommendation that guests take out insurance. Our T&C say we reserve the right to hold onto a booking deposit if the guest cancels. If we have to cancel for any reason, we would refund in full. In fact, throughout COVID we have either refunded in full or, if our guests cancel but want to come the following year, used the deposit for next year.
Thank you for replying - sadly I too found VRBO treated owners badly hence my using French Connections for about 10 years. They don’t act as a middle man, merely as a conduit so you have direct contact with the potential holiday maker so you can vet them (slightly). So unless I hear about an alternative spiffing company I’ll just use them. But thank you all for trying to help.
We don’t use any of the big companies - Air, Booking, Gites de France etc etc. It is too expensive as we only have one gîte for 6 people. If we used these portals we would have to increase our prices a lot! They are extortionate for often a poor service.
So we use an equivalent of French Connections, but for Francophone audience. Plus our tourist office. It has done us well for 7 years with good occupancy, so long may it continue to do so. And means our clients get great value, which they appreciate.
We have just claimed our “pin” on google maps so will see if this is effective or just directs scammers our way!
Why an English company? French Connection s is good, but we use Airbnb (cheap for owners, but full of onerous conditions), Gite.fr (cheap, and a good site to refer people to), and Le bon coin. We had about a third from each this year (all french).
That’s a good point Sue. VRBO are despicable but have a huge reach… maybe I’ll have to do that. But French Connections are so good because they put you in direct contact with potential guests so you can get a feel for how they are - and we live in the U.K.
When you say “the French equivalent of French Connections” I assume that the clientele is all French? I’m ashamed to say that although I can and do communicate with French people (artisans, cleaner etc ) I use translate Google to ensure I get it right. Still find some bloomers though!
You’ve all been so helpful - thank you all. This is such a good forum, I’ve asked several questions since I found you all and I’ve always had some help. I’ll let you know how I fare, it’s the least I can do!
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in using Google Translate Gail! (other translation apps are available). I do - though I always check for bloomers. But then I’m pretty shameless generally…
We get French, Belgium and German clients through it. So if you are wanting Uk clients then not much help even though it does translate itself into different languages. We took a punt on it our first year as was under 30€ a year then, and got lots of bookings so have stuck with them. France-voyage.com
Thank you Jane, that’s really helpful. I’ll look them up.
Try deepL.com MUCH better translator and the added benefit of it not being google!
Thank you. Have just downloaded the app after trying out “I can’t get my head round it”. Impressive.
Depending on where you are, Prestige Property Network will handle all advertising across many key portals (gites.co.uk, VRBO, gites.fr, Air BnB and more) and will handle all the reservations and payments for you. All you have to do is get the property ready for your guests. https://www.prestigepropertynetwork.com/