Gite owners, are your bookings down this year

Are gites holidays going out of favour, we have a lot of friends and neighbours who run gites in our part of france in the Lot, nearly all of them are reporting a big drop in enquires and bookings for this year, a few are reporting no bookings at all, we are hearing all sorts of reasons for the drop in bookings from the owners, including, France is becoming to expensive, people are taking shorter breaks and that the weather as not been very good the last few summers.

The reason for asking this question is that we have a very good friend back in the uk who is seriously thinking of cashing his pension in and buying a gite complex, would it be a bad or good investment can you give us your thoughts please, They would need to take a living from any investment they make.

Went back to HomeAway as was no good previous two years so cancelled, paid the money this year, enquiries zero. Holiday lettings went the same way so I changed to paying through them which is "free". The charge to the owner is high and the charge to the client even higher by this route, had a few enquiries but no bookings. Our smallest Gite Direct £550.00 but through them £700.00. So I am not surprised no response back to quotes. So I must agree they have got too big and too greedy and have lost the personal touch Questions via the web sites go unanswered and resorting to the phone had difficulties as well due to a poor standard of English at the other end and repeating "can you say that again please" over and over is just a tad frustrating. I gave up in the end.

We do not propose to have an uprising here in the Clunysois this year.
It is all very well taking cheap holidays, but personal safety counts.
Value for money is always good, but that does not necessarily mean cheap.

Not only really busy but we are finding a new type of holipopper…all the ones who have been coming here for years pulling caravans but now because of age, fuel prices and the convenience of a gite we find 25% of our clients used to be caravaners…

Yes it is true that Gites are not as popular with 'some' holidaymakers, perhaps the fees are too high. What with the two TT's Turkey and Thailand which have become popular mainly due to being cheap. There is the competition. Your friends are taking a gamble if they are hoping to live off the income from the Gites. The only thing there is they have to sell the Gites with a decent website and not be expensive. There are lots of elderly holidaymakers out there that like to rent privately and there are a lot of Gites so it has to be competitive. Too many gites are over priced in my eyes and yet on the other hand if they are cheaper than hotels and camping accommodation then they are good value for money. I live in the Deux-Sevres and gites are not that common but we do have a few round our local area. The bottom line is really that the gite has to sell itself and then be recommended by being good. A pool is quite high on the list of necessities for a good stay. Advertising is also very important. Website photography must be good too.

Same here Teresa

Business is 'normal' for Us. We specialise and have an 86% return rate so even when the holiday trade ebbs and flows we have our return customer base to rely on.

Keep doing what works and always look for new things to entertain and inspire the customers.

i'm glad this thread got back on topic...

we run a chateau (not ours!) as a luxe gite for four months during the summer - june to september (the owners use it at other times)

we are full this year, and almost full next year - as we have been for the last 2 seasons

it's priced perfectly, marketed to the right people and comes with everything they want - including us who are 24/7. It is exceptionally hard work during the season, but come october we are quiet again.

like someone said - it's not rocket science. find your market and work for them. decide on the level of work you want to put in. Base your financial plan on that.

... and Vivienne, you will never get a job that's tailor made for you - everyone wants a nice little house near a market with a river and english telly! Make up a proper CV and start applying for real jobs - via the many companies who list them in France. Happy to send you a list

x teresa

So it is a good year!

Can we make it even better next year?

Shhhhhhhh.... Just tell em it is rubbish this year Steve.

You get what you pay for. We had to rent a French farmer’s gite when we were house-hunting and you could have read the newspaper through the towels.

That is what I meant when I said we have all the things you need, for a relaxing rural holiday.

Draw a line across the peninsula from BC & we are there on the opposite side, 4 miles from Sainte Mere Eglise, Sainte Marie du Mont opposite the church & the family house on Utah Beach with sea views and direct access onto the beach .

Well I dont know about others as I keep my buisness to myself…however we have two gites here in the dordogne and this is the best year we have ever had …one of our gites has only been vacant for two weeks whilst I did repairs on it in the last eighteen months… Business is so good. I have just bought a barn in the next village and am building six gites…we dont have a magical formula we just keep the adverts upto date and get good reveiws form clients we keep the plac in good order and price it right …not rocket science…

There we are!
Do it right...and it works.

Where exactly are you?
I love Normandy.....styed in a nice hotel on the beach once.

La Marine at Barneville Carteret is one of my favs.

We have 4 properties in Normandy - in the heart of the American sector Invasion beaches. We've been doing this business since 2002. We are fully booked as per normal from 1st April - early November...(perhaps the odd week here & there in September & October to sell yet).

I trained as a Hotel Manager so had that experience to fall back on when we set up.

This hospitality business is that - hospitality & a business...we are open 6 - 7 months of the year yet work 12 months a year...we don't get holidays, weekends off. We're on constant call, we offer concierge service, organize car hire, help with any medical problems, even helped find nail technician that spoke English for one American lady with a crisis of a broken finger nail! In fact we are working harder now than when we were commuting into central London.

We've gone down the route of being properly registered 3 & 4 * accredited , couples only, no children in 2 & no children under 9 in another with 1 being a family house right on the beach with sea views, we charge competitively, have proper cleaners, wifi hot spots to comply with the law, all the safety measures in place, top quality linens, a gardener and every year replace linens, furniture, re decorate and have an ongoing maintenance programme.

It isn't a case of buying somewhere & hoping it will make money - it has to be run, you have to market & sell, answer enquiries and generally on the ball 24/7 365 days a's not a hobby...the days of folk accepting a place below their standards at home are long gone...if folk are staying in a vacation rental my feed back tells me they want it a bit special and better that they have at home plus it must be clean, serviced and fit for's a holiday they are booking not someone's old cast off's, that 'll do type attitude. I'll be honest I am horrified with some places I have seen but am very pleased to report that there are some very serious quality places coming on line in this area, which is very good for business.

We, must be doing something right, we get a huge level of repeat business to include some folk back for the 16th time!

To be totally canded a yearly rental yield of 4.000 euros is not something I would handle.

I appreciate what you are saying but once you have paid out for everything incl taxes it would does not make any sense.From the property owners point of view.

I was looking at my cherry trees and wondering about the 5.00 per kilo and

a couple pf people picking...

I appreciate your reply Barbara and understand the concerns, but as in situations both personal and in business there is an element of risk and the 'bad' among the good as per, cause problems for the genuine people. Not everybody is out to become a "squatter" or refuse to leave rented accommodation. And surely, an affordable year round rental is a better options than very few or even, as this discussion suggests, no bookings and a proper legal rental contract can be drawn up ....

Personally, I am not out to criticise gite owners or anybody, I am simply trying everything I can to find suitable and permanent accommodation that is above all, affordable.

Yes.....I am sure that every owner has considered long term rental.

But a ....IT is not viable financialy.

b.... The law of renting in France does not really protect the owner of the property..

There are a number of owners of complexes and large properties who offer

work in return for accommodation, and from listening to people tell me

it does not seem to work out.

There is, unfortunately no compensation for income in relation to sale of

high season.

I wish you good luck with your future and hope that you find some good friends...

there are some really nice people out there.

A very interesting discussion in light of my "dilemma". During the last few days I have placed this post on various forums on facebook:

I am Vivienne, a single 54 year old female, who went through a nasty divorce 5 years ago followed by some subsequent personal traumas which included several moves within my local Limousin area. For the sake of my health and sanity, I am desperate to make a total new start in a different Department where I can forget my painful history, put down roots and rebuild a new life for myself and my well-behaved and clean boxer dogs (1 at nearly 2 years old and the other 12 years).

Therefore, I am looking for a nice little house (furnished, unfurnished or part-furnished) with a fenced garden or terrace / courtyard suitable for just me and my dogs but unfortunately, I don't have a large budget so am looking in the region of approximately 300-350€ pcm

If necessary, to supplement my budget, I would be willing to do a certain amount of maintenance, cleaning and/or gardening jobs in return for a reduced rental. Would also consider a gite complex, a companionship, help with animals / dog minding etc or anything along those lines, where I can supplement the rent by doing changeovers, cleaning, etc.

As I have been alone for the last few years, I would prefer a market village with regular groups and activities (not those that cost a fortune to join) so I can get involved in local life, also plenty of dog walking areas and/or walking groups.

Not essential but would be a bonus :
Within half hours drive to a large town where I can, hopefully find work (I have just finished an 18 month contract in a large brocante)
View - garden or sitting area on the property where people pass by and say hello
Walking distance to village centre with at least a bar / cafe where people meet
Extra bedroom to allow my family to visit for a few days
Perhaps lake or river nearby
Within an hour's drive to an airport
A cooker and English satellite TV would help.

Have any of these gite owners ever considered that, even though the rental income would be a lot lower, having a tenant on a permanent basis would bring in regular all round income. As some compensation for the loss of higher rental charges during the high season, there would be no need for changeovers, booking agents commissions, etc and the house / garden (if there is one) would be maintained by the tenant. I myself would welcome the opportunity to rent a gite on a permanent basis and even on a gite complex where I could help maintain the other gites on the complex for a reduced rent.

Thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Thanks

It does seem a little over-saturated, so many people have the same dream to open a B&B or gite in France, I cannot imagine how they can all survive. I have to say the prices seem quite high too. The weather can be dodgy here in the summer and with so many great deals in warmer climates, coupled with "la crise économique"....