Gites - Are You Always On-Call?

Now the gite season is well under way I was wondering…are you always available (24H 7/7) for your clients or do you restrict, and publish your availability ?

We look after five gites and give each client the option for us to be on call 24/7 in case of emergencies for a small weekly fee plus a callout charge.

Do you get many call outs?
Are the gites well maintained?
How often are the pools cleaned whilst renters are in?

If the weather is good then very few callouts, we now have a core of rental clients that maintain their properties to a good standard. As for pools they are all cleaned weekly and at two properties we also check midweek at the owners request.

I wish that we had kept a dairy of every bizarre/stupid thing we’ve had to deal with in the past eleven years so we could write and publish a book, it would certainly put people off renting their houses out.

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Hi Barbara I do get a few callouts - no particular pattern and rarely (if ever!) anything life changing! The gites are very well maintained and clients receive a pretty comprehensive briefing pre arrival and on check-in - supported by a Welcome Book and loads of printed info. No pool thank goodness! Often calls come late in the evenings (after their day out!) or on Sundays.
I’ve never tried to ‘manage’ client contact but just wondered what others do or thought?

Like Tim - some of the stories are beyond belief…

well write it…it is always in your mind somewhere the info and the stories may have faded but they are there.

Some of it may be boring but there will be funny moments.

We live with our gites, so yes, on-call pretty much all the time, but generally very few problems. We clean our pool when needed and monitor and record chemical levels etc on a daily basis, which I think is a requirement (Can’t for the life of me remember who requires it, prefecture maybe) and put the cover on at night/Off in morning etc.

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I believe (but am happy to be proved wrong) that if the pool is ‘shared’ then you have to have the water checked by the authorities regularly and have an automatic chemical dispenser.

Bed and breakfast places have shred pools.

Any pool that is shared by two or more families or is shared by B&B guests is classed as a public pool and therefore comes DDASS rules which are pretty strict. We know several gite owners here who simply ignore the rules but the penalties if caught can be severe.

We also live with our gîte so are always “on call” for them. The gîte people have our mobile numbers and the list of standard emergency numbers in the welcome book. Generally people only contact us out of normal hours for medical emergencies…or the one time when sewage welled up from the downstairs shower which was a sort of medical emergency. The main late night activity is people wanting to book - which they often seem to want to do at 11pm. Our two long term rental properties (which are much further away) take up much less time and effort.

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We look after 14 properties for owners who rent out plus about the same again for owners who don’t. We are on call pretty much all the time bar when we sleep. Only the 18th June so not really got going yet and I’ve been called out twice after 9pm by guests. Still, it will get worse before it gets better.

Today’s nightmare, not caused by a guests, was to turn up at a gite to do some routine repairs to find an animal had got in and caused havoc. Pretty certain it was a rodent but seemed bigger than a loir and smaller than a coypu. Not sure what it was but I hope it’s gone and doesn’t come back. Particularly as guests go in on Friday.

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How in heaven’s name do you manage 14 changeovers on one day?!

Luckily we have never had more than 9 on one day. We run three teams of cleaners of which we are one. That was a pretty stressful day! This year there seem to be more non-Saturday changeovers which is good on one hand, but it takes away from washing and ironing time for the OH and it can mess about with my pool visits.

Yes of course, 14 houses of ironing! Your OH deserves a real treat right now! And again next week! I only have 6 beds worth to do before Saturday and that fills me with gloom.

@des10e, you and your OH have my admiration. We’ve cut down the number of rentals we manage from 7 to 5 as we found it difficult to do more than two changeovers a day.

It’s certainly getting harder as each year gets added to the age. Luckily we have the support of the others who clean for us. If only we could win the Euromilions!!!