Is there a pattern as to when bookings (should) come in?


(Sholu Pande) #1

Hi,

we’re pretty new to this game, got chambre d’hote rather than gite, though. This time last year none of the rooms were ready and we got a few fairly last-minute bookings during the summer hols. This year we’ve had a few bookings for the summer come through in February, though nothing to write home about, but now there seems to be a lull - should I panic? Should I be doing more? We have a website and we’re on abritel and lots of free websites/listings, but maybe I should be doing something else?? Clearly our marketing budget is very very limited. Any ideas gratefully received.

Many thanks

Sholu


(Sholu Pande) #2

Thank you guys, you’ve been v, helpful - shall investigate the cheque vacances and speak to the OT! Here’s hoping to an end of the economic crisis!


(Christine Phillips) #3

We dont take cedit cards either - too expensive for the amount we make. We do accept Cheques Vacances - its very easy to jon the scheme so it might be a good idea for you. Although I have to say we didnt have many people using them last year but they are another alternative. most folk though are happy to pay by ordinary cheques or cash.


(Jan Rogers) #4

Doesn’t put people off staying with us! Our local OT will ‘exchange’ cheque vacances for us for the usual fee, so while we can’t officially say we accept them, we do if asked and take them to the OT. It does take ages to get the money though…because it takes them ages to receive it!

Jan


(Sholu Pande) #5

And another thing - does one have to take credit cards or cheques vacances. We only accept cash and cheques at the moment, do you think that puts people off?


(Christine Phillips) #6

OH HO HO! We are part of our local tourist offices & pay to be in their brochures. But don`t get a lot of business from them really. I think it varies depending to where you are. Its good for making contact with other folk though & it might help you to “swap” addresses ie if you are full one night & can send guests to another B&B…& hopefully that will work the other way round. And yes… one nighters are hard work!


(Sholu Pande) #7

Thank you all, shall start investigating the sites immediately. (Christine, I think maybe most of our business may be last minute one nighters, too, a lot of work!) Probably a bit late for this year, though? Also, does anyone know how much ‘help’ one can expect from the local tourist office? Do they have a mandate to support their local tourist facilities?


(ian wallace 2) #8

we made our group page name include the web address - you cant link directly from it but at least the web address is prominent.

Ian


(Jan Rogers) #9

Sholu



Are you listed with http://www.chambresdhotesfrance.com/? They (as well as Gites de France) bring us quite a few enquiries and whereas GdF cost a small fortune to belong to every year, this one’s free or very low cost (sorry, can’t remember which and am working on our website so focussed elsewhere at the mo!)



Jan


(Christine Phillips) #10

Hi Shulo
We have a gite & 2 chambre dhotes rooms. There is no real booking pattern though I find the ch dhotes bookings tend to be more “last minute” - esp for us as people tend to use us as a place to break journeys to the south. most of our clients are French & we have found Homelidays to be very good for us esp for the ch d`hotes. have to say that te gite bookings this year are very slow though…suspect the “crise” & petrol prics are hitting us country dwellers hard this year.
Christine
www.hirondelles-chabanol.fr
fb Les Hirondelles


(Sholu Pande) #11

Well done Ian, good for you! I’ve looked at Owners direct, but it seems to be more for gite owner rather than chambres d’hote, do you think? I wonder if the pattern for gites is different than for chambres d’hotes. I agree with you re fb, I’m certainly not looking at it as an income generator, esp. as you have to have an account and lots of older people (my friends!) don’t have one - yet.
Thank for replying
Sholu


(Sholu Pande) #12

Thanks Jan for your words of wisdom (no irony!) Your point about the website address on the FB page is a good one, it is there but not easy to find and I haven’t figured out how to make it more prominent. I’m not sure how important it is for us as a marketing tool, as most of guests to date have been French and internet shy. However, that’s for now, who knows about the future …
Hope we all have an excellent year, as you really need to be pretty much full to make any money, don’t you?
Sholu


(ian wallace 2) #13

this is our first season giting and all but 2 of our weeks have gone through July and August - we use owners direct with a link to our own website as well as a link from facebook -



Most enquiries have come via Owners direct but the website helps give people more informations as well as a chance to say what we want to promote our USPs with lots of photos and extra text. Facebook is good for getting friends and their networks to see what you have on offer but its not our key promotion tool. Most of our friends with Gites seem to thinkj we have done well selling this much early in the season (Prices too low?) but its hit our income target for our first year so no complaints



Ian

http://lagare.yolasite.com/


(Jan Rogers) #14

This is now the start of our 8th season as a chambre d’hôtes, and the only thing I can tell you with any certainty is that there is no certainty! Every year for us has been different, with no real discernible patterns in terms of times when people actually make the booking, or when those bookings will be. We’ve got bookings for the summer but not loads and loads yet, and I’m sure it was the same this time last year, when we had our best year to date.

What does occur to me…I looked for your website to have a look at it and came upon your FB page. I’m full of admiration for anyone making this work as a marketing tool as I’ve yet to get my head around it. I couldn’t quickly find your website from your FB page though, and there must be others like me out there. Just a thought.

Essentially, I think I’m saying don’t panic unless you’re not confident that your website does well when someone searches for what you’re offering in your area! In that case, get to work on your SEO.

Bon courage,
Jan
Currently working on her website to get it up to scratch.