You have the gîte, the life in France you’ve yearned for and now it is time to make the dream a reality and start to earn some income. There are two undeniable truths about running a gîte in France:
Hard work – you need to keep it clean, tidy and in tip top condition all the time so that you are ready to rent if you get a last minute booking or unexpected guests knocking at the door.
People – even those of us who consider ourselves to be good with people can sometimes find certain guests trying. The guest who is never satisfied, the guest who complains, the guest who accidently sets fire to the kitchen – it happens. You need to develop a thick skin and acting skills so that you appear unflustered and welcoming even when that’s not how you feel.
Many gîtes these days offer more than just space to sleep, store clothes and have a barbeque. The competition is fierce to win clientele and you need to consider if there is some way to offer something to your guests that makes your gite stand out and your guests want to come back.
Information – Make sure that you know what interesting places there are to visit in your area and events that are, supply details of how to get to them, opening hours, leaflets and photos (personal observations are often appreciated). Clients who find there is plenty to do are more likely to return.
Check out the local restaurants and bars – introduce yourself to the owners and managers and ask if they are willing to offer an incentive to your guests – a welcome drink if they book dinner for instance, or a discount, something that your guests will appreciate. The bar and restaurant owners will appreciate extra customers and may put business your way as a result.
Give your guests a welcome food pack – with local produce. Speak to the producers and tell them that you are doing this – ask for a discount and see if they will offer your clients a discount if they spend over a certain amount. With the food put a notice about where it comes from, who produced it, where they are and when to visit.
Get to know staff at your local tourist office and tell them about your rental property. They often have tourists come in and ask for help in finding accommodation and building a relationship with the tourist office will certainly go in your favour.
Get to know the staff at your local town hall – they too may be able to put your business your way.
Make the most of free marketing opportunties – see here for details.