It is hard to know exactly how many gîtes and chambre d’hôtes there are in France – certainly more than 50,000.
That’s a lot of accommodation for people to choose from.
The good news is that France is the world’s no. 1 tourist destination with almost 80 million visitors a year, so you should have a reasonable chance of renting out your property. It goes without saying that your gîte needs to be in a location that is marketable and that it is in good condition.
There is a lot that you can do to enhance your chances of attracting clients.
Marketing your French gite is crucial
Marketing your gîte through rental property sites, specialist gîte sites etc can be incredibly effective – shop around for deals and check the small print carefully about costs. Do your homework, ask other users in the area for their feedback. Bear in mind that you will pay a percentage (as much as 30%) to the company marketing you. See more details about marketing your gite through websites here.
Marketing you can do for free for your French gite
Put your gîte or rental property on Facebook.
Opening a page on Facebook for your gîte or chambre d’hôtes is free unless you choose to pay for Facebook advertising.
Ask all your friends and family and all of your guests to “Like” your Facebook page.
Post the best and prettiest photos you can of your gîte, the rooms, the gardens, local sites, the weekly market, festivals, brocantes and flea markets etc. Post updates that are interesting, fun and give an insight into the best aspects of life in your area – going to the market, gastronomy, great restaurants etc.
Ask your “fans” (people who like your Facebook page) to share your photos and information.
One of the best Facebook gîte pages we’ve come across involved a lady who is a keen gardener. She posts lots of photographs of beautiful gardens that she would like to create at her own property. Occasionally she posts photos of her own garden but only when it is at its best. She has attracted many thousands of people who love gardens and who feel that they “know” her through their shared love of beautiful gardens. This has created a good stream of business – when those garden lovers with the shared passion want to stay in her region of France – she is their first choice – they “know” her.
You should “Like” the Facebook pages of local businesses and the tourist offices – they are a good source of information and photographs to share with your own “fans”.
Newsletters and Mailing Lists
Create a mailing list – add everyone who stays with you to the mailing list and send out a monthly newsletter letting them know about special offers you are running, discounts, promotions, things going on in your area, any changes you’ve made, how the garden is looking – connect with your clients past and present.
Ask for feedback from your guests. What did they like best? If there is a common theme, make sure you include the best loved things on your website – events, markets, historic sites, buildings, festivals etc.
If the feedback is negative – implement changes where appropriate and go back to the people who mentioned it and tell them what you’ve done to improve. You may want to include that update in your newsletter too.
Market your French gîte through Twitter
Set up a Twitter account for your Gite – like Facebook it is free to set up a Twitter account and is another good way to communicate with clients and potential clients.
Personalise your Twitter profile by uploading a great photo of your gîte.
Post regularly and try to make it fun or interesting, engage with those following your account by asking questions.
Follow local tourist and business pages for information about your area and “retweet” when its appropriate.
Taking steps to make your gite stand out from the crowd will help get returning visitors.