If you are buying a property in France with a view to renting it out or running gîtes or chambre d’hôtes (B&B) there are some key points to consider:
The gite market
Is there a market for a rental property where you live? Check with the local tourist office to see what is available in the area. Check property rental websites and brochures and make a few calls to see what availability is like.
If there are a lot of properties and they’re not fully booked during peak season months – it could indicate that there is a glut in the market.
Does your rental property have the wow factor?
If your property comes with a history or unusual anecdotes – include the details in your marketing material, everyone loves a story.
If you live in the sunnier areas of France a swimming pool is important if not essential – competition is fierce when you are running a gîte or B&B.
Offer something that makes you stand out – a welcome hamper of local products for instance and tell the guests where the products came from – which farm, shop or producer.
Your holiday rental doesn’t have to be perfect, old properties with a hint of yesteryear can be a big draw – but damp and cold are two things that definitely won’t bring guest book praise – whatever great wow factor features you have will be obliterated if people only remember how cold it was getting up or that their clothes were damp.
Being a gîte owner can mean hard work
Running a gîte or chambre d’hôtes is a people business.
It is also hard work.
Two short sentences – but they are critical.
Your holiday rental property needs to be in great condition, impeccably clean and tidy, the garden if there is one needs to be usable and attractive. Will you be living on site or nearby and undertake the work of running the property yourself? Or will you need to employ someone to help with cleaning and maintenance, greeting guests and looking after them (if they want that) in your absence? (What to look for in a good property manager).
People! The world is full of diverse and interesting characters and some of them can be more interesting than others. Some people will simply want a base, somewhere to lay their heads at night and store their belongings. Some people will want to be your best friend for a week. Some people like to complain when you feel there is nothing for them to complain about. Some people break things…
You need to adapt to whatever your guests want so that they will give you good feedback and want to come back.
Guests who come back are great! It means less marketing for you and your word of mouth business is highly likely to increase – in fact help it along by asking your guests to tell their friends about you. Facebook and Twitter are excellent tools for spreading word of mouth recommendations.