Gites and Chambre d’hotes

The idea of running gites or chambre d’hotes is, understandably, very appealing. Indeed, any people who come to France do so in order to cash in on the tourism industry. If your target market is largely made up of English speakers, then the language barrier may not seem so daunting. If the season is only a few months long, then it might seem that you have most of the year off.

But this is not the reality and a lot of people find themselves disillusioned when they try to set up a holiday accommodation business.

Part of the reason is that the holiday accommodation market is saturated in the Charente. While it remains a very popular holiday destination (not least because the popularity of the area for permanent or long-term living has increased exponentially over the past decade) for every family looking to holiday here, you can guarantee there are several hotels, gites and chambre d’hotes bending over backwards to put them up.

This is not in any way meant to put you off, but make sure you look carefully before you buy your property and think about what you can offer to your potential customers that no one else can.

Questions to which you need to be able to answer “yes” are:
o Will I have sufficient help during the season?
o Have I any experience at running a business?
o Do I know the area well enough? Can I offer advice on where to go and what to see?
o Does my property conform to the highest standards, which tourists now expect?
o Have I researched all of the local laws and rules regarding property purchases and business administration?
o Is my French up to scratch?

Remember that if you own gites or are running a chambre d’hote, then you will have to bear in mind the change-over procedures.

Normally check-out time is 10.00 am on Saturday and check-in time is 4.00 pm on Saturday. That doesn’t leave much time to clean the pool, kitchen (including the sinks and oven!), bathrooms, bedrooms and change all of the linen.

Make sure you have enough help to keep the maintenance up. We know a lot of people who run gites and chambre d’hotes, and, time and again, the advice they give to those starting out is bear in mind the daily chores that go with the territory!

For example, your guests will expect crisp, clean, beautifully laundered linen. There is a huge amount of washing and ironing to do, even if you only have a couple of gites, so bear in mind the time and cost of the extra load.

If you have a swimming pool, it needs to be clean and adhere to the latest safety guidelines.

If you are not on mains sewerage, you may need to remind your guests to add chemicals to the lavatory cistern on a daily or weekly basis.

Many gites and chambre d’hotes gites and chambre d'hotes offer en-suite facilities. Make sure you are able to keep up with the competition.

But above all, you need to get noticed. You need to advertise wisely and ideally have your own website. If you need help with either of these issues, we can help.
For more information on getting your own website read more here...

If you are dedicated to running a gite or chambre d’hote, check out:

Get your own Calendar HERE

We have just finished looking at it and it seems to be a really useful tool for setting up online calendars on your website. Of course, if you don't have a website yet, we would be happy to design and build one for you, simply contact us (you can read more about getting your own website here...)

For further information, we recommend:

Starting a Bed and Breakfast Start-Up Guide Kit
In language that is clear, readable and straight to the point, it explains:

o what is required to start the business
o determining room rates
o setting guest policies
o attracting clients
o housekeeping and maintenance
o billing and accounting
o managing your cash flow
o record keeping
o keeping your clients happy
o growing your business
o plus much, much more!

Although it targets a primarily American audience, it has great tips and general information about running a B & B which transcends the geographical barriers. It's well worth a try!