Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We're in print - French Magazine Advert

In early January I was telephoned by a representative of French Magazine to try to encourage us to take out an advert for our French holiday home in their magazine.

French Magazine is published monthly with a circulation of 20,000 copies, targeted at everyone with a love of French culture and holidays.

Each issue has a cover price of £3.99 and is distributed though:

  • Top 544 WH Smiths
  • Top 130 Tesco’s (and is apparently the only French/France magazine sold in Tesco's)
  • 150 Waitrose stores
  • Borders book stores, Eason's in Northern Ireland & East Coast of the USA
  • 2000+ copies are distributed Worldwide (including USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland)
  • An exclusive deal with P&0 Ferries to supply 5,000 copies into the Club Class Lounges every month – From Dover to Calais 750 crossing per month
  • 150 Waitrose Branches Nationwide
  • 20 Alpha retail Airport sites with frequent flights to France (including Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Belfast International, Nottingham East Midlands)
  • Smile Convenience Stores in Gloucester/Southwest including Plymouth
  • Tates Convenience Stores in North/North Wales and Midlands

  • ... etc
So in summary, the magazine's got a good circulation and reach to many potential rental customers for our holiday gite.

I do have to admit though to being fairly sceptical about paying serious money for advertising as I want to see a good return on investment from my money.

Generally our Gite advertising has been fairly low cost, currently consisting of Google Adwords, some Fridge Magnets and a couple of targeted website adverts such as RentalSystems. And with this low cost advertising plus some good search engine rankings we're already doing fairly well each year and are reasonably easily able to fill the peak holiday season weeks.

So for instance right now (February 08) we've already taken bookings for all of July and August 08, most of Easter, half of May is filled, and also June is already half-booked. We've therefore only got holiday vacancies in April, May, June and September 2008 and obviously onwards through autumn and into 2009.

If a Gite advert costs (say) £250 and I get back a similar £250 nett amount for a one week rental (nett after deducting the changeover and cleaning fee our agents charge us of course, plus electricity and water usage charges) then the advert is going to have to generate at least two new bookings for weeks that would otherwise have remained vacant before it's proved to be a worthwhile investment.

Renting out the Gite for the school summer holiday's isn't a challenge, what would be ideal is if we can get bookings for the slightly less popular periods in May, September and October when the weather's still good and we've got otherwise vacant weeks.

So having said all that, you can tell that we agonised for several days over whether to take out the French Magazine advert or not. The regular advertising rate for a one-sixth page advert is £400+VAT for 6 months £700+VAT for 12 months; so it was always going to be a challenge to get me to part with that kind of money !

I don't think it's appropriate to reveal precisely how much we did end up paying for the advert, but suffice to say we negotiated long and hard and in fact only agreed that we would take out an advert on the day before the publishing deadline for the March issue (which no doubt helped in the negotiation as they were looking to fill space in that issue).

The magazine's been out for a couple of weeks now and so far we've only had one emailed contact as a result from someone offering expatriate financial services. Still early days and all that so we'll see what happens.

The advert does look absolutely lovely though, we're really proud of it, and if you've got the magazine our advert is on page 115:

Brittany Gite advert in French Magazine



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