Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bookings holding steady for 2008

Painting of the front of our Gite
I've not written for some considerable time about how we are doing with bookings for our holiday Gite this year, so to rectify the situation, a quick blog posting.

There's plenty of articles around in both the newspapers and on the Internet about over-supply of holiday homes/Gites in France is meaning many owners are finding that they've been struggling for bookings over the last few years, even having trouble filling the peak school summer holidays.

In our experience of renting our Gite over the last four years, we haven't seen any sign of a slowdown.

This year, as at the end of May 2008, we're now booked solid for all of June, July and August and don't have a single free vacant day until 31st August, then we're (as at right now) vacant for September, then we've a couple of weeks booked already for October. Compared to this time last year we're ever so slightly down on days booked (7 days less in total) but on pretty much the same as the year before, so all in all I'd say we are still keeping even with previous years.

One thing that does surprise me each year though is comparatively how few bookings we get through April and May. We've been over at Easter for the last 3 years running and at May half-term for the last couple of years, and have always found the weather to be really warm and pleasant - not baking hot but nice enough that you can sit outside on the patio and eat lunch and dinner, even in March! If I tried doing the same in the UK in March then I'd probably catch pneumonia!

Be interested to hear how other people's experiences of 2008 bookings are going?



  • Yes, there is a lot of talk of slow down in the market, and some owners worried about the lack of bookings. I can't say we have noticed this ourselves as La Ville au Tady seems to be holding its own with 156 nights booked for 2008 to date.

    I think there are a number of different factors at work here.
    Firstly, I think that Brittany is better insulated against an economic down-turn than other areas. It is not really sold as a budget destination and tends to attract the middle classes, who might be willing to economise on some things but their holiday is probably not one of them! It would be interesting to know whether the ferry companies have seen fall off in demand.
    Secondly, if there are fewer holidaymakers coming to Brittany, then it will be the poorest quality properties that suffer the reduction in trade... and I don't think that applies to either of our two properties. It still never ceases to amaze me that owners put up the most unattractive photos and descriptions of properties and then expect bookings - they may get them (out of desperation) when demand exceeds supply, but perhaps not in the current climate.
    As both you and I have gone out of our way to promote and market our holiday homes in the best way we know how (and many of my tips have been picked up from you!), perhaps now is payback time, when a good informative web site makes all the difference.

    Like you, I am somewhat mystified why it is so hard to shift weeks in March, April & May. Maybe it's to do with Brittany being perceived as a summer holiday destination? This is such a shame, because as you say, April was beautiful this year, and sat outside our cottage for lunch we had temperatures in the 30's!
    We need to find a way to tap into the childless couples and retired markets for this time period, and try to get across how spring has many advantages including lower cost, no crowds, and often good weather. Let me know if you think of anything!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 31, 2008  

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