Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Start of a new year and I'm thinking about Gite advertising

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade, and all that stuff.

In a couple of days (January 5th to be precise) it'll be the 6th anniversary of Liz and I buying our own French holiday home. The first year was spent sorting the place out, decorating, buying furniture, etc, then we started renting the Gite in February 2005.

2010 is thus our 6th year of renting, and although we've seen some 'normal' ups and downs over the years, there has definitely been an abnormal drop off in rentals over the last year, no doubt caused by the downturn in the economy.

And so I am thinking (again) about advertising the Gite.

I've recently found a couple of new free advertising options to pass on ....

First up, is Rent Gite France run by Dave Smith.

Dave writes the interestingly named Gite Guru blog and as well as passing on SEO and Wordpress tips he also creates professional Gite marketing websites. What is a little unusual is that Dave creates all his websites using the free Wordpress Blogging software which whilst creating some restrictions to the website layout has the big advantage of making it really easy to produce and add new website content.

Earlier in the year Dave launched Rent Gite France (RGF) as a free Gite advertising directory, and I guess partly also as a showcase for his Gite SEO skills.

It's taken me ages to actually get around to creating our own Gite listing on RGF but with the holiday break I finally had time to do it. You get plenty of space on RGF to describe your Gite, the features of the Gite, add pictures, and of course where it is on the map. And best of all, RGF is completely free!

Secondly, which is an altogether bigger holiday home rental site.

Lovetoescape dropped me a note (via the 'Contact us' enquiry form on our own Gite website) to ask if we would like to list on their site. Their website is already well established as a UK holiday accommodation directory with some 7 million page views per year and they've recently expanded into France and the rest of Europe.

You can list on L2E with a free basic listing, or for £150 you can list as a premium entry, which provides all the usual holiday home rental facilities; full details of your property, lots of photos, the ability to manage your holiday booking calendar, and any enquiries you receive, etc.

Until the end of January 2010 all basic listings for French holiday accommodation on L2E will be upgraded free of charge to a Premium listing, all you have to do is to drop them a line to request the free upgrade.

L2E claim that Premium listings receive on average 2,000 page views a year and between 250 and 500 direct referrals, so it's certainly worth a try.

So far booking enquiries have been very quiet but I'm hoping that they'll pick up as people return to work next week. Certainly the more places we advertise with has got to increase our booking opportunities.

See other articles I've written under the GiteAdvertising category for other advertising options we've found.



  • Interesting post but I do have a question. With free gite advertising services and many more alternative ways of publicising for free, is it still worth paying for ads on listing sites?

    By Anonymous Bob Toovey, at January 06, 2010  

  • Hi Bob

    Personally I have to admit to being very sceptical about using the paid Gite advertising sites.

    For me the maths are simple .... it typically costs around £150 to list on one of the paid advertising sites so for that advert to be worthwhile then I reckon I need to get *two* bookings that I wouldn't have normally got. The first additional booking pays for the advertisement, and the second then would be profit.

    It's comparatively easy to get holiday bookings for the summer months; much harder to do so for the "lower seasons" such as May, September and October. So to my way of thinking the advertisement is only worthwhile if you can get additional bookings in these quiet periods.

    We of course do benefit from the search engine optimisation work I've done and so get reasonably good Google placement and most of our bookings direct through our own website. If you don't have this booking stream then obviously listing on one of the paid sites becomes far more attractive.

    The other question of course is which site to list on. If you look at the popular sites such as ownersdirect or gitesdefrance then there are literally dozens of other similar properties available for any prospective customer to book with. So although these sites get far more customers they also have to spread those customers out over far more rental properties.


    By Blogger Geoffrey, at January 06, 2010  

  • Hi both, Free Vs paid for will always be a debate. We set up our site (originally for our own property) and became increasingly irritated with paid-for sites. We opened our site up to other vacation rental owners last year and while we know our site isn't perfect (yet) we hope it benefits owners like ourselves.

    Obviously we don't have the traffic of the corporate sites, few of the free sites will!

    By Anonymous holiday homes (Dave), at January 13, 2010  

  • Hi Dave

    Thanks for the comment. I've taken a quick look at your website ( and I'll look to advertise my own Gite on it.

    Good luck with the success of your site.


    By Blogger Geoffrey, at January 13, 2010  

  • Hey Geoffrey, thanks for the RGF mention, traffic is continuing to grow and I'm getting lots of feedback on email from those listing that they're seeing bookings which is always nice to hear!

    I'd add that we now have automated translation for listings, so if you list, be sure to visit your listing and click on each of the language flags, you're more likely to then feature in the local google searches for those countries ( is now our second biggest source of traffic).

    kind regards


    By Anonymous dave, at July 13, 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home