Continuing on from last week, we are offering actionable tips for anyone considering fleeing the rat race of Britain to buy a gite in France. We have already covered location, treating the gite as a business, the property and checking out the competition so let’s see what else we have to offer!
Learn your target market
Gites can be very flexible but the core offering should always have a target market in mind. Does the location lend itself towards anything specific? Trains, cars, fishing, art, cycling or something else?
Can you satisfy more than one target market? Could you accommodate families as well as groups? Could you offer activities to suit different markets?
Knowing who your core guest will be can help frame the rest of your business. You can promote specifically to them, in places where they are likely to be. You can also work with local businesses and venues that market will likely enjoy too.
Create your business plan
Even if you won’t need an investor or external funding for your gite, having a business plan is essential. It sets out your goals, a timeline to achieve those goals, the steps you need to take, the target market and specifics around the finances.
The business plan helps keep you focused. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day and enjoying France. Having the plan and keeping it in mind should help direct any decisions you make about the business.
Set up a feedback loop
Any tourist business lives and dies with reviews. You need to accept that and then learn to live with it. We don’t all take criticism well and we will often take it personally. We certainly did. But you cannot afford to.
Set up feedback forms in rooms, offer a review option on your website and keep an eye on TripAdvisor and other platforms too. If you receive criticism or suggestions, be professional, view them as dispassionately as you can and action them if they make sense.
Finally, don’t take TripAdvisor too much to heart. Yes reviews are important but losing your mind over a negative review is not worth the energy. Deal with it, respond professionally and then forget about it.
It is very easy to obsess over reviews and worry when you get knocked off the number 1 spot. Don’t. Life is too short and there are more important things to spend time and energy on.
Marketing and networking
Once you’re ready to rent, begin marketing right away. You could do it sooner but it’s easy to fall behind on a renovation. Wait until you have a fixed opening date and then begin spreading the word.
Get in on GiteWorld, list it elsewhere, notify as many websites as possible and get on social.
Then work on your local market. Tell the Mayor, work with local businesses, work with event venues and activity business and contact everyone you think you may end up doing business with during trading.
Make sure as many people as possible know where you are, what you do and what you offer. Marketing is like changeover day. Once you start, you never stop!