If you want to join the thousands of Brits fleeing the rain and the city for a new life in France, we can help. Running a gite is easier than owning a hotel or restaurant but it’s still a business. It still requires a strategic approach and some specific measures to ensure its success.
That’s what today’s and next week’s post is going to be about.
We have collected the many tips and tricks gite owners have learned over the years and have put them into a pair of blog posts. This one and one that will be published this time next week.
So, let’s get on with the tips!
Where to buy
If you’re planning to buy a gite or a property to turn into a gite, location is probably the most important thing to consider. Will it be on the tourist trail? Are there enough transport links? Is there enough to see and do? How far is it from ferry terminal or the airport?
Some gites in remote areas work well if they are marketed as a retreat from city life. These will attract a niche market but can work. Others marketed as artist’s retreats or cycling destinations can do the same.
If you want a mainstream audience, you should consider how far it is from everywhere and put yourself in your guest’s shoes when considering what to see and do.
A gite is a business
It’s very easy to fall in love with French property. We know, we did it! But you can’t afford to do that as a gite is a business. Yes, pretty properties will rent well and look good on websites but you have to view it as a business first and foremost.
Historic properties will need more maintenance. That lovely ivy or tree in the garden will need to be kept under control. Being away from everything in the middle of nowhere may provide transport problems for guests and mean slow internet.
You get the idea.
A gite should always be viewed as a business. It needs to be profitable and pay for itself otherwise it won’t be viable.
Pay more to do less
Buying a gite is a balancing act. French property is cheap but it is also very mixed. Do you buy a cheap property and spend thousands doing it up or spend a little more to buy something ready to rent out?
Much will depend on your budget, your skills and your timescale. If you have the skills or know local trades, renovating historic properties is an amazing experience.
If you don’t, you may be better off spending a little more and buy something closer to rental condition.
Check the competition
One great thing about websites like GiteWorld is that it makes it easy to check out the local competition in an area.
If you’re planning to buy a gite, or turn an old building into one, you need to know who you’re up against. It will give you an idea of the quality of the buildings and perhaps the local market. You can assess whether there is room for another gite or whether there isn’t the market there to sustain it.
Once you have settled on an area, book a stay in a couple of gites to see what’s on offer. You can learn a lot about the business simply by staying in someone else’s gite!