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Everything posted by nimportequoi

  1. 2009, record year for gîte bookings even better than 2008, not all last minute by any means, quite a few repeats. Around 35 wks per gite booked (so far), bookings are still coming in. Can't complain [Www]
  2. Don't fold. If they didn't take out travel insurance, it is their problem, not yours. If you they cancel and you get another booking, fair enough, you can refund, minus your costs. I don't suppose they paid by credit card? If they did, then they would probably be covered by their card provider insurance. That is why I take all payments by cc now, people generally don't bother with travel insurance and there is no way you can force them to take it out.
  3. The list is from a predominantly UK listing site, other nationalies have different requirements. For the biggest US listing site the search crieteria is: 1. Pool 2. Hot tub 3. Pet friendly 4. TV 5. Tennis 6. Internet 7. Jacuzzi tub 8. Pool table 9. Fireplace 10. Porch For French, German and Dutch clientèle, the list will be different again,
  4. I provide internet access via ethernet cabling and then a borne in each of the gîtes (signal wouldn't travel from my router through the metre thick granite walls). Not every guest brings their laptop with them, but I've certainly had bookings I wouldn't have got if I didn't provide internet access, many of them for shoulder season. I wouldn't stay anywhere without it as I need access for my business and my iPhone isn't practical for long emails. Here is a list of the most requested search terms from one of the biggest UK rental listing sites - internet access is in the top 10. 1. Pool 2. Air conditioning 3. Balcony/terrace 4. Pet friendly 5. Garden 6. Barbecue 7. Cot 8. Jacuzzi 9. Internet access 10. Smoking allowed
  5. I have loads of geranuims, natural, not plastic, so we will beg to differ on that point! In my experience, if you make an effort with the outside, then people will think you've made an effort on the inside. Everyone comments on how lovely my flowers are, I've never had any complaints. I think they really brighten up a building (but one colour, I'm not a fan of pink and red).
  6. I bought myself a decent camera and take the photos as and when I can. I don't see the point in booking a professional photographer to come because I don't want exterior shots taken in winter when chances are it will be raining, or in the summer when there are guests about (and it will probably be raining). I take the exterior shots as and when I can in the summer when the guests are out, so no cars or people to get in the way. I'm happy that my photos give a fair representation of what the property looks like even though I'm not a professional photographer. dr orloff, I disagree that your exterior photos are a "great"example of how to do it. The exterior shots of the house don't look very attractive to me, there are no flowers and the lack of windows in one shot would lead me to think that it was very dark inside the gite. The interior shots are better, but the coffee table could be dressed with a bottle of wine and some glasses to make it looked more attractive.
  7. I only send stuff back if it is requested.
  8. I sympathise with a lot of the things the OP says - but think that in his/her admission they always book late. A lot of the best accommodation gets booked up early by repeat guests and other people who realise that they will only get the dregs if they leave things to the last minute. I can honestly say that I am not guilty of anything they have said in their rather long and dull post, but then the OP wouldn't stand a chance of staying in my gites because they are always booked up for July and August before Christmas the previous year.
  9. I'd love to ditch providing towels as they cost me a fortune, but I don't like charging extra for things and I think that the sort of guests I get expect towels to be included. I provide good quality bath sheets (100 x 150cm) 700gsm and face towels but have recently changed from white to cream and beige due to having to give so many to the local SPA because of sun protection stains (amongst others) on the white ones. OTOH I'm sure that no-one has ever re-booked with me because I supply nice towels, that is not top of people's list for a great holiday and that is why I'd question the fact as to whether they add value. So why not charge?
  10. Trip Advisor are being used more and more by people booking rentals as well as hotels (although they have a new site specifically for vacation rentals, Flipkey). If you get a bad review it is impossible to have it removed, TA seem to be far more pro the renters and not the owners. However, you have the right to reply which can often help redress the damage done. I don't bother charging extra for extra cleaning, you win some, you lose some. For me it isn't worth the bad publicity for a few hours extra work. I don't even take a security deposit.
  11. My local plumber doesn't do LPG gas heaters, I use Savelys who are nationwide in France.
  12. Oh yes, your posts are so long that I don't read all of them. As I'm not with either G de F or Clévacances, I'm happy to go along with the source I quoted instead [:)] and keep 100% of the deposit if I can't re-let.
  13. [quote user="nimportequoi"][quote user="Quillan"][quote user="nimportequoi"].......even though my contract says the deposit isn't refundable....... [/quote] Unless that's for the 30 days prior to the guest arriving I fear that should you be challenged in a French court not only would you have to hand over the prescribed percentage based on the time period between cancellation and arrival but you would also have to pay costs as well which will probably be a lot more than the deposit you kept. [/quote] Can you please quote me the source of this Quillan? [/quote] You still haven't answered my question.
  14. [quote user="Quillan"][quote user="nimportequoi"].......even though my contract says the deposit isn't refundable....... [/quote] Unless that's for the 30 days prior to the guest arriving I fear that should you be challenged in a French court not only would you have to hand over the prescribed percentage based on the time period between cancellation and arrival but you would also have to pay costs as well which will probably be a lot more than the deposit you kept. [/quote] Can you please quote me the source of this Quillan? On the vosdroits.service-public.fr site it says this about locations de vacances and it is what I have always followed - I specify my own terms in the contract, 25% deposit with the balance paid 6 weeks before arrival. The deposit (acompte or arrhes, I prefer acompte) is not refundable. I have enforced this before at short notice cancellations and have never had a problem with people threatening to sue me. In fact, they are lucky that I don't demand the balance (solde) from them as well, as I am entitled to it according to my contract. Le contrat doit préciser:  la durée de la location,  le prix (il ne doit pas varier en fonction du nombre d'occupants),  les charges,  le versement d'avance, la caution ou le dépôt de garantie,  les éventuelles conditions d'annulation,  la commission, la taxe de séjour.  Conditions d'annulation  Une réservation peut être annulée, même si une avance a été versée.  Mais cette annulation n'aura pas les mêmes conséquences selon que le locataire verse des arrhes ou un acompte.  Le contrat signé entre le locataire et le loueur (ou l'échange de courrier) peut préciser la nature de l'avance, mais si celle-ci n'est pas précisée, les sommes versées d'avance sont des arrhes.  Effet de l'annulation  S'il s'agit d'arrhes, celles-ci sont un moyen de dédit. Si la réservation est annulée par le locataire, les arrhes versées sont perdues. Si c'est le loueur qui annule, il doit au locataire le double des arrhes versées.  S'il s'agit d'acompte, la réservation est un engagement ferme qui entraîne pour le locataire l'obligation de verser la totalité du loyer ou à défaut de dédommager le loueur (sauf en cas de force majeure). 
  15. I always cash the 25% deposit. If I have a cancellation and re-let, I refund it, minus any admin charges, or offer to put it towards another week's holiday at another time, even though my contract says the deposit isn't refundable (goodwill and all that). Unfortunately hardly anyone takes out holiday insurance to cover them for cancellations on their part, I wish they would.
  16. To go back to the original question - my bookings are as good as 2008, in fact they were better for the first quarter of the year. Gites just about fully booked April - September with about the same ration of UK to other nationalities, so the recession hasn't had an adverse effect here [:D]
  17. It is possible to run gites as a main income, if you offer what people want. I disagree totally with what has been said about pools - probably the main reason my gites have such a good booking rate is because of the pool. I don't think I'd ever get rich just having French customers and if you are in a good location and offer quality accommodation, with all the extras, wifi, UK TV etc. it is possible to have a good income by attracting a range of nationalities all year round. I really think that most UK clients with families want a (heated) pool and will pay accordingly.
  18. I'm sure there are no official requirements and my insurance company doesn't require any, I think they are considered as private homes. I have smoke alarms and CO2 fire extinguishers, but they aren't correct for use for a kitchen fire so I don't know if I'll bother replacing them for next year, they were expensive and are out of date now. Clair, where did you buy your fire blanket from?
  19. I have a big gite and two smaller ones and the money I get from the big house is massive in comparison to the smaller ones, although the letting season may be slightly shorter (25 weeks instead of 40). And big houses are very popular for weekend lets in winter with the French, which can be quite lucrative for very little work.
  20. If you have a gîte business, shouldn't you be paying taxe professionelle for the gite buildings rather than taxe d'habitation? I only pay taxe d'hab for my house.
  21. [quote user="Ian"] Lenny wanted suggestions of sites so I offered mine - I'm sorry if you struggle with them nimpq. [/quote] Yes, he did - it is just what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another, that is the problem with personal recommendation. I know a few people who H-R does work for, and the sites that work for me don't work for them. H-R used to work very well for me, but hasn't brought in many bookings over the last couple of years, but that tends to be my experience with sites! Unfortunately a lot of them are quite expensive with no guarantee of results. Homelidays is offering a free 2 month trial at the moment, providing you have a website and can give them a reciprocal link on the homepage.
  22. A listing site that works for one gite owner doesn't necessarily work for another. Holiday-Rentals and Abritel don't work for me anymore, nor many other gite owners I know! I would go to google and type in the keywords that you think people will use to find your gite, and see which listing sites are on page 1. As Clair said, the LMH forum has some excellent tips and you will find experiences of and comments on many of the holiday rental listing websites.
  23. [quote user="Val_2"]The whole peninsula is swamped with gîte rentals and many probably not even fit for a dog to stay in!!  [/quote] Well, thankyou for that vote of confidence! There maybe a few ropey ones, but there are some very good gîte rentals in the area too. You can do Brittany (East) in 5 hours from Calais, lots of my guests use this route. Try sites like www.ownersdirect.co.uk or www.holidaylettings.co.uk - you will find a good selection of gites there and you can specify your criteria (pool, near coast, no bedrooms, wifi etc).
  24. I posted too soon this morning! I've just checked again, and the interpretation of the amendments to the law is that everything will continue before for the "meublés de tourisme", so you will be able to benefit from the microBIC régime of up to 80k euros revenue, with the abattement of 71%, no chambre de commerce registration required. However, the grey area is what actually is the definition of "meublés de tourisme" and will all the tax offices interpret the law in the same way.
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