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Distribution of business over the year

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One for the "old timers" amongst you, 'cos us new comers don't have the stats yet to answer it...

What's the usual (or perhaps average is a better way to phrase it) distribution of business throughout the year? eg do you get something like 40% of your bookings in each of July and August with 10% each for June and September with nothing the rest of the year?

It struck me that somebody amongst us has probably looked at the spread through the year and, whilst it will obviously not be the same for everyone or even from one year to the next, it would give us newcomers a very rough and ready way to judge if we're liable to have a really good year ahead of time. eg in the above example, if we could look at our June figures and say (very roughly, of course) that we might get four times that number of bookings in July.

I suspect that the figures (if they exist) would need to come from someone who'd been running for at least two years as the first year is liable to be all over the place whilst you're in the process of getting your advertising sorted out. For instance, in my own case, I'd something like four times the bookings in November as in June but I'm sure that's not the normal spread.




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Hi Arnold,

I've got all the information in spreadsheets going back over the ten years we've been running. I'll put it into readable form and send it up. Perhaps as a csv file in an attachment, if that's allowed.

But can I say that in my opinion, my results for the Correze where I live will be wildly different from someone else in Brittany, and yet again for you in the South.

Anyway, I'll come back later.

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Can't compete with Arnold's history I'm afraid but I've just worked out my percentages for our first one and a half seasons and as Arnold says, I'm sure mine will be very different to someone in warmer climes.

2003 doesn’t give a very clear picture because we didn’t start until June and didn’t advertise til May of that year, but for June onwards our percentages were as follows:


June                   6.25

July                  21.80

August              32.80

Sept                 14.00

Oct                  4.75

Nov                 15.60

Dec                  4.75


For last year they were:


Jan                    0                                July                  15.25

Feb                   0.6                             Aug                  17.5

Mar                    1.2                             Sept                 11.5

April                 12.2                             Oct                  5.5

May                 13.00                           Nov                 2.5

June                 18.25                           Dec                  2.5


  • Well here we go from down south.:

    Month                 2003            2004       2005

    Jan                     Closed          Closed     4%

    Feb                     Closed          Closed     19%

    March                  Closed          27%        17% (so Far)

    April                     Closed          41%

    May                     10%              29% (Only open 2 weeks)

    June                     28%             60%

    July                      16%             72%

    Aug                      54%             70%

    Sept                     45%             27%

    Nov                      21%             Closed

    Dec                      Closed          Closed

    School hoilday dates make a difference, some people always go the first 2 weeks etc. Like Coco, and this probably explains the reason why, on some dates I had people queuing at the gate and could have sold anothe 5 or 6 rooms if only I had them. Even put somebody in the caravan because they were desperate one night.

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    Interesting that the pattern is very similar from up north and down south. I hadn't expected May & June to be "full" months myself.

    Easter will skew the figures for March/April.

    If you find yourself with queues at the gate, just point them down the road towards us )



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    Hi again Arnold

    Well I've gathered together the statistics of our B&B occupancies over the last ten years. In fact, we didn't open for business before March in our first year, so to some extent our figures were skewed for that year. We were in the Gites de France book from the very first year, though were shown as "in course of classification" for the first season.

    What these figures don't show, is whether our lettings increased, and why. To some extent that's irrelevent, though Guide Routard do say that many of their users travel outside the mains season. Be that as it may, they, together with the creation of our own Web site, were responsible for a jump of 30% in our lettings within a single year. It's also worth saying that we're quite often shut for the months of November and December.

    Our lettings, therefore averaged over the last ten years and expressed as totals of the years' gross incomes are as follows.

    Month  percent
    Jan         1
    Feb         3
    March      2
    April        7
    May        11
    June       11
    July        20
    August    23
    Sept      14
    Oct         6
    Nov         2 

    Remember these have nothing to do with our room occupancy levels.

    BOTHER!!!! I intended to attach detailed figues year by year, but can't, and also wanted to insert a table and can't do that either. My figures aren't laid out right to just show them here either, sorry. I'll email you the spreadsheet.


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    I think that knowing why lettings increase is never irrevelant.

    We can almost see that same increase as you did even over the course of last year. We basically ended up with three different levels: April to mid-July we were largely relying on our own website (itself being added/improved as time went on) and in the process of getting other things going, mid-July to mid-September we added on what has subsequently turned out to be our best listing and from mid-September to now we've been adding an average of a couple of new listings a week (some more significant than others, of course).

    Net effect of all that was that we had twice as many bookings in July as we had in April to June put together and nearly twice the bookings in August as in July. Even October had four times the reservations as June and it's pretty well out of the season by then. I think that we're now on the bulk of the sites that we'll ever be on so, sticking my finger in the air and projecting your pattern onto my existing figures I should be doing quite nicely this year with about 50% more people in August than last year which sounds about right as we're on several more sites that have produced significant numbers of bookings since then.

    I'm mid-way through writing our Petit Futé advert. Does Routard work the same way? And if so, which is the best one to go for?



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    Only Quillan is listing his occupancy. Coco and Ian have listed the fraction of annual occupancy made up by each month as I understand it.

    Incidently, Quillan, those figures are looking pretty good. Although not directly comparable, hotels run on the basis of 60% occupancy as a maximum averaged over their year.

    Possibly straying into commercially a sensitive area... does anyone who has been running for a while have a breakdown of what percentage of bookings is likely to come from each source? eg in my own case, it's roughly 30% from phone/driveby, 30% from our own website, 30% from booking systems and 10% from listings but, as we've only been running for a year, that's probably incredibly misleading.




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    I am very much ashamed by you lot then !!

    I tend to get a feel for who comes from where and we usually are not too far off in our thoughts. I know not, the exact figures of the percentage of occupancy month by month but, I suspect an hour or so looking through the books would soon give me the percentages.

    I do know that August is full every day (fingers crossed, as a statement like that can come back and bite you on the leg !) July should see very few vacancies and normally no dates available after the Fete Nationale. May is always very busy, June and September are pretty good months with a very decent occupancy rate. October is next with March and April pretty good, Easter deciding normally, which of those two months is the better month. The 12 days we open in November are pretty well normally full or close to it. We then close until March the following year.

    No way could we even think of staying open longer than 8 months and I salute those B&B owners that have the energy and the enthusiasm to open all year.

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    Hi Arnold,

    I'm sorry if I didn't give more information - answering what you asked (a cheeky wink at Quillan).

    Percentage occupancy is - inevitably - going to be barely meaningful if comparing a 10 bedroom place in the south as against a 3 bedroom one in Correze or a one bedroom place in Brittany.

    What I can say, however, is that in recent years, I'm about 100% full (>95) for July and August, roughly 70% in May, June, Sept and October roughly 30% in April and 20% in November if we're here, with a scattering here and there outside that. What's almost MORE important for you, is the number of people we refer elsewhere. For several years until last year, we probably referred 3 for every couple we took in the high season and 1 to 1 for May & June. however last year was well down, and we probably only referred 1 for 1 and only in the high season. Whether that's due to there being more places in the area, less demand here due to the heat wave in 2003 or what, I can't tell.

    As to how people find us, I've published that already.

    You don't choose to be in the Guide Routard, btw. They choose you. Their chief criteria are value for money, and a very warm welcome. I was introduced to them by GdF and they visited us before selecting us.
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