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SETTING UP A WEBSITE


GEORGE

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Hello everyone

we have just started up a B&B in Normandy & have a village cottage for summer rental

we have had a very busy July & August of mainly french guests

We are now wondering whether having our own website would widen our market & increase business for the following year.

I was hoping that fellow gite owners could offer advise as to whether internet advertising on holiday sites is sufficient or whether personnel websites create more business.

We have had a very positive response from our guests & it has been suggested that  having our own website would promote our accomadation more effectively.

If anyone can recommend a good web design company this would be most appreciated plus information on set up costs site maintenance etc  thanks

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As an occasional user of B&Bs, I have to say that I would  always choose one that had its own website, that would show me pictures of the accommodation, the setting of the house etc.  Nothing fancy; no bells or whistles. Just a few straightforward images, plus of course an up-to-date price list.

Angela

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Where in Normandy are you?  We swap our overflow with our neighbouring B&Bs but none of them are English speaking, which is what some of our clients prefer.  Anywhere near Alençon?  Also, if you are to the north, near the channel ports, we are sometimes asked to recommend places in that direction.

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[quote user="GEORGE"]

If anyone can recommend a good web design company this would be most appreciated plus information on set up costs site maintenance etc  thanks

[/quote]

Self promotion is not permitted on this forum so have sent you a pm.

John

and

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A personal website is a must to provide potential guests with maximum

information. They are not difficult to build - if a chimpanzee like me

can build and maintain one, anyone can - but a good designer will

obviously do a better job.

We get a few bookings directly by people finding our site through

search engines, though most people find it because someone tells them

about it or via a link from a listing site.

Don't get hung up on getting your own website high up on the Google (or

whatever) rankings. There are plenty of companies that "guarantee" to

get you a first page ranking. This is very easy provided that the

searcher enters your name, the name of your business and the village it

is in, but quite a bit more tricky if they enter "B&B France" for

example. These people are charlatans and should not be encouraged, so

on no account give them money. Instead, enter the sort of search

parameters that you would hope your visitors might use and see which listing sites (Visit France, French Connections, whatever) do well and buy some space on one of those. That's what I think.

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thankyou to posters & to those sending private messages.

Some recommendations from other gite or B&B owner would be nice!

we are located in South Manche near to Le Mont St Michel & therefore have alot of summer business but alot of competition as well!

we feel a website would promote us better as we also run a small farm & our guests have loved seeing our baby goats ducklings & piglets.

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I think how much of your business you can expect to get DIRECTLY from your website depends on how well you can optimise your site and target your market with keywords that are unique and relevant to you. This can be very difficult if you are in an area where there is no obvious town or site that people that will put into a search engine to find you or if there are dozens of others using the same hooks.  

We get 31% of our business from direct hits on our site through search engines, 27% WOM and referrals, 7% GDF, 7% repeat (we are still in our first full year), 14% other specific sources and 15% that I haven't identified.

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[quote user="GEORGE"]

We are now wondering whether having our own website would widen our market & increase business for the following year.

[/quote]

Without a boubt.

George not all marketing costs £££ you obviously are doing ok thus far, but could do better, excuse me please, your own w-site will be the deal breaker for potential guests- who can view your property therein with delightful  unlimited photographs and text off your choosing; which highlights your rental above others in the surrounding area. It is your oppourtunity to sell them the holiday of their dreams for the cost off a personal w-site. You get the enquiries from your listings and you + your w-site will convert enquiries into bookings.

 

Best of luck with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice George [:D]  And you got it done so quickly!!

Could I just make a couple of comments about the site?  Firstly, you talk about the tarifs for evening meals and give examples (which sound very nice) but you don't actually say anywhere how much they cost.

Secondly, one of the reasons that it was felt you should have a website was that people like to see pictures of places before they book - especially the bedrooms.  You don't appear to have an external picture of the main house - presumably the two storey photo you have is of the gite as you say that the B&B is a longere.  Sometimes people find our B&B on sites where we don't have links to our own website and they always ask me if there is somewhere they can find some more photos of our place before they book.  I have a couple of pages showing all our bedrooms, the dining room, the living room an external photo of the house, one of the terrace area and a view from the garden.  I'm not saying I've got a perfect site (I built it myself so it's nowhere near perfect [;-)])  However, people do tell me it gives them all the information they wanted before making a reservation.

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thank you for your comments 

 glad you like 'the guests' Cassis

site has only be running for a few days so still a few adjustmants to be made especially on french translation

the site was introduced to google on tuesday i have sumbitted to other search engines today ( thanks cassis)

we only have 2 pictures on each page so that the pages dont look too busy

re tarifs for evening meals these can change ( want to reduce site maintenance costs) plus we do have seasonal offers too 

most guests tend to book evening meal without asking the price but we always offer this to guests who make a booking & quote tarifs then

 

 

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thankyou Dick

it is really good to get feed back- friends & family like it but their opinion tends to be biased

 

i must add this was a stressful process working on the text & photos for 10 days but well worth it

the problem i have found on paid listings is that the set up doesnt suit our accomadtion i;e endlass tick boxes for sauna indoor heated poll etc  square meterage of rooms!

A individual website is more personnal- we will just have to see what potentail guests think

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It is still worth going with the paid listing sites as most reputable ones have very good search engine ratings for the top search words used by potential customers. Even though you have your own website, it is unlikely that it will be found straight away on google!

I think your site looks very nice, but a few more photos would be very useful - people like to see everything (with the possible exception of the toilet) these days![:)]

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Following from what SusanAH says, if you are looking for a paid listing site, try doing a Google search as if you were looking for a B&B/ guest house/ chambre d'hote in your area and see which sites come up under the natural results.  What terms you use depend whether you are going for UK, French, Chinese or whatever markets.

We have had 150 bookings directly from our website this year, through people making Google or Yahoo searches and hitting us directly, so it is worth doing what you have done.  If possible make sure the paid listing links to your own site, as well.  We get a lot through Gites de France that way.

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Very nice site George!  Easy to navigate, and not too memory-hungry.  It should bring you lots of customers.

Just a couple of things I would like to have known and didn't seem to find:
Cost of table-d'hote evening meal,
and
Information on heating (could only see something about woodburner in gite, but not sure if that was the only source of heat for out-of-season visitors...)

Angela

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Hi again we do have & will continue to have paid listings

at present we have french & english/american sites

the french site has brought us 95% of our business  ( mainly french & belgium guests)  but we would like to attract other nationalities due to different holiday periods

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