Sunday, October 5, 2008

Credit Crunch and Gites

Credit Crunch and Gites
The credit crunch brings with it a pervasively depressing scenario, and it is natural when one reads about the collapse of the banking sector, the turmoil in the stock market not to mention the sudden drop in house prices to feel overwhelmed by the doom and gloom that seems to infiltrate all levels of society. As gîte owners we have just seen possibly 20% wiped off the value of our properties. Add to that the fact that if we price our holidays in pounds sterling, taking into account the fall in the value of the pound against the Euro, we have seen a reduction in our income for the last year of almost 20%. Further add to that the fact that our visitors for next year will also be feeling the same doom and gloom and therefore may not be booking, and you may feel that we have a right to pessimistic or even suicidal.

But history has shown us that more millionaires are made during recessions and depressions than at any other time, as fortune favours the brave. There is also the fact that people will cut back on everyday items, put off buying that new TV or washing machine as the old one still works, they may cut out those short breaks but the annual holiday will still be taken. Of course they may look for a slightly cheaper version but they will holiday, they need it, they feel that they need a break from reality and drudgery of every day living.
To all this you can add that there will be cheaper deals offered by the ferries and airlines in a bid to encourage more vacationers to their services. You will find that visitors will spend more time at their gîte rather than take an expensive day trip, so things will change but the savvy owner will see an opportunity to expand rather than contract.

For those that have liquid capital there is the chance to buy up property at a greatly reduced price, many items needed like domestic appliances, furniture and garden equipment will be offered at a much higher discount rate.

Now is the time to expand your advertising and attract the undecided, not cut back to save money. Now is the time to emphasise the quality of your on site facilities or better still expand them. Look to see what new Niche markets you can open up, walking tours, cooking or gardening courses, the list could be endless. Yes of course you must check that your prices are keen, but there again, many out there still think that the more they pay the better will be their experience.

The main thing is not to panic especially when dealing with customers, they can smell defeatism and fear and will try to take advantage of it by looking for you to lower the price further. So rather than pandering to them or worse still avoiding them altogether, think positively and act bravely, things will improve and you could end up making a fortune.

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