Although I have touched upon this topic before I thought that you might be interested in some comments I came across this week. The first is a definition of the financial times that we are in. "Recession is basically the reallocation of resources from the scared to the bold. You just need to decide which you are going to be and then not let anyone (especially the media) tell you otherwise." Of course along with that goes the old cliché "when the going gets tough, the tough get going"
I also found an article on improving your conversions.
"UK market or more?
Still, relying solely on the UK market is surely not the best solution for gite-owners and B&B providers, particularly in the current climate. I'm surprised how many websites advertising, only use English! This is fine if you only want to receive visitors from the UK or perhaps the Netherlands; but it is important to remember that across the board, the French make up the lion's share of the customers for gites. In some regions, they represent 80% of gite customers, according to local tourism statistics. Obviously, this figure is lower in tourist hot-spots, such as along the coast. Incidentally, if your gite is registered as a business in France, it is actually - in theory at least - illegal to advertise your services only in a foreign language.
Visitor stats show clearly that sites which are posted in both English and in French get more visitors than similar sites with a website in just English. And those who have websites in three or four languages do even better.
Of course, there is one way to discourage all but visitors from the UK, and that is to list your prices only in sterling! Most sites list prices in sterling and euros, or indicate that both are accepted, and that is certainly a way to increase your chances of bringing in visitors from France and other parts of Europe too.
Advertising in another language is fine as long as the translation is correct, whatever you do, do not use an online translator the results will not impress anyone especially those you are trying to convince that your property is professionally run. I have seen some catastrophic examples of sites with pages in the most garbled and incomprehensible French! You will not bring in French customers if their first contact with you is in the shape of a very poorly written web-page; After all, look at it the other way round! If you are British, and were looking for a holiday cottage in the Yorkshire dales, would you feel inclined to book a cottage whose website was in mangled and incomprehensible English?" I thank Andrew Rossiter for those last comments.
In hard times thinking outside the box to find a new angle on attracting customers is the way forward. It is interesting to note that in this recession the downturn is likely to be around 10%, yet raising your prices by 4% would increase your bottom line by 15%, and anyone booking your gite would probably still do so if the price was say £468 rather than £450. It is an interesting thought that raising prices during a recession can in fact be profitable and history shows many examples where this has worked. One example is Showerings Ltd, during the 30's depression they sold Peardrax at 3p per pint (that’s old money) and were going out of business, they were bold and decided to change the price to 1shilling and 3p a 5x increase and at the same time reduce the size from 1 pint to less than a quarter of a pint, the increase in profit allowed for aggressive adverting which lead to the multi million pound brand "Babysham". Only for the Brave.
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