Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gites Vendee with swimming pools

I am often asked if having a swimming pool makes any difference to how well my gites rent and does it make any difference if they are heated or not. The answer to the first part is a definite yes, it is not only easier to let your property but also the rate is significantly higher, as to whether its better to be heated, well that’s a much harder question to answer. It would undoubtedly be easier to let a property with a heated pool and as more properties with them come on the market it will be an increasing advantage. It will also depend on the size of the property, for gites with 5 plus bedrooms it is not such a great advantage as there are, in general, fewer of these than the demand so they are usually taken up quickly. The problem with smaller gites is the cost ratio. It is quite expensive to install the heating system and depending on the type of system installed and the size and construction of the pool, the running costs can be quite significant, so returns on investment will need careful consideration.
Why do we need a pool? Well the answer is simply.... conception! Think about it, what do you imagine as your dream destination for a holiday? What elements should your dream holiday have? I bet you will imagine a pool with sunshine in that equation some where, perhaps your only sitting by it drinking that cool beer, but its a powerful image so it becomes a must have. It is strange that the reality is often quite different, on many occasions I have had customers demand that they have a pool, its top of the features list that the property must have, yet when they arrive they checkout the pool first, they may even make it there first must do thing, but then they either never use it again or certainly not enough to have justified the increase in price they have paid.
A few years ago I was approached by a Frenchman who had a nice gite by the beach just south of La Rochelle, he wanted to know why it didn't have as good an occupancy as I did. I asked "do you have a swimming pool?" no he said "I don’t need one I'm only 50 meters from the beach". So I explained about the concept of a holiday and illustrated it by explaining that a friend of mine has a similar property not that far away from him in a reasonably similar location, he has a heated pool, he charges twice what the Frenchman charged and is fully booked often two years in advance for the whole period from Easter to October. The Frenchman scratched his head and walked away without saying another word.
So in conclusion I would say that if you are serious about letting your gite(s) then you should give having a pool very very serious thought.

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