The Journee du Patrimoine are literally day of inheritance when many of the historic buildings are open to the public, These can include privately owned properties so on the third weekend in September you have a chance to look around at some of these historic treasures. This year I choose to view two of the best. The chateau de Bessay in the south of the Vendee, built in 1577 it saw many changes before falling into seriously bad repair. Saved twenty five years ago and restored to much of its former glory it made an enchanting specticle in the dazzling September sunshine.This chateau is open to the public during July and August, every afternoon except Sundays. On the Sunday I visited the Chateau-du-Parc-Soubise near Mouchamps in the Vendeen bocage. The property of the Chabot family it is only open on the Journee du Patrimoine. The guided tour of the exterior of the chateau and parc and a look at the Chapel, the medieval farm building which included a tythe barn and a beautiful building with cellar below and a grenier above, the later of which had an amazing bateau roof built in the shape of an upturned boat by shipwrights from Mont-Saint-Michel. You can view the videos of both of these properties on Chateau de Bessay video and on Chateau-du-Parc-Soubise.
With the 2010 season drawing to a close it is time to be looking forward to next season. So now is the time to think about your advertising of your gite, cottage or holiday home. With some 9 million visitors to the vendee each year you would think that getting bookings should be easy, but alas that is not always the situation. How do you advertise? in hard copy in glossy magazines, on the internet, but should you have your own website, go with an international company or use a local specialist. Of Course the answer is probable a bit all of them. There are still some people who don’t use the internet so to find them hard copy is the only answer, along with post cards in shop windows, women’s institute and other such outlets. The internet is altogether another problem. Yes you should have your own website if only to add all the extra information prospective renters need and where as it is difficult or almost impossible to get to the top of the search engine rankings it is still a useful tool. The question between the large international advertisers and the local specialist is all together a different question. Sure the big companies with all their clout are easily found for the big keywords, but they are expensive and there is no guarantee of success, you may find you are on page 20 of the results and very few people troll down that far. On the other hand a local specialist usually only charges when they find you a client and you are free to except or decline it. The charge should be no more than 10% and quite often this can be added to the price you want. You can use as many of these specialist as you want as very few demand an exclusive on your property, so with this system you only pay on results and if you take in to account the time and money you spend advertising, answering emails, doing accounts etc then this can and is a very effective system. I personally use Holiday1.net for my gites and get all the booking I need. Spreading yourself around is a great way to ensure your property gets in front of the public, there are several free advert publication, or look on the net for sites that come up frequently, you often find that the advert rates are very low. One such case here in the Vendee is the New Vendee Guide which not only turns up on Googles front page for hundreds of search terms on the Vendee but is also a useful resource for both you and your prospective clients. Remember the search terms that people type in to Google to find you are rarely what you think, for example one of the most used terms to find our Gites-with-Pools site is in fact “Naturist beaches of the Vendee” or similar.
Gites with pools.co.uk at present exclusively serves the interests of the 6 gites at La Grange holidays in the south Vendee. We are however expanding the website to cover not only other gites in the Vendee region, but holiday homes throughout the whole of France. It is our intention to make all sorts of information available to those looking for holiday accommodation and to those who have gites or are thinking of owning a gite.
Running the La Grange gite complex since 1991 has enabled us to accumulate extensive knowledge of the industry, however we know there is still a lot to learn. We don’t have all of the answers but we are actively seeking them out, and there are always new opportunities to be explored.
For the Gite owner we will confront problems such as advertising, websites, swimming pool maintenance and standards and a whole host of other topics. We will actively be seeking input and asking for comments, and if you have anything that you think you can add or comment that you would like to make, don’t hesitate, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org