Skip to main content

Renting Our House in France - Analysis Over Time

The 2009 French holiday rental season is just about over. It’s the fifth season that we’ve rented out our little village house in the small working class village of Cazouls-les-Beziers in the Languedoc region of southern France. The first season, the summer of 2005, doesn’t really count though. We didn’t put up a website and we didn’t contract with any of the holiday rental websites. Instead, we arranged a long-term rental with a single woman whose house in the region was undergoing extensive renovation. That rental served as a sort of shake-down for our house before we put it up for rental on the open market in 2006. So, four years…

In the fall of 2005 we put up our website:
http://www.southfrancerental.com/.

Take a look.

In the ensuing year, we received about a half-dozen inquiries through the website and three or four modest bookings. Not enough traffic. Not enough bookings. We spoke with folks that we had met who had a vacation/rental property near ours. They were quite satisfied with VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner – www.vrbo.com. We did searches on Yahoo and Google using the search terms +”vacation rental”+France+Languedoc. VRBO came up highly ranked. We booked on their site in September of 2006.

We received a few more inquiries. Business improved during the 2007 rental season. But not dramatically.

We spoke with a friend in England with rental property on the Isle of Wight.

“Americans take vacations,” she said. “Brits and English-speaking Europeans go on holiday. I use holidaylettings.co.uk.”

I went up on Yahoo and Google again and sure enough, changing “vacation rental” to “holiday rental” made a world of difference. So we kept our ad on VRBO and added holidaylettings.co.uk for the 2008 season.

Again, a modest increase but no great shakes. One final adjustment. We cut our rates.

Cazouls is a pleasant little town but it’s not a ‘destination’ town. It’s not on the Med but it’s less than a half-hour drive away. The Canal du Midi (for boating, walking and biking) and the Orb River (for swimming and kayaking) are each five minutes away. The Haut Languedoc National Park (hiking and climbing) is a half hour away. Abbeys and cathedrals and all sorts of historic sites from prehistory through the Middle Ages abound.


And the house itself has no garden or pool although the patio is private and has a bbq. There’s no internet connection – the tourist office is three blocks away and offers high-speed access at reasonable rates. Satellite television. Full service kitchen. Beds and sofa beds and a futon. A good place to hang your clothes and spend the night while you and your friends tour the region. So…

We cut our rates. There was a world-wide recession in the works, after all.

Presto. The best summer ever.

After four years, we think that we’ve finally got the formula right. Our website plus a website catering to North Americans plus a website catering to Brits/Europeans. Do I sound confident? We’ll see how the summer of 2010 shakes out.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

DANCING AND SEXISM, JANET JACKSON, HILLARY AND DONALD, AND MORE: #16

   DANCING AND SEXISM Norman and I went to the same high school at the same time, we knew each other, but we had no classes together and weren't really friends. A big, ungainly kid, as a teenager Norman played keyboards for services at a local church. I learned some years after graduation that Norman had gone to a fine arts college and had worked his way up to Resident Organist at a major, big city Protestant congregation. Fast forward to our 25th or 30th high school reunion, I don't remember which. I do remember that when the dancing started, one couple who were obviously into ballroom dancing glided and posed across the floor with serious expressions on their faces. Carefully well rehearsed. Then Norman stepped on the floor, blue suit, white shirt, red tie and all. He stomped. He twirled. His arms and legs flew in every direction. Norman truly danced like no one was watching. I envy Norman's dancing to this day. Sanna Marin wears leather coats, goes to rock concerts, and

MONARCHY, BUTT PATTING, SELF CHECKOUT, AND RANDOM STUFF: #17

  MONARCHY It is not possible to be an English-speaking expat living in Europe without having gained some understanding of how the UK works and how UK policies and politics affect European life. And so, a word about the monarchy is in order today. I'm no monarchist. As an American, I have grown up believing in liberal democracy. Today, I consider myself a democratic socialist. But I have come to appreciate the manner in which British royalty has accommodated itself to the modern world. There is no doubt that accommodation has diminished the role of the monarch. That's probably a good thing. But a diminished monarchy need not necessarily herald the end of the monarchy. Elizabeth's monarchy became simply the personification of her country's flag, to be trotted out to acknowledge community, in good times and in sad times, expressing publicly what was being felt privately. There was a time, during Brexit, when I was furious with Elizabeth. As one of the richest, most well-