Snack tray of macaroons © Shtuki Crew - Fotolia

Easy Improvements

Running a gîte business or B&B is a popular way for English speakers to make a living in France, so if you want to stand out from the competition or are planning to put up your prices, it pays to see how some others are adding value – with minimum outlay.

Free Upgrades

If you have rooms of different sizes and are able to upgrade guests to a larger, more expensive room on arrival, this is a great way to put a smile on their face within the first few minutes.

Do a Deal with Another Local Business

Send your guests to a nearby bar for complimentary welcome drinks or organise exclusive discounts for your guests by recommending a particular bike hire firm etc. Speak to the owners and see what you can get.

Offer Discounts

Not just when certain dates prove hard to fill, but to encourage your visitors to come back again. Sunday nights are often quiet as people head back to work on Monday, so perhaps make it cheaper to stay on a Sunday in a bid to encourage more business.

Late Check Out

Hotels often offer guests the option of staying in their room for an extra hour or two on the last day of their stay. Not everyone will take you up on this but it’s nice to have the option if the plane or ferry home isn’t until much later on.

Local Products

The French are as keen to promote local products as tourists are to try them, so why not include a little welcome gift/souvenir such as a lavender sachet in Provence? A gîte owner in Dordogne could leave guests a bottle of wine, a little bread and a tin of duck pâté.

Drinks and Snacks

If you don’t have a mini fridge, then consider offering your guests something along the lines of a fruit basket or snack tray with packets of biscuits and bottles of water. Make it clear what is complimentary and what needs to be paid for.

Upgrade Your Toiletries

If you don’t already offer guests a bar of soap and a couple of sachets of shower gel, then consider adding them – there is a wide range of products available and listing ‘luxury toiletries’ on your website is another selling point.

Turn down Service

Another service more usually offered by high class hotels. It generally involves fluffing the pillows and pulling down the sheets ready for guests to go to sleep. It is also a good opportunity to have a little tidy if necessary.

Special Packages

For couples planning a weekend away, why not offer them the opportunity to order a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates, a bottle of Champagne – or all three – when they book? See if you can’t make their stay even more memorable.

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