THE HOLIDAY RENTAL BUSINESS
We started business as soon as we arrived in the summer of 2006 with the then existing 2 bedroomed Cottage. By 2009 the conversion of part of the huge barn to produce the 3 bedroomed Cottage was partly complete and we had our first paying guests in there that summer. The 3 bedroomed Cottage was fully operational by the summer of 2010.
Full details of the two rental Cottages including lots of pictures can be seen on our marketing web sites which are listed below.
The Cottages have been a great success with families that have holidayed here. Everyone finds Le Manoir delightful as a place to holiday. They love the old stone buildings, the huge and peaceful grounds and the fact that there is so much for the family to do either together or to keep the kids safely entertained whilst Mum and Dad actually have some time to relax.
During one of our first seasons, a mother holidaying here defined our brand for us. She said, you have turned the whole holidaying with your children thing on its head. Usually, I don’t even get to read a page of my holiday book before the kids start saying – Mum I’m bored. But at Le Manoir, I have actually finished a whole chapter and suddenly wondered where the children were – I actually wanted to go and join in with what they were doing. Its a real holiday!
RENTAL INCOME FOR THE LAST 6 YEARS
The figures below are as shown on our declared income to the French Authorities. I will be very happy to give you a copy to prove their authenticity.
2013 income 23931 €
2014 income 15520 € ( part season only - see below)
2015 income 26054 €
2016 income 21528 € (part season only - see below)
2017 income 18031 € (BREXIT & poor exchange rate)
2018 income 22756 €
The lower income in 2014 was because I had to turn down a number of bookings in the high season so I could travel to the UK for an important family event.
Income in 2016 would have been higher if I had not hosted a family event in July requiring both properties. Owner retired 2019 but still 19667€ income with no effort on marketing.
OPTIONS TO INCREASE INCOME
I have not really been trying very hard to maximise income, I only needed to supplement my pension to help pay for the university years of my kids. If you are prepared to put in the effort then there is considerable up-side to income potential as follows:
- Plenty of secluded space for several Yerts (Shepherds Huts). 12 huge chestnut trees for tree houses. Easy to construct new building for glamping showers and toilets.
· opening earlier - from Easter instead of late May as we have done.
· accepting winter bookings from October to May which we have not done.
- accepting dogs - there are allergies in my family
- competitive price reduction to fill vacant weeks
· There is a market for specialty weekends or longer holidays for people to learn about and enjoy fine wine, cognac, cuisine, superb local history etc. The light by the Atlantic is renown as being perfect for painting and photography. The area is very popular with bird watchers and is wonderful for cycling. Friends have hosted Pilates and yoga groups.
· There is a market for long weekends from the French from October to June. They like to meet up with friends and family in groups of 12 or more. There are specialist web sites to facilitate this like grandgites.com.
· There is a market for accommodation for French health patients during treatment at the nearby medicinal thermal Spa in Jonzac. Large numbers of people with chest and skeletal conditions are paid by the French health service to come for 2 week periods to benefit from the therapeutic thermal Spa. Details can be found here. These people come throughout the year and need accommodation. Jonzac is only 15 mins drive. Most people arrive with a partner and come by car.
· There is small market for longer-term lets during the winter for visiting house hunters and people visiting for work in the area.
· There is also the local housing rental market for longer lets (6 months) during the low season. This could bring in extra income when Gites are otherwise siting empty.
· The huge Manor House has enormous potential for further development as holiday rental, bed and breakfast, specialty breaks or long term rental.
· The large barn could be converted into one or two more Gites. There is ample room in the huge grounds to install another swimming pool if necessary. Holiday rentals with exclusive pool command a premium price.
· Space has been allocated to and tree and shrub planting laid out to install an all-weather court for sports like: Tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball, roller blading etc. This would support premium rental tariffs.
· Space has been allocated and planting laid out for a 3 hole pitch and putt course with holes up to 95m long. This would also support premium tariffs.
GITE MARKETING & GOODWILL
As part of the sale price I will formally commit to transfer the following business assets to the buyer. This will get you up and running quickly and save many weeks of work:
1. Ownership of all the information on the existing marketing web sites. There are 5 of these and details are shown in a box on this page. It may be possible for you to continue to use some of the existing web sites until you develop your own. But, at least you will be able to cut and paste all of our existing information and pictures. This represents a huge amount of time and effort.
2. If we can find a way, transfer of at least 5 of the most recent guest reviews for each of the rental properties.
3. Email addresses for the families that have holidayed here in the last 5 years so you can contact them and encourage them to stay under your management.
4. Copies of all of my software for managing tariff setting, managing bookings and changeovers.
5. Copies of all my standard communication emails with clients including, Booking Forms, response to enquiries, confirmations, reminders, arrivals information and directions.
5. Equipment manuals and to-do lists to help you get used to running the properties.
5. I would also be happy to provide email support and assistance during the first couple of years and share with you my 12 years experience. We could agree something like 3 emails or phone calls each month with each taking up to 15 mins of my time which I would do for free. If you needed more help, I will gladly try to do that, I am just not sure how much time I will have available myself. And, I would only charge a nominal amount – say 20€ an hour. All of the above is very much up for discussion and agreement. I just want to make sure I help you get up and running with my experience as much as I can if that is what you would like.
THESE ARE OUR CURRENT MARKETING WEB SITES. You will see we list the two rental properties individually and then the two properties combined for people looking to holiday in larger groups up to 12. In addition, we offer both properties at a discount of around 10% as separate listings on Trip Advisor targeted at couples or young families with a pre-school child. These listings are only available outside of the peak season July and August.
FrenchConnections.co.uk - we have 3 listings - you can see them here.
TripAdvisor and associated sites - we have 5 listings one example is here.
AirBnB - we have 2 listings on this site - you can see one of them here.
Booking.com - both properties are listed here
We also have listings on two specialist web sites that target families with a disabled member:
Accessatlast - our listing can be seen here.
Bespoke France - our listing can be seen here.
SUCCESS OF THE DISABILITY ACCESS SUITE
The decision to build the 3 bedroomed Cottage with an accessible suite for wheel-chair users has been very important in achieving the high income levels. There are relatively few good accessible rental properties and families with a disabled member are often more open to holiday outside of the summer school holidays, this has created extra demand outside of the main season.
Income from the Gites has only been needed by us to supplement our other income and so we have restricted bookings to the period from the late May Bank Holiday until the end of September. We have also mainly targeted the UK holiday market by using English speaking sites.
You are welcome to our French Tax statements to prove the gross income for the last 5 tax years - the figures are shown in the box below.
Despite our only operating from May to September each year and only marketing the two Cottages for self catering family holidays, a gross income of £20,000 per year is a reasonable expectation and this could be increased if needed as set out in the box below.
If you do need to maximise income, with my experience of the local situation, I would feel that an immediate business plan target of £23,000 per year was reasonably easily achievable and with development of the potential described this could be significantly exceeded.