Self-catering holidays used to be simple affairs: rudimentary facilities and little opportunity for holidaymakers to find out much about where they were staying before they arrived. That’s all changed with the rise of the internet and social media.
According to data captured by specialist French gîte and B&B listings site, Holiday Let Exchange, property owners are now marketing to holidaymakers who expect five star service and plenty of extras every time they book.
A survey of queries submitted through the website to French property owners revealed that wifi, a bit of pampering and babysitting services are top of the list for many of today’s holidaymakers, abandoning more traditional concerns like ‘Will there be hot water?’ or ‘Can I receive Radio 4 on my long-wave radio?’
Top ten questions for would-be visitors to French gites
1. Do you have wifi?
2. Is the pool heated?
3. Do you provide babysitting services?
4. Are there barbecue facilities on site?
5. Can you recommend good restaurants nearby?
6. Can I bring my dog?
7. How flexible are you on the day of arrival day? (Can you recommend a good B&B nearby where I can stay for a couple of nights?)
8. Are there any building works going on nearby that I might be able to see / hear?
9. Is there a secure stair gate for my toddler?
10. Can you help me arrange a massage / aromatherapy session while I’m here?
“We’ve always known that the most successful property owners are the ones that offer something special,” said Holiday Let Exchange Director, Danny Kibbey, “but what we’re seeing is tantamount to a revolution in customer expectations. Self-catering accommodation was once the poor relation of hotels but with the rise of the internet and the birth of boutique gîtes, users have come to expect ‘home from home’ to come complete with all the extras once restricted to luxury hotels.”
Holiday property owners also have to respond to some unusual questions from holidaymakers through the site. Last month these included:
- Can we visit the Eiffel Tower (asked of a property in the Midi Pyrénees)?
- Are there any problems with seagulls as my daughter has a slight bird phobia?
- Are the goats pictured on your listing secured? It’s just that we had a nightmare in Greece when we were woken up several times by the thunderous sound of them clambering around on our roof!
(Data collected between 1 January and 1 October 2012)
So what about you, what are the most unusual questions or demands your guests have made? We would love to hear them!
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