This week let’s meet Ian and Gladis 😊
Ian and Gladis are both from the USA but they fell in love with France many years ago and decided to move there more than 7 years ago.
They joined the short-term rental industry because they were ready to do something different after their early retirement.
Ian and Gladis own and manage a property with 5 rooms in France. They have been hosting for the last 4 years and as hosts, they want to provide a peaceful and relaxing place for their guests during their vacation.
Let’s hear their story! 🔊
So, Ian and Gladis tell us, how long have you been hosting for? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?
We have been hosting for almost 4 years now. We started a bed and breakfast in the Southwest of France in the Perigord Noir. We also offer dinner service to our guests as allowed. We started our B&B as we were ready to do something different after our careers and we’re too young to retire. Owning a B&B seemed like a good start for American ex-pats in France. We manage only one property with five rooms across 4 channels (our own website, Booking, Expedia, Airbnb)
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
We are owners and this is our full-time occupation now. While we can rest a little in the winters but our main season is summer each year from Easter to the 31st of October.
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
For us, the best thing is the ability to meet many people from all over Europe and the world. Our biggest problem is managing the workload on the B&B for the summer with increasing dinner services. It is just the two of us running the business and it takes many hours through the season to maintain and create the experience for our guests that keep them coming back year after year. We need to rely on automated systems for billing and reservations. They must work flawlessly.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
I wish we had better understood the technology for hosting short-term rentals earlier in our business such as channel managers like Hosthub.
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
I truly think you must master your technology. The better control of your technology allows you to focus on your guests and not waste time on administrative tasks that unfortunately take much of your time. Use the rate tool in Hosthub! Your time will disappear as you constantly inventory, resupply, and keep levels correct to maintain enough products for the season.
Besides Hosthub, are there any tools, devices, or software (eg. Remote keylocks, cameras, local guide apps, power meters, etc) you use? What is your experience with them?
B&B’s in France are a bit different. Your average French/European guest is looking for advice on where to go, where to visit, where to buy local products. Everything needs to be in line with local producers and local organizations. So, we use offices of tourism for some publicity along with the local tour guides and maps of the area. We use multiple payment sources such as Stripe or Sumup to accept credit card payments. Eventually, we are interested in using a PMS (property management system) customized to our location.
Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
We now use our own website (it was a hassle) more and more. We had problems initially as we could not transfer the old website to a new host successfully. It was just a learning experience. However, we are now gaining traction with our website and it’s beginning to get more interest. We also host on Expedia, Booking, and Airbnb. Our revenue has increased 30% year over year with multiple channels.
Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?
For us, we also found that unifying everything in your online footprint helps to increase your revenue. For example, making sure all of your contact information is correct on Google and TripAdvisor. The other thing we have done is send flyers with our information to large companies in France. We offer a small discount for their employees telling them we also accept cheque-Vacances. For those of you in France, large companies must give some sort of compensation back to their employees each year hence the cheque-Vacances.
You can find out more about Ian and Gladis’s property here:
Direct Booking Website
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Ian and Gladis’s property (click for larger versions) 🧐