Before I tell you where to find free gite advertising I'll mention some of the problems that gite owners face when trying to get customers in their properties, and holiday rental listing sites in general.
One of the big challenges of owning gites and rental properties is knowing where to advertise a property. A lot of rental sites charge £100-£200 for a one year listing - so getting listed in a few can work out pretty expensive.
Of course, the one where you want to advertise is the one where people actually go to find a holiday! Unfortunately, the sites that are best at finding you customers change from year to year, so just because a listing site did well last year, is no real indication that it will do the same this year.
Typically a listing site seems to go through four stages, often over the course of four years:
- a year when the site is heavily promoted and advertised, but doesn't yet have too many properties listed. This is where you want to be listed...but you won't be, because the site has no track record yet, and you are looking for a site that has proved it can get results!
- a year when the site continues to do quite well, but is starting to have too many properties listed, so your might be at the bottom of page 3 when someone is looking for a gite.
- a year when the site really has quite a lot of listings, but is losing its place in the search engines (google etc) and the site owners are starting to get complacent about marketing, perhaps preferring to take some income from the site themselves
- a tail end, when customers from the first two stages of the lifecycle continue to advertise in the hope that the site will regain its former glory or out of a sense of commitment.
Your problem as a gite owner, is to spot sites at the beginning of this cycle. This is not easy!
One approach is to try searching in google for a lot of phrases appropriate to your property eg 'gite holiday Dordogne' and see which listing companies show up the most often.
A second approach is to take a note of the top listing sites under 'sponsored listings' (the adverts on the right hand side of the google search page) when you do your searches. These are often companies willing to spend heavily on marketing, which will be good for you, the customer.
A third approach is to identify sites like this one (francethisway) that attract people who are planning to visit France, because they are travel guides, and then hope that visitors will be tempted to book their holiday from the same site. Many travel sites will offer advertising of some description.
The fourth approach is to find sites offering free advertising for gites. This free advertising may be for a trial period only, or have conditions attached, but is worth doing as a supplement to your other advertising. Most sites offering free gite advertising generate their income from related advertising.
Some free sites are worth submitting your property to, but the vast majority, quite frankly, have no chance of ever sending you a customer, and will try and harass you into paying for a 'featured listing' at some later point.
If you know of any that are successful for you, or you think show promise for the future, please let us know. That way we can perhaps all save ourselves a few hundred pounds on wasted advertising!