Open a gite or bed and breakfast in your house


Open a gite or bed and breakfast in your house

Laurent Dubas

Dreaming of retouching a country house? Take the opportunity to develop cottages or guest rooms. Here is our info to successfully create your cottage or bed and breakfast ...

In 2014, 3,279 new structures were created, in France within the Gîtes de France network®, of which 2,810 are gîtes and 433 are guest houses. "The stays in gites or guest houses are the most popular formulas and reserved today in France by vacationers, and this in all seasons and all types of destinations.In fact, the creation of accommodations remain important within our network "explains Fabien Desmaux, Head of Development and Quality Engineering at Gîtes de France.

See also> Bed and Breakfast to copy

Gîtes de France®, the French and European leader in "homestay and per capita" accommodation, carried out a study from November 2014 to March 2015 on its park, counting 60,000 accommodations (gîtes and bed and breakfasts owned by no less than 47,000 participating owners. Concretely ? The activity developed by its owners under the auspices of the Gîtes de France® label, generates an annual direct and indirect turnover of 2 billion euros, 31,745 direct, indirect and induced full-time equivalent jobs (FTE). in rural areas and 473.5 million euros of investment in the creation, renovation and maintenance of built heritage.

However, the market is far from saturated because, over this period, Gîtes de France® recorded 28.7 million overnight stays per person, all modes of reservation combined.

There is still room for gites and B & B, everywhere in France and all types of territories (countryside, city, ski resorts, coastline ...), but also for structures whose offer differentiates (Ecogite, WWF Panda lodging in remarkable natural spaces, upscale services, fishing trips, well-being ...).

The motivations of owners of cottages or guest houses are many: some see a financial investment (construction or valuation of a property portfolio), others a supplement of income (10 to 15% of owners are farmers) , a lot of opportunity to change your life. But beware of the myth still too common city dweller who dreams of fleeing the capital and earn a living otherwise, starting for example to retype an old hovel. The winters are long, the investments high and ... happiness is not always at the end of the meadow. Hence the importance of being accompanied by experts in the field!

1 / Bed and breakfast: what's the difference?

The cottage, usually rented by the week or the weekend, is the most common form of reception. It is most often a house or an independent dwelling close to the home of the owners. It is fully furnished, furnished and equipped (basic equipment such as refrigerator, oven to dryer or wi-fi).

The guest rooms are obligatorily arranged and located at the inhabitant (in the house even of the owners or in an annex building located on the same property) with a view to welcoming tourists, for a fee, for one or several nights. As at the hotel, bed linen and linen are provided but, with the exception of the hotel, breakfast is included in the price without supplement. The activity can also be supplemented by an evening meal service under the name "chambre et table d'hôtes".

The room must have complete and private bathroom (shower and / or bath and WC) and measured at least 12 m2. Prices must be posted inside each room and outside the house (at the entrance of the property, street side). Attention, the capacity of reception of a guest house is limited to five rooms and to fifteen people to the maximum.

2 / How much does it cost a bed and breakfast?

According to this same study carried out by Gîtes de France® for a holiday cottage, the average price of the rental for a cottage per week is 464 euros, or 19.2 euros per night and per person, but it varies a lot depending on location and level of comfort.

For a bed and breakfast, it takes 67.8 euros / night for 2 people and 18.60 euros / night / person group lodging. The business volume of the holiday park was estimated at 387.8 million euros, at 199 million euros for guest houses (18.1 million euros from the 805 000 meals served at the table and 59.1 million euros group lodgings.

On average, this represents a gross annual income of 10,740 euros for a cottage owner, 18,590 euros (or 23,900 euros if the provision of the "table d'hôtes" is included) for member of the head of the house. and 38,370 euros / year for a group lodging holder.

Béatrice and Hervé Bardinal, owners of La Grange des Ecrins (bed and breakfast + gîte) in the Hautes-Alpes since 2008, thus realize between 8000 and 10 000 euros of turnover per month in school period "We display almost complete December 31st to March 31st, as well as the summer months In winter, we welcome skiers, summer hikers, our activity is seasonal but well distributed over the year "they explain.

With a marked seasonality, the average occupancy rate observed by Gîtes de France® throughout the territory in 2014 was 40.9% * with peaks of attendance during the summer period: 77% cumulative summer , 67% in July and 88% in August (including a peak occupancy of 96% during the first half of August).

* On the basis of the accommodations whose marketing is managed entirely by Gîtes de France® (by the reservation services) or shared with the owners.

3 / Which works for which budget?

The creation of a cottage or guest house often involves the implementation of development work to bring the housing in compliance with the standards of sanitation, safety, comfort and decoration. The cost of the work varies according to the type of accommodation (lodging or guest house), the number of rooms in a guest house and the overall capacity. According to the study Gîtes de France®, the average cost of creation is 91 200 euros for a cottage and about 76 000 euros for a guest house.

It is also necessary to provide for the purchase of small electrical appliances and furniture such as bedding. Not to mention the decoration that gives soul and style to the accommodation. This point is very important because it makes the difference: a room or a cottage decorated with taste and originality will have better chances to hold the attention of customers at the time of booking. "We traveled a lot before opening our B & B and brought back loads of objects and furniture from Asia, South America and Italy, our rooms look like us and the atmosphere is very warm" says Anita Bloemen, creator of L'Oreiller d'Hadrien in the Pyrenees.

The presence of a pool is also a definite plus, especially if the accommodation is located inland. "There is a clientele who absolutely wants a pool The pool is consistent with our offer of home.It is a plus marketing," says Pietro Cossu, owner of the Louveterie in Perche.

4 / Obtaining subsidies for the creation of gîtes and bed and breakfasts

The subsidies, in the form of grants, are becoming scarce but they can be granted to the owners of lodgings or cottages. They come mostly from departmental councils total globally, according to the AFE, to 30% of the amount before tax work. The works likely to be subsidized are the following: roofing, roofing, heating, electricity, sanitary equipment, masonry, exterior and interior joinery, paints and wall coverings and external installations. The amount of the subsidy varies according to the development policy of the region or department, it is a percentage or a fraction of the planned investment.

The grant is in no way automatic, the criteria for obtaining are related to the quality of the project and the accommodation needs in the department. You must make a request to the General Council before the start of the work. The subsidy is paid upon presentation of invoices drawn up by a contractor, craftsman or the owner himself for the work he has done. It should be noted that in the rural revitalization zones, the municipalities can, on deliberation, exempt from tax of dwelling the rural lodgings and the rooms of hosts.

Amount of aid for works

Average cost of creating a gîte according to Gîtes de France®

91 200 euros, for an average capacity of 5 people

Average amount of grant from the General Council

18 100 euros

% of creations subsidized by the General Council


Average cost of creation of a house B according to Gîtes de France®

76 000euros for an average capacity of 7 people

Average amount of grant from the General Council

11 000 euros

% of creations subsidized by the General Council


Source: Study conducted by MKG Hospitality for Gîtes de France

5 / Get a label to reassure customers

It may be interesting, commercially speaking, to obtain a label. This allows on the one hand to benefit from a better visibility but also to reassure the customers on the quality of the proposed lodging. For gîtes, there are two networks, Gîtes de France and Clévacances. These two organizations are the main networks accredited to carry out the accreditation visits and to classify the furnished apartments.

For the cottages, five networks are recognized by the public authorities: Gîtes de France, Sun Flowers, Clévacances, Home Paysan and Welcome to the castle. The best known labels are Gîtes de France, highly sought after and appreciated by customers.

Each organization offers a quality label, with charters defining the minimum thresholds of comfort and quality in terms of accommodation and hospitality. Each network has its requirements and has established criteria to distinguish housing according to the quality of comfort, according to a well-defined specifications. Gîtes de France® classifies accommodations in "ears of corn" and Clévacances by "keys". The criteria of classification depend on their level of standing, and especially the technical development, and the immediate environment of the accommodation.

Before awarding their labels, organizations organize labeling visits. They can also advise the creator of rooms and rooms in his choices and direct him towards training. Subsequently, control visits take place every three to five years (3 years for Clévacances, 5 years for Gîte de France). The accommodation can then earn keys or ears ... or lose or even be written off, if the owner does not respect the commitments of the charter.

To note, to obtain the label Gîtes de France, it is essential to become a member of the association and pay an entrance fee. "The amount of the contribution is set by each departmental agency Gîtes de France®.The costs vary from one region to another.The average is around 250 euros," says Fabien Desmaux.

What equipment does it take for a Gîtes de France® label?

• 1 ear : service offering simple comfort;

• 2 ears : providing good comfort with functional equipment and a harmonious decoration;

• 3 ears : high quality service, with complete equipment in a regional old or new building, with traditional or contemporary decoration;

• 4 ears : high-end service offering comfortable services in a built character (old renovated or contemporary), with a personalized decoration, neat and sought after;

5 ears : Luxurious service in a luxury house (historical or classified building, architect's house, castle, mansion ...) offering large outdoor spaces, a refined and refined decoration, a full service offer including spa equipment or welfare.

6 / Define the legal and fiscal status of the activity

At the level of the legal framework of their activity, the owners of lodgings or bed and breakfast have two possibilities: to create an individual company or to create a company (a SARL for example). In the latter case, which is often rare, the steps are more restrictive (creation of a share capital, publication of a legal notice, etc.).

In terms of taxation, owners who have decided to start a sole proprietorship will be taxed in the income tax category in the category of BIC, industrial and commercial profits. If the owner is a corporation, he will have to pay the IS, corporation tax. Since January 2009, owners of gites or rooms can also opt for the self-entrepreneur scheme if their activity does not exceed 80,300 euros per year (threshold 2010). In this case, they benefit from a simplified social and tax regime.

Note: whether the operator is a sole proprietorship or a company, he is not obliged to register with the Trade and Companies Register (RCS). Only owners whose business is practiced as a regular occupation (that is, repetitively for the purpose of profit) must do so.

7 / Make yourself known and make profitable his lodging or his guest houses

To attract customers, it is essential to communicate and make themselves known. The best solution: create an attractive website, with beautiful photos, mentioning rates, contact details, activities around ... Referencing is also important: members of organizations (Gîtes de France, Clévacances ...) are automatically referenced on network websites. It can also be interesting to be referenced on tourist portals (type HomeAway ...) or on the sites of the tourist office, the tourist office or the region. Do not hesitate to send photos of your cottage to and our section Private Tours.

8 / Complementary activities to boost your income

To make the activity profitable, additional services can be provided. It is possible and very profitable to propose a table d'hôtes. This requires extra work but the game is worth the effort, especially in geographical areas where the restaurant offer is poorly developed. According to his study, Gîtes de France® estimates that the table d'hôte service can bring an average of 5,350 euros to the owners who offer it. "Our guests like to be able to stay for dinner once they get back to the gîte, 90% of them use our table d'hôtes", says Anita Bloemen of Hadrian's Pillow. It is also possible to host seminars or create themed lodges: fishing, snow, equestrian lodgings, vineyard lodges, ecological lodges ... Or to play the originality as in Ploërmel (Morbihan) or owner installed a bed and breakfast in ... a tree.

More informations…

AFE: Fiche professionnel: Rural houses and bed and breakfast Guide / Trade: Open a country cottage

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