There are some benefits to being a roving Lettings Expert here in Provence. Not only am I privileged enough to support holiday house owners in this area in increasing their lettings income, I also get to see some stunning places. My latest coup has been to stay in this amazing, newly renovated chateau, deep in Provence. My job? Simply to ‘babysit’ a gorgeous Golden Lab.
For me it was a marvellous insight into what living in a chateau must be like…dog walks around the estate, through the vineyards, overseeing the olive harvest and delighting in the drive up the long approach with the first glimpse of the chateau itself…without any of the cost, maintenance or upkeep that I know is associated with a historic building such as this!
In fact this interesting article from the Washington Post has quashed my dreams of chateau life. It suggests that running costs for a chateau in Thaumiers in France ran at $65,000 pa in addition to the cost of adding 13 new bathrooms to the existing 4 and fixing 40 leaks in the roof. Yikes!
Glitzy, celebrity weddings and high-end detox holidays go some way to paying for these costs, the owners clearly understanding their market and succeeding in attracting luxury-seeking guests.
However, other imaginative, not to mention numerous, income streams may well be required if a property of this nature is really going to earn its keep…for me the obvious answer would be to make some small tweaks to make the chateau suitable for child-friendly holidays.
This is a huge sector and we already know from our experiences with the beautiful Chateau des Etoiles in the Dordogne that demand is strong for glorious properties such as these. Contrary to popular belief, holidaying with little people doesn’t necessarily have to equal ‘cheap and cheerful’ accommodation!
A nod to the baby friendly holiday market would help to extend the season and further increase the lettings income in between the ‘big budget’ weddings (and further increase its appeal to these large groups who will inevitably contain some children).
Less than one extra week’s let in a property such as this would generate a return on investment (ROI) and I would be extremely confident that families would come flocking. Certainly, the vineyards and olive groves would be wonderful filled with the sound of laughter and happy children!