How should I market my B&B or gîte so I get a quick ROI? (Part 2)

(continued…)

4. Market your business in France with a leaflet which can be displayed at the local office de tourisme – check out the size of their leaflet dispensers before you design it. Print double-sided and put lots of photos on.

5. Make an A4 poster for UK marketing, it can be displayed in post offices, supermarkets and leisure clubs – anywhere where you have family or friends who are rooting for you to succeed. Don’t overlook the ‘trust factor’ involved in local advertising. Choose an eye-catching headline (big enough to be read a couple of metres away) use colour photos, succinct text (perhaps bullet-points) and clear contact details. Have your phone number on tear-off strips along the bottom – and replace the poster when it, or the strips, have been removed.

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How should I market my Bed and Breakfast or gîte so I get a quick ROI? (Part 1)

Here are five top tips for marketing your Bed and Breakfast or gîte to get a quick return on your investment:

  1. A picture really is worth a thousand words, take photos of your property on a bright, sunny day; compose your shots carefully and clear away clutter from room and garden beforehand. A few designer touches will pay dividends; a big bowl of fruit in the kitchen, flowers in the living room and wood in the fireplace will all handsomely repay the effort. If you offer a Bed and Breakfast don’t be coy, you are your biggest asset – have some nice smiley photographs of yourselves to give that personal touch.
  2. Don’t price yourself out of the market, study what your competitors are charging and undercut them until you have established yourself and have repeat bookings.
  3. Don’t build your own website, put your property on a couple of ‘directory’ websites which already have thousands of hits per day. Look on Google and choose sites from the first two pages that are user-friendly, informative and will present your property attractively and with lots of photographs. The first photo you upload will normally be the principal photo – so make sure it’s your best. Mention any ‘added value’ you can offer as hosts such as baby-sitting facilities, help with booking restaurants or organising activities.

Continued in next blog…..

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Tax Tips for UK residents moving to France

Don’t be tempted to run for the French hills and leave your tax bills behind you – the long arm of the taxman easily stretches across the channel.

But don’t worry – with the ‘double imposition’ treaty in place between the UK and France, you will only pay your dues once. To tie things up neatly before you leave heed the following advice:

  • Complete and return an Inland Revenue Form P85 giving your departure date. The Inland Revenue will then settle your tax liability.
  • While you are still a UK resident think about taking any tax-free cash commutation from your pension – it might not be so easy when you are already in France.
  • While you will be entitled to receive your UK pension while living in France, it might be a good idea to get a forecast of your future entitlement from the Department of Work and Pensions. You might need to top up your Class 3 Contributions to obtain a full pension. Contact www.thepensionservice.gov.uk
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Investing in French Property?

If you’re considering buying a French property as an investment rather than somewhere to live then the maxim of ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware’ applies even more than usual.

If you’re going to out-perform that disappointing pension fund you were counting on, then remember you make your money when you buy – not when you sell!

  • The best investment may be in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily want to live. Make the decision with your head not your heart or aesthetic judgement.
  • How seasonal is your rental potential? while ski or coastal resorts’ appeal is seasonal, capital cities offer all-year-round potential.
  • Choose a location with a strong demand and limited supply.
  • Buy under market value, this enables you to make your money when you sell.
  • Spot up-and-coming areas! Is a new airport being built?, Are budget airlines opening new routes?, Are lots of jobs being created in the area? Think in advance about your pool of future tenants and their access to your property.
  • Have an exit strategy. How easy will it be to sell up? If the answer to this is ‘not very’ then should you really be buying there? or should you really be paying so much?
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Let the train take the strain!

Too old for a student Inter-Rail card but want to luxuriate in the experience of a lengthy railway trip throughout France?

You are never too old for a France Railpass rover ticket , it is valid on all trains running on the SNCF network – including high-speed TGV trains – and you can travel as much as you wish!

Prices range from £92 for a three-day ticket to £197 for nine days in any month. There is also a saver version, for two to five people travelling together and a Senior version for the over-60s.

For details: 08705 848 848 or see www.raileurope.co.uk

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Why should I buy property in France?

With different regions offering climates to suit everybody, outstanding natural beauty, world-famous food and wine, lower cost of living and a slower pace of life, France really does have it all.

And you needn’t feel guitly about making the move, you can share the health, wealth and lifestyle benefits with your family and friends – France will enrich their lives as well as your own.

An increasing number of families are re-locating completely rather than just buying holiday homes, they frequently cite the excellent health service and education system as reasons.

With regular charter and daily scheduled flights from the UK to so many French destinations, France is becoming more and more accessible every day – an increasing number of people even commute!

If you don’t fancy the commute and you don’t have transferable skills to slot into the French jobs market, you can even make your new location work for you – as a business.

France is classic holiday country and if you buy or convert property to provide Bed and Breakfast or gîte accommodation in the right location, your new home can even pay for itself – while you get on with the serious business of enjoying your new life in the sun!

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French Property is getting cheaper !

It’s official – it’s a buyers’ market! The average price of a property in France fell by 0.6% in November say the French estate agents’ association FNAIM.

The fall is part of a slowing trend, while average property prices rose by 15% in 2004 they have only risen by 7.3% in the current year to November.

French property is still attractive to investors but a slowing market will keep prices reasonable and ensure that the French property ladder is still within reach of the average Brit!

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Why not get a job in France ?

You don’t have to wait until you win the lottery or retire in order to relocate permanenlty to France – you can pay your way just like any French person does by working in France.

2006 is the European Year of Workers’ Mobility so you needn’t let an accident of birth stop you from choosing where you want to live and work. You don’t need a work permit to work in France.

Jobcentre Plus has 22 full-time European Employment Services (EURES) advisors who can give you advice and guidance on finding work in France – there will be at least one advisor in your region. EURES advisors work with advisors in France, helping employers to recruit people by organising jobs fairs and interviews. They also hold seminars and recruitment days. You can call the International Jobsearch Advice Team on 0113 307 8090

You can also visit www.eures.europa.eu which contains thousands of job vacancies in all countries in the European Economic Area. You can search by typing in the type of job you are looking for or just scroll through all the vacancies and see what is on offer.

You can also put your CV online for employers to consider – you could be the ideal person a French employer is looking for!

Other websites to try include:

www.eurojobs.com

www.yourjobabroad.net

www.careereurope.co.uk

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