There are thousands of excellent Chambre d'hôtes and Gîtes operating in France, so standing out from the crowd is of upmost importance. Nestled in the Charente-Limousin is an establishment that does exactly that.
Penny Hitchings from Manoir La Betoulle shares with us her experience of keeping her customers happy.
How do you provide a good customer service experience?
- Attention to detail from first contact – with comprehensive information about what we offer, prices, discount schemes, links to outside activities/services etc.
- After confirmation more local information for them to read prior to arrival, restaurant reservation service, organise outside activities, tennis coach, bike hire, art classes etc, as well as directions & information on the estate.
- Warm, friendly welcome in guests language (if possible) with introductions, point out restaurant information, enquire what time they would like breakfast (if required), tourist info, pool security, WiFi code etc.
- Spotlessly clean always with quality linen, towels, well equipped bathrooms & gites. B&B suites cleaned daily.
- High quality breakfast – different every morning, so each day is a surprise.
- On-site, so always available, attentive, BUT also discreet.
- Discretion regarding guests behaviour (particularly weddings).
- Discretion regarding final payments – always invoiced, left in room with sprig of lavender & wait for guest to offer payment.
- On departure hope they enjoyed their stay, mention visitors book, Trip Advisor & discount schemes for returning guests. Happy to book B&Bs for next stage of journey, print out boarding passes etc.
- Grounds & pool well maintained by my husband – pool chemistry always spot-on.
- Always aware of what is on locally, new attractions, restaurants etc.
What sets you apart from other B&B/Gite owners in the area/region?
All the above…
- WOW factor – large house, large rooms, large grounds, spacious terraces.
- Largest privately owned swimming pool in region.
- Tennis court with coaching available.
- Giant chess & other outside games.
- Generous buffet style breakfast – different every morning …. (longest stay was 21 days – never same combination twice).
- For B&B guests certain amount of self catering available – guest kitchenette with free tea & coffee facilities, shared fridge & microwave.
- All B&B suites have access to vast covered terrace with outdoor seating & hammocks.
- Breakfast option for gite guests – either hamper or in B&B for which we charge extra.
- Generous welcome pack with extra ‘treats’ for regular guests.
- Space – everything well spread out – gites have lots of outside space with grounds & woodland.
- Great for wildlife etc.
- Peace & quiet – our LOGO is Escape, Relax, Unwind
- 100% Positive reviews on Trip Advisor & Booking.com.
- They keep coming back, year after year.
- Email after their return home saying thank you for staying, returning security deposit for gite guests including asking if they would like me to retain it towards a provisional booking for following year – vast majority say yes.
- Early booking scheme with provisional deposits, refundable if change of plan prior to Xmas.
- Annual newsletter to all guests who have stayed at least 2 nights.
- Xmas/New Year card to all guests (even 1 nighters).
- Quality of service
- On site facilities
- Always evolving according to guests demands & a constantly changing market.
- They all say it's us…but ……. Could not possibly comment – many are now like old friends – more likely the price as not very good at increasing prices for regulars who are all perfect guests & easy to look after, leaving gites spotless so making our changeover days easy….many bring us gifts, invite us over for drinks etc.
How do customers find you?
Internet listings, reviews and word of mouth.
Any other information that you feel is relevant
I am an ex health care professional so enjoy working with people, have a lot of patience & due to our own travel experiences know what a guest requires to feel ‘at home’ We are also able to cope with minor medical emergencies & reassure guests if major intervention required. My husband John, is a retired engineer & can fix anything & everything – he has never let me down in 37years together. We are always looking to how we can improve on what we offer & services required of us within reason. Keeping one step ahead of the competition is an important part of our activity.