At the start of May, we promoted the chambre d’hôtes via AirBnB and the local tourist board. Weeks passed with no sign of a booking, not even an enquiry. We started to get nervous, wondering if we would ever get bookings. We looked at other websites for additional advertising opportunities. We wracked our brains to come up with new marketing ideas. We were convinced that if we could get a few guests to experience this beautiful setting and the fulsome continental breakfasts we had planned, it would be the start of a successful new venture. We held our nerve and kept our belief.
Just before the French holidays began in July, we got our first reservation. Two friends were touring the area and wanted somewhere peaceful to stay overnight. When they left the following morning it was wonderful to hear them say that it was the best AirBnB property they had ever stayed in! All that work and anxiety seemed worthwhile.
The bookings rolled in after that and we have enjoyed a wonderful summer hosting guests from the UK, Holland and Belgium but mostly from France. All in all, 47 nights were booked over the holiday season. Bookings are coming in for October and November, beautiful months in the Dordogne with sun filled blue skies and a golden backdrop as trees ready themselves for Autumn and Winter.
It’s been a genuine joy to meet such diverse people – doctors, aeronautical engineers, car designers, jet fighter pilots, scientists, dentists, marketeers and a judge to mention but a few. Some have stayed because they were touring; some to attend weddings in the area, of which there are many in the Summer; some used it as a base while looking for their own dream home in the Dordogne; others simply wanted a quiet getaway break in a tranquil setting. Each of them have appreciated the added extra touches including drinks on arrival, welcomed after a long journey; the complimentary bottle of wine; fresh milk each day in the room and breakfasts which vary daily.
There have been many amusing moments especially with our French guests who arrive saying they speak little English, listen as we do our best to communicate in basic but developing French and then, within ten minutes, speak fluent English as if it was their native language, putting us to shame in the process!
Many of our guests have spent time with us in the early evening sharing a bottle of wine before they head out to dinner, welcoming the chance to chat about their day’s adventures or to ask us for recommendations of places to eat or visit. Others have simply wanted to spend quality time together, making the most of their holiday in otherwise busy work and life schedules, for which there is certainly more than enough space in La Banne’s extensive gardens.
It’s been a fantastic first season with many highlights. We’re really proud of what we have created, taking great pleasure in watching our guests as they unwind, relax and appreciate this beautiful setting.
All of our guests have been bowled over by Domaine de La Banne, as their five star reviews will testify to, with some planning to return later this year or next season. In return our guests have helped us appreciate even more how special a place is Domaine de La Banne.