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Holiday France Direct


Paully
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As many of you may know this is a BF based holiday cottage/gite agency, operating out of Poole. They link owners in France and Spain with clients and offer (and have done for years) a useful 20% discount on the passenger and car ferry tariffs on all routes. Sadly I have just heard from an owner, we are booked with in Normandy next year, that BF have decided to close this part of their business for good at the end of December. All bookings discounts will be honoured for 2022 and all bookings made before 31st December, for next year, will attract the 20% discount.

The real sadness is for hundreds of holiday home owners who did all their letting through HFD and Brittany Ferries and now have to find alternative ways to market their properties.They have been given very little notice which is a rather shameful way of treating people who have been loyal to them over many years. 

The bottom line is obviously now all to Brittany Ferries and they seem to be systematically stripping discounted travel away, despite the business it brought in. I wonder how much more life the CV has left in it?...By the looks of this not very much.

Edited by Paully
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This is more a sign of changing times and markets. When HFD set up there were far fewer holiday home companies out there, the internet was less well used, and a desire to expand the holiday market in France. 

Today the competition is huge and easily discoverable online. Not only do you have the established / larger players like Chez Nous, Gites de France, Homes To Go etc, other large players have extended out out in to the home letting space like Booking.com, Cottages.com et al, plus much easier to create multiple niche players with the common backend, just a different marketing front to appeal to different types of people.

And if you have a masochistic streak, for not much money (less than a ferry ticket) you can buy the software to run your own holiday lettings company.

Savvy property owners renting to holiday makers are signed up with more than one booking company anyway, so HFD going is going to make little difference to them apart from property owners not having to deal with another listing site. If property owners are not signed up to anyone else, HFD has given plenty of time to sign up for other property rental services, especially as peak booking time is 2-3 months away.

And savvy ferry travellers will get their own CV card if it is worth it.

We haven't used HFD in years as there are so many alternatives, but then again we always try to go direct to homeowner so they don't pay the massive rental site fees, so they make more money and we get a small discount as well. To use that horrible phrase; win-win.

Businesses always should look at the bottom line as making profit enables reinvestment, otherwise it is the ever decreasing circle of doom. Looking at the market today with the massive competition, HFD may have once been a large contributor to the BF business, could now be just breaking even or losing money. It may even be better to close HFD and get the extra revenue from CV purchases, no additional overheads, cash straight to the bottom line depending on how it is accounted for.

I doubt CV will go as membership programs are one of best ways to keep a customer base, as long as the benefits have value, but what form this takes will change no doubt to follow the market.

Edited by Shipping Forecast
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1 hour ago, Shipping Forecast said:

membership programs are one of best ways to keep a customer base

A number of French supermarkets, including Carrefour and Monoprix, are trialing such schemes at present. For example: You pay 10€ per month up front but get 10% off all purchases as long as you spend over 100€ each month. Or a variation on the theme. Given how much I pump into Super U each year I'm hoping they will offer something similar.

Ed

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The Amigos club for Parador's is very good. Reduced prices for members cheaper than the normal rate with breakfast thrown in if you stay for 2 nights. A point for every 3 Euros's spent. 350 points will get you a free night. Of course the more expensive the hotel the more points required. A free drink for two on arrival is a nice touch. Spend enough and you become an Oro member which gives half price parking and breakfast. if breakfast is included as part of your booking they knock half of it off the bill. Spend even more and become an amigo circulo which is free parking and free breakfast

This is for free no joining fee or annual subscription required. A free breakfast is included in your first booking after becoming a member.

As a way of keeping us a customer it works for us (We had three free nights in our holiday this September and two in June) Wouldn't it be great if BF ran similar scheme. 

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9 hours ago, Paully said:

As many of you may know this is a BF based holiday cottage/gite agency, operating out of Poole. They link owners in France and Spain with clients and offer (and have done for years) a useful 20% discount on the passenger and car ferry tariffs on all routes. Sadly I have just heard from an owner, we are booked with in Normandy next year, that BF have decided to close this part of their business for good at the end of December. All bookings discounts will be honoured for 2022 and all bookings made before 31st December, for next year, will attract the 20% discount.

The real sadness is for hundreds of holiday home owners who did all their letting through HFD and Brittany Ferries and now have to find alternative ways to market their properties.They have been given very little notice which is a rather shameful way of treating people who have been loyal to them over many years. 

The bottom line is obviously now all to Brittany Ferries and they seem to be systematically stripping discounted travel away, despite the business it brought in. I wonder how much more life the CV has left in it?...By the looks of this not very much.

Why would they do all their lettings through Holiday France Direct? Are owners contracted to only deal through HFD? These days its not unusual to see a property advertised on a number of different sites.

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30 minutes ago, ccs147 said:

Why would they do all their lettings through Holiday France Direct? Are owners contracted to only deal through HFD? These days its not unusual to see a property advertised on a number of different sites.

Maybe BF have an allotment contract guaranteeing exclusivity up to a certain date (say a month before the start date) after which the owner can let the property directly.

Ed

Edited by Cabin-boy
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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

Maybe BF have an allotment contract guaranteeing exclusivity up to a certain date (say a month before the start date) after which the owner can let the property directly.

Ed

It is/was a Marketing and Introduction service with the owner able to control availability, however as has been said earlier, there are other options.  A couple of months ago BF said that they were going to revamp their holiday option, maybe the lack of realtime availability on the website is linked to that.

Edited by David Williams
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Having spoken to two different owners today, both stuck by them as the UK team were excellent in their support for owners, did a lot of the work for them and the 20% discount was a decent incentive to book with them..

One at least is with other platforms, that has been mentioned, but they were almost always more expensive to use, lacked the support the BF firm offered and none could offer the discount that made BF actually affordable in peak season..

Also the excellent staff, certainly from my experience, have all lost their jobs as I understand...

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On 21/09/2021 at 18:17, IanN said:

The Amigos club for Parador's is very good. Reduced prices for members cheaper than the normal rate with breakfast thrown in if you stay for 2 nights. A point for every 3 Euros's spent. 350 points will get you a free night. Of course the more expensive the hotel the more points required. A free drink for two on arrival is a nice touch. Spend enough and you become an Oro member which gives half price parking and breakfast. if breakfast is included as part of your booking they knock half of it off the bill. Spend even more and become an amigo circulo which is free parking and free breakfast

I’m just showing off now, but if you are a Circulo member for long enough, you get a personal letter from the Director General appointing you as an Amigo Para Siempre. This means you no longer need to make an annual minimum spend, which was great for us because of lockdown cancellations. This gives you all the Circulo benefits, plus welcome gifts and drink in the room, free upgrades and a personal welcome from the Parador manager when you arrive. I’m still waiting to be offered the hand of his eldest daughter in marriage, but I expect Senora de AmigoCirculo might have something to say about that.

I don’t think I’m going to change my display handle, though!

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23 minutes ago, AmigoCirculo said:

I’m just showing off now, but if you are a Circulo member for long enough, you get a personal letter from the Director General appointing you as an Amigo Para Siempre. This means you no longer need to make an annual minimum spend, which was great for us because of lockdown cancellations. This gives you all the Circulo benefits, plus welcome gifts and drink in the room, free upgrades and a personal welcome from the Parador manager when you arrive. I’m still waiting to be offered the hand of his eldest daughter in marriage, but I expect Senora de AmigoCirculo might have something to say about that.

I don’t think I’m going to change my display handle, though!

Friends in high places also helps. Could you have a word

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On 21/09/2021 at 16:58, Cabin-boy said:

A number of French supermarkets, including Carrefour and Monoprix, are trialing such schemes at present. For example: You pay 10€ per month up front but get 10% off all purchases as long as you spend over 100€ each month. Or a variation on the theme. Given how much I pump into Super U each year I'm hoping they will offer something similar.

Ed

We do very well with our Super U card, for which there is no charge; Mrs W takes a 10-minute bike ride there most weeks – with the "money back on the card" deals adding up to decent savings. And starting tomorrow (Monday 27) is the annual wine fair with some great offers. – including a decent Bourgogne Aligoté at €25 for a case of six. More than a bike load – we'll be booking a delivery.

Monoprix in Caen city centre is better for cheese – wide range, helpful and knowledgeable staff – but we don't spend enough there in a month to justify the €10 a month.

Of course if you're coming this way, the shop to head for in Caen is Frequence Bio, the big organic supermarket which is a leading member of the Biocoop network. Find it on Avenue H Chéron to the West of the city centre. An entire wall of VRAC – bulk dispensers for everything from scrumptious dark chocolate "buttons" to cereals, pasta and rice. Plus good selection of cheese and charcuterie and a helpful butchery. Handy for us since we live 50m away – and can see it from the kitchen window.

Edited by kenw
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