Activities of the owners and advice to efficiantly manage a house open to hosts and to visitors

Always favouring its counselling role, VMF created in early 2012 the site : The showcase of cultural, rental and housing activities managed by the owners of attractive and heritage residences, this unique site is meant for two kinds of public: those who make heritage live and spread about and those who enjoy (re)discovering it.

VMF can inform the owners who wish to start these activities as to the necessary procedures and the regulations in use. Here are some general points offered by our partner, an organization specializing in the creation, the development and management of Guest Houses, allowing you to discover these activities.

You wish to start Bed-And-Breakfasts 

The bed-and-breakfast activity is limited to five rooms for a total number of fifteen people. The service includes at least one night and breakfast. Linen must systematically be provided. According to the range and the choice of the occupier, the bathroom is adjoining, private or shared and the toilet in or out of the bathroom. 

Unlike seasonal renting, reception is provided by the host and the rooms are located at home, whether it is a main or second home or not. The activity can be run by the owner of the place, the tenant or an occupier for free. The choice of the legal status and the tax system is extremely important. Moreover, notification has to be made to the town council before opening bed-and-breakfasts.

The management of bed-and-breakfasts requires good organization and various skills. The person who rents bed-and-breakfasts must undertake numerous tasks : promoting the residence, managing the bookings, welcoming the guests, preparing breakfast or even meals for residents, cleaning the rooms and communal parts, invoices and accounts...

The turnover is limited , given the total amount of five rooms, but it may complete incomes and finance some charges linked to the building. Moreover, renting bed-and-breakfasts is compatible with other activities like seasonal rentals or the organization of receptions.

You wish to develop seasonal rentals

Offering seasonal rental means putting at the clients'disposal an accommodation which allows them to live in during their stay, without taking up residence. It may be a building outside the house or an independent flat in the house, or even a cabin or a caravan. In any case, it includes at least a place to live and sleep, a cooking space, a shower room and toilet. Rent is done under contract for a duration not exceeding three months, usually a week,
but the person who rents freely sets the minimal duration of the stay. The contract may include provision of service or not – cleaning, sheets renting, breakfast...- and a detailed description of the accommodation and facilities must be provided to the tenant beforehand.

To obtain official classification,the seasonal rental must respect a system of reference which defines the levels of comfort and facilities from 1 to 5 stars.It then means a tourist furnished place. It may be labelled at Gîtes de France, which means a rural gîte, the network being recognized on the national level for classification visits. Rural gîtes are classified from 1 to 5 ears. Likewise for rentals classified from 1 to 5 keys in the Clévacances network. Moreover, notification must be made at the town council before opening accommodation.

Seasonal rental can be a complement to the bed-and-breakfast activity. However, contrary to the latter, it doesn't have to be located on the same property and the management and reception can be fully delegated to somebody else.
You wish to rent your lounges for weddings or receptions Organizing weddings or large receptions in one’s residence can’t be improvised. For this project to be successful, all aspects of the event must be taken into account andspecific regulations to places welcoming the public can’t be ignored.

Access, carparking, cloakroom, cooking, technical premises, deliveries, bathrooms, noise pollution, fire safety, accessibility...all these elements have to be assessed and the capacity of the room properly estimated. Moreover, safety standards will be implemented according to the premises surface and to the capacity declared. In most cases, significant work might be necessary so as to obtain the safety commission’s approval.

Many owners don’t limit themselves to room renting but also offer their services to organize the event in its many terms : renting specific material, recruiting and managing staff, activities, buying drinks, catering... Which then means setting up a firm organizing events to itself. Further thought as to the legal status and tax system of the firm needs to be given. Organizing weddings and receptions may generate significant incomes. It is advisable however to properly estimate the necessary work cost before entering the project...

You wish to open to visits

Being open to visits means that the public is allowed to visit at least :
- either 40 days during the months of July, August and September ( whether they are bankholidays or not).
- or 50 days a year with 25 weekend days (bankholidays and Sundays) from the months of April to September included.

Opening to visits must of course be real and effective, that is to say the access conditions required by the owner shouldn’t be too restrictive. Namely the visit can’t be subject to making an appointment beforehand except when organization problems of the visit occur.

A declaration of opening to the public – giving notably the conditions, dates and opening hours- must be made each year to the tourist services of DIREECTE (the regional direction linked to the Official Regional Delegation to Tourism) before 1 February. The owners must provide the public with the opening conditions of their residences « by all suitable means ». Which means namely that the visiting terms be billed at the entrance of the monument and that information to the tourist information boards or other organizations publishing or offering tourist brochures or leaflets on the departement or region be given. Opening can be limited to outdoors in case of a visit itinerary organized by the owner, particularly when the interior is of no specific interest.

Activities of the owners and advice to efficiantly manage a house open to hosts and to visitors