The blatant success of Airbnb in France encourages the domestic market to join, through a joint platform project launched by Gîtes de France and Clévacances, which will gather nearly 100,000 marks by the end of 2019.
"We are not just created to compete with Airbnb, it's not just a rebellious strategy. We have a real story to say that makes sense," Jacques Masson, General Director of the Gites de France, summarizes.
The Associative Network has more than 70,000 departments, chalets or chalets in France – more than 80% of them in rural areas. In July, he announced that he entered into exclusive negotiations with the label Clévacances, with 20,000 rental deals, with a view to strategic merger. "The idea is not merging or absorption, but creating a common structure, a joint venture that will be owned by 75% Gîtes de France and 25% Clévacances, whose ambition is to federate the entire household sector," says Jacques Masson.
Common internet portal
Two players will launch a shared platform, called clevacances.com, an "internet portal that will offer quality labels, with Gîtes de France and Clévacances initial products, and then the other tags that will join us." Currently, with these two sector leaders, there are fifteen marks, such as tourism and handicap, Bienvenue à la Ferme or Fleurs de soleil.
In February, the General Meetings of Gites de France and Clévacances will give final approval to the project. The joint venture will be launched in the first half of the year, with a view to launching a new platform in December 2019.
Unlike hotels, campsites or tourist residences, "which are very structured, family accommodation is a bit of a poor cousin of tourism in France, it has to bring it back to the glow, a new momentum and especially visibility," sums up the chief executive of 42 years ago, a year ago arrived at Gîtes de France.
"Airbnb is a hypermarket, not a label"
The two players will have more than 90,000 "quality and labeled" ads, against 500,000 proposed in France by the Airbnb genius, which directs its offer to cities, with less than 10% of accommodations in rural areas.
"Airbnb has refreshed the market and has made the largest known number of accommodations, which encouraged us, forced us into the question," Jacques Masson admits.
But for him, "Airbnb is somewhere hypermarket, connection platform, distribution mark, but not label."
"There will be a difference today: we are the network that belongs to the owners, we suggest territorial anchoring, proximity and labeling based on 110 criteria. We have a know-how that is 63," he says.
For Professionals Didier Arina, the director of Protourism's specialized company, this strategic alliance between Gîtes de France and Clévacances "will enable them to have the capacity to develop and to have economies of scale. They have no choice over behemoths such as Airbnb." For him, "Gîtes de France is a very strong brand, with all the imaginative and unbelievable offer in the area, offering real services and a real relationship with the buyer, while Airbnb is a mediator."
Didier Arino emphasizes, however, that if the assets of these two factors are "rooted in the territory, their challenge will be to rejuvenate their clients and, therefore, to be more present in urban space and better imported by foreign tourists".