Amazing Deal – Go this weekend!

June 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Cha;et Deals Summer 2016 Samoens
Very quick post to let you know about this quite amazing deal in the French Alps if you can drop everything and go this weekend!

Chalet Moccand is in the picturesque historic town of Samoens – officially recognised as one of the prettiest villages in France, set in the heart of the Grand Massif mountain region, just one hour from Geneva. Just 5 minutes from the centre of the town, the chalet sleeps 10/12 people, and 1 week commencing Saturday 11th June is now on offer for €1138 – a saving of over 40% on the usual price of €2027. For more details and to book, visit Chalet Moccand Samoens

No Corkscrew – No Problem!

January 28, 2016 at 11:15 am

Handy hint if you happen to forget your corkscrew – as long as you’re wearing a good stout pair of English brogues!

Thank you to old friend Stephen Cronk, now producing some stunning Provencal wines at Mirabeau Wine

Trust Pilot Reviews Rate Owners Direct 1 Star

January 14, 2016 at 6:29 pm
Trust Pilot Reviews Owners Direct

More disgruntled owners at Owners Direct

Owners Direct facing increasing alienation from property owners

The Champagne corks are still probably popping for the owners and shareholders of Owners Direct / HomeAway following their big-money sale to Expedia, though the picture is somewhat less rosy for property owners, according to reviews of the site posted on ratings site Trust Pilot. Out of 262 reviews, Owners Direct managed to get the minimum 1/5 rating from almost 80% of reviewers – or when calculated based out of ten, a stunning 0.6 / 10!! And if you care to delve deeper into how these figures break down, you’ll find that the majority of recent reviews are firmly in the 1 star bracket.

So why is this happening – and do they care?

There are a number of reasons for Owners Direct’s demise – negative publicity of scams operating via the site, advertising fees that have just gone up and up, slow response times to service requests, penalties for not responding to enquiries promptly or not keeping your calendar up-to-date…the list goes on. The biggest factor emerging from the reviews on TrustPilot though are that it’s no longer really “direct”!

In the very early days you had a direct email link, then a form to fill in – both of which went directly to the owner, showing the sender’s email address, which the owner could then reply to via their email software. Fast-forward to today, and all that has changed – yes, the customer does still fill in a form, but the owner never sees their email address, as this is disguised, forcing correspondence to take place through the Owners Direct Dashboard; if the owner does respond by replying to the email, their email address is also disguised, so all communication is taking place in this sort of Owners Direct virtual reality. And woe betide you if you do want to give the customer your phone number or email address to contact you directly (pertinent word that) – the system will strip that out, as you’re ‘being naughty’.

Since a fair number of their advertisers advertise on a commission-only basis, it’s fairly easy to see why Owners Direct do it this way – they want their cash! Which does seem fair enough, except when it puts barriers in the way of making or taking a booking.

Do they really care? Well, I suspect not, yet. Everyone in the HomeAway group will have made their money (for a second time!), so they’re probably not unduly worried about declining visitor numbers and declining revenues, but one would expect Expedia will care somewhat more. They are in a bit of a sticky position though, as financial projections for the HomeAway business did allegedly assume a continuation of both the subscription-based and commission-only models, so it would be difficult for them to abandon either. And if the rumours are correct about them imposing a booking fee in 2016 on the person booking a property (which will presumably alienate the other side of their customer base, the rental customer), their bookings are likely to fall, putting further pressure on revenues.

Internet-Cottages – THE Alternative to Owners Direct

OK, so we’re not saying we’re the only alternative to Owners Direct, but we are, and always will be, resolutely about direct advertising. We also firmly believe in good, friendly, personal service – we like to get to know our owners, the majority of whom have advertised with us for many years. And we also won’t change you anything unless you feel that the advertising is working for you – we offer a free 3 month trial, at the end of which we’ll send you stats showing how well it’s gone, and if it’s not up to scratch, we’ll give you another 3 months for free.

We will

  • Allow you to communicate directly with your potential customers;
  • Provide a link to your website
  • Respond quickly when you contact us
  • Keep our prices at a cost-effective level
  • Treat you as a person, not a number
  • We will not

  • Insist on you communicating with customers via a closed messaging system;
  • Charge you a commission on any bookings;
  • Force you to take bookings through ‘our system’;
  • Insist upon you having 50 photos on your listing (though you might want to have more than one!)
  • Penalise you for not updating your calendar every minute
  • Ever charge you if the advertising is not generating results
  • Interested? Sign up for our free 3 month trial here

    French Snow Report w/c 5 Jan 16

    January 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Snow Reports France
    Christmas and New Year might have been a bit of a wash-out for many resorts this year, but the great news is that it’s now snowing BIGTIME in the French Alps! Unfortunately in a lot of cases this new snow is falling on a pretty thin base, so the above summary of snow depths from J2Ski should prove useful if you’re trying to decide where to go.

    Having just returned from Sainte Foy Tarentaise ourselves, where we also skied Les Arcs, we can confirm that the conditions are now pretty good, as they seem to be generally in the Tarentaise.

    Chamonix however remains firmly at the top of the pile, as in fact it was over Christmas and New Year, reporting a very welcome 3m snow depth currently, with another 9cms on the way soon.

    Long may it continue!!!!

    Stunning chalet in Samoens, French Alps

    July 13, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Summer Accommodation Samoens France

    Just picture yourselves in the hot tub watching the sun go down!


    We’ve always loved Samoens, so we’re especially delighted to let you know about the latest addition to our Samoens accommodation listings – Chalet Toubkal – from our friends at AlpsAccommodation.com

    As it’s summer, let’s start with the setting, and that lovely looking hot tub! It is set back from a quiet road on the edge of Samoens village, bordering the idyllic farming hamlets of Les Vallons, and just a 10 minute level walk from Samoens centre. The setting is truly spectacular – and was the original reason the owners fell in love with it themselves. Acres of open land surround the chalet, with direct access to some of the areas most breathtaking walking and cycling trails. Another major benefit to the chalet is the wonderful large terrace area leading to the bubbly hot tub. The sunset views from the tub are beautiful.

    The chalet was completely renovated in Spring this year, and offers 140m2 of accommodation arranged over 3 floors, creating a light and spacious, yet wonderfully cosy atmosphere with the blend of different woods, mixed with chic and contemporary alpine style.

    Through the entrance level, you are greeted by the light and spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area. The living area boats plenty of seating with a large corner sofa and a separate sofa, so groups don’t need to fight for a comfy spot by the log burner. The lounge is equipped with HD TV with French and UK satellite channels. The kitchen offers ample space for entertaining large groups, with a large wooden table seating 10 people comfortably situated with corner bench and cushions, plus 4 funky black chairs.

    The kitchen is superbly equipped and offers a hob in the central island, meaning the chef can still socialise with the rest of the group, plus there’s plenty of workspace for others to join in with all the food prep! There is a mid-height full sized oven with microwave above, a large fridge freezer, dishwasher, toaster, kettle and NESPRESSO machine with starter capsules. There is ample crockery and dishes, plus extras such as a fondue and raclette machine for cheese lovers. As a luxurious touch in the kitchen is equipped with locally sourced black granite worktops.

    Glass french doors lead onto the huge south facing terrace equipped with dining and lounging furniture. Steps lead down to the extensive garden area, which is home to the hot tub.

    Chalets for rent Samoens

    There are 4 highly appointed bedrooms, where the owners have used a mix of modern alpine furnishings, including furry rugs, cowhide cushions, crisp fresh white linen, oak flooring and a range of locally sourced chic furnishings.

    Sound interesting? Then read more at Chalet Toukbal Samoens And if you’re a small group of 6 people or less, get 10% off for all remaining summer and autumn weeks.