Coming up with groundbreaking marketing concepts in the current digital age is no mean feat, especially if what’s at the heart of the strategy has nothing to do with the internet.
But rural hotel network Logis de France is betting on a return to traditional French village life and charm as a way of helping struggling communities keep up with the times.
Starting this spring, numerous villages across France with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants will unveil their all-in-one country inns to the public.
The idea behind this multiservice accommodation is to offer everything guests are after from their stay in the French countryside on their very doorsteps.
Each revamped country inn or hostel will aim to have a café, restaurant, grocery store, bakery and florist within its walls.
The concept may seem a bit far-fetched to some, but with businesses in rural settings closing at record pace, staying overnight in a poorly serviced village can be a turn-off for tourists.
According to a study by tourism industry consultantants Extenso TCH, approximately 200 rural hotels have closed in France every year since 2011.
French hotelier union UMIH also estimates 10,000 rural businesses related to the industry, including hotels, restaurants and bistros, will disappear in the years to come.
Logis’s campaign, which needs local hoteliers, restaurateurs and tradesmen to sign up for the project to get off the ground, hopes to counteract the increasing desertification of rural France.
It also hopes the new all-in-one country inn concept will take back some of the short-term rental market from Airbnb, who have 450,000 properties across France.