Just as summer has its fair share of holiday romances, it also hides unhappiness. “Only” 29% of French holidaymakers will sleep in a hotel during their stay this summer, compared to an average of 46% for Europeans, according to the latest barometer from Europe Assistance*. France is even the last to rank. A remarkable difference and an ongoing trend for many years, according to the agency. What, the French don’t like the Sofitels, the apricot jam jar for breakfast because the strawberries, the kingsize beds and the room services are gone? Not sure. Try to explain.
More than a rejection of the hotel, it is likely necessary to find there a passion for seasonal rentals, a Franco-French passion: 39% of holidaymakers in the country make this choice, against 30% mostly in Europe. And for good reason: France has four million second homes, says sociologist Jean Viard: “It’s more, in proportion, than any other country in Europe”. This specialist in social seasons and holidays explains that “the French left the countryside later than other Countries, most of them keeping their homes. Of the four million farms that existed in 1945, 400,000 have been made seasonal rentals, not including those rented under the radar.
You, I will never forget you
These many second homes lead to the second part of the favorite residence of French vacationers: the good old-fashioned squat with friends or family. “Here too, the trend in France is higher than in Europe: 29% of travelers have chosen this option, a lower trend compared to 2021”, introduces Francine Abgrill, director of Travel Business Line at Europ Assistance France. . The explanation is simple: it’s better to sleep with friends who live in Nice, Montpellier or Argelès-sur-Mer than in Dresden, Leicester or Namur. According to a study by the Ministry of the Environment in 2017, 8.1 million people in France live within 10 km of the coast, including 1.1 million within 500 meters. Corocic’eau, so. “Most French people don’t leave the borders and enjoy a relatively hospitable coastal country, with relatives well -located to save money on housing”, Jean Viard added.
And it makes it possible to avoid one of the hotel’s restrictions: the imposed schedules. “The French are very much involved in freedom and free holidays, more so in most countries”, agreed Danièle Küss, former head of the International Tourism Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Armelle Solelhac, founder of SWiTCH, a forecasting and strategy agency that specializes in tourism, brings the point home: “Hotels are breakfasts between such and such hours, return schedules, for leaving… Some people like to go on vacation. »
Money as a limit
Add another factor: the French generally have longer holidays than other Europeans, announces Francine Abgrill: 2.1 weeks against 1.9. “Inevitably, the longer the stay, the more the hotel will be unreasonable due to the price”, supports Danièle Küss.
The reality is probably more here: the French and the hotel, it’s not a loss of love, but maybe an impossible love. “It’s not because they don’t go that they don’t want to go, it’s because they can’t, Jean Viard believes. Many French people dream of hotel holidays, which are often constrained by cost or by children, who are less comfortable with this type of accommodation. »
Because compared to other countries, “hotels are more expensive in France, because they are subject to more technical and legal restrictions. Seasonal rental actually appears to be more profitable”, continues Armelle Solelhac .Not including the cost of meals: a hotel rarely has a kitchen, unlike other types of seasonal accommodation.According to an Ifop study published in June 2022 **, the rental price is the first criterion (73%) for the choice of accommodation, and the type of accommodation may be a criterion for not a single French person in the two (49%).
Housing instead suffers, therefore, to the annoyance of some holidaymakers – and especially, unfortunately, holidaymakers: “Household chores are more available in seasonal rent than in hotels, and are often devoted to woman “, regretted Danièle Küss. And Jean Viard concludes: “The hotel is a fantasy, so often inaccessible. However, as long as there is sea, the main thing is safe. »
* The 2022 edition of Europ Assistance and Ipsos Holiday Barometer was held in 15 countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Thailand and Australia. In each country, 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over participated in an online survey. The survey was conducted between April 26 and May 16 and focused on consumers ’vacation plans and travel preferences.
** The survey was conducted with a sample of 1,004 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and above.