An Accommodation Strategy for the Benefit of Everyone at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

March 18th, 2014 9:17 AM | Comments Off on An Accommodation Strategy for the Benefit of Everyone at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Press Release

A fine year is in perspective for Normandy in 2014, with the region due to play host to one and all thanks to a score of events of international scope. It is an opportunity that both public and private protagonists from the local tourism sector have every intention of transforming into a lasting benefit for the region.

As an organiser of the accommodation of its accredited audiences, the Games are party to this strategy of course, added to which they will bring some 500,000 spectators flocking to the region from right across France and the world. Indeed the fortnight of equestrian sports and culture in Normandy will appear on TV screens worldwide thanks to some one hundred or so hours of broadcasts. The fruits for the local region promise to be in abundance this year, with further benefits over the long term

“We willingly shifted the Games’ fortnight to stagger the tourist season. For their part, those protagonists involved in tourism have really stepped up to the plate in 2014. They’re taking full responsibility for their actions and their cooperation is a testament to the quality with which they want this exceptional year to be associated. Indeed the welcome provided to tourists is one of Normandy’s strong points, along with its equine network. With the major equestrian worlds being held in the region, our assets are really brought to the fore. I’m certain that our authenticity will be much appreciated by the public and its repercussions will prove beneficial for a long time to come.” Laurent Beauvais, President of the Normandie 2014 Organising Committee

A wide range of accommodation

The figures speak for themselves: all in all, Normandy is offering some 255,000 beds across all its various accommodation categories, of which 181,500 are split between the departments of Calvados, Manche and Orne (figures from the CRT Normandie (Normandy’s Regional Tourism Committee) 2013). This abundance combined with its great diversity is one of the features, which characterises the region’s primary industries. You have to add to that the weight of the catering, leisure and service industry to understand the stakes at play with events such as this.

Raphael Chauvois, President of the Regional Tourism Committee in Normandy, reminds us what those stakes are: “Normandy is a major tourist destination and its name and reputation are familiar around the globe. In addition to the variety of its assets (heritage and culture, gastronomy, coastline, large historic cities and green tourism…), it organises events which have become its signature: The Normandy landings and the Battle of Normandy, the Rouen Armada and Normandy’s Impressionist Festival to name but a few… Gîtes (self-catering cottages), bed and breakfast, traditional hotels or camping and caravanning make up a generous and diversified range of accommodation in Normandy which will undoubtedly be able to welcome all the different audiences without any hassle.”

Availabilities in all the different categories

As has been the case since 2011, the various institutional tourism protagonists periodically come together within the Normandie 2014 Organising Committee. The most recent meeting specifically dealt with the status of the accommodation available with a few months to go until the Games. The conclusions were unanimous and confident: there is still a great deal of availability across the different accommodation categories.

Philippe Gay, Director of Calvados Tourisme explains in more detail. “Right now there is no great tension with regards to accommodation over this period. Booking can easily be made for families. For groups, there is still availability, particularly in accommodation slightly further afield of the competition sites.” This summary is shared by Laurence Fras-Julien, President of the Gîtes de France in the Calvados region: “75% of the 800 approved gîtes in the Calvados are still available for booking. In any case, the bookings will be made late in the day, closer to the timing of the event itself.” In the Manche region, availability is good for all types of accommodation. Though hotels are virtually fully booked around Le Pin National Stud in the Orne region, there’s still a wealth of gîtes yet to be reserved.

The feedback from all the Tourist Offices in Caen, Deauville and Bayeux echo this sentiment. The large organisations have booked: delegations, accredited members and partners, but there is still some availability. Didier Llorca, Director of the Bayeux Tourist Office adds that: “Less than 25 minutes from Caen, let’s not forget that there are a number of possibilities for accommodation open to spectators.” Indeed, this is true for all the region’s major events: the impact is extending to a wider geographical area because spectators are willing to travel a little to attend the event.

Frédérique Gervais, Director of the Caen Tourist Office is equally reassuring about availability in the region’s capital city, where 7 of the Games’ 8 equestrian disciplines will be held. “The hotels which are accommodating the equestrian delegations are 80% booked up by the Organising Committee and they are reserving the remaining 20% for their usual clientele. However, rooms are still available in residential hotels (over the first week of the Games) and in the Caen conglomeration for the general public with the start of individual ticket sales on 4 March.”

Norman accommodation available in 3 clicks

It’s a veritable innovation for an international sporting event: from the Games’ ticket office website, a platform has made a list of all of Normandy’s referenced and approved accommodation, linking together the databases of 5 Departmental Tourism Committees in the Calvados, the Manche and the Orne, the Seine Maritime and the Eure. Spectators can consult the various proposals, which satisfy their criteria (category, location…). This enables the search to be simplified and it links the request to what’s on offer. It serves as a key support for those who are further afield, who aren’t very familiar with Normandy or those who want to get off the beaten track. Over 7,500 accommodation solutions are on offer in Lower Normandy (846 hotels, 4,640 rental properties and gîtes, 555 campsites and camper parking zones, as well as 1,536 B&Bs and 61 tourist residences). “This high performance tool guides the spectator towards a comprehensive stay in the region. The aim is to give the user support in their search and to enhance the visibility of all the professionals working in the area who provide a high quality service,” explains Philippe Gay.

The accommodating of accredited members of the audience

There is more good news from the Organising Committee: 85% of the equestrian federations and sponsors, particularly the larger bodies, have made firm bookings with regards to their hotel rooms. In total some 40,000 night stays are dedicated to the international equestrian family across the 3 departments (officials, accredited audiences, media, partners). A turnover of some 5.7 million Euros is spread across 59 establishments and, in return, there is a commitment from the professionals involved to control the sales costs.
For the volunteers, a ‘contact’ platform will be activated by the Organising Committee to offer them solutions with a local inhabitant or other solutions at attractive costs. However, we should make it clear that this form of accommodation with a local inhabitant is not intended to extend to spectators at the Games. Those who are coming to Normandy for the event are naturally directed towards the regional accommodation agents. Indeed the Games are also intended to have immediate spin-offs for the region itself.

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