The customer first!

One year ago, a new European directive that turned the whole tourism industry upside down, was implemented. No more unexpected additional costs: displayed price = paid price! A small revolution with big results!

Since October 2014, already pushing towards its climax of the application of a new European directive, Ardennes-Etape has truly revolutionized the tourism industry.

The European directive is unambiguous: the price which is being displayed needs to be equal to the total price to pay by the consumer! The purpose: being able to take a purchasing decision whilst having all relevant knowledge.

By not making use of the exception by law, Ardennes-Etape has become the first actor on the market to suggest a truthful price, in which all costs for holiday home rental are being included (water, heating, electricity, cleaning, tourist taxes, handling charges…). This means that everything can be calculated in advance and is therefore included into the price being displayed.

Ardennes-Etape has proved once again to be a market leader: The company opens the market and innovates in benefit of the consumer, with results that are beyond positive!

“It is one of the best decisions we have ever made!”, confirms a satisfied Valérie Geron, Communication & Marketing Manager at Ardennes-Etape.

Transparency: self-evident?

Obviously, you think? Not exactly… In the tourism industry it appears to be very challenging.

“For the holiday-makers this kind of transparency is self-evident, but it means a small revolution in the industry”, Valérie Geron says, manager of communications and marketing at Ardennes-Etape. “The information needed to meet these requirements just wasn’t available. We didn’t want to just comply with the legal requirements, but instead act in accordance with the intent of the directive, meaning: optimal consumer protection.”Valérie Geron explains.

Renting a holiday home implies some extra charges, such as for the use of water, electricity, heating, etc. Holiday home owners prefer to work with a flat-rate for these charges or to calculate the amount due based on consumption and market price. Energy prices used to be left out of the total amount but mentioned as an extra obligatory charge, making it difficult for the future holiday-maker to compare similar houses. The extra obligatory fees imply that the final price might be significantly different than it initially was.

Ardennes-Etape has created a data collection tool, where a very precise estimation of usage costs is being made. This is included in the total displayed price.

“We wanted to meet the needs of our holiday-makers. If you book a holiday home for sixteen people and you know one kWh of electricity costs 0.22 euro during the day and 0.18 euro at night-time, you still don’t know exactly what the final amount is going to be. One cannot just assume one’s own private consumption and add the extra people to the equation. We sought to avoid the holiday-maker plunging himself in an Excel spreadsheet or spending one hour using a calculator. The goal is to make life easier for everyone”, Valérie Geron adds.

A plummeting cancellation percentage

In only a few months, the cancellation percentage of stays with Ardennes-Etape has dropped significantly by 30%! Whether if it is about a cancellation that took place right after making the reservation, or a few days before arrival, the numbers are plunging.

“The impact was radical: a real ON/OFF. The holidaymaker knows what to expect, gives us his confidence and realises at the end of the booking process that the price has remained exactly the same. The promise has been kept, so he has no reason whatsoever to cancel his reservation”, Valérie Geron explains.

The Ardennes-Etape team hopes that they have launched a new trend in the vacation rental sector.

“The more time passes, the more people will get used to it and will reward transparency. Now it is important that the respect for the holiday maker becomes a standard, not only to the actors in the tourism industry, but on European level as well”, Valérie Geron concludes.

Looking for additional information? Contact Ardennes-Etape’s press department via 0032 (0)80 29 24 00 or by email via


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