This is the case of the Fiddler Lake Resort, a new 250-acre estate comprising 85 huge log cabins, equipped with a sauna, spa and billiard room, as well as a common indoor swimming pool. “We offer residences for millionaires for a weekend, at a relatively affordable price, with a whole range of key services,” says Michel Bourbeillon, general manager of the centre. Don’t feel like cooking? A chef comes to your home to prepare a dream menu for more information visit our travel blog
The development of such areas, in addition to the luxurious second homes that their owners put on the rental market, all of this poses a threat to hotels, believes Jean-François Demers, founder of the Chaletsalouer.ca website. “It’s not uncommon to see hoteliers pressuring municipalities to more strictly control the construction of chalets intended for rental,” he says.
Is this a sign that this lobbying is working? Some municipalities have already decreed zones prohibited for short-term house rentals or are in the process of doing so. This is the case in Saint-Sauveur, a town of 9,000 inhabitants living mainly from tourism, which has adopted such a regulation in a residential area.
Spoiled for choice
With the proliferation of rental cottages, a veritable industry for several years, customers are now spoiled for choice. They can afford to rent at the last minute. Last week, an overview of La Presse revealed that there were still cottages for rent almost everywhere in the region.
As usual, the large chalets are rented first. Several couples book them together and reconstituted families find their winter refuge there. As a group, renting a second home, even a luxury one, turns out to be less expensive than a hotel holiday, to which is added the cost of meals in a restaurant.
“A more and more frequent phenomenon, grandparents reserve a large chalet to receive the whole family during the holiday season,” observes Isabelle Otis, of Côté Nord Tremblant, an area of more than 70 luxurious log cabins. A great way to spend Christmas with loved ones, as in the past.
Good news for consumers, the competition forces cottage owners to take care of their marketing. Last-minute packages, even for private chalets, are beginning to be advertised on the internet. One thing is certain, the enchanting setting and character are no longer enough to entice vacationers. An outdoor spa and a sauna are also valuable assets for attracting ever more demanding customers,” says Thomas Asselin, founder of ChaletsQc.com, a site that lists country houses for rent.
Luxury and activities
If luxury is a major attraction, customers are also interested in what happens on site. They are looking for the facility to practice activities,” notes Nancy Hotte, co-owner of the Chalets du lac Grenier (six chalets in all). Same story at Côté Nord Tremblant. “People want to be active. Packages with Mont-Tremblant Park or downhill skiing are very successful,” says Ms. Otis.
From year to year, the duration of stays is getting shorter. Rental complexes that required a minimum of four or five nights have, for the most part, reduced their requirement to a minimum of two nights. This explains why people prefer short stays, of two or three nights, rather than the full week, as before,” notes Ms. Demers.
Another plausible explanation: they agree to pay more for the great luxury, by sacrificing the duration.
For the months of January and February, reservations are being made in dribs and drabs. Quebecers want to see if there will be snow before planning their vacation. “And with online reservation calendars, people are waiting for things to heat up before deciding to book,” says Harris Desmeules, head of reservations at SEPAQ.
Since March, the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec (CITQ) has made major changes to its classification system for tourist residences. The new scale rates rental cabins on a 0 to 5 star rating, whereas this rating was 0 to 4 stars previously, which will allow high-end establishments to promote their product at their true value.
This year, all tourist residences will be inspected. So far, seven domains have achieved a five-star rating. Ultimately, the CITQ estimates that approximately 1% of tourist residences will obtain the highest rating.