Here are my own four top tips to consider if you want to run a new bed and breakfast! I realise that all of these points might be obvious, but they are things to ask yourself before you start launching yourself down the road to a new venture!!
1) Do you like people?
You have to like people!!
If you are naturally shy and find it difficult to mix with all types of people then this is probably not the avenue you should be pursuing!!! I realise this maybe obvious, but it is crucial because you have to give your guests a warm welcome and get on with everyone for the time that they are staying with you. This does not mean bombarding them with what you think they might want to know about you or the area. In my experience I let people guide me and listen to what guests want to know. Many people just want to escape their busy lives, or come away for a break so my tip is stand back, do not badger guests. If they want to talk they will do and if they don’t that is equally fine.
I find it exciting to welcome all my guests whether they are returning or new guests. No one person is the same so it is like a global pick and mix sweet counter.
2) Sharing your home
Ask yourself what sort of accommodation for guests do you have?
In my case I do not have separate accommodation unlike a lot of my friends who run bed and breakfasts. This is my family home where my son and I live. We have our bedrooms at one end of the house, and a private sitting room. My guests have their own sitting room, and can use the patio seated area to have afternoon tea or an evening drink. I do not mind this at all but it would not be for everyone!
If you are worried about sharing your space, house or garden, and if you have not got separate guest accommodation then think twice before launching yourself down the B and B route!!
My tip would be on your website to state the obvious, in my case it is my family home not a separate unit for guest’s. Whether people read this information is another matter, but at least put it on your front page then your potential guest can decide whether to book. Not everyone wants to stay in a family home.
Just remember no bed and breakfast are the same, as the saying goes ” variety is the spice of life”. I have to repeat this mantra every time I go to a bed and breakfast which is uber smart or trendy!
Well yes, this is a mandatory requirement believe it or not running a bed and breakfast!!
People looked forward to a breakfast. I am not just talking about a full cooked breakfast, but what other choices you offer for a continental breakfast, and your sourcing of local produce. You have to be comfortable and have some knowledge to be able to cater not just for vegetarian guests, but nowadays gluten-free/lacto free and a whole running gambit of diets. I make gluten-free bread, cakes and have an emergency supply of a whole running gambit of soya, almond, lacto free, coconut etc to cover all bases.
I am extremely lucky that I was a nurse so I have an understanding medical conditions and dietary requirements for guests who have for example, coeliac disease and diabetes. In fact last year I made a diabetic lemon drizzle cake which was very successful dare I blow my own trumpet! The guest went home with the cake and the recipe!!
Keep up to date with legal requirements for food hygiene accreditation, new legislation regarding Allergies, and food intolerance. If you don’t know speak to your local council for information about food standard and food safety. It is a good starting point , otherwise you will be for the high jump or be closed so you will be out of business!
The joys of cleaning!!! If you hate cleaning then forget this gainful employment! It will definitely not suit you.
You have to be a jack of all trades particularly if like me you are running a bed and breakfast on your own. I have spent many a happy hour (not!) staring down the waste drain of shower traps, drenching myself for a second shower in a morning while polishing the shower controls, staring into the abyss of toilet bowls, the joys or not of adjusting shower doors and tightening loo seats. I suggest investing in a tool kit and a set of allen keys every loo roll holder, loo seat and shower dial seems to require a different size key!
We have not even got onto the subject of being able to make a bed and cleaning a room. Nowadays with duvets you would think it was a walk in the park, think again! I still do hospital corners, well as an ex nurse I try to maintain my bed making standards! Selecting the right duvet size for the bed has to be considered along with the Tog rating! Many a time I have wrestled with duvet covers and getting myself tangles in a double or kingsize !! It does build up your upper body strength as well as giving you an almost daily work out. Who needs to go to a gym when on a daily basis you are using your legs and arms continuously lifting, bending, and stretching running a bed and breakfast.
Think about whether you have a huge supply of your own towels,sheets and pillowcases etc and where an earth you will store them, or alternatively using a laundry service. In my case I now use a laundry service so I save on washing, drying and ironing all in one fell swoop, bliss! Plus I had a fire so all of my original stock was black, stank and not fit for use!
If you hate cleaning but still want to run a bed and breakfast then my tip is to get a cleaner! Guest’s do not want filthy rooms and bathrooms!!!
Well there you have it in a nutshell they are only my tips and it will either put you off or make you think you might enjoy this wonderful bed and breakfast world!!!!