Part two of our blog on how to start your own successful bed and breakfast business looks at even more aspects of running a good B&B and offers more tips. In part one we looked at doing your sums correctly and how to market your business, we highlighted how important Trip Advisor was and how to embrace social media. In this edition we focus more on the personal touch and how to make your business a real home from home.
Give Your B&B a Local Identity
People who frequent bed and breakfast accommodation do so usually in their leisure time. They are not high-powered business executives and so you should not market your product so. Guests will come to your locality to explore the region, so use this factor and embrace it. For instance if your business is based in Scotland then make the most of local produce; salmon, haggis, whisky. Use tartan to decorate and feature paintings and pictures of glens and mountainside. All this will help give your business a sense of place and reaffirm what your guests want to see visiting Scotland.
None of this effort will cost any more than buying non-regionalized furnishings and food, but it will give your guests an opportunity to try local food that perhaps they have never had before. Be happy to take your guests on a personalized tour of the area for a small charge, the more you put yourself out the more they will enjoy their stay and tell their friends about you.
First Impressions Count
Why not have a welcome package as your guests arrive, this may not be expensive but something homemade or typical of the region. For instance, a plate of homemade cakes or cookies with a glass of local beer, together with a selection of reading material giving information on both your business and the locality. Perhaps have fresh flowers in the bedrooms, and offer to carry their luggage up the stairs. Offer to make reservations at a local restaurant or to book theater tickets. In essence make them feel at home, and appreciate exactly what you are doing for them.
Stock Essential Items
Guest are notorious for forgetting things, so make sure you have all the pertinent items at hand they can either borrow or purchase. Have a supply of toothbrushes, popular phone chargers, condoms, tampons, hail clippers, hair dryers, reading glasses, coffee sweeteners, Aspirin and Paracetamol, etc. If your guests are going to a wedding then perhaps a bow-tie and a needle and thread might just save the day. And if rain is expected make sure you have some umbrellas at hand and possibly some waterproof boots.
The Customer is Always Right
A hackneyed expression but still a pertinent one, whatever your guest demands or comments on then do your most to satisfy them. Remember they will soon be gone and things will get back to normal soon, customer satisfaction is better than trying to negate bad publicity. If you manage to take all these pointers on board you will be well on your way to starting and retaining a sustainable business. Remember to enjoy what you are doing, if not your guests will soon pick up on it.