One of the dreams for many people is to sell up and move to the countryside. With that dream often comes the running of a little boutique bed and breakfast, a hidey-hole for the weary traveler to relax and take in the views and the fresh air. A bed and breakfast is the ultimate retirement dream, but how do you invest in one? And how do you run one in the first place?
It’s not the same as running a home – with multiple bedrooms and people to cater for, you’re running a business. A bed and breakfast is hard to run, but with the right tips, you can make it a success for those who come your way. For example, if you know that the best linens and bedding comes from Richard Haworth, you’re going to factor it into your budget and know you’re offering the best. If you know that you would be better off with a bigger digital marketing budget, you’re going to factor that in, too. It’s all important, as are the tips we have for you below about running a bed and breakfast!
- Get To Know Your Market
If you know who you want to aim your bed and breakfast towards, you can tailor your service in that way. For example, if you are setting up your bed and breakfast near to festival locations, you can cater your services to young groups of students and teenagers. There are other bed and breakfasts who have a niche of the older generation and appeal to those without children.
You could choose to buy school playground equipment to attract families with kids, especially if you’re close to museums and other family-friendly activities that are bound to attract such kinds of visitors. It’s a good idea to take some time to weigh up your options and think about the pros and cons of each. Who do you want to market your bed and breakfast towards? (…)
7. Don’t Forget About Design
The way that you present your new bed and breakfast will impact dramatically on your chances of success, as you need to make an effort to present your premises in the most welcoming and stylish manner possible. Putting little to no effort into the design of your business can encourage potential guests to turn away and book elsewhere, as though minimalism is good in small amounts, you don’t want your bed and breakfast to lack character completely. Choose a specific theme or design style that you think will work with your premises and target audience, such a contemporary chic or more cottage-core traditional. Having a handpicked design that is totally unique will be a great selling point that is sure to attract new guests.
8. Keep In Touch
One big mistake that new bed and breakfast owners make focuses around providing their guests with the right amount of space. It can be tempting to leave them unattended throughout their stay to allow them to experience privacy and peace and quiet, however you must remember to keep in touch and make yourself immediately available whenever your guests are in need. They may wish to know more about the local area so that they can visit a restaurant and bar or plan a fun day out, or perhaps they would like to order room service or even stay on an extra night – you will never know until you make an effort to ask, so always be there to offer advice, guidance and assistance to those who may need it.
Who do you want to market your bed and breakfast towards? You won’t be able to appeal to everyone, but you can appeal to specific groups and really become popular because of that.
- Appreciate Reviews & Feedback
Websites like TripAdvisor can make or break your business. You do not want to get bad feedback, of course you don’t, but you do want to know that your customers are enjoying what they find with you. You need to take charge of your reputation and make sure that your TripAdvisor reviews are positive ones. You want good quality photographs for your website – ones that match the actual bed and breakfast! Reviews will determine whether you get further guests. If you do get any bad feedback, make sure that you follow up and answer all complaints.
- Get On Social Media
To truly maximize your customers, you need to be on social media. Social media has to be a big part of your digital marketing plan and it’s going to be one of the biggest ways that you pull in new business. If you want to be exposed and appeal to customers, you need to be on Facebook and Instagram and you have to be able to connect with customers at the same time.
- Do The Math
Budgets are so important if you want to run your own business. A larger bed and breakfast means charging larger prices, and a smaller house means you can be more reasonable with them. You want to have the good quality linens and beds, the good furniture, the best suppliers for your food and beverages – and you need to budget for all of this. If you plan to serve alcohol, make sure that you are licensed to be able to do it. Insurance, rent or the mortgage – these costs all add up and they need to be accounted for when you are running your business.
- Make a Great Impression
You want people to visit, and then you want them to come back and tell their friends about it. For this to happen, you need to make an excellent first impression and that means you have to do something to stand out. Serve fresh baked pastries and cakes. Offer free newspapers and magazines in the rooms. Offer free Wi-Fi – all of these things are going to get people talking and that’s exactly what you want. These are all small touches that make a huge difference, which is what you want to do!
- Keep A Stock Of “STUFF”
Toiletries, cufflinks, nail clippers, toothbrushes, spare phone chargers – all of these things are the emergency bits and pieces that guests are very likely to forget when they stay with you. If you keep a stock of this stuff in the back, you are going to appeal to guests as you would have thought of everything – and that’s what people want. Take the time to think about what you may want to find in a bed and breakfast and make it happen for your guests.