After years of wanderlust, some travelers choose to settle down, yet still remain in touch with their nomadic selves. Opening a bed&breakfast becomes an interesting option to continue the journey with the help of the people visiting.
Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) are essential in modern-day travel and hospitality industry and beyond. There are about 17,000 B&Bs in the US, so there are undoubtedly more opportunities entrepreneurs can take advantage of in this ever-growing industry. Indeed, managing a B&B is demanding, but never forget that there are many reasons why several travelers prefer B&Bs over hotel accommodation. Therefore it’s prudent to run your business effectively to guarantee success. Here are some tips you can rely on to run a successful bed and breakfast business.
Show genuine interest in your guests
Guests are vital to the sustenance of many travel businesses over time. Luckily, you are never too busy to get to know your guests as a B&B owner. Therefore, prioritize finding out essential information like your guests’ birthdays, allergies, food restrictions, reasons for visiting the area, and what they plan to do during their stay. You can talk to them face to face or send them online surveys to find out what you need to know. The more you know, the better you can tailor your offerings to suit them best and promote your chances of repeat visits.
Streamline housekeeping and maintenance
There is no denying that functionality, amenities, and a tidy ambiance are vital to delight your guests. However, housekeeping and maintenance are necessary to keep your business running effectively. You will need to clean your rooms daily, including making beds, cleaning the bathroom, replacing towels, emptying bins, and replenishing coffee or tea supplies. In addition, you will have to prepare breakfasts, sort out guests’ issues, shop for home supplies, and handle repair tasks regularly. Since your to-do list is quite lengthy, it is prudent to have a housekeeping checklist to ensure that your rooms are in the best shape for all guests. This checklist will help you cover all aspects of maintenance and housekeeping, which is vital, especially if you are running the place alone. Even if you delegate these duties to a small staff, streamlining your housekeeping will help you stay on top of what is happening, so you don’t have to micromanage or waste time in unnecessary meetings.
Investing in a home warranty plan is also one of the best ways to streamline your B&B maintenance. A home warranty plan helps reduce the cost of repair or replacement of any of your property’s major appliances and systems. Consequently, all it takes is one call to your provider when something breaks down. Your home warranty provider then contacts a trustworthy technician to handle the necessary repairs and replacement, ensuring that your appliances and systems are back up and running in no time.
Provide the best facilities and amenities
Facilities and amenities are crucial to the overall lodging experience, so it is vital to provide these perks to your guests to make their stay more comfortable. For instance, if your house has more than one guest room, ensure that there are no adjoining walls to offer your guests extra space and make it easier for them to keep an eye on their kids. Since connectivity is paramount in today’s digital world, free WiFi and a computer in the common area are necessary to ensure that your guests can interact with the outside world while at your premises. Additionally, consider investing in a small library, a TV lounge with comfortable seating, and an outdoor patio where lodgers can relax and enjoy themselves. Also, rooms specifically designed for disabled guests are worth investing in to ensure that your B&B can accommodate lodgers with special needs.
Set policies and house rules
Clearly defined staff policies and house rules for your guests are crucial to running an effective B&B, so keep this in mind. For your staff, first, ensure that they understand the value that they bring to your enterprise. This way, they can handle your guests warmly and professionally and perform their duties passionately. You can list responsibilities and tasks so every staff member knows what is expected of them. Also, specify your workers’ dress code, number of working hours, and other rules like no-after work socializing with lodgers.
On the other hand, come up with house rules for your guests to set expectations for them and give them a preview of your hosting style. Keeping noise levels down, notifying staff of sudden changes in check-in and check-out arrangements, and no smoking if your premises is a smoking-free facility are some of the necessary house rules to set for your lodgers. Clearly defined staff policies reduce confusion and conflicts and the time wasted to resolve these issues. Similarly, house rules for guests ensure that lodgers are not a nuisance to one another, ensuring a comfortable and peaceful stay for everyone.
Technology’s far-reaching influence has permeated the travel and hospitality industry, so it is essential to rely on technology to effectively promote and run your business. For starters, a website is non-negotiable to running a B&B since this will typically be the first point of reference for potential patrons. Your target audience will readily look you up online to check out your property and know more about your amenities and offerings, so it is vital to have a website that impresses them. Also, ensure that your site has an integrated booking engine to facilitate quick and hassle-free room reservations. Additionally, feel free to leverage trusted travel platforms like Tripadvisor to list and promote your business. Tripadvisor has 490 million different monthly visitors, so you cannot afford to ignore it as a contemporary B&B owner.
Consequently, you should write your Tripadvisor listing correctly and feature top-notch photographs of your facility that will convince lodgers to stay with you. Also, a reported 80% of people read up to 12 recent reviews when researching accommodation options on Tripadvisor before deciding. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for reviews from your satisfied lodgers to promote your chances of raking in more patrons.
Keep your visitor counts low
In some locations, hotel accommodation can be relatively cheaper than staying at a B&B. However, at hotels, guests share a floor with many other people, resulting in round-the-clock noise and never seeing a familiar face. Consequently, prioritize limiting the number of lodgers at your B&B to create a personalized environment that reduces overcrowding and noise. After all, your guests are lodging at your facility to escape the classic hotel experience, so doing this is the best way to make them feel like VIPs.
Offer local recommendations
Many people prefer to receive recommendations from locals instead of relying on travel websites and other review methods. Therefore, use your local connections to introduce your guests to all the hidden gems in the area and occasionally hook them up with excellent deals. For example, you can partner with local businesses so you can provide your guests with one-of-a-kind deals to make their stay more memorable. You can offer lodgers these local recommendations through conversations or give them pamphlets and brochures with all the tourist hotspots and other not-so-well-known exciting places.
Make a great first impression
First impressions are crucial when running a B&B, so keep this in mind for the best results. Making a great first impression as a B&B owner begins with how you answer your phone. Consequently, try never to let your phone go to voicemail, and be warm and welcoming while expressing genuine interest in your guests. Additionally, keep the walkway to your front door tidy, and in excellent condition, so lodgers will be greeted by a clean house front when they arrive. Finally, remember to ease the tension of first-time guests by engaging them in hearty conversations and offering them beverages when they arrive.