You may have thought about running your own B&B, which is great, you’re a fantastic host, your breakfast is second-to-none, but what about all the legal stuff and more importantly getting guests into your property.
We’ve put together 10 helpful tips on how to make sure your brand new B&B not only meets all of its legal requirements but is successful too! Getting these basics right at the beginning, will make sure you and your B&B get off on the right foot straight away.
1. Look at your B&B through the eyes of your guests, and plan everything to meet and exceed their expectations – remember, despite all the inevitable rules and regulations, this business is simple at the core – it is all about hospitality!
It’s hard work but rewarding when done right – Helen, Newcourt Barton
2. After researching the local market, usethe discipline of writing a simple Business Plan and a Budget to think through the key issues for your business and understand key numbers like break-even booking levels, gross profit etc. (the book “How to Start & Run a B&B” explains how in easy terms; the eBook version is free to B&B Association members)
3. Use your budget and research to set your prices, reflecting seasonal and daily demand, so you achieve good rates at times of high demand, and good occupancy at weak times
4. Draw up Booking Conditions that are right for your business, especially covering deposits and cancellations (always charge a deposit, and make sure you are able to accept deposit payments made from overseas)
Be prepared for hard work, make sure you are a sociable person and also patience is very necessary – Kathleen Bluebell house
5. Choose a technology provider that understands small owner-managed businesses and can provide you a complete booking and management system, like eviivo – or make sure you have some form of online booking and are set up with a payments provider
6. Look into which booking channels (eg online travel agents or “OTAs”) will be best for your business – your technology provider should be able to help with this
7. Make sure you have an attractive, search-friendly and mobile-friendly website with great images, up-to date content, and the ability to book online
First and foremost is a good website and photos – Jean, London Road Guest Accommodation
8. Register with the Food Standards Agency as a ‘food business”, and follow guidance on food safety standards (it’s the law!)
9. Use the official guidance and the B&B Association‘s pointers, and simple template etc, to do your Fire Risk Assessment, to comply with the 2006 fire regulations (which apply to everyone letting a room to paying guests – don’t risk a £5,000 fine)
10. Soak up knowledge about the business, and avoid the mistakes others less prepared have made! Speak to other B&B owners, and stay in a few good B&Bs. Finally, do consider joining the Bed & Breakfast Associationfor their ongoing impartial, not-for-profit guidance, information and support, bulletins and B&B alerts.
Go and work or shadow someone in the type of place you want to buy for at least a week, it’s not just about cooking breakfasts there is a lot more involved – Michelle, The Beach Hose Weymouth
Running a B&B is a full time job, and you need to be a manager, guest relations, the cook, receptionist and DIY person, so you’ll need to be prepared from the outset. And once you start to see the guests coming in, you should encourage early guests to spread the word, by filling in reviews and keep in touch with them to try and encourage repeat business.
We hope this helps and good luck with your new adventure.