It’s that time again! Shut the door, pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up for 60 seconds with Michelle Reid from The Beach House in Weymouth.
What advice would you give someone before they took a leap into the accommodation business?
You should go and shadow someone in the type of place you want to buy for at least a week; as it’s not just about cooking breakfasts, there is a lot more involved.
What do you think is the most important thing about being running your own B&B, guest house or small hotel?
It’s a number of things, including: making each guest feel important, good communication skills, a smile everyday and empathy with every type of customer. You also need to be organised and computer literate. But keeping on top of your bookings is easy to do with eviivo.
What’s the funniest thing that a guest has requested?
A fridge in his room to keep his butter in.
What is one thing you wish you knew before getting into this industry?
I wish I knew how time consuming the clerical side of the business is, if there is only one of you doing all of it. Now my husband takes bookings then I have to take card payments and check booking sites.
What is the hardest part of your job?
It’s the stairs! When you’re carrying all you need up three flights of very narrow stairs (of our listed building) and then you realise that you’ve forgotten something.
What is the best part of your job?
It’s got to be the thank you cards and gifts. Also reading peoples reviews and comments in guest book; knowing that you have helped to make their holiday as enjoyable as you can.
What tips do you have to make sure guests book with you directly?
I only put a couple of rooms on another booking site and always say to guests that if they would like to return then ring us directly or book through our website.
Can you offer any tips for making sure you stand out against your competition?
Not really as we are all different. But just go that extra mile for people, like helping with a wheel chair, making a packed lunch instead of breakfast if they’re leaving early, holding the baby so mum can eat her meal or offering a lift to the station/coach. You should also make sure that you know the area that you live in and become your guests tourist information centre. And lastly, keep smiling!
What is the nicest thing a guest has said about their stay with you?
Apart from that their stay was fabulous and that they will be back, to be told that we had made someone’s holiday by doing those little extra things and being told it was a home from home, and how they felt so comfortable.
Why did you choose to get into the accommodation business and what career did you have before?
I had helped a friend with a B&B before for a few years plus worked behind a bar in various places, so I knew that I enjoyed working with the public and would like to think that I have good people skills. Up until a year ago I was a teaching assistant in a local primary school but became very disillusioned with this. My husband was a taxi driver for many years and again had good communication skills. So, when our children left home, we chose to work for ourselves. And we always say we will only get out of this business what we put in, and so far it seems to be working.