We’re always looking for ways we can help beginners get a “foot in the door” of the accommodation business. So with that in mind we thought we would ask the real experts for their advice about running a B&B, guest house or small hotel, the ones who do this day in, day out… Our customers!
The first question we asked you was ‘what advice would you give someone before they took a leap into the accommodation business?’
We noticed that there was a trend in the advice being offered so here are five of the top themes we discovered:
1. Stay in other accommodation like yours or even work at one for a week or so to really find out what goes into running the business.
Work somewhere for a week, it will give you a good idea of what to expect – Mary Gray, The Barleycorn Inn
Talk to at least 3 others who are doing it already – Steven Rudge, The Harbour Lights
Go and work or shadow someone in the type of place you want to buy for at least a week, its not just about cooking breakfasts there is a lot more involved – Michelle Reid, The Beach House Weymouth
Go and work in one in all departments for a month – Nicky clement, Sarnia Guest House
2. Assess the competition. Who is going to be your customer and how much should you charge? It’s all about research.
Research local pricing to determine if you can be competitive. Be flexible with pricing as rooms remain unsold – John Grahame, The B&B Blackpool
Make sure the area needs the accommodation, are there others that are constantly full? – Kevin Gibson, The Royal George
If you are in an area where tourism is seasonal, make sure that you have strategy to attract customers out of season or an alternative business income during these periods – Kay Bickley, Upcott House B&B
Research your market and assess your competition. Who are your customers going to be and how much are they willing to pay? – Mark Crossland, Pack Horse Inn
Check out the competition within 5 miles – Rose Vyvyan-Robinson, Alltybrain Farm Cottages and Farmhouse B&B
3. Make sure you have enough savings to fall back on in the inception period and in case of unexpected finances.
Make sure you have liquid assets as a cushion during the inception period and be aware of how time consuming the job is – Robert Cupper, Loddington House
Make sure your finances are in place – Mark and Debbie Whatley, Collins arms
Beware all the hidden and unexpected expenses – Carole Leatherland, The George Guest House
If you can afford it, location is important, ie a prime location with great views, perhaps this is easier with an already established and successful business – Glyn Rees, Babbacombe Hall Guest Accommodation
Make sure you have all your finance in place and have done a business plan with as much focus on income and expenditure as possible to make sure you are going to be a viable business as well as who your target market is and how you are going to attract them – Adrian Craigs, Carn Mhor Bed and Breakfast
4. Be positive about your new adventure and make sure your passion shines through.
Keep a positive mental attitude at all times….and smile! – Linda Turner, Bovey Cottage
Remember that it has to be a passion and lifestyle – Poppy, Bathurst Arms
You must really enjoy meeting people, and be comfortable with them sharing your home or property – Sam Ferguson, Crowfield Countryhouse
Don’t be too serious, enjoy yourself and the people around you will enjoy themselves too – Shirley Stokes, Little Harbour
Be prepared for hard work, make sure you are a sociable person and also patience is very necessary – Kathleen Meehan, Bluebell House B&B
5. Be prepared for how time-consuming the job is and being a jack of all trades.
Can you give 199%, be available 24/7, have the energy and drive to front the business, take things on the chin and deal with positives and negatives and be prepared to jump into all roles associated with the business? – Amanda, Crystals on the Prom
Consider just how much impact starting and running your own business will have on your personal life, you have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul, work long hours and like people, from all walks of life…. and I still love the job after nearly five years, and I’ve never been in business before so it’s been a long learning curve – Gill Hartley, Treetops Cottages & Spa
People tend to think its an easy job, making a bed and providing breaking… it’s not. It’s 24/7 hands on and you will be on call at all times for any problems the guest may have – Alan Ness, Jessamine House
Running your own business has great rewards but don’t think you’re finished at mid day! There is so much to do behind the scenes if you are going to be successful, so do full research – Bill Harrison, Cooperage
Bear in mind it is a lifestyle, not just a job. Your work life balance will change significantly – Mike, Branston Lodge
See some of eviivo’s top 10 tips on how to be a true B&B here.
And remember if you are starting your journey into the accommodation industry, eviivo can help you to tell your story to the world. To find out more click here.