Recently nine eviivo customers won an Expedia Insider Award, which recognises the best hotels in the marketplace based on customer reviews. We are speaking with the winners to find out more about what makes their business so successful.
The Maytime Inn which dates back to the 17th century is located in the village of Astall which is just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful river Windrush and the countryside. They welcome guests to sample their ever-changing menu of local ales, ciders and wine plus a delicious menu of local produce dishes. The village is famous for being the original home of the Mitford sisters and a stunning old church which regularly hosts popular public events.
We spoke to Dominic Wood, owner of The Maytime Inn:
How long have you been in the B&B business?
8 years, 3 as an owner of my own business.
What do you think the key to success for your business is?
A keen eye for detail, a passion for what we do and being unique whilst still constantly developing and improving. If you stand still in this business people get bored of you so the trick is to try and stay ahead of the competition whist also being unique and not just following trends made by other businesses. Above all else, the team makes the business. If everyone is not on the same wavelength and if they do not share my passion it would not work as well as it does.
What do you do to keep guests coming back?
It’s all about the personal approach. We are a small operation so you can get to know the customers very quickly and this leaves a lasting impression with them. The other big factor is consistency. People who come to us on a regular basis know what they will get and trust us to deliver. After that it’s all about communication to remind customers where we are and what’s going on using bulk emails, and social media too. It always helps to recognise customers when they return too and a part of our staff training focuses on ways to remember returning customers and tools we have that can help to do this.
Do you have any advice for other B&B owners?
Just because you get busy do not get complacent. Customers are always looking for new things to try so you cannot rely on existing trade; you must always be pushing to attract new customers whilst ensuring you look after existing ones.
What types of jobs do you hire out vs doing yourself?
We do everything except laundry in house. We would even do the laundry in house but are limited with space to do so.
What makes your B&B unique?
We are a very young team full of passionate people. I gave all the staff the opportunity to contribute to the business. This way we are constantly trying new things and developing. Right now we are expanding our gin menu, playing with our craft and world beer list whilst also trying to maximise use of our new garden extension and outdoor bar.
The approach we take is also unique; we offer luxury without the stuffy atmosphere. Our staff engage with our customers and are encouraged to do so. Too many places take the personal touches away from service. We do our best to make it as personable as possible.
What’s the strangest thing a guest has left behind, or the oddest request?
Let’s just say not much shocks me these days!!
What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you went into the B&B industry?
I don’t think anything anybody says can ever prepare you fully. It is a job that requires constant development, learning and quick thinking. I do not think anybody can appreciate how hard it is until they have done it. This industry is one of intense highs and lows with both being possible in the same day.
The only thing I would say it is don’t do it unless you love it!
…and Alfie the dog is there to welcome guests too!