As lockdown eases but travel uncertainty remains, we can expect record numbers of Brits holidaying in their home country this year — which is great news for guest houses and B&Bs. In this article, Alison Hughes, Interiors Director at Coast Road Furniture, shares her tips for getting your business ready for the surge.
We are all well overdue a holiday — but with international travel bans and restrictions still in place, most of us will be having a ‘staycation’ this year. As a guest house or B&B owner in Wales, you’re no doubt looking forward to being busy this summer with bookings and enquiries at an all-time high. But, before you do, it’s important to make sure your business is ready to receive the extra guests.
Below, I’ll share five ways to get your B&B ready for what is set to be one of the busiest summers on record for Welsh accommodation providers.
Take a step back and try to look at your B&B through the eyes of a new guest. Identify areas that are worn out, paying particular attention to carpet, paint, and wallpaper. These will be tricky to fix-up once guests start to arrive, so it’s better to get them out of the way with first.
The same goes for any repairs you’ve been meaning to make to infrastructure, such as your electric system. Getting faulty lights and the like sorted before summer means everything should be in fine working order when it matters, and you won’t have to close down any parts of your property for repairs during your busiest period.
Once these are done, you can move onto replacing your furniture or freshening up any tired-looking upholstery, as well as soft furnishings such as curtains, cushions, and bedding. Replace your décor and ornaments last.
Design and décor
After all the stresses and strains of the past year, people will no doubt be looking for some positivity from your establishment. So, consider opting for bright, primary colours if you choose to redecorate to create an uplifting atmosphere. Decide if you want to focus on joy or relaxation — warm colours such as red, orange, and yellow can inspire feelings of happiness among your guests, while soothing cool tones like blue and green can create a more calming mood that’s perfect for a quiet getaway.
Houseplants are a very trendy, colourful, and relatively cheap way of decorating and suit any style of interior, so they’re perfect for giving your property an uplift, and they can bring a sense of life and freshness into your B&B that other ornaments can’t. Some plants can also absorb dust and purify the air, which means they can even help out your housekeeping staff too!
By having inclusive accessibility features in place, you can make sure everyone who wants to stay at your B&B gets to do so comfortably. This will allow you to provide equally high standards of service to all guests — and giving you an edge over competitors in the area who may not. Options to consider include installing wheelchair access to the property, such as ramps; grab rails and seats in the showers and bathrooms; and lift and rise recliners and beds in the lounge or in the rooms themselves. Another great thing about these facilities is that they’re comfortable and useful for all of your guests, not just those with mobility issues.
Cleaning, health, and safety
Efficient health and safety practices are of the utmost importance when running a B&B or guest house, but they’re even more crucial in a post-Covid world. As well as following your regular guidelines for hazards like food hygiene and fire safety, you now need to make sure you’re following the right Covid-19 procedures for your business. The Bed and Breakfast Association has compiled this list of resources and information for B&B and guest house owners that includes government guidelines and NHS advice. You also need to inform your staff of how to work during coronavirus to keep them safe, in addition to protecting your guests.
Finally, it’s important to remember that it’s the small personal touches that make staying at a B&B or guest house so wonderful. Thank your guests for choosing you with little gifts in their rooms such as local produce, snacks, and drinks, and think about special treats you can organise for any children you may have staying this summer. Whether your guests will be visiting from nearby or further afield, you should always aim to include information about things to see and do in your local area —especially lesser-known spots they may not know about.
It’s going to be a busy summer, which means you’ll have plenty to do before your guests start to arrive. The tips in this guide can help you work out how to get your B&B ready for the rush and continue to provide exceptional service to your guests.