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If anyone knows about B&B, Karen does. Hopton House - a converted granary with three bedrooms - has a five-star grading (putting it in the top seven per cent of rated properties in the country) and a gold award (given by Visit Britain for added excellence)

The Guardian, January 2009


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For B&B Bedding and Equipment

Out of Eden  is an online shop that sells all the little bits and pieces you need to set up your B&B at very reasonable prices. You'll find bed linen, towels, small kettles, toiletries and a whole lot more.

For B&B Rules and Regulations

The Pink Booklet Online is a must have resource to ensure that you keep up to date with all of the legislation you need to run a B&B. As well as access to all of the information online you'll receive email updates to tell you when the legislation changes.

For B&Bs providing Accessible Accommodation

Under the DDA ( Disability Discrimination Act ) all businesses must make reasonable adjustments to their property to enable disabled guests access. The key word here is reasonable and the types of adjustments made will depend on the size of business.

However by making your property accessible you are broadening your market and potentially tapping into a great repeat market. The Naional Accessibility Scheme provides more details of what you need to do and allows you to display an appropriate symbol on your marketing.

For Advertising your Accessible Property

CaRE is a national network of rural and farm-based bed & breakfast and self-catering providers offering specialist holiday accommodation for disabled people, older people, carers and their families.

Its members have opened up their homes to offer B&B or have converted and/or built accommodation specifically for self-catering holidays with the disabled or less mobile people and carers in mind.

For Green B&Bs

These days it's more important than ever to consider the enviroment when running a business. As well as the obvious benefits to the enviroment itself, you will save money and also potentially attract more business as more and people are choosing the greener options. The Green Tourism Business Scheme is an accreditation scheme that helps you show how "green" your business is.

For Advertising your Property

As soon as you start to appear on any accommodation directories. You will get lots of offers to join new ones. These are the ones I rate:

Alastair Sawdays is book and website listing stylish B&Bs with a difference. It's about £500 to join and you will have to be assessed and not everyone who applies gets in. There is also a strong environmental ethic in the company, with an emphasis on local and organic food.

If you're willing to accept dogs then I recommend you join DogPeople Ltd. I've met Alan, Jo and Hamish the dog who run it and they are great people - far more interested in promoting responsible dog holidays than just making money out of a directory. If you've taken one of our training courses you can get a 6 month free listing to see if it works for you.

For Networking

Setting up and Running a B&B can be quite an isolating business. So I would recommend that you join some local networks. Your local Visitor Information Centre will have details of tourism groups in your area. 

Women in Rural Enterprise, or WiRE is an organisation set up to support business women living in rural areas. As well as networking and business advice you can also benefit from great deal business loans through HSBC. I can't recommend WiRE strongly enough.

Countryside Connection is a unique rural networking site for all rural businesses. Much more than just an accommodation directory.

For Photos of Your B&B and Website Design

I personally believe that having a professionally designed B&B website is essential  these days. The link for my own designers, Perfect Arc, ( based here in Shropshire ) is listed below.

However your website also has to have great copy ( the words ) and really good photos. Photos, more than anything else, are what sell your B&B to guests. The marketing course covers all you need to know to write great copy and what sort of photos to use.

In North Wales, Cheshire & Shropshire I recommend Ioan Said of Celynnen Photography http://celynnenphotography.co.uk/

In Yorkshire and environs Aspinall Ink http://www.aspinallink.co.uk/angie-aspinall.html

For Downshifters

Sally works with those who are quitting the rat race for a less stressful, more fulfilling existence. She offers workshops, teleclasses and personal coaching on all aspects of downshifting and running a sustainable small business and publishes a free email newsletter. You can subscribe to it on her website: www.sallylever.co.uk .

For Quality Assessments

Quality in Tourism are the people that will assess your B&B and give you your stars and awards.

Have You Thought About Keeping Hens for Your B&B Eggs?

If so have you considered taking on hens rescued by the Battery Hen Welfare Trust?

The Battery Hen Welfare Trust became the UK’s first registered charity solely for laying hens in April 2005 and was established in order to raise awareness of the 20 million hens currently kept in cages in the UK.

Hen keeping is a popular and growing hobby in the UK and former battery hens make wonderful pets, often being described as ‘like cats and dogs with feathers’! Many, although not all, will continue to lay eggs, which are a fresh and tasty bonus that comes with owning these delightful, endearing creatures. 

Anyone interested in learning more about the work of the BHWT, please visit their website at www.bhwt.org.uk.

An Important Note About Serving Your Own Hens' Eggs to B&B Guests

To reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning and to keep your guests healthy the environmental health officer will normally require that you serve your guests red lion stamped eggs that are well cooked. Ideally with the yolk, as well as the white, solid.

Most people would prefer runny yolks and many people are more than happy to eat eggs from happy free range hens running round at the B&B. However there is a risk - so my EHO has suggested that you make it very clear to guests that any eggs you serve are from eggs without a red lion stamp and that you cook eggs to your guests personal requirements.