Running a B&B that Guests Will Come Back to Again and Again
Get the basics right
A comfy bed, a good simple breakfast made from locally sourced ingredients, clean rooms and a smile
Know what your guests want from your B&B
I do a target market exercise on the course and I think this is one of the most important things to understand before you set up. If you are in the middle of nowhere on a famous long distance walk, there is a good chance your typical guest will be a serious walker who wants a bath, a comfortable bed and good cheap home cooked meal, all at a reasonable price. You provide these and you have happy customers. If you have set up a highly priced luxury B&B with a minimum 2 night stay and no walking boots inside rule you may be in trouble
Add a bit of luxury ( if that is what your market wants )
Use quality white (ironed) bed linen and top with a throw and a few coordinating cushions. Make sure your towels are fluffy and soft.
Create a home from home
Most people come to a B&B because of the personal touch and interaction with the owners. They want somewhere like home but better! Nice pictures on the wall, a few ornaments, maybe flowers or plants in the room. If they want a hotel room they will book into a hotel.
Add the Extras
One of the most frequent comments in my guest book is 'All the little extras make all the difference'. Supply conditioner as well as shampoo, shower gel and nice bubble bath. Provide mineral water in the room and a small dish of chocolates ( these always get eaten )
Pay Attention to Detail
Another frequent comment is around my attention to detail. If it is dark when guests arrive the lights will be on, curtains drawn and some gentle classical music playing in the background. The room kettle will be full and fresh milk supplied in a flask. The bubble bath bottle and shower gel will be full and a new roll of toilet paper will be on the holder.
Make your guests welcome
Guests will come in the first place because of the way you have marketed your B&B and how closely it meets their needs. They will return because of the way they have been treated whilst they are staying with you. So make them feel welcome but don't be too pushy, if they want to chat then do so but beware of those signals which say 'we want to be left alone!'
Go and stay at a few B&Bs and borrow some ideas!
Every time I go away on holiday or for business I pick up a new idea which I take back to incorporate in my B&B. I picked up the classical music tip from a hotel in Oxford we stayed at. It was a wet miserable December day and I had had a horrible journey so it was lovely walking into the room with soft lighting on and classic fm playing on the radio.
Keep Reviewing and Improving
I am always looking for ways to improve my B&B and enhance the customer experience. People's travel experience and expectations continue to grow so you will need to keep reviewing and improving what you offer. Ask your guests what they like about you and what they would like you to do differently.