In this article, Alison Hughes from Coast Road Furniture shares her tips for getting your B&B or guest house ready for a busy summer.
As lockdown lifts and summer approaches, there’s one word that’s on the mind of the British public — holiday! But with uncertainty around travel restrictions, people reluctant to go abroad, and so many wonderful places to visit right here in the UK, experts are predicting a surge in staycations for 2021.
If you run a B&B or guest house, this is an exciting prospect and you’re no doubt excited to welcome people back into your establishment. But the volume of bookings you may be facing might be a little bit daunting, too. To help you prepare, below are five ways you can get your property ready for the busy summer ahead.
The first step is to identify areas of your establishment that need repairs or renovations, so you can organise any work that needs doing before the busy period. It will be much harder to work around your guests, and you may have to close various rooms or parts of your B&B while the work goes on, so you could stand to lose business and money if you leave it too late.
Areas to focus on may include replastering, painting, or wallpapering scuffed walls, replacing worn or frayed carpets, fitting new windows, or performing repairs to your infrastructure, such as your electricity or plumbing. By getting these out of the way first, you can then move onto other less disruptive preparations.
Improve your facilities
With your repairs done, I would recommend next assessing the accessibility of your B&B and seeing if there’s anything else you can do or provide to make all your guests as comfortable as possible. You may already have ramps and handrails at the exterior of your property to provide easy access, but once inside, people with restricted mobility may benefit from accessibility features in their rooms and in the communal parts of your guest house.
Consider installing handrails and seats in your baths and showers, ordering riser recliner chairs and beds for guest rooms and lounge areas, and making other reasonable adjustments to cater to disabled guests. Not only will you be providing valuable comfort and accessibility to a wide demographic of people, but these features will have benefits for all your guests too.
Give everything a once-over
Now is the perfect time to give your B&B or guest house a deep clean. You will of course have plenty of hygiene systems and processes in place, particularly at the moment with additional mandatory Covid-19 measures (Bed and Breakfast Association). But just before you receive this surge of guests, you have the opportunity to really get into all the nooks and crannies of your property.
Remember to move furniture and fittings that wouldn’t ordinarily be moved so you can clean underneath and behind them properly, and take the opportunity to do things like wet-vacuuming your carpets. If you normally do all your cleaning in house, you could consider hiring a company to do this deep clean and sanitisation as a one-off to speed up the process and make sure everything is spotless.
Elevate your interiors
The above steps may a while to complete, or you might finish them with time to spare. Either way, once they’re done you can start to look into updating your interiors with new accessories and soft furnishings, as you can even do this once your guests start to arrive. After the stresses and strains of 2020, decorating with colour is a big trend for this year and expected to continue into 2022 and beyond. So, you could give your B&B a cheerful update with cushions, covers, curtains, and ornaments in bright, primary, or jewel tones.
Think carefully about what your business provides. Are you a haven for serenity and relaxation, or a fun and exciting place to stay? However you answer can determine which palette you should choose for your interiors, according to chromotherapy. Cool tones like blues and greens are thought to be healing and can create a calm, soothing atmosphere, whereas reds, oranges, and yellow can provide warmth and happiness.
Finally, the finishing touches are what can make your B&B better than your competitors. Even though you’re busy, it’s still important to include complementary items for your guests to thank them for choosing your business. In their rooms, free chocolate bars or bottles of bubbly can be a nice surprise and make them feel welcome, but anything handmade and locally produced will really be a special treat.
Similarly, visitors to your area will be delighted if you can give advice for things to do nearby, provided either in a handy guidebook format, a selection of leaflets, or from your well-informed and friendly staff. Even visitors from nearby might learn a few new places they’ve never been before, which can make their stay even more memorable.
This year will no doubt be one of your busiest, but with the right preparations you can make sure your B&B or guest house is still a great place to stay. The tips in this guide can help you get ready for the staycation surge with confidence.