Rick Steves is a US travel writer and TV personality.
As the summer season winds down in Europe, exhausted B&B owners are no doubt promising themselves a well-deserved break – hopefully one spent tallying up increased profits thanks to the excellent weather that the UK, in particular, has enjoyed.
Of course even a good summer brings with it all the usual stresses, problems and experiences with the occasional rather, uh… “special” guest. So if you’re anywhere close to being able to put your feet up, why not take a look at the website of travel guru and all-round good guy Rick Steves. As before, we’ve cherry picked some of the greatest comments from his “graffiti wall” section, where travellers rave about just how great European B&B owners (that means you!) really are. It’s inspiring stuff and just the thing to pep you up if you feel like the recent high-season months have left you wilting somewhat…
“Any ful kno” (as Nigel Molesworth used to say) that one of the most effective ways to get an economy out of a slump is to boost exports. One way to do this is to devalue your currency and make exports cheaper (exactly what Greece, Spain etc can’t do right now). But another way is to avoid taxing the hell out of the revenues generated by whatever it is you’re exporting – regardless of whether it’s a product, or, in the case of B&Bs, a service. High taxes on UK accommodation stifle the recovery, pure and simple.
Right now, bed and breakfast owners have a rare chance to help the country in terms of both exports and domestic consumption. Staying in a B&B – especially a rural one – is often one of the most delightful experiences for visitors to the UK: it gives them an invaluable chance to experience domestic life in another country without sacrificing anything in the way of comfort and modern amenities. B&Bs are also a crucial generator of jobs and GDP in the local economies that we so desperately need to stimulate (in order to stop the UK becoming, business-wise, “London… and everywhere else.”)
Use feedback to guide your marketing message. Is there something about your property that customers find extra special? If so, are you selling it? Add more information about it on to your website. Perhaps run a special offer based around it (this could be seasonal, like a garden terrace in summer or a log fire in winter.)
In this 2-part Guest Blog, Iain Stewart, Co-Director of online booking system Freetobook, shares some thoughts on the best ways to engage with your customers online and how to turn good service into sales.
Everyone seems to be talking about ORM. You could even say that right now ORM is one of the most popular TLAs (three letter acronyms) in the business world!
Fairly or unfairly, the classic image of B&B owners is of people over a certain age: usually a couple who have either retired or decided to get out of the rat race. This not only underestimates how stressful B&B ownership can be, but also ignores the growing trend for people to choose it as a career much earlier in their lives. At theBandBer.com we’re always keen to challenge outmoded views of the business, so we were delighted to hear from Marin & Allison, who own the lovely Pines of Dresden B&B in Dresden, Ohio, an hour away from the state capital, Columbus.
Having met one another in Malibu, fresh out of college, Marin & Allison spent seven years travelling across large parts of the western and southern United States along with a large part of Asia. In 2006, after four years of living in Japan, they decided to return to the USA and open their B&B. I was intrigued to find out what made them choose B&B ownership as a career and what their experience of it has been like so far.