How to be the perfect host -Remember that running your own business is a lot of work and attention to detail is everything. Guests are judging their experience before they’ve even walked through the door, and so being a warm, welcoming and attentive host is absolutely paramount to their experience and getting repeat business.
1-Getting Experience- If you have never worked in hospitality before make sure you get experience first. You may spend a week working in a hotel and then discover that you actually hate it and so make sure that you enjoy your work before you commit a mortgage to it! Learning the basics of the business from somebody with more experience is very useful and doing this for anything between two months and a year will give you great ideas of what to do and what not to do.
2-Keeping it clean- Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of how a guest judges their experience, if you are not into cleaning, perhaps you will want to employ a cleaner and use a laundry and linen loan service for sheets and bedding. This has the advantage of giving you more time to run the books and pay attention to the needs of your guests.
3-Be the tourist office- Brushing up on your knowledge of the local area and acting as the tourist office will make you a useful host and your guests will remember you for your ability to give them directions and recommend the best local facilities! Having leaflets, maps and useful tips to hand will prove to guests that you have prepared for their every need and that they can rely on you!
4- Smile! – Being warm, smiling and helpful will only win you points. Timing your work so that you are on reception for the arrival of guests and making the welcome as warm as possible will establish a good customer relationship from the start of their stay. Show interest in your guest, enquire about their wellbeing, ask how their journey went and find out what they want from their holiday so that you know how you can help them to the best of your ability.
5- Prepare yourself for complaints- businesses will always receive complaints at some point in their life cycle. Perhaps you forgot to replace towels, or they found a mysterious hair in their bath. It is important to acknowledge this complaint and deal with it as swiftly as possible, with an apology for the inconvenience it has caused your guest. Denying a complaint will only anger your guest and soil your reputation. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint and how much it has affected their stay you may wish to give your guest a small token of apology as well as extra special treatment to make sure that everything else runs smoothly.
Finally it is most important to remember that these people are your GUESTS and not customers. If they are made to feel like friends that have been invited for a weekend break, they will want to come back again, but if they feel like just another passing face in your business, they will just be another passing face! You are aiming to get good reviews and the main issues raised on sites such as trip advisor are friendliness, cleanliness and the availability of staff!
Setting up a hotel or guest house business is popular for many reasons, many choose to set up a guest house business as a means to funding retirement, whilst others seek to escape the city life and enjoy the flexible hours of self employment. The important thing is to make sure that you know what you’re doing, there is no use risking pouring money into a poorly planned business, only for you to have to shut it down a year later when the funds have dried out and nobody ever knew you even had a business! So here is a little list of pointers to get you moving in the right direction.
Plan, plan and plan again! The importance of having a carefully planned strategy is absolutely key to the success of your guest house. You need to prepare for every eventuality. Start the planning process by asking all the important questions about the nature of your business and how it will run. How many rooms are you going to have? Do you need to move house? Where will you set up your business? Will you serve food? Have you thought about employing a chef? These are only a fraction of
Choosing the building. Is your existing home big enough to use for your business? Are there any places nearby that are worthy of a visit from your guests? If not you may want to consider moving house to somewhere which has nearby attractions, or maybe just an area which is renowned for its natural beauty. Whatever you choose, make sure that it also fits your lifestyle. If you don’t enjoy the city lifestyle you probably won’t enjoy setting up a business there any more, which will be obvious to guests, likewise if you are not used to countryside living make sure that you’re really certain you can adapt to the change if moving from the city.
Setting a price- when applying for a mortgage, you are unlikely to be able to obtain a loan if you cannot show that your business will be successful, so financial planning is highly important. What are the chances of filling your building on a weekly basis and how much will you charge for rooms? Coming up with a long term financial plan will prove to lenders that you are capable of handling your finances and that you are aware of your outgoing and incoming sources of income.
Marketing your business- When first starting your business, you cannot yet rely upon word of mouth as no one has experienced your guest house yet! You may want to consider starting off on a lower price whilst you wait for people to start reviewing your business. Registering with review websites such as TripAdvisor or booking.com will give guests the opportunity to tell the public about you and if you can boost your rankings here, your business will flourish, as the internet is very likely to be your number one marketing source!
Meeting regulations- Not registering your business, or failing to get business planning permission from your local council could land you in serious trouble. To understand which regulations you should go with exactly, look at the local council regulations on government websites. You will also require a health and safety inspection on a regular basis to ensure that you meet all health and safety requirements of a commercial property.