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According to Statistica, the market size of the United States bed and breakfast (B&B) industry is $2.5 billion. B&B establishments nationwide are used for leisure, tourism, and domestic and international travel. When more people travel, B&Bs can see increased bookings and revenues. This is excellent news if you are a bed and breakfast owner or a potential buyer looking to run your establishment. This Balboa Capital blog post features a guide to B&B success. In it, we look at strategies designed to win guests’ trust and increase your occupancy rate so you can stay competitive.
The charm factor of B&Bs.
People enjoy staying at bed and breakfast inns because they have unique architecture, a historical background, and lots of personality. Most B&Bs are furnished with an eclectic mix of antique and vintage furniture, artwork, and decorations that take guests back in time. Other standard B&B amenities include decorative fireplaces, handmade quilts, and Victorian lamps and chandeliers. Usually, breakfast, coffee, and juices are served in the guest room. Some B&B owners are known for their excellent cooking skills, while others hire area chefs to prepare breakfasts each morning.
Cleanliness comes first.
People feel more comfortable in a B&B that is tidy and clean. Numerous travel and hospitality surveys reveal that cleanliness is one of the most important things people look for in a bed and breakfast. So, take the steps necessary to ensure that all areas of your B&B are regularly kept clean. Sparkling windows, spotless tile flooring, stain-free carpet, and clutter-free rooms make an excellent first impression on guests.
Consider creating and deploying a strategy for cleaning every room from top to bottom using cleaning products, equipment, and supplies. When your guests open their rooms, they don’t expect to see evidence of any previous occupants. Instead, they want to see vacuumed floors and upholstery, a bed with freshly washed linen and fluffy pillows, dust-free furniture, and bathrooms that have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Give your B&B an excellent curb appeal.
The exterior of your bed and breakfast is just as important as its interior. Think for a moment about what your guests see when they arrive. They will start to feel right at home if it’s an attractive and inviting B&B with clean walls and windows, well-manicured landscaping, clean sidewalks, and good lighting. However, if the exterior has faded paint, damaged signage, cracks in the walls, or poor lighting, your guests might regret their decision and wish they had picked a different B&B. Over time, a poor-looking exterior can cause your B&B to lose its charm, resulting in fewer guests and decreased revenue.
There are several ways for you to boost your B&B’s curb appeal. You can hire a commercial painter to fill wall cracks and give your inn a fresh coat of paint, perhaps a more contemporary color. If the roof has deteriorating or missing tiles or wood shingles, areas of rot or mold, or if areas inside have leaks when it rains or snows, it might be time to call a commercial roofing company.
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve your B&B’s exterior is to have it power-washed. A commercial power washing company can use a high-pressure stream of water to remove dirt, grime, and other elements that build up on the roof and exterior walls. Pressure washing also cleans sidewalks and parking lots and gives them a renewed appearance.
Last on our list of exterior improvements is landscaping. You can maintain a beautiful, eye-catching curb appeal by trimming your trees, flowers, shrubs, and lawn. Overgrown trees are unsightly and can pose a risk to your B&B, staff members, and guests. Tree branches can fall, tree roots can damage underground pipes, and high winds can uproot trees. If you have any overgrown trees on your property, it is recommended that you have them trimmed.
Provide guests with 5-star service.
It is more important than ever to provide your guests with an outstanding and attentive experience. Delighted guests are more likely to book another stay at your B&B in the future and tell their friends and family what made your inn unique and memorable. In addition, they might post favorable reviews about your B&B online, which can enhance your brand and help boost your occupancy rate.
Providing excellent customer service isn’t just down to you or your innkeeper; it needs to be the goal of every staff member. Consider developing an employee training manual for your B&B that outlines the information, processes, and checklists related to the guest experience. Internal customer service training is a great way to keep your staff members on the same page to provide consistently high service to your guests. When you hire new employees, make sure to include customer service training in the onboarding process.
Training your staff and proactively empowering them to resolve guests’ issues is good for business. Your guests will appreciate their personalized and helpful service, and your team will feel more valued and important. Happier workers might stick around longer and not look for employment elsewhere.
Market your B&B online.
The path to booking a B&B usually begins online. Travelers planning their vacations or weekend getaways search for B&Bs online, and their decisions are influenced by B&Bs’ appearance, location, and perceived value. Because of this, it is a good idea to have a well-designed and responsive website that showcases your B&B and its amenities and has secure online booking capabilities. Include pictures of your B&B on your website, too; they can convert lookers into bookers.
Finally, customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you market your B&B and create long-term relationships with guests. A CRM system keeps essential information about your guests, such as their past stays, favorite rooms, dietary restrictions, and birthdays. Your CRM can send targeted emails with special promotions to your guests.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Statistica. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.