Starting a B & B – First do your HomeworkBy Ann Hobbs
I don’t know whether it is because in a past life I ran a holiday rental complex catering for up to nineteen guests or because in that same past life I also advise clients on new business potential, but recently the question of running a B and B or holiday rental accommodation has cropped up several times.  Whatever the reason I think it’s worth mulling over a few basics.  And these basics can be applied to most business ideas.
Anyone who runs a small holiday business be it Band B or rental is not going to become a millionaire.  However in the right location and with good advertising you could make a reasonable income. 
If you are looking at either type of rental the first thing is to be realistic and take off the rose coloured glasses.  Just because you live in a nice area with good views and rather fancy the idea of a little B and B does not mean it will work.  Think about things like access to local towns and what facilities they have. Is the property set out for guests to use without inconvenience to you or them?  If you have a fosse septic or similar, will it cope with the waste and water?  There is no point in offering facilities if you are going to place constraints on your guests.  Take for example the owner of a villa who told guests to take turns in using the shower every other day as the septic tank was small and would not be able to cope with all six showering every day for two weeks.   The owner suggested they had a swim on the alternate days instead.  A little extreme I thought. Better to have put in a larger tank in the first place.  Needless to say there was never a repeat booking.
Advertising is vital, check costs and choose carefully.  You do not want to splash out on a newspaper advert if the general readership does not holiday in Spain.  One good quality, well placed advert will bring in more customers than a heap of ‘one liners’ in a cross section of newspapers and periodicals. It also takes less time.  Once you have decided on the type of guest you are likely to attract make your advert sound like it has everything they could want in a holiday.  Take your time with the wording.  Read it out loud and see if it sounds effective and snappy.  You will be paying for the space so get it right. 
First impressions are paramount.  If you want guests to recommend you the best tack is to provide what you would want to see in a holiday home or B and B.  Try to ensure that guests leave with a smile.  Even if it is some unearthly hour of the night try to make the departure easy and friendly so they go with a glow.  Even if the weather was not what they wanted your friendliness is what they will remember.  On the question of weather; it should be pointed out that for some strange reason most guests believe that the weather is in the hands of the owner and may feel cheated if it is not up to expectations.  So be warned!
Other considerations are obvious.  How far is the airport?  What areas of interest are close by and what about children?  Provide a little resume of what is going on around at different times of the year.  Do also find out what the current EU, national and local regulations are and make sure you have insurance cover.  Unfortunately accidents do happen from time to time and guests may look to you for compensation.  It is worthwhile making an initial visit to the local tourist information office to find out about rentals in the area and while your there pick up some information leaflets to give to guests when they arrive.
It can be hard work, washing bed linen and towels, cooking and making sure you are around when needed.  However, it can be good fun too and more often than not you meet lots of interesting people from other countries as well as the UK, particularly if you link up with an internet company.  So if you have done your homework and it looks viable then go for it, I certainly enjoyed the whole experience.
If you have any queries about this article or any Money Matters queries contact Ann on 661003324, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you have personal questions for Ann you may contact her via Big Attitude PR on 661757433, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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