The B&B Doctor is IN
The UK's leading B&B consultant, Caroline Nolder, shares her tips for setting up and running a successful B&B and offers a helping hand if you need it.
Ever stayed in a B&B and thought ‘I could do that?’ If you’re toying with the idea of running a B&B – maybe your kids have flown the nest or you’ve always fancied letting out that spare room – listen up to Bruton-based Bed & Breakfast guru Caroline Nolder, aka The B&B Doctor.
Caroline helped set up B&Bs in France and Italy and now runs her own in Somerset. She was runner up Outstanding Host in the 2018 Eviivo Awards (‘the Oscars’ of the UK’s independent accommodation industry), has appeared in the national press, speaks at events like the Independent Hotel Show at Olympia and as The B&B Doctor, helps people set up and run their own B&Bs – when she’s not cooking up breakfasts for guests in her own B&B, Turks Hall, that is.
The B&B Doctor’s B&B checklist
- Ask yourself: is your lifestyle/personality right for running a B&B? Self-motivation, self-discipline, organisation and flexibility are key.
- Can you handle the stress when things go wrong? The customer is always right, even if they’re being difficult
- Where will your guests be coming from – and why? If you’re in the middle of nowhere, it might be tricky to attract enough visitors to make money.
- Check out all the legal stuff. Does your mortgage allow you to run a B&B from your home? You’ll need B&B insurance and comply with fire and health & safety regulations (and be vetted) too.
- Will you need to de-clutter, re-organise or configure your home? Bathrooms are important; guests don’t usually want to share but if they do, make sure they know up front.
- Don’t skimp. Have high quality beds and mattresses (try them out occasionally), Egyptian cotton bedding and hypoallergenic pillows available, adequate lighting, plenty of storage and power points.
- Set your rates. Find out what competition is charging and what they offer (go and stay!). Consider offers like three nights for the price of two during the low season.
- Think about having a website, one that’s easy to navigate with strong images, and use social media.
- Make sure there’s someone to meet and greet, maybe with a cup of tea or glass of wine.
- Keep the place spotless, especially the bathroom; keep food in the fridge tidy and in date (people might look!).
- Part of the B&B experience is a delicious breakfast. If your food is unique and plentiful you’ll get people coming back.
- Block out some dates in your diary for your own holidays a year ahead, otherwise you’ll never get a break.
If all that’s whetted your appetite (or at least not put you off), can you book me in for a weekend at yours? For more info or advice from Caroline, see her website bandbdoctor.com or call her for an informal chat on 07807 193450.