How to be a great host before, during and after your guest’s stay
By Holly Alderson, Out of Eden
Being a successful B&B host has very quickly surpassed service with a smile and great hospitality solely during the course of a guest’s stay. Though these aspects are still essential and very much appreciated, there is an increasing pressure for a B&B owner to be as attentive as possible, even before and long after their stay. Creating, building and maintaining a guest-host relationship can be time-consuming if you allow it, but the rewarding results that come with it can be absolutely priceless in securing a great client-base, outstanding reviews and repeat, direct bookings.
About a week or so prior to their stay, send a quick, friendly email to let visitors know you’re expecting them and enquire if there’s anything you can do to make their stay more special and enjoyable. This simple gesture of reaching out will assure guests that you genuinely care about the quality of their stay from the get go, as well as being an opportunity to learn more about their reasons for visiting, allowing you to really gage the ways you can make this a great stay for them. Perhaps you have a couple staying over to celebrate their anniversary, so why not treat them to a complimentary bottle of prosecco upon arrival? On the other hand, a guest could be staying over for a business trip, so offer them a room with the best phone signal, or most convenient plug sockets for their laptop. These considerations will certainly help to leave a lasting impression and showcase your willingness to go the extra mile.
In order to create a truly special experience for each individual, try and play into three elements: personalisation, locality and seasonality. Given that Bed and Breakfasts are renowned for their warm, friendly hosts and homely feel, ensuring you personalise each person’s stay is a perfect way to fulfil this expectation. Providing a personalised chalk board mug in each room, for instance, with your guest’s name or a simple ‘enjoy your stay’ is a fun and quirky way to engage with your guests, and it is these fun little additions that are likely to be shared on their social media.
As well as personalising each visitor’s experience, providing locally-sourced fresh produce on your breakfasts, such as fruit and vegetables from a local farmer’s market and lamb sausages from a local butcher, are just some of the ways you can offer elements of locality and seasonality, too. Add a fresh bunch of seasonal flowers to their rooms or breakfast table – daffodils and tulips are ideal for the springtime – to really showcase your attention to detail. Depending on each guest’s reason for staying with you, you could provide an information pack in the rooms or communal living area with brochures and information on local events and attractions, whether this be music festivals, food shows, seasonal lambing or great walk routes, as your visitors will look to you for dependable knowledge of the local area.
If your guests are happy to receive emails after their stay, make sure to keep in contact, letting them know of any special offers, events, etc. that they may be interested in. Try to be as personal as possible, instead of sending a generic email to your entire customer base. Maintaining this positive relationship with individuals even after their stay is a great way to ensure repeat and direct bookings, regardless of whether their very first stay was booked through an online travel agent. As an incentive for direct bookings, you could offer a reduced price or exclusive offer otherwise unavailable on a mainstream booking site. In this digital age, you could also keep in touch with those that have stayed with you via social media, encouraging them to ‘like’ or follow your business’ Facebook or Instagram page, as social media platforms are a great way to not only share news, but also show a more personal and fun side to your accommodation.
Above all else, consistency is key when creating and maintaining a guest-host relationship. With a few personalised emails before and after their stay, and a few personal touches during, you can really create a lasting impression long after their stay with you.