Should I do B&B or holiday lets and what’s the difference anyway?

The truth is you can do whatever you want, but first let’s look at some background and then some specific differences.


The truth is you can do whatever you want, but first let’s look at some background and then some specific differences.

In my experience, the general level of “hospitality” has declined during the past 5 years, largely due to the rise of Airbnb properties.  This is not to say that Airbnb properties don’t have their place, they do.  And it’s important to distinguish between what they do and what you do.  That will become increasingly important over the next few years.

In my own experience of travelling in the UK and in France over the past few years, hospitality in its truest form is becoming harder to find

My most recent experience was in France a few weeks ago.

I found a suitable place to stay on one of the big online platforms, and then tried to find their website, so I could book direct. It didn’t exist so I had no choice but to book via the platform, for which they were undoubtedly charged a commission

We booked a “self catering” property, also known as vacation rental, holiday let, short-term rental and other names

Not a B&B

Between the time I booked and our arrival date, they had ample opportunity to make contact with me to reassure me that they were legit, and that they cared about my stay, but they did nothing of the sort.

Upon arrival, we were met with the usual greeting – this is this, and that is that, most of which went totally over my head, not just because they only spoke French (which fortunately I do speak) but because as humans we cannot retain new information on the first encounter. We need to hear it/see it multiple times before we understand it.

  • How does the oven work?
  • How do you change the temperature in the shower?
  • Where’s the local bakery?
  • Where can I buy a bottle of wine?
  • And other familiar questions…

A good “guest information file” would have covered it all, but it was conspicuous by its absence.

Other than a comfortable bed, a hot shower and functioning kitchen, there was very little in the way of real “hospitality” going on

Unfortunately, in my experience, this is the story for many “holiday lets” I’ve stayed at, and it’s a shame

B&Bs on the other hand are often really good at directing and caring for their guests, providing them with cooked breakfasts and even more importantly, local knowledge.

The welcome chat on arrival or the chit chat over breakfast is crucial for getting to know guests and how we can help them get the most out of their stay in the area.

Don’t underestimate the value of this true hospitality service, and don’t imagine for one moment, that guests no longer want it, whether you’re running a B&B or a holiday let.

If you find yourself losing this aspect of your business, then claim it back, lean in and offer more than your guests are expecting, upholding the tradition of true hospitality

This sets you apart from most of the Airbnb properties, claiming to be “hosts” but really just door-people who don’t really want to be bothered looking after anyone.

And it’s the best way you can differentiate yourself from the Airbnb crowd and charge more for your “real hospitality”.

Whether you’re running a holiday let, self-catering, glamping, campsite, small hotel or B&B, always remember that you’re in the business of delivering hospitality, and the higher level of hospitality you commit to, will determine not only how much you can charge, but your survival over the coming years.



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About Dominic Johnson 397 Articles
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