A lot of our guests that stay at our guest house asks us the same kind of questions... Firstly they seem surprise that its only Steve and myself who run the business which consequently leads onto the question is it hard work? YES! but also enjoyable, frustrating, worthwhile and never boring. This made me wonder what sort of people should be running a guest house bed and breakfast and anyone considering entering into this kind of business should not do so without through research and asking themselves - am I the right type of person?

Firstly dont forget your busiest time is going to be from April to October - this means unless you are very lucky and are very organised you WILL NOT have a day off during this time. This is the time to be building your revenue for those quiet, dark winter months when you can fly off to sunnier climes or (if like us) spending it on scaffolding, rendering and double glazing! Very exciting. But very worthwhile if it means more comfort for our guests whilst assisting with the environment.

Also you will need to remember that you are not going to please all of your guests all of the time so a good judge of character, patience and a friendly personality is going to invaluable. Luckily Steve has all these! The majority of our guests are lovely, sociable people who we enjoy chatting with and finding out all about them. Some however just want a relaxing, quiet time away without being pressured into socialising. Both Steve and myself recognise that everyone is different and try our very best to give our very best service for individual needs.

Dont underestimate the power of the Internet for your business. A good website should include all the information a potential guest is looking for with extra interactions through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and an interesting blog, hopefully like this one. A large majority of our bookings (unfortunately) arrive through outside distribution channels such as Booking.com, Laterooms or Expedia. These big companies are a necessity for small businesses because of their dominant presence on the web and have made it very easy for people to book either by laptop or more recently via an app on their iphones. The downside to these companies is they charge a basic rate 15% commission to hotels and bed and breakfasts with some hotels paying upto 30% to appear higher on search rankings. We love the direct approach, chatting to people booking via the telephone is so much more personal and from our point of view we can find out more about our guests. This could include dietary requirements, any physical difficulties, arrival times so we can collect from the station or whether they are celebrating a special occasion.

The area you choose for your bed and breakfast is crucial. Research on this is critical. The area will determine visitor numbers, room rate, length of season, access links and attractions. Not to mention the price of property to start with. Devon, for excample. is a beautitul county and Torbay on the English Riviera has a wealth of things to do and with the new addition of the bypass will only increase its numbers and boost tourism. Consider if you want business during the winter, North Devon is very quiet as will be other counties, in comparison Torquay is almost year round business with many hotels offering Christmas and New Year deals, and delegates attending conferences at the Torquay Conference Riviera Centre during the quieter months.

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg for anyone considering venturing into this type of business. And if you are I am happy to answer any questions you may have, I will be absolutely truthful on the highs and lows! Good luck