When you are running a bed and breakfast, it is vital to keep an eye on the competition, both new and established. All bed and breakfast owners are aware that a reputation spread by word of mouth is worth its weight in gold. It goes without saying that you need to keep your quality high to maintain your position. If you constantly monitor and improve standards and quality, this will ensure that your guests’ expectations will be met and that your reputation will be maintained. This means that all the time you need to be determined to make things better in every area, so that the chances of something going wrong, or failing to meet your guests’ expectations are as minuscule as possible.
One way of monitoring the standards in your bed and breakfast and to ascertain whether improvements or changes are needed is to invite friends or relatives to stay during a quiet period. They can try out the rooms and communal guest areas, to make sure everything is as excellent as it should be. This can help to uncover irritating inconveniences that you were previously unaware of. For example, although you might clean the shower every day, only by actually using it would you find out that perhaps the water suddenly runs cold, or that the shower door leaks. If it is not possible to invite friends or relatives, then you could try using one of your own guest suites. This will give you an extra perspective on the quality of the room. It is the little things that matter and you need to be as critical as possible. Have the towels seen better days? Is there enough shelf and hanging space? Could the bathroom do with an extra towel rail or hook on the back of the door? Do all the drawers open smoothly?
Don’t forget to critically assess the outside of your bed and breakfast. Does your property have a good external image? Is the paint peeling or are the windows rotting? Has your signboard seen better days? Don’t forget to keep the lawn mowed, borders neat and free from weeds and overgrown vegetation, and parking areas well maintained. Good lighting is essential for guests arriving in the dark. Add some evergreen plants in pots for all year round colour, as well as cheerful window boxes and hanging baskets in spring and summer. Remember that passing trade may be your next paying guests, but only if your bed and breakfast has kerb appeal!
The other area it is important to check upon is your advertising. Remember that every establishment, whether it is a Leicester bed and breakfast or a five-star London hotel, needs to have a corporate image. This is more than just the sign outside your property. Pay close attention to the brochures and advertisements that you are putting in tourist locations, print media and on line. A recognisable logo and print style will help to establish your brand and remember to use this on your headed paper and any other stationery. Check the grammar, spelling and layout of all your print media; any mistakes contribute to a poor brand image and look unprofessional.
Above all, remember that customers come first. Make your guests feel welcome and treat them with courtesy and respect. Your good reputation will continue to spread and this will be the most powerful tool for maintaining your market position, whether you are the owner of a Leicester bed and breakfast or the manager of a five star London hotel.
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