A bed & breakfast is a very different type of accommodation than a hotel, and as such, people have very different motives and expectations when choosing where to stay during their vacation or trip.
For many innkeepers, creating a special and unique experience is an integral part of their business – but what does that actually mean?
One of the biggest mistakes innkeepers make is not capitalizing on a few key aspects that make their guests comfortable, wowed, and satisfied.
Check out our tips below for creating a one-of-a-kind excursion for your guests.
Create a Warm & Inviting Environment
Those who seek out local B&B accommodations may be searching for a place that provides an “at home” feel – something you cannot replicate in a larger hotel.
Comfortable and customized bedrooms provide a peaceful place to return to at the end of the day, and the familiarity of the innkeepers and staff provide a more personable experience.
Don’t skimp out on decorations in your B&B – define your aesthetic, and really go for it. Whether you’re aiming for rustic, posh, or anywhere in between, make sure your common spaces and guest rooms emanate that decor to the fullest extent.
Not quite sure what to offer to capture the “home-away-from-home” vibe? Here are some suggestions to make your B&B experience truly one-of-a-kind:
- Offer a “Happy Hour” where guests can mingle & meet you and your staff. Offer beverages and light hors d’oeuvres; ideally, a local favorite for them to try.
- Create a place within your B&B where people can feel cozy – this can be a fireplace, a gazebo, or a private picnic area. When enjoying some downtime, it’s great to be able to offer guests a unique place to wind down.
- Avoid buying low-quality bedding – invest in luxury sheets and duvets so that your guests get a great nights’ sleep.
- Partner with a local business that provides soaps and shampoos – instead of offering big box toiletries, they will love having another opportunity to experience local wares.
- Hang artwork and photographs throughout your B&B of local spots – this will help your guests get accustomed to your location and get excited about their trip. It may even prompt questions about certain places that turn into recommendations!
Keep Visitor Counts Low
Staying at a hotel can be relatively cheap at times, but the trade-off is that guests are sharing a floor with many other people.
This can result in noise happening at all hours, or never seeing a familiar face.
By limiting the number of visitors that stay at your local B&B, you can create a more personal environment that limits noise and overcrowding.
Your guests will appreciate feeling like VIPs while staying at your accommodation, as they will be able to rely on quick and customized service.
Provide Local Recommendations
One of the main reasons why people come to a local B&B is to receive recommendations from those that live in the area as opposed to relying on travel websites or other methods of reviews.
You have the ability to use your local connections to provide your guests with hidden gems in your area, and occasionally hook them up with some great deals. They will appreciate this a lot and feel like they received a more.
Aside from recommendations that come from conversations with your guests, be sure to have pamphlets or brochures on-hand to offer them.
Create a booklet to put in every guest room that has a list of all of the tourist spots, as well as some not so well-known places of interest.
Secure one-of-a-kind deals for your guests from fellow local businesses around the area – typically they will be happy to offer you a custom deal for sending patrons their way!
Prepare & Offer Home-Cooked Meals
One of the downsides of staying at a hotel is the lack of food available in-house. While some may offer room service, guests are most likely paying for quickly reheated food – and from a menu that doesn’t provide a lot of options.
As lots of hotel rooms don’t provide a kitchen area, it can be difficult or impossible to prepare food themselves – this can result in many nights of takeout or expensive restaurant outings.
At an inn, however, guests are more likely to find that an in-house chef or even the innkeeper yourself provides meals and snacks throughout the day.
At Inn on the Paseo, for example, one of the owners of the Santa Fe bed & breakfast is also the executive chef and plans all of their exquisite menus.
Tailor your menu to the local cuisine, and be sure to have food available for hungry guests as much as possible.
Some local B&B owners even prepare picnic lunches for their guests to take with them on excursions – this can either be gratis or built into their accommodation cost.
A great way to get your B&B on the map is to create a signature dish that you are well-known for, and that represents the area you are located in.
Define Your Unique Selling Point
How do you make your B&B unique? With over 17,000 B&Bs operating in the USA, you need to know how to make yourself stand out against your competitors.
Not only do you need to sell your location, but you need to convince people why your particular accommodation is better than others.
A common mistake is to be a “jack of all trades and a master of none” – essentially, trying to do everything without fully mastering one selling point.
Sure, you will want to offer comfortable rooms, personable experiences and delicious experiences, but choose one area to really shine and commit to that.
The Inn on the Paseo takes full advantage of this mindset, and offers a few ways guests can uniquely enhance their stay at a Santa Fe B&B:
- As they are located close to the world-famous Santa Fe Opera, guests can ask for an Opera Picnic Basket for the tailgate, filled with gourmet foods and signature soups.
- Their famous Welcome Basket is perfect for those who are visiting the area for the first time – not only do guests enjoy local treats, but also coupons to local merchants, seasonal surprises, and spa discounts.
- Rose Petal Turndown Service is a guest favorite for those who are enjoying a romantic getaway at the Inn. The ambiance created by this special touch makes a wonderful first impression on guests.
Simply offering a place to stay isn’t what defines a B&B – that’s what hotels and AirB&B’s are for.
Local bed & breakfasts encompass so much more than that, from their aesthetic, to their personalized experiences that make guests’ getaways unforgettable.
Take time, effort and resources to create a one-of-a-kind experience at your bed & breakfast that will wow patrons and keep business flowing.