How to run a small hotel successfully-The basics

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“This is how to run a small hotel..successfully!”, a guest comment on trip advisor:

What makes this hotel memorable is the attitude and hands-on management of the owners who are clearly very committed to their business as hoteliers, and rightly proud of the service they offer. They’ve obviously worked really hard to extend and develop their hotel – apparently over 27 years, although you’d never know from their friendly approach that they’ve been doing it this long. Preferences at breakfast were remembered, and assistance was offered, but not in a way that was intrusive. The owners have very cleverly organised themselves in such a way that guests feel personally attended to, but also in a way that means they can manage with a small team of staff, and still have time to answer queries etc.

As the reviews show, this has clearly paid off. Certainly for British tourists more used to remotely managed chain hotels or badly run private guest houses, this is a very pleasant surprise, and makes this a hotel that we will certainly want to revisit.

Guest houses, Bed & Breakfasts & Riads can be extremely profitable small businesses if you impress your guests and acquire loyal, returning customers. Many guests choose Riasd due to their cosy and welcoming feeling which is often lost on large hotels. If you feel your guest house could be cosier this winter here are a few tips on how to create the homely feel which guests simply can’t resist.

The Entrance

First impressions count. Simply maintaining establishment outside appearance to ensure it’s neat and tidy as this shows to your guests that you take pride in your guesthouse and the interior is likely to be as well-kept.
The Rooms

Basic cleanliness may seem like a patronising tip for guest house owners, yet many hotels fall below an acceptable standard for guests. Clean, high quality hotel bedding is a necessity as comfort should be at the forefront of your Riads aim. Never forget the small things which need cleaning, grime around skirting boards and architraves can be easily forgotten but easily spotted by your guests. Make sure everything’s pristine and make a checklist if it helps you to remember every single aspect of the room which needs cleaning.

Add a touch of luxury to your Riad’s rooms by laying out dressing gowns, towels and slippers for your guests. Small gestures show your guests that you care about them staying and can make them feel extremely welcome.

The Service

Excellent customer service is essential, particularly in guest houses, small hotel and Riads. Many guests choose these options because they enjoy the personal service and often enjoy liaising with the small team of staff. Always show interest in your guests’ lives – you could ask them what they’ve been doing and what brings them to the area. Offering tourist advice to them is a nice touch as you’ll more than likely be well acquainted with the area – have maps available on request too. If you make your guests feel at home they’re more likely to return in the future.

The Exposure

Online exposure for your new business is essential. In order to continually increase your customer numbers, you will need to make more people aware of your new guesthouse. Using social media to promote your business can really help to spread the word of your new, luxurious Riad. Hosting competitions online can help to gain more fans and followers for your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Once you have a fan-base, engage with them to sustain their interest and post any news and events which are to take place at your guesthouse. Address your guests/potential customers personally to show you take great interest in your guests.

Your main aim should be to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable in their stay. If you have good food, cleanliness and service standards you’re more likely to get returning customers. Remember – the customer’s always right!

Work out who you’re marketing to

Before you start up your business, you should know what kind of an audience you want to market to and how you’ll market to them. Once you know who your audience are, you will be able to cater to them better, and therefore creating a more personal experience.

For example, B&B guests generally only stay for one night, so it’s likely they are visiting the area, and therefore a personal touch might be to display some leaflets about attractions near the area. Guests will appreciate a thoughtful touch.

Plan your return on investment

When running your own business, you need to have a good return on investment, otherwise all of your hard work will not earn you a profit and it will seem as though it was all for nothing. Planning your money might seem simple, but there are a lot of areas you’ll need to cover.

You’ll need to consider how much money you’ll spend to begin with, and then how much money you’ll spend on a monthly basis. Making money plans is a sensible idea to let you know exactly how much is going in and out of your business account. This also helps you understand how long it will take you to earn the money back you spent on starting your business up to begin with, and how much profit you are making.

Plan your management

A successful business needs good management, and this means good organisational skills. The best way to organise how your business will be managed is to create a plan of how certain aspects of the business will be managed, and who will be in charge of each area.
Assign different staff to be in charge of specific areas, for example if you are to hire a cleaner they will be in charge of the bedrooms, and a receptionist will be in charge of taking bookings and checking people in. This way you’ll be able to stay of top of everything, and have staff report back to you so you know exactly what’s going on.