Luxury BnB - August 2022

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Marketing 5 star reviews


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In this issue...

A warm welcome from Juliet Horner Our Editor

If you have any experiences you'd like to share, please email Juliet at or connect with us on Instagram: @luxury_bnb School is nearly out for Summer so it will officially be holiday season before you know it! It's finally starting to feel like summer and I'm loving the heat wave we've been having over the last couple of weeks. For those wanting to offer guests a respite from the heat, have you considered a swimming pool alternative? Although they take longer than a few weeks to install, it doesn't hurt to think ahead, ready for next year. Read all about natural swimming pools and how they can help improve the guest experience. Despite the construction costs, you might be tempted to invest after you learn about the environmental benefits and how easy they are to maintain in comparison to a normal pool (page 8). We also spoke with Toulson Court who was named the World's Best B&B on Tripadvisor. Learn how to ckaim your listing if you haven't already, the different business plans available and how to manage your reviews (page 28). Looking for a new tasty treat to try? Lisa Holloway has shared another delicious recipe with us, perfect for the summer! Check out her Summer Pudding with Cassis and let us know how your attempt turned out (page 20). As the weather improves, it's more important than ever to ensure your guests are comfortable and enjoy a good night's sleep. For some handy tips, check out Karen's Column where she talks about summer duvets (page 40), or with the help of Online-Bedrooms, discover the best colours for bedding and the colours to avoid (page 42). You can also read about the basics of Feng Shui (page 18) to discover how this might help your guests relax. Happy reading! EDITOR Juliet Horner 07801 545 540 PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Dominic Johnson 01892 711 144 DESIGN Juliet Horner | Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Karen Thorne Yvonne Halling David Worthington

MEDIA SALES Lisa Ebdy | Sales Manager 07799 886 115 Kirsty Farrow

Bethnal & Bec








NATURAL SWIMMING POOLS All you need to know about natural swimming pools


FENG SHUI Feng shui for holiday lets - giving your guests a great night's sleep

20 SUMMER PUDDING WITH CASSIS A fruity, summer recipe from Lisa Holloway 22 PRODUCT NEWS 24 BETHNAL & BEC Using TikTok to promote your business and online courses 26 OH SO SUSTAINABLE Sustainability accreditations 28 TRIPADVISOR Using Tripadvisor and handling reviews with Tripadvisor's World's Best B&B, Toulson Court 40 KAREN'S COLUMN Summer duvets 42 BEDDING COLOURS Bedding colours to encourage a good night's sleep and colours to avoid, with Online-Bedrooms 46 ECO-FRIENDLY BATHROOM Six tips to make your bathroom ecofriendly with Sanctuary Bathrooms 50 DIRECTORY

Lucy Agace lucy@gogreensustainability. com Lisa Holloway

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Luxury BnB Magazine | Miramedia 29-31 Monson Road Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1LS All rights reserved © Miramedia 2020 Luxury BnB is published bi-monthly. Printed by Stephens and George

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It's event season! Here are the industry events for 2022: Glamping Show | 15-17 Sept 2022

Independent Hotel Show | 4-5 Oct 2022

Book Direct Show US | 18-19 Oct 2022

Hotel360 Expo | 19-20 Oct 2022

Hotel & Resort Innovation Expo | 2-3 Nov 2022

Hotel Interiors Experience - HIX | 17-18 Nov 2022

Reducing heating & water Government launches review costs in the hospitality sector into short-term rental market By Dominic Johnson (LBNB Publisher) Maintaining a warm, cosy environment is expected by guests when they check-in to stay and enjoy your facilities. A cold building like a hotel or Bed & Breakfast will quickly see its TripAdvisor ratings go down. With high central heating and hot water requirements, hospitality businesses now face their next challenge: how to reduce heating bills and help tackle climate change. Heating and hot water is so important to a guest’s overall experience. The heating and hot water can also account for up to 60% of a hotel’s energy bill and is one of the key contributors to their carbon footprint. Now that everyone is more aware of the climate emergency, prospective guests are considering the environmental changes hotels have made, before they even book. So, how do you keep up with the heating and hot water demand? Whilst at the same time attempting to reduce carbon emissions and running costs, all whilst trying to make a profit? The Domestic and Commercial Hydro Genie Systems are a retro fit, carbon reduction solution, for existing domestic and commercial boilers running on fossil fuels. Retrofitted to the flow and return pipe work of existing heating boilers, the proven, patented technology, improves the heat transfer to the circulating water, supplying the central heating, hot water and the heating of swimming pools. Providing dramatic reductions in energy use and carbon emissions of up to 35%, no boiler is the same. The commercial Hydro Genie Systems are made bespoke for each boiler house, and are installed with no upfront cost on a servitised lease. Find out more

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By Dominic Johnson (LBNB Publisher) Source: The Government recently announced they will be reviewing the impact of short term holiday lets on popular tourist destinations in order to better understand challenges and opportunities for consumers and tourism communities. Short Term Rentalz reported that the proposed scheme aims to improve the holiday letting market for those living in tourism hotspots. The process of the review could involve physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed. An open call for evidence, lasting for 12 weeks, will help the government to understand how the rise in use of OTAs and apps is affecting local communities. On Airbnb alone, UK listings increased by 33% between 2017 and 2018, from 168,000 to 223,000 listings. Further measures the industry can expect to see as part of the review may include a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme consisting of spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers. David Weston, chairman of the Bed & Breakfast Association, told Short Term Rentalz: “We are pleased that the government is launching this call for evidence [...] it will help the government strike the right balance between achieving those aims, yet avoiding imposing disproportionate new burdens or costs on small businesses. We will be playing a constructive role in helping the government develop a proportionate solution, and we call on all tourism accommodation owners to take part in the call for evidence, and ensure your views are heard,” he added. For more info and quotes from the Tourism Minister, Housing Minister and Chairperson of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, go to:

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We spoke to Marlen Tallett runs the Virtual Assistant company, Time To Deleg8. Marlen provides support for hospitality companies. By

Dominic Johnson

Photo from

How Virtual Assistants (VAs) work Virtual Assistants (VA) work in very much the same way as a regular employee or freelancer. Advantages of using a VA over a regular employee is that you will have a flexible and variable employee without the cost of employment. As with most freelance staff, hourly rate might be higher but the overall cost of employment will be lower. There is no need to organise a place to work, equipment and you have much more flexibility over costs. They are often on 1 month notice and you can build in busy / quiet periods into the contract. VA’s normally agree to a set number of working hours per month and the list of duties. This is reviewed as and when or boosted due to holidays or illness. VA’s have general working hours which can be increased if needed. On a day to day basis, the typical list of duties might include: • Answering the phone, replying to emails and social media messages • Marketing support: social media & website support • Bookkeeping & invoicing • Guest management

Tips for hiring a VA 1. 2.

3. 4. 5.


Alternative: Telephone Answering Services

Make a list of tasks you do on a weekly basis. Split these into tasks only you can perform and which ones you can delegate. Telephone answering services take messages and For each task consider the timeframe these email them to the business. They tend to work on a need to be completed. Some tasks might need monthly retainer (fixed amount) and this will be calto be done instantly while others can wait culated based on the number of calls they take. Other a day. This will help you decide on hours. services charge on a pay per call basis. The VA will be the face of your property They won’t be able to answer any questions but they and so you need to be convinced they will offer a human at the end of a call and so will give fit in with your brand image. the customers a feeling of reassurance that their enWhat other companies do they work for? quiry is being dealt with. Any chance of a conflict of interest? Marlen Tallett runs Time To Deleg8, providing supIn order for the VA to reply to any questions, port to small businesses to help them thrive, not just they need to know the product inside and survive. If you find yourself without enough hours in out. Arrange for the VA to spend time at the day, then it is time to delegate! the property or in a range of rooms. For more information: You need to trust the VA 100%. w READ ONLINE & SHARE >>

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with Yvonne Halling

Marketing 5 Star Reviews Yvonne Halling is the award-winning founder of Bed and Breakfast Coach. com and creator of the B&B Money Maker Business Transformation program. In 2001, Yvonne opened her B&B in the Champagne region of France, running her B&B for 17 years. She now offers owners and managers in the B&B industry helpful training and masterclasses. Join Yvonne's Facebook group at: BandBgroup You can email Yvonne at yvonne@

How to Market your 5 Star Reputation for More Direct Bookings

I don’t think anyone can deny that the last couple of years have been very unusual, but I believe that one of the huge victims of what’s been happening has been TRUST. Trust in our governments, institutions and each other. Even if you’ve only been in this business a short while, the chances are you already have some 5 star reviews that you can put to work for you, to help build and maintain your reputation and your trust. They make a huge difference to the number of enquiries you receive and the bookings you secure. When you get a 5 star review, it’s really a lovely feeling, but you should be using your 5 star reviews to promote yourself to build trust and attract new bookings. Are you leaving them languishing on third party platforms? Or are you pro-actively using them to spread the word about your property and using them to actively generate fresh enquiries and bookings? In this article, we’re going to look at how you can easily do this, but first… Here are some ‘revenue-killing’ problems with the way you’re displaying reviews… (If you’re displaying them at all!)

FB: Yvonne Halling TW: @yvonne3030 IN: @bedandbreakfastcoach

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Which of these revenue killers can you identify on your website? 1.

All reviews are only on one page.


No review verification - The decline in consumer trust is partly down to the increase in fake reviews… you need a simple way to show that your guest reviews are genuine.


Not mobile friendly - This is a huge problem, as many sites are so unfriendly to view on mobile that site visitors just bounce off… if that includes your reviews, they’re wasted


Static, i.e. not updated - 65.7% of buyers find reviews very valuable when they were written within the past three months. But… only 11% if the reviews are 12 months old.


No directory icon - People want to know they can trust the source of your reviews. But if they don’t carry an official sign of being verified, how can viewers really trust them?

6. No call to action - Your website visitors are busy, distracted and often undecided. But if you invite them to take the next step - e.g. to call or book now - they are far more likely to do so So how many of those six ‘revenue killers’ are losing you enquiries, bookings and revenue?

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Consider adding a widget to your website to automatically display reviews. If you cannot add a widget to your site, make sure you add the review site's logo and a link to their site from your homepage. 2. Ensure you reply with thanks / comments on all new reviews. 3. Be careful how you reply to any negative reviews or criticisms. They aren’t the be all and end all, but it can be hard. If you feel the need to reply but are finding it hard to take the high road, write your reply without sending it and sleep on it. Remember that whatever you reply with will be online forever. 4. Share any exceptionional reviews on social media. Ideally use a screenshot of the actual review to give credibility. 5. Add a call to action or share at the bottom of your reviews to encourage others to do the same. 6. Keep on top of your reviews to ensure you get new reviews on the top. Old reviews have less impact as quality might have dropped since the last review.

Adding a widget to your website:


What can you do instead?

One of the best ways to get those 5 star reviews working for you is to have a “widget” on your website that displays your reviews on every page. Firstly, remember to check with your web design/web development software, as you might be able to get a free one, or you might choose a paid option. If you are using wordpress, there are a number of Wordpress widgets that will automatically display your reviews on your website. Type “wordpress review plugin” into Google for a collection, we’ve picked two: • - A collection of widgets connecting to specific review platforms, e.g. Google, Trip Advisor. There is a free version available - Pricing from $65 per month, this *review management platform connects all platforms to a single widget.

Wix has the MyReviews App and Squarespace has the Product Review Option. *Review management systems: Reviews can come in from various sources so it can become quite cumbersome. If you struggle to stay on top of things, check out some different management tools.

Top review sites: According to Forbes, a survey by CivicScience found that the top hotel review sites were ranked as follows for most trusted: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Tripadvisor (24%) Google (9%) Trivago (8%) (5%) Facebook (1%)

Surprisingly, 53% of those surveyed said ‘None of the above’. This is because people find it hard to believe what they read online when it comes to reviews. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on asking guests to leave reviews; After all, Tripadvisor is used by 463 million people hoping to make the most of their travels each month. Sources:

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Natural pools, or natural swimming ponds, are increasingly on trend. Despite the initial construction costs, they not only improve your guest experience, but they are also better for the environment. We caught up with Max Parker at Piglets Boutique B&B to understand the basics of installing and maintaining a natural pool, as well as why they are a better choice than a regular swimming pool. By

Juliet Horner


ast month it was reported that a number of swimming pools would be closing for the summer. The Independent reported that a national chlorine shortage combined with rising energy costs forced public swimming pools in several parts of the UK to temporarily close or offer reduced services. A survey by UKActive also found that 85% of public pool operators would be “forced to reduce services in the next six months”. This brought to mind a new trend for swimming facilities which may be of interest to you. If you’ve ever considered installing a pool, or maybe you want to revamp the one you already have, why not consider a natural pool? We spoke to Max Parker, owner of Piglets Boutique B&B in Wimbish, to learn all about the process of installing a natural swimming pond at their property.

What is a natural swimming pool...? “A natural pool, or natural swimming pond, is a swimming pool that is filtered and purified biologically by water plants and a special biological filtration system. Natural ponds can be any shape, size or style and designed to blend with your garden.” - Ellicar, specialists in natural pools and ecological landscapes

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Why did you choose to build a natural pool rather than a regular swimming pool? Max:

Having swum in a natural pool, I would be reluctant to go back to a regular swimming pool. There’s no chlorine or other chemicals that smell or leave your eyes stinging and being in totally clean, natural water is such a different experience. Swimming surrounded by nature, with the plant’s bacteria working all the time to keep the pool crystal clear, adds to one’s sense of mental well-being. And with the current trend of cold water therapy, many guests who swim in the sea say it is almost ‘tropical’, whilst those who are not so brave will swim a length and then become acclimatised and addicted.

Installing the felt lining for insulation

What do you need to start building a natural pool?

Crystal clear water in the regeneration zone

Max: An expert. There are a number of companies offering their design and building services for natural swimming ponds. We investigated a number of companies but one kept cropping up, who were branded a ‘fixer’ for problem ponds, so that’s who we used to oversee the project, with our local general builder doing the heavy work.

"There's no chlorine or other chemicals." URLs | Photos provided by Max Parker at Piglets Boutique B&B 10 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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I’d also say that once you start building it, insulate it. We chose to heavily insulate ours with a special polystyrene liner filled with concrete, then covered that in felt before the top liner went in. This was originally done so that the pool could be heated if we wanted, but guests prefer the cold water therapy an unheated pond provides. (It can reach 25 degrees in the summer months, but many guests still like to brave the water even in January!)

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How much would it cost to build a natural pool? Max:

With the surrounding decking etc, I’d say it could cost anything between £125,000 and £150,000 for a good size pond.

Cost Guide, Natural Pool: The cost of a natural pool will depend on the size and shape that you choose to go with as well as the level of associated garden design. It will also depend on the company or ‘experts’ you choose to work with to create your natural pool. Some fees to expect include: Consultation Fee Design Fee Construction The average starting price for a natural swimming pool or pond is approximately £125,000 but there are other companies who can create smaller pools for a smaller price tag. For example, at Swim Ponds by Michael Wheat, prices can start from £60,000. Ellicar charges approximately £60,000 for constructing an earth shaped pond of 100sqm and £85,000 for a concrete constructed natural pool of 100sqm. According to The Swimming Pond Company, you can expect their costs to start around £75,000 for an 80sqm pond. However, these prices are usually the starting point, only covering the construction. Remember you need to think about extra costs that might need to be added on such as topographical surveys, design fees, garden design, decking and more.

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Before the plants could work their magic, the water was looking murky

Plants flowering in the regeneration zone

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Cost Guide, Traditional Swimming Pool: According to Sallie Leslie-Golding at the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA), the cost of a traditional swimming pool can also vary. It depends on the geographical location and the type of traditional pool you choose. Sallie explained that costs can start from hundreds of pounds for the most basic paddling pool to approximately £15,000 for a top-of-therange above-ground pool kit. A liner pool would be an average of £50,000, while a fully-tiled, reinforced concrete outdoor pool would be in the region of £80,000. Larger projects (especially indoor pools requiring heating and ventilation) will range in cost from £100,000 to £200,000+ (not including the cost of the pool hall). Sallie also explained that finding the right installer is extremely important. SPATA recommends choosing an experienced and reputable contractor who can help you through the entire installation process and who can also offer advice on: • All types of heating, (and ventilation where applicable) • Safety protection devices • Water hygiene management If you are considering a traditional pool, SPATA is a good place to start as it sets the swimming pool industry standards. Companies who join SPATA agree to follow the SPATA Standards and abide by the SPATA Code of Ethics. Members of SPATA can also provide detailed information on their products, with backup from their respective manufacturers. For info on pool maintenance go to: wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Servicing-and-Maintaining-yourPool-and-or-Spa-C23.pdf

How do you choose the shape and size? Max:

You need to consider what space you have available. If it’s just for general fun, then I would go for a funky, more natural-looking pond shape with a big regeneration zone, which lends itself to a more natural feel and could be located in a field or similar. However, if you want to entice swimmers, then a pond like ours would work. We have a rectangular swim zone and our pool is 14.55m x 5.45m. It’s 2m at the deep end and 1.3m at the shallow end, which allows for guests who want to do lengths and also dive in. But it also means that those who aren’t as confident or not so proficient can put their feet down until halfway.

INSTAGRAM: @pigletsbandb @ellicargardens @michaelwheatgroup @theswimmingpondcompany FACEBOOK: @pigletsbb @SPATEXLTD @ellicargardens @michaelwheatgroup @theswimmingpondcompany TWITTER: @BoutiquePiglets @ellicargardens @SPATEX_show @MWheatGroup LINKEDIN: Michael Wheat Group (Swim Ponds)

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Arranging the pipework for the pool ready for installation

Can you explain a little bit about how your natural pool works? Max: Basically, the water (originally from the mains) is pumped through a series of perforated pipes which lie embedded in gravel in what is called the regeneration zone. This is only about one foot deep and it’s where all the plants are planted, right next to the swim-zone which is plant free. The water circulates through the regeneration zone and then through a series of filters to remove any phosphates and other elements, allowing the plants’ own bacteria to balance the bacteria in the water. The water becomes crystal clear, but 6 weeks before we opened I was getting nervous because the pond was an opaque green colour. But I was assured this wouldn’t last and literally overnight, the balance of bacteria in the pond changed and I was suddenly greeted, much to my relief, with a beautiful, clear pond ready for our guests. 14 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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Once it’s built, what sort of maintenance has to be carried out on a natural pool?

Are there any rules/ regulations you need to follow if you have one of these built?

Max: Minimal. Once the bacteria balance has got to the point where the plants take over and the water is crystal clear, you may only end up having to occasionally remove leaves during autumn from nearby trees. Then if there’s a heat wave, you sometimes need to do the occasional top-up from the tap due to evaporation during sunny weather. The water doesn’t need to be drained away every winter like in a normal swimming pool. The other thing is, if a pump goes down during the summer months, pond weed will quickly start to appear which can take a while to remove with natural treatments. But that’s only if there’s a malfunction.

Max: We’re an adults only B&B and we don’t open to the general public, only residents (despite weekly requests to ‘come and swim’). Therefore, the need to have a lifeguard is not required. However, of course we have a life buoy and a list of rules that we ask the guests to follow, such as no running or jumping and no glass around the pond (we provide plastic glasses for this area). But that’s just general health and safety.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a natural pool? Max:

I cannot think of any disadvantages over a regular pool, except for perhaps construction costs, but these are balanced by the need for no chemicals and minimal maintenance. Also on the plus side, you’re not left with an empty blue pit in the garden during the winter. You can still enjoy a year-round ‘live’ experience as nature goes through its changes. The pool becomes a mecca for pond life, from frogs to newts, water boatmen, dragonflies and of course plant growth. Many guests ask if there are fish in the pond, but no. Fish and ducks are a complete no-no for a natural

Finished pool and decking

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swimming pond as their poo will mess with the clarity of the pond, the bacteria balance and all the good work the plants are doing. As nice as it might be to be able to swim with koi carp or see a mother Mallard with her chicks swimming past, it won’t be so nice to swim in after a while. Our two rescue dogs who are Beagle Bassets keep the ducks off for us! There are also great health benefits and it’s a great pull for guests who like natural, open water swimming. And also for us, it bolts onto our wellbeing theme in conjunction with our sauna, gym, general relaxation areas and outdoor and indoor games.

Max's Top Tips 1.

When guests find out you have a natural swimming pool, they will want to check in early so they have more time to use it. Make sure you are firm on your rules.


Provide guests with towels and offer to dry the towels for them. Otherwise they’ll get left lying around and will soak the beds and other pieces of furniture.


Be prepared for interruptions in your daily routine. Having a pool means people may want to spend more time on site so you may be busier and have less time to do your daily tasks and errands.


Being adult-only is a godsend if you have a pool. If there were little ones running around or older kids being noisy and unruly, you would probably have to employ a lifeguard and the ‘zen’ feel for guests would be severely disrupted.


Ensure no glass is allowed in or around the pool. Draining it would be a massive job and it would take months to get the pond back to usability as the plants would need time to perform their magic all over again. Invest in some polycarbonate glassware and even though this might be more expensive than regular plastic glasses, they will last longer, feel better in the hand and they are also dishwasher safe.

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Breakfast by the pool

Different types of pools: There are a number of pool options available if you’re not settled on a natural swimming pond… (source ellicar.

Natural Pool

A natural pool has a swimming area and regeneration zones, separated by low submerged walls. The regeneration zones are home to beautiful water plants which filter and purify the water naturally, keeping it hygienically clean and crystal clear.

Hybrid Pool

A hybrid pool combines the filtration technology of a living pool with the beauty of water plants. You can enjoy the ecological benefits of a natural pool but with more space for swimming and less space for the regeneration zones. Hybrid pools can be heard, usually with an air source heat pump so you can use it from May - October.

Living Pool

Pool liner installed and ready to be filled

Looking just like a conventional pool and without water plants, a living pool is chemical-free so you can enjoy swimming in pure, living water. The water is purified and filtered hygienically. During the swimming season, a pool robot cleans the pool daily. They can be heated up to 28C, usually with an air source heat pump. Ellicar advises covering an outdoor living pool when not in use.

Swimming Pond

Built from excavated, earth shaped walls, without the need for concrete, swimming ponds provide an area for swimming surrounded by beautiful water plants that purify and filter the water naturally.

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nsuring your guests feel safe, relaxed and happy is an important part of running a hospitality business. It’s not all about the money. When you strip your business back to the essentials, you need to provide your guests with a great night's sleep and a place to recharge. So how can the ancient Chinese philosophy of feng shui (pronounced fung Shway) help you do this? Feng shui is all about harmonising and balancing the flow of energy through your living spaces, splitting the world into five core elements:

Wood: creativity and growth Fire: leadership and boldness Earth: strength and stability Metal: focus and order Water: emotion and inspiration 18 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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...for holiday lets The philosophy of feng shui also highlights the belief that everything in the universe has opposing and complementary forces; yin and yang.

By Juliet Horner

Yin: Associated with the female. Passive, moonlight, creativity, softness Yang: Associated with the male. Active, sunlight, enlightenment, strength Research has shown that our living and working environments can affect how we feel, and this is what feng shui is all about. But there’s no set path to follow with this philosophy. You can play with the five core elements to find what suits you. But here’s four key things to keep in mind when starting to practice feng shui:

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Where you place your bed Bedside furniture The position of the bed in a room is essential. Your guests need to feel safe and comfortable. For balance, make sure there is ample and equal space on either side of the bed so that both people can get in and out easily, without disturbing the other. For a feeling of safety and stability, the head of the bed should be on the opposite side of the room to the door. You should still be able to see the door when you are lying down, but not in line with it. This is to ease our subconscious mind. We won’t worry about potential threats as much because we can spot whatever or whoever enters the room straightaway. Your bed also shouldn’t be under a window for the same reasons.


Feng shui is not just about the furniture. The energy of a room can also depend strongly on the colours you use. This could be anything from bedding, to artwork to flooring. Avoid stimulating colours like bright reds and oranges which amplify your feelings and give you more energy, which is not what you need when you want to go to sleep. If your heart is set on bright colours, use them minimally, as accents. Muted and pastel colours are better for bedrooms. Neutral shades are another good choice. These will help your guests to feel more relaxed, calm and safe, ensuring they enjoy a good night’s sleep.


Everyone loves a statement mirror, but you need to make sure it’s in the right place, especially if you want it in the bedroom. Our eyes are drawn to movements, so if the bed is facing the mirror our eyes will pick up any movement that is reflected. To ensure your guests can get to sleep uninterrupted, move the mirror out of their line of sight (from when they are lying in bed).

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Guests will appreciate bedside tables or shelves next to the bed, but you need to make sure this doesn’t clutter up the room. Some people will put large bookshelves next to the bed or nightstands that don’t match the height of the bed. This might feel okay at first, but once you try to sleep, large, imposing pieces of furniture right next to the bed can feel oppressive. Imagine driving next to a large lorry… Guests will feel a similar pressure if you place large pieces of furniture right next to the bed. You also want to keep the area above the bed clear of clutter. Sure, you can hang a piece of art above the bed, but you need to make sure it lies fairly flat against the wall so the person in the bed doesn’t feel like something is looming over them whilst they sleep. Again, this is something that could threaten their subconscious mind and impact their chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

Most searched bedroom design trends: The overall design of your business will impact how your guests feel. It’s hard because everyone has different tastes, but certain design trends might help you to make a space feel more inviting and relaxing. To help, here’s some popular design trends to inspire some ideas… Liberty London recently conducted some research to find out what the most popular home decor styles are around the world. They also collaborated with psychologist Lee Chambers, to reveal what the most popular trend says about someone’s personality. According to Liberty London, the five most searched design trends, globally, are: 1. Farmhouse 2. Boho 3. Modern 4. Scandinavian 5. Minimalist Farmhouse decor is hugely popular, providing a cosy and natural environment which can easily align with the fundamental elements of feng shui. According to psychologist Lee Chambers, the neutral tones of the farmhouse design trend are “understated and subtle”. These neutral tones are “suggestive of a person who enjoys balance and prefers simplicity”. He added that the individuals who choose this design trend “tend to be more mindful and great at managing under pressure.” You can read the full report at: https://www.libertylondon. com/uk/features/interiors/ what-your-home-decor-saysabout-you.html

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Summer Pudding with Cassis with Lisa Holloway This pudding is such a celebration of English fruit, and a good excuse to use your pretty china. For big parties I use a large Victorian bowl which looks glorious with the pudding standing majestically in a pool of dark red sauce. Make this one, two or even 3 days before you eat , and go crazy with the decorating to make the most of the summer berries, add nasturtiums and borage flowers for riotous colour, with sprigs of mint. I add a slurp of Cassis to the sauce to make it extra delicious.

Lisa Holloway owned and ran Compton House for 14 years, an award winning B&B in Newark on Trent. She took part in Four in a Bed, and also went on to present a 35 part programme ‘To B&B the Best’ for Channel 5. Last year, Lisa moved to Oxfordshire, buying an adorable cottage called 'The Beehive' where, after renovations are complete, Lisa will be running it as a tiny B&B! All rights reserved © Lisa Holloway 2022

What is Cassis? Crème de cassis is a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants.

Ingredients • • • • •

Loaf of day (or 2) old white bread, good quality 1 kilogram of mixed fruits; blackberries, strawberries, redcurrants, raspberries, blackcurrants A little extra fruit for the sauce, any combination 250 g caster sugar Miniature bottle of Creme de Cassis

Email: IN: @looholloway

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Clean and hull the fruit, cover with the sugar and leave overnight. Next day bring to the boil and gently simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Taste to see if it is sweet enough, add more sugar if needed. Remove the crusts from the bread and line a 2 ½ pint basin or bowl. Make a circle to cover the base with, then overlap the other slices until the whole bowl is covered, with no gaps. If there are some gaps just press pieces of bread over the tear. Leave some slices for the lid. Pour the fruit into the bowl and cover with more slices of bread. Put a saucer or plate on top, using 2 tins of soup or beans as weights to press it down.



Place in the fridge overnight or a couple of days. The bread will absorb the juices and be marbled with purple. In the same saucepan put some extra fruit and sugar, and simmer until soft. Press through a coarse metal sieve so you have a nice thick sauce and add a good slug of Creme de Cassis. To turn out, run a knife round the edge of the pudding, put a plate over the top of the bowl and turn out onto your plate. Pour the Cassis sauce over the top to completely cover the bread; don’t worry if there is a little too much sauce, it will all be soaked up and eaten. Have a big jug of thick cream standing by. It's making my mouth water just writing about it.

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June 20222020 || Luxury BnBBnB || 21 || 9 December || Luxury  19/01/2022 13:42:08 11:14 19/07/2022

Product News


At Scentered we are passionate about the effects of aromatherapy and in this instance in particular, our Sleep Well Range. “Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more" - Ref Alyssa Sparacino Editorial Editor SHAPE. It is globally recognized that getting enough quality sleep is essential for good health, so why not assist your valued guest in getting enough rest whilst they are in your care. Our sophisticated floral lavender blend, harnesses the therapeutic benefits of Lavender, Chamomile, Palmarosa and Ho Wood, and balances them with Bois de Rose and Geranium. The Patchouli, Clove and Ylang Ylang heart brings a modern oriental twist. For a turndown gift of real value why not offer a mini balm, or perhaps, for VIPs one of our super gift sets. For more information call: 07931265072 or email:


When hoteliers contact us, it's often an emergency. They have generally tried everything to make their hotel a real success... in vain. A lot of effort made for few results obtained, such as: Direct bookings low, High commission fees on Booking / Airbnb, Poor online visibility and Hours wasted performing tasks with low added value. It is impossible to work in these conditions. At Amenitiz, we help independent hoteliers develop their businesses with our all-in-one solution. Thus, our customers benefit from: A new modern website optimised for SEO, A PMS which allows them to simplify their daily life, A Channel Manager to centralize all reservations and avoid overbooking, An integrated booking system to increase direct bookings and A secure payment system. As for all these independent hoteliers, we will be able to offer you the solutions adapted to your needs.

Wake Up to the Smell of Melitta® Filter Coffee and its Aromaboy®

Vogue Contract Beds

Vogue Contract Beds are a bed and mattress manufacturer based in Leicestershire and are part of the Vogue Beds Group. Formed in 1990 with over 30 years of providing contract mattresses for companies in the UK hospitality market. Vogue Contract Beds manufacture all their own mattresses and have one of the most versatile ranges of contract mattresses on offer across the UK. Suppling contract mattresses to student accomodation as well as many of the UK’s most prestigious hotels and unique boutique hotels from Natural Pocket & Luxury hotel contract beds range. Vogue Contract Beds provide economical contract mattress solutions that suit the needs of our clients and partners from our Academic Collection. To view the range, visit | Tel: 01455841257 | 22 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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Small in size but big at preparing delicious coffee for twocup pleasure, the Melitta®Aromaboy® champions a classic compact design with its period retro appearance. Ideal for holiday home lettings, this iconic filter coffee maker is very much an energy saving appliance. Complete with a practical and illuminated auto-off function which turns the machine off when not in use, the Aromaboy® runs on an energy-saving 500 watts making it economical in electricity consumption. The space saving machine also comes with a transparent water container and a dishwasher proof glass jug with filter. Melitta® Aromaboy® is available in black, white and beige/brown priced £34.99. For trade enquires please contact us on: 0844 800 8055 | |

19/07/2022 11:16

Product News

MSS Mobile Signal Solutions Love Maps On

Create the Wow Factor with a stunning wallmap of your area. Present-day and Vintage Ordnance Survey Maps of any area on made-to-measure wallpapers, canvases, ceramic tiles, glass splash-backs and much more. Allow your guests to truly discover the local landscape. An amazing addition to any Guest House or Hotel. Our products are designed to bring colour and flair to bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, foyers and function rooms. Whatever the colour scheme or style, you'll find a contemporary, historical or art map to complement it. Our maps range from World Maps, Designer Maps, Antique Maps, Art Maps, Globes and Text Art Maps to Personalised Maps from Ordnance Survey and Personalised Vintage maps. Our online map store gives you fast and easy access to a whole world of wonderful maps at affordable prices. Visit

Hotels and B&B's are often faced with the problem of having poor mobile signal throughout the building. Building materials including foil-backed insulation and remote locations are the main reasons for poor signals. Whether staying for business or pleasure, people need to be connected at all times. Roaming laws have meant that calls outside your home country are not as expensive as they once were, making business calls and home calls using mobile phones from a hotel a much more frequent occurrence. For this reason, it's imperative for hotels, and guesthouses to have quality mobile signal strength to improve customer satisfaction and thus aid in receiving repeat business. If your property has no reception, you can ensure full coverage throughout by taking steps to install an MSS booster system. Once installed it will improve their overall experience and in turn provide repeat business. Visit: hotel/ or contact:


SabeeApp Hotel Management System’s latest development, an integrated ID Scan is now available! With the help of SabeeApp's built-in ID scanner, hotel guests can upload their travel documents in seconds, even from the comfort of their home through the GuestAdvisor application. This way, check-in only takes seconds which will increase the overall guest experience and simplify the tasks for your reception staff. What if guests don't want to take the opportunity to scan their documents at home or download GuestAdvisor? No problem! SabeeApp’s brand new Front Office Manager was created to solve this problem; the receptionist can scan your guests ID in minutes by using only a smartphone. The system can read national IDs, passports or driving licenses and the data is automatically transferred into SabeeApp’s PMS. By using these solutions, not only can you reduce the time spent with checking in but also you can fulfill the mandatory regulations if there’s any. To learn more, visit SabeeApp’s website: | Contact -

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Versatile, supportive and super-comfortable are a few words to describe the Hotel Mattress range at Mattressman. Going above and beyond to provide your guests with a rejuvenating night’s sleep, the Hotel Mattresses include fantastic features that will contribute to a sumptuous stay at your establishment. They incorporate body-moulding pocket springs with a support tension that’s suitable for every sleeping position, high-quality hypoallergenic fillings and breathable cotton covers too. The Hotel Mattresses are in congruence with Source 5 fire regulations and are available in all standard sizes: even adaptable zip and link options to transform a twin room into two singles. Our trade team can provide expert, impartial advice on what mattresses are best suited to your establishment, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today on 0800 5677 625 or To view the range, visit August 2022 || Luxury BnB || 23

19/07/2022 11:16

Bethnal Bec &

A column for owners, by owners

This is a column for owners, by owners. Vicky and Chris Saynor designed and created Bethnal&Bec Luxury Staycations, a true homegrown family business.


City chic meets countryside cool, in a stylish yet cosy home-fromhome setting. For grownups only, and maybe the dog too – escape to your own luxury rural retreat with everything you need to relax. FB: Bethnal & Bec IN: @bethnalandbec www.bethnalandbec. com

w READ ONLINE & SHARE >> luxurybnbmag. com/chris_ aug22 OR luxurybnbmag. com/vicky_ aug22

For those of us who accept direct bookings rather than bookings via an OTA (such as or a traditional agency, the joys and perils of managing your own marketing is a massive part of your business. Social Media is our #1 source of both bookings and enquiries. Currently Instagram leads the way, followed by Facebook in terms of effectiveness and ROI (return on investment). But what is the biggest growing social media app in the UK today? TikTok! In 2021 there were 13 million TikTok users in the UK. “But aren’t all these users 14 year olds and highly unlikely to be booking holiday accommodation?” I hear you shout… The short answer is “Nope”. More than half of all TikTok users are over 25, and 30% are actually over 35 years old. If these statistics don’t make you situp a little bit, then just consider that every year TikTok is growing and in the not too distant future, it will be the most used social media app in the UK. And every year its audience gets older - in other words, it becomes more like your ideal customer. With all this in mind, we started our TikTok journey. We even went to a half-day workshop to learn about the app and how to maximise it for our business.

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To Tik or to Tok Perhaps what you’re hoping to read next are my top tips on how you can easily get ahead on TikTok and see the bookings flow in. But unfortunately, I’m going to have to disappoint you. Sorry! Tiktok is not easy, it works on your videos being popular and then (hopefully) going viral. It’s not about gaining followers etc. and pushing content to them. On the plus side if you did create a video which is well received then it doesn’t matter how many followers you had to start with, Tiktok will push that video hard to new people. We are persevering, desperately trying to convince our four children to be our creative editors in putting together the videos, which is where we tend to struggle, and crossing our fingers that one of them will “Go Viral”. TikTok will soon be as big, if not bigger than Facebook and Instagram. I’ve used it and I can see why it’s so popular and horribly addictive. Its audience will age with it, and every year millions more of our potential customers will be newly engaged on the platform, so we have no choice but to be there too. Just wish us luck as we continue to navigate the somewhat murky pathway to success and I urge you to get on board too. TikTok is not just for 14 year olds.

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Online learning

I have found that one of the few good things that happened during the pandemic was the rise of online learning, webinars and easily accessible digital content. Running your own business requires you to wear many, many hats. Some may choose to pay others to wear those hats for them, but for me, there are specific areas of the business that I enjoy and absolutely want to be doing: Marketing and working to become a Carbon Neutral Business. So what's that got to do with my opening sentence? Well, pre-pandemic I'd book a day away from the business to attend a seminar which costs time, petrol and energy. Post-pandemic the internet is full of FREE learning - and I'm loving it! So much so that I was late in submitting this article this week because I've been on an intense Sustainability Basics programme that has distracted me somewhat! Online learning is free, accessible and helps you to build your business without huge outlay, plus, you can pick up some new skills along the way. I personally think it's a win win, and being entirely responsible for our own business marketing gives me great satisfaction; I get the direct interaction with our guests, and I'm saving money too! This year I've completed courses on: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tik Tok Instagram Facebook Ads Google Ads Google Analytics Sustainability in Business Eco Business practices Content writing Canva Design course Hashtags course Video content and creation Wix website building and implementation Blogging Vlogging Visit Britain & Tourism workshops

You can easily get yourself onto courses like these. Have a browse online and see which ones you want to try! I'd definitely recommend courses run by: • • • • •

Wenta Small Business Britain Google Holly&Co Instagram

These are all free, and all at your fingertips.

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Oh so Sustainable with Lucy Agace

Lucy Agace founded Responsible Rental Solutions 3 years ago to help guide smaller accommodation owners to incorporate sustainable practices into their businesses. 35 years as an underwater photographer and conservationist, demonstrated to Lucy the urgent need for sustainability action. Lucy provides sustainability certification for the hospitality sector and is a member of the GSTC. She is the UK partner for Green Globe as a professional auditor and certified with the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Email: lucy@ FB: Go Green Sustainability URL: https://www. gogreensustainability. com/certification-services/ responsible-rentals

We are now in the thick of the summer season and hopefully some of you were able to gain some useful tips in the last issue on how to prepare and enhance your garden or outside spaces to be more child and nature friendly. Being proactive in the area of sustainability, in this climate and showcasing your initiatives, can only help attract the eco-friendly guests. I work with large and small hotels across the UK, helping them achieve recognised standards of ESG (environmental, social, governance) and net-zero targets in the hospitality sector, culminating in the award of a prestigious eco-accreditation. These kinds of awards set out strict criteria with a minimum acceptable number of compliances that need to be met in the first year and then gaining a deeper level each year. You might think that this kind of commitment is reserved for bigger accommodation businesses, however this is not the case, and whilst this month's article might seem like a huge plug, it is not. In our business of accreditation and sustainability guidance, getting certified for your commitments to running a ‘greener, more socially and environmentally aware accommodation product’ is now the biggest growth area in hospitality. I am sure you are already aware that publishes a yearly customer satisfaction and feedback report which is available to read here – https://www.sustainability. a0dc4e3c57994a2c8daffd310a49e16a.pdf

In particular Sustainable Travel Insights say that 81% of travellers surveyed say they want to stay in sustainable accommodation and the top measures for indicating this are these 1. Recycling and excess waste 2. Limited use of single-use plastic 3. Energy efficiencies 4. Easy identification of responsible/ sustainable accommodation Identification by travel operator marks can be obtained in a number of ways, here are a few: • Travel Proud • TripAdvisor scheme Green Leaders • AirBnB Green Stays Each of these provide different depths of responsible practices and although most have not been checked by an onsite visit, they are a great start on any journey to becoming an environmentally responsible business. I also provide a fully onsite checked green certification service and supply a list of 30 compliance criteria which I’m happy to share if you dm me. So what has motivated me to point out this area in the hospitality sector? Apart from working in it every day, I see people who remain oblivious to their impact on themselves, their neighbours, the wider community and globally. In essence we are all connected and maybe now, since the Ukraine war has had a seriously negative impact on all of us in many different ways, we begin to see that yes, we are all connected.

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19/07/2022 11:19

How can we really make a big positive impact? There are an estimated 25,000 B&Bs across the UK. It is also stated that there are approximately 250,000 Airbnb listings, and although there may be doublecounted numbers here, that still represents a huge amount of people who impact local communities and their surrounding environments. If 250 thousand properties engaged with sustainable practices and were transparent about how they have achieved this to every guest, imagine how many people it would reach! It would have to be near the million mark surely? For so many years we have taken travel for granted, be it via air, train, car, bus or other means of transport, we have spent years exploring our beautiful world with little or no thought for the impact we have. We have, including myself, experienced everything the planet has to offer – until now. We now have a responsibility to make sure there will always be a world worth experiencing. A world for our children and grandchildren to explore and enjoy as much as we have. Getting a certification might seem like a strange idea but years ago no-one had heard of the MCS or FSC logos identifying trusted sources. In the hospitality industry, certification adoptions are moving quickly and now is the time to be part of the leadership movement, get ahead of the competition and commit to positive change for the good of all.

I simply want to make you aware that the future is something we need to take into consideration in everything we do in our lives and even more so when we run a business. In fact, to my mind it's even more important to make sure our businesses are run in a sustainable way. The hospitality industry first realised exactly 30 years ago that the industry needed to change because they realised that in many cases, hotel operations were having a largely negative impact on the local communities, environment and infrastructures.

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SING RIPADVISOR with Toulson Court, the World's Best B&B...

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T Toulson Court in Scarborough was named World’s Best B&B on Tripadvisor. Find out how you can use Tripadvisor to your advantage and the different business plans available for you to use. James and Angela Rusden, owners of Toulson Court, also explain how reviews are your best friend and what you can do to encourage guests to leave more reviews. By

Juliet Horner

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here’s no doubt that OTAs and channel managers can be a huge help when it comes to running a hospitality business. But as you go down the rabbit hole of choosing the right OTAs for you, it can be easy to overlook other platforms that might be helpful. Tripadvisor is an online travel platform that helps 463 million people each month to make the most of their travels. Users can access sites, forums, online travel guides, user generated reviews and more. At the end of the day - if you travel anywhere, Tripadvisor is the place to scout out the best things to do, see and visit. According to Statista, in 2021 Tripadvisor’s total number of user reviews and opinions reached approximately one billion, covering listings for restaurants, attractions, holiday rentals and hotels. So how can this benefit you as a business owner? We spoke to James and Angela Rusden, owners of Toulson Court in Scarborough who were named the Best B&B in the World by Tripadvisor, to find out how they use this particular online travel platform. August 2022 || Luxury BnB || 29

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Seating area looking over the breakfast room

Getting set up and subscription options “I think nearly everywhere has a Tripadvisor account, you’ve just got to go online and claim it,” said James. “But if you set up a new business, or you want to change the name of your business, you can contact Tripadvisor to set up or update your account.” James and Angela inherited their Tripadvisor account from the previous owner of Toulson Court so they only need to update their contact details, but they said it’s very easy to set up an account if your business isn’t already on there. If you haven’t already, claim your listing here:​​ “They will also ask you if you would like to subscribe, because you can have the professional version or the free version,” explained James.

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Free tools for business owners include:

Manage: Take control of your listing. Customise your listing details, upload photos, and more to show customers what makes your business special. Connect: Join the conversation and respond to reviews. Access free tools to generate more feedback for your business.

Grow: Track your performance. Access key insights to help you analyse, and build on, your performance.

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Head to to claim your listing if you haven't already!

Screenshot from Tripadvisor - Claim your listing

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For those who want to get more out of their Tripadvisor listing, there are a number of different ‘subscription’ models you can purchase to enhance your performance.

Tripadvisor products available for business owners: (Information from

Reputation Pro: •

• •

Impact your ranking and bubble score on Tripadvisor: Make it easy for travellers to brag about their stay and build your credibility along the way. - Lean on Tripadvisor to deliver automated review requests on your behalf. - Reach your guests where they are. Collect more reviews across email, text, and app Never miss a review: Stay connected with your guests by responding to their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. - Get real-time review notifications so you can deal with issues as they arise and thank travellers for positive reviews - Choose when and how you’re notified so you can act quickly on guest feedback Save time in responding to guests: Easily manage your reputation across multiple platforms. - See your reviews across Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook and the largest OTA's, all on the same page - Use one centralised dashboard to respond to reviews Improve the guest experience: Get a summary of Tripadvisor’s review insights to see what’s driving guest feedback (and benchmark against competitors) - Use Tripadvisor’s industry-leading review insights — and take actionable steps to make guests love you even more - Discover what’s driving both positive and negative guest feedback, and benchmark your review performance against your competitors

Business Advantage: •

Bring your property to life: Show guests what they can expect and what makes you special. - Hand-select your Favourite Review and photos that you want featured on Tripadvisor - Add videos & a promotional Storyboard: Tell your story with visuals that showcase property highlights Convert traveller demand: Make booking direct easier than ever with easy mobile tap-to-call features, special offers and more. - Convert traveller demand to direct bookings by adding contact details on your listing page - Customise exclusive Special Offers guests can click to redeem on your site — from discounts to free upgrades Unlock competitor insights: Track your performance over time and get valuable insights from guests and competitors. - See traffic and ranking trends in your market; discover what travellers care about most by tracking clicks - Learn how your photo engagement and amenities stack up against your competitors’

Sponsored Placements: • •

Gain exposure: Reach ready-to-book travellers through high-profile ad placements across Tripadvisor. - Move up in search results for hotels in your area - Showcase your property to travellers when they are researching competitive properties Increase direct bookings (and profitability): Promote your rates and hotel links in each ad to drive direct bookings. - Secure prominent placement in your ad to stand out against OTAs and save on third-party commissions - Use Tripadvisor’s predictive data and automated targeting to reach high-intent travellers as they search in your area Manage and optimise: Understand your performance and design your campaigns to meet your goals. - Customise your budget and ad schedule to run for key dates or periods of low occupancy - Only appear when your property matches traveller search criteria (e.g. Budget, Pool, Travel Safe etc.)

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ith a number of options available, you can choose whichever suits you the best. “We’re not a big business, so what we pay for Tripadvisor is something that we look at each year, asking ourselves if it is worth it,” said James. “The one we subscribe to has a number of features I like and find useful.” Tripadvisor recently introduced TripConnect, an instant booking service allowing users to immediately book a stay with you on Tripadvisor. “We don’t subscribe to TripConnect,” explained James, “we direct people to our website for bookings.”

Breakfast room at Toulson Court


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Reviews and Ratings With so many people visiting Tripadvisor to read reviews from previous guests, you want to be putting your best foot forward. This means encouraging your guests to leave reviews, making it easy for them to do so, responding to reviews and increasing visibility. “Many people will book using an OTA or directly with the property, but they will look at Tripadvisor because that’s where you can get a real flavour for the guest experience,” said Angela.

"Tripadvisor is where you can get a real flavour for the guest experience." Bedroom

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“Tripadvisor will provide really honest opinions because it’s someone’s real experience and that’s how your guests will know if your property is right for them, by reading those reviews.” James said: “These days, four star reviews aren’t good enough anymore. We go out of our way to provide a great service and do

"If someone doesn't leave a review, it doesn't mean they didn't enjoy their stay." everything to fulfil the needs and requirements of our guests. “But I can also look at the competitors we have in Scarborough on Tripadvisor to see what they offer. I can then compare ourselves to them, but we offer a lot more than anybody else in our area.” By offering a lot more than anyone else in their area, it’s easier to secure repeat business, which in turn makes it easier to secure reviews from your guests. “Once you get repeat business, they’re quite happy to review you because they like you,” said James. “It’s like an online version of your visitors book,” said Angela, “and it works the same as a physical book; some people will leave a review, and some won’t. “But if they don’t, that doesn’t

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Screenshot from the bottom of the Toulson Court website


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mean they didn’t enjoy their stay.” Since COVID, an option to leave a review online might seem more appealing to some guests as it can be done in their own time, from anywhere. So how do you encourage people to leave you an online review? James and Angela use an online booking system called freetobook to manage their calendar. “Freetobook will send people a follow up email, asking guests to leave us a review, but I don’t believe in pestering people,” said James. Despite not wanting to pester people about leaving a review, James does think you should acknowledge the reviews you do get. “I do think you need to reply to every single review, because if someone has taken the effort to write one, you should make the effort to reply to it,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be in a personal way. I do have some standard

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These are the widgets that appear at the bottom of Toulson Court's website. These are linked to Tripadvisor, so when you click on them, you are taken directly to Toulson Court's listing. It makes it easy for prospective guests to read reviews and find out what they can really expect during their stay. It also makes it easy for people to leave a review.

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replies that I copy and paste, but if their name is on the review, make sure you use their name. “Or if I remember something funny about their stay, I might mention that.” He added: “A personal reply is nice, but reviews can be left anonymously so you won’t always know who it is. “But where you do know who it is, try to leave a personal reply.” Aside from trying to leave personal replies where you can, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for your guests to actually leave a review in the first place. “On our website I have a direct link to our Tripadvisor listing,” said James. “So, if somebody says they don’t know how or where to leave a review, it’s right there on the website. They will need to log into Tripadvisor, but they will be able to do it straight from our website.” To make it even easier, James uses widgets to direct guests to the correct web pages. “I’ve got someone who designs the website for me, but they’ve put a Tripadvisor widget at the bottom to make it easier. “So if someone is still struggling to figure out how to leave a review, they can just look for the Tripadvisor widget and click on that,” explained James. 38 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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James and Angela

Things to remember: Jame’s explained it’s all about making Tripadvisor work to your advantage. “Use the widgets on your website to make it easy for people to find the review page,” said James. “And use the Tripadvisor logo so that people immediately associate you with a review site.” Angela also added: “It's really important to remember that TripAdvisor reviews are not the be all and end all. “It’s the service that you provide that’s the most important thing.”

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6 Top Tips 1.

Compare the different business plans available for owners on Tripadvisor and choose the one that’s right for you (price, tools available etc.)


Don’t pester guests to leave a review. Ask once in person and one email reminder.


Make it as easy as possible for people to leave a review by using direct links and widgets


Reply to every single review you receive


Try to make your replies personal where you can


Remember that reviews aren’t the be all and end all

URLs FACEBOOK FB: @toulsoncourt FB: @Tripadvisor


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Karen's Karen Thorne has ran Hopton House B&B in Shropshire for over 16 years and the Bed and Breakfast Academy for over 14 years. Through the B&B Academy, Karen trains aspiring B&B owners in how to set up, buy, run and market their own B&Bs. Karen runs monthly online courses and has recently launched a B&B Marketing membership for existing B&B owners, so she can help them to organically and authentically market their own B&Bs.






Is it time to put on the summer duvet yet? You’d think that the answer to the question “Is it time to put on the summer duvet yet?” would be a simple yes or no. But this is the UK and we’re B&B owners. So whenever this gets posted in my Facebook Group - which it does EVERY year - it ends up being a long discussion. And it is an important topic. Doing everything within your control to make sure guests get a good night's sleep is one of the basics that any bed and breakfast owner needs to get right. Get it wrong and you'll lose potential repeat guests and risk negative reviews. Of course, the British weather will

never play ball. The moment you put on the summer duvet, there will be an unseasonably cold night and discussions of “We’ve never known a frost in June” at the breakfast table the next morning. Personally, it’s a question that never gets asked in our house because we have the summer duvet on all year. When the temperature starts to drop in the autumn, my husband will tentatively ask if we can put the winter duvet on and maybe shut the windows. My response is to pile a load of blankets on top of him whilst I stick to the 4.5 tog side of the bed, usually with at least one leg sticking out from under it.

How to make sure your guests aren’t too hot or cold

If you follow my blog or my podcast you’re probably fed up of hearing me say: You cannot create a B&B that’s perfect for everyone. Your best bet is to identify your ideal B&B guest, understand what they want from a B&B, then get your marketing Read Karen's right so that you attract the sort of people blog to discover who are going to love what you do. more about toilet It’s tricky when it comes to getting the paper origami, right room temperature and bedding, how marrying a because everyone will have a different plumber has been sleeping requirement. very handy, and Your best bet is to try and please most more about life people, and provide options for the as a B&B owner: oddballs like me, who are happiest when bandbacademy. the night-time room temperature is below 10 degrees. I kept my guest at my B&B happy by:

• •

Explaining in the welcome email that the beds are made up with feather duvets and pillows, and to let me know if they preferred manmade fibre bedding or blankets Asking at their first breakfast if they slept ok, giving them the chance to report any problems, which gives me the opportunity to put them right again Installing a thermostat in the bedroom so that guests could control the temperature at any time of the year Providing both a fan heater and a cooling fan Leaving a flat sheet and a couple of blankets in each wardrobe. On hotter nights guests could sleep with the flat sheet alone or add a blanket if it was too cold.


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Here at we help you minimise the amount of commission you pay to the big online travel agents by helping you develop a direct booking strategy. With a few changes to the way you do business, and using our innovative reservation system we can help you significantly improve your profitability. Our all-in-one property management system (PMS), channel manager and ZERO commission booking system incorporates features such as commission management, which makes it super easy to prioritize zero and low commission booking channels. Contact us today for a FREE no-obligation online demo of our services. We offer a FREE trial plus FREE setup and FREE training. With rates starting from just £17+VAT per month this could be one of your best business decisions of 2022! Quote FOB3 for details of our special introductory offer for new customers. the book direct experts 0845-1635163


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Nic Shacklock at Online-Bedrooms

Bethnal & Bec: Bethnal Retreat

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rits struggling to sleep are being encouraged to opt for bedding colours that are known to promote a better night's kip. The fitted furniture experts at have researched bedding colours known to keep people awake as well as looking at what colours encourage a better sleep. Overall the best colours are ones known to promote relaxation and calmness. Cool toned colours like blues and greens are the most calming and provide tranquillity and peace making them great options for bedding. Nic Shacklock from Online-Bedrooms said: “Nowadays a lot of people opt for white, beige and neutral toned bedding which isn’t a bad thing. These colours are actually known for promoting comfort which of course is helpful when it comes to bedtime. “Even colours like blue and green are good because they promote calmness. “Brighter colours like red and purple are not the best because it increases alertness, this is definitely something to consider when it comes to children’s bedrooms.”

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Photo from Sleepeezee

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Photo from Sleepeezee

Bedding colours for a good night's sleep... Blue

Blue is a very calming colour and when we envision something scenic and relaxing, blue is often present - think blue skies and blue sea. Some even argue that blue is the most calming colour of them all, making it a great bedding option, navy blue in particular.


Green is another colour linked heavily to nature, so it's no surprise that this is also considered a great colour option for bedding. You’ve probably heard people say that being around nature reduces stress and anxiety levels and that’s due to the greenery outdoors. The colour green invites a sense of peacefulness, perfect for drifting off to sleep.


More and more people nowadays are opting for white bedding because it looks chic, clean and it’s aesthetically pleasing. Because white is a neutral colour it creates minimal distractions so it allows you to relax and doesn’t stimulate the brain. However, the experts at Online Bedrooms do warn against over using white as too much of it can make a room feel cold and uninviting - not a great environment for sleeping.


Similar to white, the neutral tone of beige bedding limits distractions and provides a sense of warmth. This creates a great atmosphere for falling asleep.

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Bethnal & Bec: Bec Retreat

Bedding colours to avoid...



One of the worst colours to have in your room is red as it stimulates the brain, promoting alertness and giving the sense of danger.


Similar to red, purple is a very powerful colour and encourages creativity. It's suggested that if you do want to incorporate purple into your room or your child's room then you should opt for a lavender shade instead.


Orange promotes high energy meaning it could make you feel more energised, ruining your chances of falling asleep peacefully.


Yellow has become a popular colour for home decor in recent years, and while it looks great, you’re best keeping this out of the bedroom. Yellow is known for being overwhelming and distracting when used in the bedroom.

For more tips on how to turn your bedroom into a sleep haven head to Online-Bedrooms’ blog:

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Photo provided by James Roberts at Sanctuary Bathrooms 18 || Luxury BnB || August 2022

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CO RIENDLY ATHROOM Six practical tips to make your bathroom eco-friendly By James Roberts, Director at Sanctuary Bathrooms.

Photo provided by James Roberts at Sanctuary Bathrooms

URLs: SOCIAL MEDIA: FB: @SanctuaryBathroomsUK IN: @ sanctuarybathrooms TW: @SanctuaryBath


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ccording to waterwise., showers, toilets, baths and bathroom sinks are collectively responsible for more than two-thirds (68%) of a household’s average water usage. Then, when you take into account the amount of plastic packaging we accumulate through non-refillable bottles of shampoo, conditioners, body washes and other products along with toilet paper wrapped in plastic – that adds up to a lot of waste. But the good news is that the bathroom is one of the first rooms in the house you can make those small, easy changes in, to start reducing your waste and getting into greener habits around the rest of the home. It’s even more important to be making these little changes in the home, following research, conducted by Sanctuary Bathrooms, that uncovered the areas around the UK and the rest of Europe that will experience the worst water stress levels by 2040. The experts at bathroom specialists, Sanctuary Bathrooms and limescale specialists, Halcyan Water Conditioners, share how to make your bathroom more environmentally friendly in six easy steps: August 2022 || Luxury BnB || 47

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Step 1: Start shopping zero waste/refillable This is the first and easiest step you can take. Once your current products run out, start replacing them with packaging-free soaps, shampoo bars, and facial cleansing bars or keep your bottles and start taking them to refill stores. If you use cotton pads to remove make-up, consider investing in reusable and washable ones instead. Before you know it, you’ll start noticing the contents of your bathroom bin going down!

Step 2: A touch of green, literally! Bathrooms can be good environments for plants because they provide a lot of moisture. Showers provide misting and humidity that many low-maintenance plants such as air plants, ferns and bamboo require to thrive. Air purifying plants such as spider plants, peace lilies, aloe vera and snake plants will actively improve the purity of the air in your bathroom and help cut down on mould, meaning less harsh chemicals needed for cleaning.

Step 3: Start using water wisely Next, start becoming more mindful about when and how you’re using water within the bathroom. James Roberts, Director at Sanctuary Bathrooms, says, “Many people may be unaware of the amount of water they use in a day. For example, letting the tap run for a minute can waste up to 6 litres of water! Turn the tap off while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your face, and applying soap to your hands. Likewise, turn the shower head off in between shampooing; if you leave it on to warm up at the start, save that water in a bucket for cleaning the bathroom afterwards. “The biggest one is to only flush necessary items down the toilet. You might use toilet paper to blow your nose and flush it rather than dispose of it in a bin. But without thinking, you’re wasting water that could have been saved. Particularly if you’re using a dual flush system and pressing the ‘full flush’ button. “Not only is conserving water beneficial to reducing your carbon footprint and being more environmentally friendly but it will also lower your water bills, meaning you save money!”

Photo provided by Bethnal & Bec

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Step 4: Upgrade your shower head When you start looking at the items in your bathroom and how they’re functioning, you can start to see where you might be wasting water without even knowing it! According to James, upgrading your leaky shower head to a lowflow version with high pressure, can help. He says, “the benefits of this mean not compromising your existing shower, while saving water usage and saving money. A short shower (2-3 minutes) with an efficient shower head will use less water than a bath (which is around 80 litres)1 and changing your shower head could save up to 40% of water used.”

Step 5: Tackle limescale If you live in a hard water area, you are more susceptible to limescale. But according to Samantha Mant, CEO at Halcyan Water Conditioners a lesser known fact is “that limescale build-up significantly reduces the efficiency of your boiler, so when you take a shower, you could be using up to 25% more energy to heat the water than is necessary – adding to increasing bills! Limescale can also build up on taps and showerheads leaving a crusty residue which is difficult to clean off without harsh chemicals, which are then washed down the drain and into the watercourse – which is not good for the environment.” Invest in treatments to prevent future limescale build-up and reduce limescale already present in the home. You can also soak an old cloth in lemon juice and wrap it around your taps or leave your showerhead to soak in a bowl of white vinegar overnight.

Step 6: Replace your toilet This will be an investment – but there are many eco-friendly options to choose from, to make your toilet more efficient. “Dual flush toilets have a split flush function button which gives you the choice of how much water to use. Low-flow and rimless toilets also use less water and some even feature a coating that makes them less prone to bacteria and easier to clean,” says James.

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DIRECTORY Bathroom Amenities & Products

A BUYERS GUIDE Bed & Breakfast Insurance

Insurance for B&Bs 0800 085 5000

Furniture Supplies

Established in 2004, Let Us Furnish provides a wide range of furniture solutions for your property. We are a professional supplier and installer of furniture packages that include bedroom furniture, beds and mattresses, sofas and chairs, dining sets, living room furniture, electrical goods and homewares.

Authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Hotel Management Software

Hotel Management Software

Luxury Towels Bathrobes & Footwear

Mattress Provider

Mattress Provider Vogue Contract Beds are a bed and mattress manufacture with over 30 years’ experience. Buy Direct from the Manufacturer and Save!

Tel: 01455 841257 or email:

Image Joinery Projects Ltd

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Bar , Restaurant and Hotel refurbishment specialists. Email: 01942 322411 Unit 1, Canal Street, Wigan, WN6 7NQ

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THE OLD MILL HOUSE Little Petherick, near Padstow, Cornwall

Detached Grade II Listed, former corn mill To be sold by way of an asset sale as a transfer of a business as a going concern (TOGC). 7 en-suite bedroom guest accommodation 1 en-suite bedroom owners’ accommodation Extensive gardens | Circa 25 cover bistro restaurant 0.2 acre plot | Freehold Sold with the benefit of the fixtures and fittings. Tel: 01326 318813 | Email:


Deal, Kent

5 bedroom B&B | £665,000 Stylish and contemporary Victorian Villa situated a few meters from the seafront at Deal. This property is ranked as the number one B&B for the whole of Deal on Tripadvisor. Close to Dover and Ramsgate. A basement flat serves as owner accommodation. For more info visit or call 01227 499500 Property reference for miles & barr: 31486186

CLOSE MOOAR FARM B&B and Holiday Cottages

Accomodation for up to 24 guests in the Isle of Man Asking Price: £1,500,000 Generates excess of £50k per annum in rental income plus additional B&B income. Price includes furnishings in the cottages, website and all future bookings Farmhouse, Holiday Cottages and Outbuildings 7.5 acres in semi-rural, private location Tel: 01624 820600 | Email:

ADVERTISE YOUR PROPERTY IN LUXURY BNB MAGAZINE If you have a property for sale and wish to advertise it to other B&B's, hotels and glamping sites please contact

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