Luxury BnB Magazine - June 2022

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JUNE 2022

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ISSUE #55

A ZINE T

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Attracting International Guests

RUNNING A VEGAN B&B WORKING WITH A PR COMPANY

WITH EES WYKE COUNTRY HOUSE & CRIMSON EDGE PR

WHEN HOLIDAY-LET OWNERS GO ON HOLIDAY... SUSTAINABILITY

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YVONNE HALLING

KAREN’S COLUMN

SMOKED HADDOCK

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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 editor@luxurybnbmag.com or connect with us on Instagram: @luxury_bnb It's finally starting to feel like life is going back to normal. The days are getting lighter and holiday season is in sight! Staycations have been hugely popular since COVID, but now people are starting to turn their gazes overseas once more. As people start booking holidays abroad, maybe it's time to set your own sights on international guests! This is no easy task, so we spoke to two hospitality businesses to find out what they do in particualr to attract guests from foreign countries (page 8). With the summer holidays in sight, you may also be thinking about escaping for a bit yourself. So how do you plan for when you're away? Vicky Saynor, owner of Bethnal & Bec Luxury Staycations, explains how they kept their hospitality business open for guests whilst she went on a well-deserved family vaction to America (page 18). For those of you wanting to try something new or thinking about redecorating, why not do it yourself? We spoke to the owner of The Pheasant Lodge to learn all about how she made her property ready for guests with the help of Youtube, social media and other online tutorials (page 29). As always, marketing plays a vital role in how successful your business is. We provide a lot of advice and top tips on how you can market your property by yourself, but what if you need a helping hand? We spoke to Ees Wyke Country House and Crimson Edge PR to learn how businesses like you could benefit from the help of a PR company. Find out what they do and what to look for when choosing the right PR company for you (page 27). Happy reading! EDITOR Juliet Horner editor@luxurybnbmag.com 07801 545 540 PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Dominic Johnson dominic@miramedia.co.uk 01892 711 144 DESIGN Juliet Horner | Editor editor@luxurybnbmag.com

CONTRIBUTORS Karen Thorne karenjthorne@yahoo.co.uk Yvonne Halling yvonne@yvonnehalling.com David Worthington david@worthington.co.uk

MEDIA SALES Lisa Ebdy | Sales Manager 07799 886 115 lisaebdymedia@outlook.com

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NEWS

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YVONNE HALLING

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INTERNATIONAL GUESTS How to attract International Guests with Moulin Royale and The Country House at Hunchy Montville

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BETHNAL & BEC When holiday-let owners go on holiday and charity

20 SMOKED HADDOCK POTS A recipe from Lisa Holloway 22 VEGAN B&B Running a vegan business with The Black Sheep Inn 29 DIY INTERIOR DESIGN How the owner of The Pheasant Lodge used social media to teach herself interior design and other DIY projects 37 PR COMPANIES What are they and how can they help? 47 KAREN'S COLUMN How to make tidying easier 48 OH SO SUSTAINABLE Supporting your local environments and getting guests involved 49 WALL MAPS Scrap the paint and go for maps 50 DIRECTORY

Kirsty Farrow KirstyF@spacemarketing.co.uk

Bethnal & Bec relax@bethnalandbec.com Lucy Agace lucy@gogreensustainability. com Lisa Holloway looholloway@gmail.com

No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. We regret we cannot be liable for the safe custody or return of any solicited or unsolicited material. Contributors are advised to keep copies of all materials submitted. The opinions and views expressed in Luxury BnB are not necessarily those of Miramedia. Being subject to the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines in place at the time of going to press, all data submitted by advertisers and contained in their advertising copy is accepted by Miramedia in good faith. Miramedia owns the copyright to all content, including that of any contributors, unless agreed otherwise in writing prior to publication.

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

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IN BRIEF || NEWS

Poor internet connection - what can be done? More people are working from home and need to be able to work from anywhere. Combine this with our constant need to be online and a love of netflix and social media, a fast and reliable internet connection is vital and could be a deal breaker for some when they book a holiday. So what to do if your wifi is not up to scratch? By Dominic Johnson (LBNB Publisher) The easiest way is to connect your How to improve your broadband times of 20-40ms, downloads of c. phone to the wifi, open fast.com speeds within the property: 50-250Mbps and uploads of c.10in a browser on your phone, iPad There's plenty of helpful advice on- 20Mbps (speeds may change as the or laptop. Then walk around the line including, placing your router, network grows). property measuring the speed. WiFi boosters, wired connections Starlink map can be found at www. Anything under 20Mbps is a cause and better, faster routers (but this luxurybnbmag.com/starlink for concern. may cost more). General rule with 5G - the new mobile platform: What can be done if you have a most tech = the more you pay the It’s worth checking to see if 5G is poor internet connection? available in your area. Go to: faster and easier it is to use. First you need to establish if the BT offer an excellent service called www.luxurybnbmag.com/5g slow connection is just you or the BT Complete. They guarantee re- In my experience, you need to be surrpounding area. liable wifi in every room. I finally able to see the mast to get broadTo test for speeds arriving at your installed this at my house when band speeds - but when it works, property, connect your computer the complaints from my teenage the speed and reliability are fanto the wifi router via a cable and- daughter got too much. I can say tastic. This will improve with an test the speeds on a browser run- it is excellent and lives up to the increased coverage but also dening fast.com. If you do discover promise. crease with more people using it. that your internet arrives at the Improve your broadband service With the mobile companies investproperty slow, then you can do one when there are no broadband ing so much money in 5G it is only of 2 things. a matter of time that this technolproviders in your area… You need to establish that it’s not Starlink: Starlink is the satellite ogy will be widely available. just your property (the connrec- based internet connect from Elon Reliable mobile phone service: tion from the supply to your house) Musks SpaceX to deliver broad- People also want fast and reliable - it could be poor in your area. band speeds anywhere. Check out mobile phone signals - and this Chat to neighbours, or do a speed the map on their website to see the is where mobile phone boosters test online using your post code, or speeds you can get. come in. call up your supplier. Costs of satellite broadband up Factors effecting mobile signals If it's just your connection to the until now were very high but have are similar to those effecting your house, consider asking a telephone come right down - £89 per month in-house wifi - foil backed insulaengineer to look at the connection. with a setup fee of around £600. tion, thick walls and metal girders. If it’s your area at fault, check out At present Starlink has over 2,100 A mobile signal booster from moother providers using speedtest. LEOs in orbit and their initial bile signal solutions will guarantee net. If there are no better broad- plan is to deploy a total of 4,425 to improve your mobile signal, alband options you might have to by 2024. But for that you can ex- lowing your guests to be connectlook for something completly new. pect unlimited usage, fast latency ed at all times.

Holidays in June and July: Home vs. Away The Mirror has compared the cost of a UK “Staycation” holiday with holidays abroad for the upcoming months and have found some interesting results. Source: mirror.co.uk The Mirror has reported that there are still some bargains out there if you can avoid school holidays and go in June. They report that there is little difference between the cost of a holiday abroad and a holiday here at home in the UK. In some cases it is cheaper to holiday abroad. However, in July, The Mirror have reported that it's still cheaper to holiday in the UK than abroad, even though it's outside of the

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school holidays. During the school holidays there are few bargains to be found for late July and August. In some cases, holiday goers might even find better bargains abroad. UK Holidays are apparently still working out cheaper for a family of four, but once you add the cost of entertainment and meals onto the books, this is comparable with a holiday overseas.

Extra costs that you need to consider when choosing a holiday abroad include: • Covid Tests for all unvaccinated travellers. • Transfer costs – normally included in package holidays but will need to be considered if you book your travel and accommodation separately. To read the full story, go to: mirror.co.uk/travel/news/ uk-holidays-cheaper-holidays-abroad-26988657 www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Tripadvisor names World's Best B&Bs for 2022 In May, Tripadvisor announced their list of the World’s best B&Bs for 2022. Based on Tripadvisor's rankings, the UK boasts four B&Bs within the top 10. Great to see our partner The 25 (previous winner) still ranked right up there! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

The Toulson Court (UK) Candleberry Inn on Cape Cod (USA) Pousada Quarto Crescente (Brazil) The Blue Horse Inn (USA) The 25 Boutique B&B (UK) Gazebo Inn Ogunquit (USA) Coombe House (UK) The Elmdene (UK) Historic Oak Hill Inn (USA) Pousada Gaia Viva (Brazil)

Tips for picking a professional housekeeping service Maid in Rye Ltd is a housekeeping company that provide housekeeping services to around 50 properties in East Sussex and Kent - They share their top tips for picking a professional service to help with your housekeeping needs. By Dominic Johnson and maidinrye.co.uk Maid in Rye is perfectly placed to provide some advice on picking the right partner to employ a housekeeping company to look after your holiday home. A good and reliable professional housekeeping company will be an essential member of your team. They must reflect your property, be reliable and conscientious. Employing a professional company will save you time and create a consistent hassle-free experience for you and your guests. They can also save money on Laundry and equipment costs and so can also offer good value for money. Tips for hiring: 1. Do some research on the internet, do they have a web page? Do they have any social media content that you can look at to see the quality of their work? 2. Do they carry the right insurances, in case of breakages or damage to your home 3. Recommendations – can they provide references from other holiday home owners who recommend their reliability and work. 4. Do they have any other holiday homes in your area they look after. 5. Meet the housekeeper face to face . Will you be able to work together ?? For this process to work and good working relationship is paramount. 6. Above all value your housekeeping team, they are they glue that sticks the whole process of letting your holiday home.

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with Yvonne Halling

INTERNATIONAL GUESTS 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: http://bit.ly/ BandBgroup You can email Yvonne at yvonne@ yvonnehalling.com

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

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Delightful ways to attract international guests to your hospitality business...

Now that we’re heading out of the pandemic, lots of people want to have a holiday and increasingly, some of those are going to want to travel abroad. And, hopefully that includes staying with you. So as the travel bug begins to take hold, how can we ensure that you start to attract more of what will be a growing audience of international travellers who would love to stay at a lovely B&B such as yours? Well, based on my experience of working with B&Bs internationally for over a decade and owning my own bed and breakfast abroad in France for 17 years, what I’ve found is that over the years, and even today, most B&Bs do a reasonably good job at describing their facilities, but for reasons that are kind of mysterious, to be honest, they don’t seem to connect with the emotions of travelling and staying at their lovely properties. That’s always puzzled me because we’re in the business of delighting our guests. And most of us got into this business because we enjoy that. Whether it’s greeting them at the door, making them nice meals, providing them with fantastic insights on things to see and do in our local area, we all have our preferences. So given that people are tired, stressed, wanting a break, when they go on a holiday, then being able to delight them when they first start thinking about where to go and throughout their interaction with you is a smarter bet. And it all starts online Let me explain what I mean..

First Impressions Let’s say that we have B&B A, that has a website that just mentions things like the location, the number of bedrooms, and perhaps their awards. They may talk about the fact that they serve meals, and maybe one or two other details like that B&B B on the other hand talks about how their guests love the view, or the warm welcome they get when they arrive, and the helpful, thoughtful tips they receive on the best things to see and do in the area, So between those two examples, which one would you prefer to stay at? Or which one at least would you be more interested in learning more about, and more importantly, which one of those two, do you think your ideal guests would find much more appealing? Hopefully you see the point. It’s a pretty straightforward one, but if this stuff were easy, we’d all be doing it. Now. The great news is this presents you with a terrific opportunity because most B&Bs, let me tell you the vast majority, don’t really do this. And if you look at the listings on OTA sites and other places, you don’t get that experience there either. So you have a golden opportunity to really connect with your ideal guests and of course provide the information they’re looking for, but do so in a way that’s really relatable to them. So when they arrive at your website, the first impressions are so important. Obviously, you know this, so you probably have a lovely photo at the top of your homepage and that’s great. But what about the words? What are you saying about the experience that they will enjoy with you?

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Think more like a tour guide than an estate agent As you browse through the rest of your website, think more like a tour guide as you describe what you have to offer, than an estate agent, because to be honest, most bed and breakfast websites sound like something coming from an estate agent instead of a warm, welcoming host. It’s not the kind of language that you would use if you were a little bit excited, welcoming a really good friend to your home. Huge difference, right? So when you look at your website, go through each page, including your booking page, by the way, and ask yourself if you were speaking to a good friend who you were really looking forward to visiting, how would they relate to the words and pictures you’re using, or indeed the content and the concepts that you’re sharing? You don’t just have four walls and a roof clearly, and yet you’d be amazed how often B&B owners forget to mention the really fun, interesting, and unique things that they offer. So that’s number two - the overall content of your website. And to be seen by the search engines and therefore your potential international guests, you need LOTS of well researched and well written, emotionally driven content on your website. When you include all your favourite local attractions, other businesses and your preferred people, the more top-

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ics you’ll find to write about, and share about on social media, which brings us nicely to our third point

CONTRIBUTOR || YVONNE HALLING

And you will have unique aspects to what you provide. You don’t have to kind of go overboard and hype yourself. You don’t have to pretend that you’re the world’s only B&B that does what you do, but there will be some aspects of what you provide that is particularly delightful that your best guests have told you about. So you’re looking for the things that particularly delight your ideal guests, and that should be front and centre at the top of your homepage, along with whatever kind of lovely photo you’ve got there. And then you want to expand on that. So that’s point number one - the very first impression. There are two other things that really help.

How much does your social media truly represent you? And finally last but not least your social media content. Now this can take many forms. Of course it can be pictures, it can be text, but to attract international guests, who have no idea who you are and what magic you offer, it really should also include video You being that trusted and warm and friendly guide to your local area. Pretend again that you’re welcoming a friend of yours who hasn’t been there before, and you can show them things they wouldn’t normally find on their own. The insider scoop on what’s the best time to visit a local attraction without getting caught up in traffic or queues, for example. An interesting bit of history about a particular building in your area, that surprised you when you found out Or a new bar or restaurant that’s just opened up that’s quirky and fun and that you love to visit And at your property… for example, “Hey, here we are preparing our speciality breakfast. Our guests really love our freshly ground coffee” - that sort of thing. Make little videos. It could just be one or two minutes long, but probably no more than five minutes. It makes for wonderful, authentic, engaging, and highly relatable social media content which lets people into your world and build trust

So those three things I’ve just mentioned, they’re first impressions, your website and your social media content are my top tips for how you attract your international guests. If you’d love to learn more about how to connect with your ideal guests in this more relatable, engaging and winning way, get in touch with me directly (via yvonne@bedandbreakfastcoach. com) and I’ll send you more details. The internet is a big place, but the truth is that the majority of B&B owners don’t know how to use it effectively. It’s time to change that for you

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

A TTRACTING NTERNATIONAL I GUESTS

As COVID restrictions ease and international borders open up, how can you attract international guests? We speak to the owners of Moulin Royale and The Country House at Hunchy Montville to find out how to attract guests from overseas. By

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Juliet Horner www.luxurybnbmag.com

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

Moulin Royale

A

ll across the UK, hospitality businesses are making a comeback. Repeated forced closures took their toll on the hospitality industry but now everyone wants to book a holiday and make the most of being able to travel again. The pandemic caused a huge rise in the number of ‘staycations’ as travel to foreign countries was limited. However, now that international travel is opening back up, how can you as a business benefit from this? International travel plays a huge part in UK tourism so maybe it’s time that you start thinking about how you can attract international guests to stay with you. We caught up with two properties who have a wealth of experiwww.luxurybnbmag.com

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ence attracting guests from foreign countries to find out how you can do the same. Wade Thompson, originally from Sydney, Australia, is the owner of Moulin Royale, a luxury 5 star B&B in the heart of the Oise Region of France. Moulin Royale attracts guests from all over Europe as well as Australia and America. Moulin Royale’s claim to fame is back in the 1600’s when it was acquired by Empress Eugenie de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon the Third. It then became the private mill for textiles colouring for the clothing for the royal families. Paul and Karin Orwin, originally from Yorkshire, now run The Country House at Hunchy Montville, a 5 star luxury accommodation provider in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. They attract guests from Asia, New Zealand and a number of different countries in Europe.

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

Where do the majority of your international guests come from? Wade (MR): 50% of our guests are French and about 20% are Dutch, from the Netherlands. Then the rest of our international guests would be equally split between Belgium and Germany, then the UK. And lastly in the smaller percentages would be guests from the USA and Australia, believe it or not. We've even had a few people that have come here on their own for a bit of space and a couple of days of contemplation. I think we're very lucky that being in the countryside, we can provide for these groups here.

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

Paul (CHHM): Pre-COVID, 40%

of our guests were from Queensland, and another 40% from other Australian states and territories. The remaining 20% were international travellers. Of our international guests, 50% were from New Zealand, 30% from the UK, USA and Germany, and 20% from Asian countries, predominantly Japanese and Chinese guests visiting their children who are studying at the university in Brisbane. But post-COVID we’ve had zero overseas travellers.

How does Moulin Royale advertise to international guests? Wade (MR): Well, that's been a very long journey for us. One of the main problems we faced were the major booking engines. So even though we had our own website, we were battling with booking engines because no one felt comfortable giving their money to my web presence, versus the trust in a company like Booking. com or Expedia. So we upgraded from a free website that we built ourselves to using WordPress and a small local agency. And because we needed to be able to control our own destiny, we 10 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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The Country House at Hunchy Montville: Aerial Shot

decided to join a web agency and marketing specialist which made us look state of the art professional and like an international hotel. It also had strong SEO capabilities, allowing us to drive marketing and advertising. So we invested in the website and set up the SEO and now I’m able to track and record where people are viewing me from because it tracks the IP address and location. Then with that, I’m able to strategically place advertising campaigns on Facebook and Google. It enables me to put brackets around postcodes so that I can target my advertising to specific areas. We’re also going to the Belgium Travel and Tourism Expo next year. So we invested in a stand there and we’re offering a special rate to book with us on the day and pay for a non-refundable stay which will help to cover the cost of showing there.

Moulin Royale: Breakfast Room

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How does The Country House at Hunchy Montville advertise to international guests? Karin (CHHM):

Moulin Royale

Moulin Royale

We took advantage of workshops and training courses available to us as members of our local tourism organisations and they’ve been invaluable for understanding how to attract domestic and international guests. They cover all aspects of running a small tourism business, from marketing, especially using social media, to creating an attractive website. Pre-COVID we were also regularly involved with marketing campaigns run by our regional state and Australian tourism bodies to overseas markets. But we supplement this with our own targeted social media posts and sometimes paid ads.

What do you do on the Moulin Royale website in particular, to attract international guests?

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

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Wade (MR): We paid money for the language translations to be specific. For example, Germany is split into different regions with their own differences in language. So rather than using Google Translate, we paid to have it properly translated. As most owners know, you can be the worst B&B or the world’s most luxurious, but you’ll always have someone making comments and complaints and they’ll likely tell us something on the website isn’t worded correctly. So we paid for a manual translation rather than using an app. We can also see what language people viewed the website in and 99% view it in the original language, because it automatically sets the website to a language based on the IP address. Outside of the languages we already have, it will automatically default to English, unless your IP address is in a location where we already have that translation set up. The next one we’re working on will be Spanish. www.luxurybnbmag.com

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

Moulin Royale: Dining Room

How do you deal with language barriers when guests arrive? Paul (CHHM): The secret is to find out as much about language issues as you can before their arrival. It’s easier to translate the written word, so we try to provide as much information as possible before arrival if we think there might be a language issue. But if you need it, have Google Translate at the ready! Wade (MR): We’ve never faced that problem. In all the years we’ve done this, we’ve probably had less than five people who did not speak English and we used Google Translate when needed. Karin (CHHM):

Even if you learn a few key cultural points and a few words of the guest’s home language, you’ll benefit. But don’t overdo it.

How do international guests tend to book a stay at The Country House in Hunchy Montville? Karin (CHHM): In our marketing we do try to focus on the benefits guests receive when they book directly, like lower prices and flexible check-in and check-out times. But we do use OTAs and we just restrict how many we are available at any one time depending on how well they are working for us. We monitor how they are marketing us and how easy they make it for guests to book.

Moulin Royale

Moulin Royale

Paul (CHHM):

We are realistic in acknowledging that OTAs have billion-dollar marketing budgets and will always have a place in how travellers, especially those from overseas, find our business. It’s a relationship that needs constant tuning. It’s not a set-andforget process.

URLs thecountryhouseathunchy.com.au moulinroyale.com/en/ SOCIAL MEDIA FB: @thecountryhouseathunchymontville IN: @the_country_house_at_hunchy FB: @moulinroyale IN: @moulinroyale TW: @MoulinRoyale www.luxurybnbmag.com

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

What would Moulin Royale deem as ‘musthaves’ for businesses who want to attract international guests? Wade (MR): It’s important to try and understand their culture. Europeans for example are highly health conscious. When you go to the UK it’s all about the big English Breakfast, but that’s a bit of a turn off for Europeans. They are more about continental delis, breads, cheeses and meats. Not fried bacon and black pudding. They lead a much healthier lifestyle than British people. I’d say bikes are a musthave, too. We have a bike rental service on site and picnic hampers that attach to the bikes or can be loaded as a backpack. It’s also an extra sale opportunity for us. And don’t forget plugins for hybrid cars because the majority will need a power outlet to charge their vehicles now. What would The Country House at Hunchy Montville deem as ‘musthaves’ for attracting international guests?

The Country House at Hunchy Montville The Rainforest Suite

Moulin Royale

Paul (CHHM): In the current post-pandemic environment, it’s important to explain in short, simple terms how safe it is to stay here and how seriously we take guest health and wellbeing. It also helps being members of local and state tourism entities, and having a presence on their websites. We’re also on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse which is a database used by travel agents and tour businesses globally, so get your business on one of them.

The Country House at Hunchy Montville: Pool area

Karin (CHHM): I’d also say fol-

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

lowing up on enquiries and queries straight away. Instant chat links on websites and social media pages with automated responses (including short bits of information and links) means you have 24/7 coverage for queries from different time zones overseas.

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IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

Moulin Royale

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

What are your top tips for businesses who want to attract more international guests? Wade (MR): Facebook is a very cheap alternative to advertising and it allows you to track your performance on booking if you’ve got calls to action. But it’s not just about bookings, it’s also about getting people to like your page. The more people that like your page, the easier it is to spread your message and it’s free. So while a lot of people are investing in calls to action like ‘Book Now’, we’ve found it better to get people to like the page and provide content that appeals to them. So we market reasons why they should come here and because you’ve got likes on your page, you can see the demographic and where they are actually located. Then, when you have the money, you can specifically target your highest like area. But don’t be afraid of investing. Karin (CHHM): Talk to your re-

gional and national tourism bodies to see where they are focusing their marketing and assess whether that activity is likely to include your 16 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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ideal overseas customer. Talk to them about having a presence on their website and in their marketing material. You should also try to find out what your ideal overseas guest looks for with regards to accreditation when planning their travel arrangements and get that accreditation. You’d be surprised what tourism research material is out there and available for free.

Paul (CHHM): You should also plan how you can persuade people to book direct. You should be constantly managing and fine-tuning your presence and availability on OTA websites. Make them work for you, not the other way around. You could also focus on overseas people who live locally. For example, are there a lot of international students studying at a nearby university? Do their parents come to visit them and need somewhere to stay? Could you pay to have an advert put in the university newsletter or on a well used noticeboard? You could also target people travelling for business.

6 Things to take away 1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

Invest in your website and your marketing Make the most of analytics and the tracking capabilities of your digital platforms Invest in manual, accurate translations on your website that automatically change depending on the IP address of the viewer Regularly assess your listings on OTA websites Liaise with regional and national tourism bodies Get your business on a database that is accessed by international travel agents and tour businesses www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Languages: Consider creating a version of your site in a second language. Google does a pretty good job of translating but translating your site manually has distinct advantages: 1. More control over the use of language 2. Google will rank your site on its search engine in the country of that language 3. Shows a real commitment to guests from that country As a quick alternative to translating your whole site, consider adding different languages for key information and functions: Contact, location and booking.

Moulin Royale - Lobby

IN PROFILE || INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

Tips for marketing to international guests:

Google Adwords:

Look at using Google Adwords to target guests from another country. It is possible to target countries, regions and towns. Advert text can be written in the target language and direct people to the correct section of the website.

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

Moulin Royale

Payments: Translating “How to find us” is one thing, but you also need to ensure your booking engine can handle different currencies and credit cards from different countries. Social Media: Try experimenting with

your social media by posting content to engage the target country. Any major landmarks nearby that international guests will love? Or a local delicacy?

Online Travel Agents (OTAs):

You might need to increase your usage of OTAs initially in order to break into a new market. Which OTAs are popular in the countries you want to attract guests from? Try to list your property with them.

Extras:

Think of how you can serve the international guests. A campervan rental company Dominic Johnson (LBNB’s publisher) knew of, learnt that Australians wanted to rent campervans in winter when visiting family in the UK; They would book out the vans for a month! And as Wade Thompson from Moulin Royale said, Europeans are really into cycling, so maybe invest in some bikes for guests to hire? What else could you do? Don't be afraid to think outside of the box.

The Country House at Hunchy Montville

Moulin Royale

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Bethnal Bec &

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

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Vicky

A column for owners, by owners

When holiday-let owners go on holiday

One of the main reasons we decided to open a business was the freedom (we thought) it would bring! No longer asking a boss for time off and negotiating dates - we realised this year we've just replaced that with working it around our business!! We are not a seasonal business and as a result, we are welcoming guests 365 days a year. This obviously makes for tricky holiday planning. With 4 children, my cancer diagnosis and then Covid behind us - we decided that this Easter holiday was time to take our Florida holiday that we'd been dreaming of for years… Then we saw that we were 100% booked through April - and wondered how we would manage this! We use a cleaning company for some regular cleans, and Chris and I cover others. With all the added extras we offer - we can sometimes feel we've created a bit of a monster! - it's not just a simple 'turnover'. We started planning our two week break back in January, and were also determined to have that - a break. Working and living in the same space, and also with your other half, can take its toll, so we needed a clean break from the business. This is how we tackled getting a holiday for ourselves, whilst continuing to run our business at full capacity: 1. In January we started to spend more time with our cleaners going over all the extra bits we do on our cleans, and training on dine-in boxes, honesty larder and staples larder 2. We started to document everything and create useful notes and lists (which forced us to do this very worthwhile and important task) 3. Contacted guests a month before to check if there would be any further requests to add to their bookings, so we could manage and organise these before we went 4. We work with a Virtual Assistant for much of our business admin anyway (a previous guest, so she also understands our business). Our VA is a very cost effective way to really keep on top of customer interactions, suppliers and admin. We organised to hand over all admin and communication to our VA whilst away 5. We lined up our regular and trustworthy handyman to be 'on call' in case of emergencies, breakdowns and anything else 6. We lined up local friends that we could call on in case anything else happened that we couldn't think of In short - the few weeks immediately prior to our trip left us wondering if it was worth it! Leaving your business in the hands of others isn't the easiest choice. Many of our fellow SC business owner friends told us they would just shut down - but we couldn't afford to. Of course things happened that don’t when we're at home!! Dishwashers broke down, unexplained water pressure loss, electrics playing up - but thankfully with the support we'd put in place, all was managed and guests were looked after well. Most importantly, we had the break we needed from the business in order to return fully recharged and ready to focus on our new build in Felixstowe Ferry… and reminded of how our guests (hopefully) feel after a break with us!

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Chris

Charity begins at home

A few weeks ago, a new neighbour in the village drove to Calais to pick up a family of four ladies who had escaped from some of the worst atrocities in Ukraine. Three generations, the grandmother, the mum and two daughters (18 and 21 years old). All of them, up until a few months ago, were happily living their life, studying, working, and retired. Now, like millions of others, they find themselves in a foreign country with nothing, and the elder two ladies do not even speak English. Our own home is already too full with our 4 kids to be able to house anyone, but we were keen to help as much as we could and within a week the Mum was busy working with us as we cleaned our 3 holiday lets together. This gave her some much needed income and some dignity, even though it is a far cry from her previous career as a publisher and editor-in-chief. As long as the Mum wants this work, while she learns english, then we will provide it. It will dent our profit margin a bit as we wouldn’t normally pay someone to help us clean, but in the grand scheme of things, knowing we have helped even a little bit is reward enough and we’re busy connecting them with all the local people and businesses that we think could be of use to them all in different ways. This then got me thinking about our charity stance and philanthropy in general. We are both people who naturally want to help others if we can. We are no saints, believe me, but I think we are good souls with kind hearts. Between January-April 2021, during another enforced closure due to Covid Lockdown, we opened up our accommodation free of charge to families needing a short respite from domestic abuse. The catalyst for this was a previous guest contacting us on New Year's Eve (my birthday), desperate for a place to stay for the night to get away from her partner, but with the regulations in place, she was not allowed to stay with friends or family. So we sprung into action and welcomed her for what ended up being a week while she managed to sort out some alternative and safe housing. Over the next 4 months we welcomed, fed and clothed dozens of individuals, families and pets; when we were too full, we fundraised or simply funded stays ourselves in local hotels and arranged lovely local businesses to donate warm meals. It filled our hearts, tested our emotions and emptied our pockets… but we would do it again in a heartbeat. I spoke to a guest just this week who was booking a stay for her 50th with us, and she mentioned how she saw what we were doing last year and all the other things we do (we are patrons of a cancer charity that gifts stays to those affected by the disease and whom helped us when Vicky was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. We also regularly gift free nights to the NHS and offer permanent discounts to blue light card holders)

She was so happy to be able to stay in one of our places. I didn't ask specifically, but it is possible that she only knew about our business because of what we did to help others, as it was widely shared by the press and on social media when we were doing shoutouts for both assistance and to ensure that anyone who needed to "get away" knew about what we were offering. Anecdotally, I know we have got business because of some of our charitable efforts; obviously this was not the purpose of our philanthropy, but it is a nice side-effect for us and any business who gives from the heart, so I'm also happy to share and celebrate it. I think as small business owners, we should not be shy to tell our stories of giving and of helping others; at the very least it may encourage others to do similar and it may also make a prospective customer decide to give their hard earned £ to our business rather than a large, profit driven corporation. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the same and indeed we were horribly abused and trolled by a coordinated attack from a women's group when we offered our respite stays from domestic abuse. It was ridiculously tough to deal with when at the same time, our energy was focussed on trying to help and look after others. We were publicly accused of only trying to gain attention for our business and of trying to profit from the charity we were giving. The fact that we were not allowed to operate for leisure guests at this time and we were offering our accommodation for free, didn't seem to matter to these people. At one stage it was so bad that we did think about stopping, but the families we were looking after persuaded us not to; not for their benefit, but for those people we were going to be looking after once they had left. I'm glad we didn't stop and we will continue to be charitable. We will continue, where appropriate, to sing about what we do because it makes us feel good to know we are making a difference to others. And heck, if we win some awards for doing good things and even if we indirectly get some business from it, then why the hell not… Let's celebrate and reward all the good people and businesses out there that are trying to do their small part in making other people's lives just a little bit better, and let's not give in to those who see the negative in everything - there are more of us who simply have good souls and kind hearts.

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IN PROFILE || HOSTING A COSY CHRISTMAS

Creamy Smoked Haddock Pots with Lisa Holloway

Lisa Holloway owned and ran Compton House for 14 years, an award winning B&B in Newark on Trent.

Many of my guests asked for cooked fish for breakfast, but kippers lingered, and even half a fillet of smoked haddock made it an expensive dish. These little pots are so easy to make, an economical way to serve fish at breakfast, and they look gorgeous. You can get all the ingredients and prep the night before; just pour the cream and egg mix over the fish, pop in the oven and have it ready by the time the guests have eaten their cereals.

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

Ingredients • • • • • •

1 fillet smoked haddock 4 slices of large tomato 1 x 300ml carton of double cream 4 free range eggs Coarsely ground black pepper Grated Parmesan (optional)

Email: looholloway@gmail.com IN: @looholloway

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IN PROFILE || HOSTING A COSY CHRISTMAS CONTRIBUTOR || LISA HOLLOWAY

Methods

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Pre-heat the oven; Gas Mark 5, 375 F, 190 fan Put a sheet of foil or baking paper on a baking tray, and place the ramekins on top - easier than trying to move them when they are full Butter 4 ramekins well and lay the sliced tomato to cover the whole of the bottom Gently poach the skinned haddock in a little milk, about 3-5 mins, so it is easier to flake Pour off the milk and divide the flakes of haddock between the 4 ramekins, leaving a gap at the top because this puffs up beautifully Whisk the eggs and cream together, and pour over the haddock until the pot is almost full Grind some black pepper over the top and grate some Parmesan too if you like Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until puffed up and browning on the top. Have your guests waiting because you want to take this straight from the oven to the table, a bit like a little souffle, it looks best served immediately (but still tastes just as good if it has sunk a little!) Serve with Sourdough toast, thickly sliced Soda bread or warm French bread.

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

VH

EGAN OSPITALITY

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with The Black Sheep Inn...

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

Thinking about making your business more vegan friendly? Miranda and Simon run The Black Sheep Inn, a 100% vegan hospitality business in the US. They share their experience of running a vegan business and easy ways you can make vegan friendly changes. By

Juliet Horner

B

etween 2014 and 2019, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled (Statista, 2022), and this number is still on the rise. According to Statista, there were approximately 600,000 vegans in the UK in 2019. In 2021 another survey found that approximately 42% of adults in Great Britain consume meat substitutes once a month or more. The number of vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians across the UK is constantly rising and the hospitality business needs to be on top of it. The reasons for swapping to a vegan diet are numerous and change from person to person. Whether health, environmental concerns, animal cruelty or some other reason entirely, maybe it’s time to look at how your business can become more vegan friendly. The Black Sheep Inn and Spa is a British owned, 100% vegan hospitality business located in upstate New York, USA. Miranda Jones and Simon Nicholls moved from the UK to America in early 2020 for a career change and because they both live a vegan lifestyle, they moulded the business to match. “I was a lifelong vegetarian but became less and less comfortable with the dairy and egg industries,” explained Miranda. “Then a friend began exploring a vegan diet, so through her and watching documentaries like Cowspiracy and What The Health, I made a decision back in 2016 to become fully vegan.” Simon’s decision to become vegan was for health reasons. “Some people aren’t interested in the ethical aspects of it, but they do sit up and listen when I say a vegan diet rapidly changed my vital signs for the better,” he said. With so many people swapping to vegan diets and the vegan consumer market growing year on year, it’s time for hospitality to catch up. Miranda and Simon shared the benefits of running a vegan business and their advice for implementing vegan friendly options.

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

Running a vegan business “From a personal perspective, it feels great to be doing something that you’re so passionate about and sharing your passion with other people,” said Miranda. “But we don’t ram it down people’s throats or preach veganism to people,” added Simon. “We deliberately try not to make a big deal about it,” he said. “Yes, we promote the business as being vegan and plant-based, but once people actually walk through the doors, to us it shouldn’t be a big deal.” Funnily, every now and then, some of the guests arriving at The Black Sheep Inn don’t realise it’s a vegan business. “In the last couple of years, there've been two or three occasions where one person in a couple wasn’t told we are 100% vegan until they were at least en route,” laughed Simon. “But actually, the majority of our guests over the last two years or so, haven’t been vegans, and we’ve not had a single complaint. It clearly hasn’t bothered people that we’re 100% vegan. “If you look at the reviews, they say Miranda’s food is magnificent and that her homemade vegan muffins are better than non-vegan muffins. So we’re clearly doing something right.” Miranda added: “It’s like we’re changing people’s perceptions by stealth, really.” “We’re not trying to convert people,” said Simon. There are a number of couples who have repeatedly stayed at The Black Sheep Inn, none of which are vegans. It just goes to show that running a vegan business doesn’t limit your audience. But despite this, a vegan hospitality business will present challenges for the owners. “I think there’s this perception that vegans are hippies and a bit weird,” said Simon, “but I think people are more accepting of the term plant-based.” Miranda added: “There’s a lot of people who are more curious about 24 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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The Black Sheep Inn Kitchen

"We're not trying to convert people." eating plant-based diets now and we have been fairly well received.” Simon and Miranda came back to England earlier in the year and were really pleased to see the growth in shelf space allocated to vegan foods in supermarkets. “I know it was Veganuary so it was a little different, but there were way more options on the shelves than when we left in 2020,” said Simon. “And it’s sort of reflected over here in the US. Even our local village shop has a considerable amount of vegan products.” Miranda explained that one of the biggest challenges they’ve faced is being able to recommend local restaurants to guests who are vegan. “There aren’t many options for vegans when they want to eat out,” said Miranda. “Having said that though, we did speak to some local restaurants and they do now offer a vegan option for their evening meals, which we really appreciate. “Give it another 18 months and I think the restaurant options available to vegans will improve.”

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

URLs stayblacksheepinn.com veganuary.com veggie-hotels.com/1-1-Home.html SOCIAL MEDIA IN: @blacksheepinnandspa FB: @stayblacksheepinn The Black Sheep Inn Dining Room

Image Joinery Projects Ltd

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

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

Becoming vegan friendly Now you know what it’s like to run a vegan business, the question is, will you make any changes? Will you jump straight in at the deep end and become 100% vegan, make gradual changes over time, or just dip your toe in the water by offering vegan alternatives? Whichever way you may choose to try this, it’s never too late to start and both Miranda and Simon shared some helpful advice to help get you started. “There’s so many cruelty free, plant-based toiletry products available that you could easily swap in,” said Miranda. “We use Neal’s Yard toiletries, which is an organic, vegan, British brand, and all of the household products that we use in cleaning and washing are plant-based and cruelty free too.” All you need to do is a little bit of research and you’ll soon find the right providers for your toiletry products. “Also, as a vegan, the thought of having feather duvets and bedding would be absolutely repugnant,” said Miranda. “So if you’re going to start somewhere, start with bedding because it’s blatantly obvious that that is an animal product.” If you don’t want the expense of changing all of your bedding, Simon suggested allocating a number of rooms to start with. “If you want an easier option than going fully vegan, you could set aside a number of rooms where everything in that room is fully veganised,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s inevitable that things wear out or break and at some point, it all needs replacing. “So when it comes to replacing things, why not buy a vegan replacement? That way, you’re covering all the bases, because non-vegan guests won’t mind.” Looking at the bigger picture, Miranda added: “Vegan replacements are also more sustainable. “We want to keep the planet alive for generations to come, so buying 12 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

vegan replacements is a no brainer really, isn't it?” This also extends to the food you have on offer for your guests. No matter what your reasons are for offering fully vegan menus, or just a number of vegan options, it is much more sustainable.

“Just keep it simple and maybe run them alongside the more traditional, non-vegan options.” Miranda added: “You could also easily start by replacing dairy items with plant-based options, which is more of a gradual transition and it doesn’t impact negatively on any-

Vegan Food (Left to Right): - Buttermilk Pancakes with fruit & syrup - Full English Breakfast - Spicy Autumn Hash

"Simplicity is best. Start with vegan options for well known, core foods that your guests will be used to." So where should you start? “A good place to start with catering is to offer people familiar foods,” said Miranda. “I essentially veganised the favourites for people. "I always have american pancakes on the menu because they are familiar, the same with french toast, but they’re vegan. If having a meat substitute on your plate fills you with horror, at least those are friendly, approachable foods that guests will be used to.” She added: “Simplicity is always best and just start off with well known, core foods that you’re comfortable with.” But remember, not everything on the menu has to be vegan if you don’t want to jump right in at the deep end. “Some owners won’t be vegan themselves, but would nevertheless want to offer some vegan options,” said Simon. www.luxurybnbmag.com

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thing. Plant-based butter, oat milk and things like that are actually quite popular. A lot of people actually tell us they started using these alternatives at home.” One of the challenges that Miranda and Simon faced was the stereotype of vegan equating to ‘basic’. Simon explained it can be hard to find hospitality businesses that are both 100% vegan and luxurious as Miranda explained they wanted their business to encompass both of these factors. “If you go to vegan establishments, they’re often homey but basic,” said Miranda, “and maybe you don’t get the luxury experience that you would elsewhere.” Simon added: “Before we moved over here to the US, we did a lot of travelling, staying at some top hotels, but you were very lucky if you could find any plant-based options for breakfast.” Both Miranda and Simon said

they would suggest to anyone who wanted to become more vegan friendly, to continue offering a luxury service. “With us, a vegan can book in complete confidence that they’d be treated like any other guest at any other luxurious hotel,” said Simon. If you’re still unsure of where to start, Miranda highlighted the resource that is Veganuary. “It’s absolutely great. They send you daily emails, different recipes, different facts, and they’ll support you on your journey,” sad Miranda. She added: “But one of the best things you can do is normalise it. Serve food that's delicious, comforting and satisfying. The fact that it’s vegan is just an added bonus.” Simon added: “The vegan part is a side story really. Of course we generally try to promote it, but it depends on the people you’re dealing with. We really trumpet about it within the vegan community.” June 2022 || Luxury BnB || 27

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IN PROFILE || VEGAN

Staircase

Marketing A vegan business won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, but there are many people who would love it. One of the first things Miranda and Simon did was to make sure they connected with the various vegan communities that were in the local area. “We’ve had a good number of referrals within those different communities,” said Simon. “They’ll post about us on social media and you can see the great response we get within these groups.” He added: “A lot of people come and say ‘Cousin Doris is a vegan and she’d love it here!’ and that word of mouth marketing works absolute wonders.” Miranda explained that this just one spoke in the wheel of marketing, but they do other things too. “Social media has been our best friend,” she said. “Joining all the different communities and vegan groups where they all get really excited about us is great, but the hashtags help too. “I always include a lot of vegan hashtags on my Instagram posts, even if the content I’m posting isn’t vegan related.” There’s a ton of vegan-curious people out there and using hashtags like this makes it easier for 28 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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people to find you. Another element of their marketing strategy is an online travel agent called Veggie Hotels. “We’ve had a few inquiries from it, but getting people over here from Europe at the moment is a tough task,” said Simon. “But we do get a lot of people who aren’t vegan coming here because we look great on all of the online travel agent websites. “We did try sites like Expedia and Booking.com but then the pandemic hit and nobody was booking anything. We might look into them again in the future though.” At the time of writing, you cannot filter searches on Booking.com for vegan-only properties. Simon added: “Miranda also does a great job on social media and the knock on effect of the reviews we’ve had work wonders.” A huge factor of selling yourself to potential customers online, be it online travel agents, social media or other, is the reviews. “The reviews we get do us the best marketing favours,” said Miranda. “Even though we’re members of a lot of online vegan and ethical communities, the referrals and reviews really help us to continue building interest.”

Simon (Left) and Miranda (Right)

Top Tips 1.

Start by replacing dairy products with plant-based alternatives (e.g. oat milk) 2. As a priority, swap out the noticeable items such as feather duvets and pillows for vegan friendly options 3. Swap your toiletries for vegan and cruelty free toiletries 4. When anything needs replacing, buy a vegan friendly replacement 5. For catering, start by offering vegan versions of familiar foods 6. Use vegan hashtags on content that isn’t vegan to help people find you 7. If you don’t want to operate as a 100% vegan business, put aside a number of rooms for vegan guests where everything is vegan 8. Join online vegan communities and groups www.luxurybnbmag.com

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DIY

ID

NTERIOR ESIGN

Hannah Isichei, owner of The Pheasant Lodge, used social media to help her turn a period property into a beautiful holiday apartment. The part-Victorian, part-Georgian building has been transformed with the help of Youtube tutorials, Instagram and family. By

Juliet Horner

O

ne of the few good things to happen as a result of the global pandemic was the amount of people discovering new passions and learning new skills. Google and social media became everyone’s best friend during monotonous periods of lockdown as online tutorials sky-rocketed. Baking, knitting, gardening… You name it; Someone will have googled a tutorial in an attempt to try something new during lockdown. But how can this benefit you? Interior design and DIY tutorials have been trending for some time now, and not only can they help you to develop new skills and make your business look fabulous, but it can also save you a lot of money. www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Why pay for a decorator when you can do it yourself? Hannah Isichei, owner of Pheasant Lodge in Cumbria, did just that. Although they called in the experts for electrics and plumbing, Hannah and her family renovated a two bedroom apartment nearly all by themselves; The best part is that Hannah used different YouTube channels and social media accounts to gain inspiration and learn new skills. “I had no prior experience in design or DIY, but I’ve always been interested in interiors,” said Hannah, “I just knew we could do it and after a couple of tough years, it was exciting to have a project to work on.” Hannah purchased Pheasant Lodge in September 2021, which

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IN PROFILE || DIY INTERIOR DESIGN

Kitchen: Before

took an exciting six months to renovate before she welcomed her first guests in early April this year. “My husband and I spent weekends driving to the Lakes with our four year old son to renovate it,” said Hannah. “My parents also live in the area and we couldn’t have done it without them.” She added: “My two brothers were also a massive help and they weren’t afraid to get given the monotonous jobs or to get dirty.” Apart from the electrics and the plumbing, Hannah and her family did most of the renovation and interior design themselves. Hannah said: “We wanted to keep costs down and do whatever we could by ourselves. “We learnt a lot along the way.” Hannah’s husband has a building background, so she picked up some handy skills from him, as well as her dad. But the interesting part is how she used the internet to aid her own project. “I watched a lot of YouTube videos and DIY-ers on Instagram,” said Hannah, “I would search through the popular hashtags for things like ‘tile painting’ or ‘budget kitchen renovations’. “People are so daring with what they do now and it was great to see the good and the bad behind the different processes. “Many of the products we used also had great tutorials, so you can watch them and see how other people used the products.” She added: “There was a lot of trial and error.”

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Kitchen: After

If you want to try your hand at DIY or interior design, Hannah shared five of her favourite accounts for you to follow:

Maggie McGaugh: • • • • •

“Furniture flips and DIY. Great tips on how to get the best results for upcycling furniture.” - Hannah Youtube: Maggie McGaugh Instagram: @maggiemcgaugh Facebook Group: Flip It! With Maggie McGaugh Website: maggiemcgaugh.com

Paint The Town Pastel • •

“A Victorian townhouse in Orkney with beautiful designs. It’s such a beautiful account.” - Hannah Instagram: @paintthetownpastel

Make It Rust-Oleum • • • • •

“Brilliant products, but they also share content from people who have used their products, how and what they used them for.” Hannah Youtube: Make It Rust-Oleum (UK) Instagram: @makeitrustoleum Facebook: @RustoleumUK Website: makeityours.co.uk

Lick • • • • •

“Great for colour inspiration and they share top content creators who have transformed their homes.” - Hannah Youtube: Lick Instagram: @lick Facebook: @lickhome Website: lick.com/uk

Northumberland Project • •

“Ongoing renovation project on a Georgian home.” - Hannah Instagram: @northumberlandproject Continued on page 32...

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Product News

teapigs reveals their new decaf tea!

It’s been a long time coming but teapigs are thrilled to finally unveil their first ever decaf tea. This new launch is an exciting trade up for stockists and customers from a trusted brand, particularly amongst those who are looking for better caffeine free teas to enjoy throughout the day - especially before bed! “The decaffeination process can be quite harsh which often leaves you with a sad, tasteless tea,” says Louise Cheadle, teapigs co-founder and tea taster. “Our decaf uses the C02 method which is a lot gentler on the leaves and gives you a stronger, better tasting brew but without the caffeine. We know some of our stockists still serve bog standard decaf in a paper teabag in their rooms next to our premium teas and herbals. Now people can complete their tea offering with a delicious decaf that has all the taste but none of the caffeine“ Visit: teapigs.co.uk

MSS Mobile Signal Solutions

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: mobilesignalsolutions.co.uk/ hotel/ or contact: sales@mobilesignalsolutions.co.uk

SabeeApp

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: https://bit.ly/3Mp97X8 Contact - kenneth@sabeeapp.com www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Mattressman

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 tradesales@mattressman.co.uk. To view the range, visit mattressman.co.uk/contract June 2022 || Luxury BnB || 31

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IN PROFILE || DIY INTERIOR DESIGN

Bathroom: Before

Bathroom: After

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Renovating an old property is a big task, especially when you are learning from content creators and videos online. But what about inspiration? It can be hard to think of creative ways to make your business stand out, and interior design will have a major impact on this. The fun part about doing it all yourself means it will be exactly what you want. “I could design everything how I wanted it,” said Hannah. “I also love crafting so it was great that I could add my own touches to things like the wall art, making my own cushions, upcycling furniture, or making our own headboards.” Following tutorials and scrolling hashtags for inspiration doesn’t mean you have to do everything exactly the same as the example you found online. If you’ve found a tutorial for upcycling and furniture flips, you can do it on any piece of furniture you want, changing the colours, patterns or sizes. The combinations are endless. Hannah said: “I wanted to learn how to do things myself, and doing so meant I could change my mind throughout the process if we wanted to. “At the end of the day, most things were only paint and it can be changed if needed.” It’s all about ideas and finding inspiration. Hannah explained she saved everything she liked on Instagram so that she could go back through the posts and whittle it down to her favourites. “I kept inspiration boards for the different rooms for months, even before we got the keys,” she said. “They were really varied to begin with but as the project start date became closer, I started to look at fitting the rooms together so that there was a good flow throughout the house.” But when you’re doing everything yourself, how do you know you’re making the right decisions? “I ordered samples, or picked up paint cards and scraps of wallpaper for different rooms. Then I could make my own mood boards at home,” said Hannah.

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IN PROFILE || DIY INTERIOR DESIGN

Living Room: After

Living Room: After

Living Room: Before

Hannah working on the living room

Living Room: After

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IN PROFILE || DIY INTERIOR DESIGN

Completed Double Room

“I found that it was helpful to look at different paint and wallpaper samples in different lights on different days. “Paint a patch on the wall and leave it for a few days to see how you feel about it in different lights as the days go by.” Choosing the right wallpaper or paint is one thing, but learning a new skill like upcycling is

"We learnt a lot along the way. People are so daring with design these days." completely different, especially if you’re not confident about it. “Just give it a go,” said Hannah. “Research the best products and the best way to do things first. You can also try smaller projects to begin with if you want to build your confidence up.” She added: “And if you want to save money, upcycle. Search in charity shops, antique markets, car boot sales, Facebook Marketplace or Ebay.” These platforms are great places to find furniture and other household items which could be trans34 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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formed by anyone, no matter how great or small your upcycling skills are. It’s also a cheaper and more sustainable option than buying brand new. The budget for renovating Pheasant Lodge was another reason why Hannah and her family did most of the renovation themselves. “We didn’t have a huge amount to spend, so doing the work ourselves meant that we could save money. “There was a huge workload involved, but in the end, the amount of money we saved really made a difference,” said Hannah.

URLs airbnb.com/h/thepheasantlodge maggiemcgaugh.com INSTAGRAM @thepheasantlodge @maggiemcgaugh @paintthetownpastel @makeitrustoleum @lick @northumberlandproject Continued on page 36... www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Product News

Refresh your glassware offering ahead of summer 2022 With summer fast approaching and the weather beginning to show glimpses of lighter nights and sunnier days, now is a prime time for BnBs to consider their glassware offering. Glassware is an important part of your serve ware as it impacts your customers drinking experience. Here at Alliance Online we are predicting simplistic and elegant glassware to be the main trend for 2022. It’s the first proper restriction free summer we have had in the UK in two years meaning Brits will just be happy to enjoy the warmer weather. Don’t overthink on the style; something with a hint of angulation and shape is great to distinguish your drinks from the standard curves and bowl shapes found in the industry but aim to keep it simple. Allegra from Utopia is the prime example of a sleek and modern twist on a classic glass design that will be sure to go down well with customers. Offering a full range including a red and white wine glass, champagne flute, craft beer glass and water rocks tumbler. Alliance Online: allianceonline.co.uk/ Contact: 0844 844 4300 | hello@allianceonline.co.uk

Wake Up to the Smell of Melitta® Filter Coffee and its Aromaboy® Small in size but big at preparing delicious coffee for two-cup 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 | epeinternational.com | sally@ epeinternational.com

Seasons Outlet

Seasons are one of the leading Garden Outlets located in South Wales, featuring the very latest garden furniture. With over 22 years trading, we always strive to find exclusive and innovative designs, but at very affordable prices.Transform your B&B or hotel into a garden oasis. Whether you’re looking for something contemporary or are trying to achieve a classic look in your garden, Seasons have a magnificent selection of furniture sets to choose from. There’s also a great range of water features, garden ornaments and lighting and all under one roof. A spectacular shopping experience awaits you instore or online. For all your enquiries, please contact us. 01656 723399 | sales@seasonsoutlet. co.uk | Website: www.seasonsoutlet.co.uk | Store: Unit 9 Parc-y-bont, Aneurin Bevan Avenue, Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, Bridgend, CF32 9SZ

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 www.voguecontractbeds.co.uk | Tel: 01455841257 | sales@voguebeds.co.uk www.luxurybnbmag.com

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IN PROFILE || DIY INTERIOR DESIGN

Hannah's 5 Top Tips for DIY Renovations and Other Projects: Don’t wait to get started

The longer you wait, the bigger the task may seem

Follow all the top DIY accounts

Search on Instagram and youtube and follow the top hashtags. Look for inspiration of how to do things and what has and hasn’t worked for them

Buy second hand

Then if something doesn’t work – you haven’t lost much. Most of our furniture was second hand, a lot of it costing no more than £20. So if I needed to paint it or change it – I knew it wasn’t a huge risk

Don't be afraid of big brands

Check out all the top product brands on Instagram too – such as Lick, B&Q, Rustolueom – they all share great content and also share content creators who are using their products in fun ways.

What do you already have? Dining Room: Before

Take a look at what you already have in the house. Do you have an old chest you could practice on, or some old shelves. Have a go with techniques on these. Remember if you go wrong most things can be changed – you can sand away flaws, remove paint or add details on top.

Helpful Hashtags: #colourvibehome #housetohomestory #upstylemepretty #myhousethroughalens #myperiodinterior

Dining Room: After

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

W

ORKING

WITH A

C

PR OMPANY

New to marketing and need an extra hand? Or maybe you’re just not confident enough yet to do all your marketing yourself? If so, a PR company might be the best way to improve your marketing strategy. We spoke to Richard Lee, owner of Ees Wyke Country House, to learn about his experience of working with a PR firm. We also spoke with Marcus Goodyear from Crimson Edge PR to understand the different services a PR company can provide and what to look for when choosing the right PR firm for your business.. By

Juliet Horner

w READ ONLINE & SHARE >>

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F

or many hospitality businesses, the ultimate aim is to have every guest book with you directly. But how do you get there? Marketing is an essential part of a successful business and it has to be done right. Yes, you can do it all yourself (which comes with its own peaks and pitfalls) but what if you need a helping hand? For new business owners or those who aren’t yet confident enough to take charge of their own marketing strategy, there are other options. One such option is choosing to work with a PR company. We spoke to Richard Lee, owner of Ees Wyke Country House, a luxury guest house in the Lake District where Beatrix Potter edited Peter Rabbit, to find out about his experience working with a PR company. We also spoke with Marcus Goodyear, an Account Manager at Crimson Edge PR, a company who are experts in marketing for the food and hospitality industries. Marcus provides us with valuable insight as to what you can expect when working with PR companies.

What is PR? PR is essential for any business and can be as creative as you like. PR simply stands for ‘public relations’, referring to the communication from a business (or person) to their target market. Marcus Goodyear explains that “good PR and marketing helps to tell a story, stimulating and encouraging conversations” amongst an audience. He said: “PR and marketing is essential. In a crowded market, it’s crucial to get your story out there and reach a larger customer base. “We don’t just help to sell [a product or service], we bring joy to brands with brilliant feature ideas and smart strategies, adding real value and meaning to our clients’ businesses.”

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Ees Wyke Country House A popular base for walkers in the Lake District, Ees Wyke Country House appears in various journals, helping to bring in guests. Richard Lee, owner of Ees Wyke Country House, explained that it was Marcus and the team at Crimson Edge PR that helped to get them placed in these journals. “PR firms have all the right contacts, so they can help you market your business in different ways,” said Richard. Surprisingly, Richard started working with Crimson Edge PR after a cold call. “A member of their team was in the area and she just popped in to see us and we got on really well,” said Richard. “We spoke the same language and understood what we wanted and were trying to do, so we started working together and it’s been pretty successful.” It can be quite time consuming to do all your marketing on top of the day-to-day tasks associated with running a business, so a little help from a PR company might be just

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

what you need. Richard said: “It’s an awful lot of work to try and do it all by yourself. “If you ask people where they heard about you, they always say the internet. Years ago, that was fine, but now, that can mean anything from Facebook, Instagram, blogs, websites, and all sorts of other things.” For those of you who are new to marketing, running a new business, or maybe you’re just not confident enough to take on your own marketing, PR companies are an easy way for you to get results. Richard explained: “Personally, I think a PR company would get better results than doing it on your own. They have the right way of wording things and know what will attract the journalists and potential guests.”

"PR firms have all the right contacts, so they can help you market your business in different ways."

Ees Wyke Lounge

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Self-marketing is worth the time and effort, but PR companies offer experience and knowledge. Marcus explained: “PR and marketing is second nature to us. We’re acutely aware of what journalists are likely to publish, meaning we save time on fruitless ideas and can identify PR opportunities that a self-marketer might not be aware of. “We have established relationships with local, national and international journalists and these contacts, combined with our creativity, instinct for a good story and enthusiasm for our clients’ businesses, has provided us with excellent results.” Undertaking your own marketing may take a lot of work, but it’s also free. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a partnership with a PR company. “The cost of working with a PR company will depend on what they do for you,” explained Richard. “It could be anything between £400 and £800 per month, or more depending on your strategy.” If you ever decided to work with a PR firm, Marcus explained that

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

you would create a strategy with the help of the PR team. “We typically create an initial six month plan, concentrating on the areas a client requires us to focus on,” said Marcus. Marcus also explained that most hospitality businesses who work with them choose a ‘standard plan’ of 1-2 days per month. “This equates to ten hours of working time, drip-fed throughout the month,” said Marcus. “For larger businesses that require more focus, we usually recommend a plan that is 4-5 days, again, drip-fed throughout the month.” Richard Lee explained that for Ees Wyke, the cost is worth it. “It’s odd because you could stop your PR company from doing anything and you wouldn’t notice the difference at first, but business will gradually slow down,” he said. “It clearly works, because if you’re busy and you have guests, then they’ve done their job.” He added: “I’d definitely recommend working with a PR company

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to other businesses.” One of the benefits of marketing in this way is that you get a second opinion. “When you use a PR firm, you get another input and an idea of how other people might do things, so you’re not quite so isolated,” explained Richard. “It’s a two way street that we check regularly. We send them ideas and they send us ideas, then they post something and it’s done. “We might say something to them that we don’t think is of any consequence and then suddenly you have a nice Facebook post because they thought of a nice way of marketing your property.” Richard explained that he is happy with the results he’s been getting and that it’s a great help having someone else take care of his marketing. “We just don’t have the time to sit around and post things online,” he said, “and I do think we get better results than if we were doing it all by ourselves.” Continued on page 42...

URLs crimsonedge.co.uk eeswyke.co.uk INSTAGRAM FB: @crimsonedgepr FB: @EesWykeCountryHouse IN: @eeswykecountryhouse IN: @crimsonedgepr TW: @Ees_Wyke TW: @CrimsonEdgePR

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Product News

Little Hotelier

More control means more success with Little Hotelier’s management software. Being in control of the way you manage your small business means you have the power and flexibility to make meaningful decisions that lead to ongoing success. Little Hotelier leaves no stone unturned, allowing you to manage every aspect of your property exactly the way you want - gifting you valuable time and saving you money to boot! Whether it’s streamlining your front desk, broadening your sales channels, winning more direct reservations, developing your website experience, or simply making processes easier for your guests, Little Hotelier delivers big results on a small scale. This is thanks to an easy to learn and simple to use platform that is designed with a deep understanding of the daily tasks and challenges small property owners face. We know software can be scary - which is exactly why it’s so easy to set up and go, with full support along the way. Try Little Hotelier today! Visit their website today to find out more: https://bit.ly/3CvU5t4

SabeePay

Manage online transactions easily, on one platform with SabeePay! SabeePay supports hotel transactions with competitive fees and offers instant payouts. It is seamlessly integrated into SabeeApp PMS, so your guests can easily pay for the accommodation and can add extra services with a few clicks. It enables you to track and check all your payment activity and you can be sure that every reservation is paid. Handling both flexible and non-refundable payments and groupcharging virtual credit cards, can save you a significant amount of time and effort. Do partial or full refunds on the payment of your choice. SabeePay complies with the latest security standards that guarantee safe card payment processing and a fully secure payment experience, thanks to its global payment provider - Stripe. Make payments fast, easy and a convenient part of your guest experience, start getting instant payments today! For more information, visit our website: https://bit.ly/39t1Tm8 Contact – kenneth@sabeeapp.com

Siabann

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 lovemapson.com www.luxurybnbmag.com

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From the heart of Scotland comes a beautiful range of products in distinctive, refillable packaging. Siabann – Gaelic for soap – is created & made by soapmaker Fiona Ritchie. The Juniper & Lime range is the perfect choice for ethical & natural products that don’t cost a fortune, look beautiful and work like a dream. Each product evokes the beautiful Scottish landscape and is hand-blended in small batches to ensure the highest quality. The vegan friendly products are fragranced with a blend of essential oils and tested on family and friends, never animals. The Juniper & Lime range is fresh, gentle and loved by both men and women. The range includes Organic Handwash, Hand lotion, Shampoo, Conditioner & Body wash. All available in 250ml bottles and 2.5/5 litre refills. The products are also available in 100ml sizes! Contact Fiona if you would like to sample the range: fiona@ siabann.com June 2022 || Luxury BnB || 41

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

Ees Wyke Country House

What are the different services that a PR firm can offer a hospitality business?

Breakfast Table

So now you have a rough idea of how it works, what can a PR company actually do for you? Different PR companies will offer different packages and services depending on their strengths and the industries they specialise in. But for hospitality businesses such as yourselves, Marcus has provided some examples of the services that a PR company could offer you. “It really depends on what you hope to achieve from your PR and marketing,” explained Marcus, “some clients wish to build their social media profile and increase engagement. Others want to promote specific events or secure features in specific publications.” So before you jump head first into working with a PR firm, consider what you want you to get out of it. Here are some of the different services that Marcus explained would be available to you:

Media Relations: “This would entail communicating with different media outlets to organise features and so on,” said Marcus.

Online Social Media Management: “This would consist of creating a strong presence online and on social media for your business.”

Community Relations: “This means direct interaction with our client’s customers, for example, direct marketing through something like a newsletter.”

Internal Communications: “This includes communications within the business to staff members.”

Crisis Communications: “This isn’t just about dealing with crises as they happen, but constantly managing a client’s profile so that crises do not occur.” 20 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

Marcus also explained that they can provide services that are unavailable to those who self-market, which can be quite costly if undertaken singularly. “For example, we employs a media monitoring service, allowing us to keep track of our client’s PR and marketing footprint and to carefully control their image,” said Marcus. “We also have access to an international database of journalists, allowing us to cherry-pick publications and journalists that are appropriate for our clients. “In turn, this helps to create a real targeted and strategic campaign.”

"It really depends on what you hope to achieve from your PR and marketing."

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

Ees Wyke Dining Room

Choosing the right PR company for you With so many PR firms available, how do you go about finding the right one for you? Richard explained that the Crimson Edge PR team was right for Ees Wyke because they understood what he wanted and understood the business. But where do you start?

"They need to understand your business. Ask to see a portfolio of previous work." “I think you need to talk to them first and see what work they have been doing,” suggested Richard. “They need to be at one with the industry, know what the pitfalls are and be able to set the right tone for your property. “They need to understand your business. For example, we wouldn’t want a hen party here because we’re not that type of establishment, so they know who is best to contact.” He added: “It’s also really important to ask to see a portfolio of previous work. “They need to be proactive within the industry, so you should ask 44 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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Breakfast

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

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IN PROFILE || PR COMPANIES

Crimson Edge PR for the Food and Hospitality Industry “At Crimson Edge PR, we specialise in PR for boutique and high-end hotels, inns and restaurants, along with some prestigious chefs, UK wide. "However, we don’t like to pigeon-hole ourselves. Some of our more recent, diverse clients have included a chainsaw carver, an agroforestry company, an eco-friendly wellness brand and an estate agency in Edinburgh.” - Marcus Goodyear, Account Manager at CEPR

to see any work they have done for similar businesses in the hospitality industry. “Ask to see what sort of Facebook posts they’ve done and stuff like that, because you want to know they are in tune with the businesses that they work with.” Marcus agreed, explaining that a good PR company must understand their potential client’s business and have a “proven track record within the industry”. Richard also suggested trying smaller PR companies that are relatively local to you. “For smaller properties, the larger PR companies will be really expensive,” said Richard, “and it helps to be able to see them face to face occasionally.” He added: “I also think you need to be able to get on with them, so make sure you meet them first.” Marcus suggested that if you’re unsure, you could always ask other 46 || Luxury BnB || June 2022

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local businesses if they use a PR company and if so, who. “A recommendation from someone you know can be really helpful,” said Marcus. “We actually secure a lot of new businesses simply through word of mouth from satisfied clients.” He added: “You should always look for a PR company that is brimming with ideas and different angles to promote your business. “And they should also be able to demonstrate the range of activity they can undertake on their client’s behalf.”

"They should be able to demonstrate a range of activity that they can undertake for you." www.luxurybnbmag.com

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IN PROFILE || HOSTING A COSY CHRISTMAS

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.

WWW.BANDBACADEMY.CO.UK FB:

@BEDANDBREAKFASTACADEMY

INSTA: @BEDANDBREAKFASTACADEMY

Column

PINTEREST: @BANDBACADEMY

Is the end of the room tidy? The part of running a B&B I disliked the most was having to do a room tidy; that room refresh when guests go out for the day, and are returning in the evening. Maybe it was because my guests were so relaxed and felt at home, but they always seemed to take their time actually leaving the premises, and returned rather too quickly. As my rooms were in a separate annex, I'd repeatedly go to the window to see if their car was still there or if they’d gone out for the day, so I could get on with the cleaning and maybe even go out myself! And despite my pleas that they hang up the “please clean the room” sign if they were going out without their car, I’d often

be left with the dilemma of whether to go and knock to see if they were still in. When they’d finally left, there’d be the anticipation of what state the room had been left in. Should I move the clothes that had been left on the bed? Was I expected to pick up the socks off the floor? Do I pick up the contents of a bumper box of condoms strewn over the floor and put them back in the box, or gingerly vacuum around them? During Covid times many B&B owners stopped the room tidy and I’ve seen several discussions about whether they should restart. I’m sure you can guess which camp I’d be in.

How to make room tidies easier

One of the great things about running a B&B is that you can decide how your business will run, within the constraints of the law, hotel inspectors and guest reviews of course. It's up to you to decide whether your Read Karen's guests will opt in or opt out room blog to discover tidies, what they involve and how you'll more about toilet communicate this to guests. paper origami, As a customer, I enjoy having the B&B how marrying a or hotel room all to ourselves and not plumber has been worrying about someone barging in, very handy, and or having the pressure to get out by a more about life certain time of day. But some guests as a B&B owner: enjoy the luxury of a room clean. bandbacademy. Here are a few of my tips for making the co.uk/blog whole room tidy process a bit easier, and stopping it from eating into your day. There are different ways of communicating your room tidy policy to your guests; in the pre-arrival email, in

person at check-in or over breakfast or in the room information folder. •

• • •

Give the guests the option to either opt out or opt in to room tidies with a time frame for them letting you know which they prefer e.g. hang the sign on the door by 11am or let us know at breakfast Let them know what a room tidy involves so there are no misunderstandings Have a clear time frame for when the room tidies will be done Explain what will happen if personal belongings are left on the bed/on the floor etc

Read more about room tidies on the bed and breakfast academy blog.

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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@ gogreensustainability.com FB: Go Green Sustainability URL: https://www. gogreensustainability. com/certification-services/ responsible-rentals

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Last month we talked about how to reduce your use of natural resources in order to reduce your carbon emissions inline with the climate agenda targets. Although B&Bs and the like form a smaller part of the impact hospitality has on the wider issues of climate change, they can still take meaningful and positive Climate Action. Collective power has great strength and how you interact with your immediate environment (your outside areas) and local area (nearby parks, woodland, beaches) is an important factor to consider. Imagine a patchwork of outside spaces dotted around the country; one day they will all join up and to create a flourishing, wildlife-friendly environment across the UK. With the increase in travellers looking for more eco-friendly experiences when they travel, how much you care about protecting and enhancing the environment could influence whether they book with you or not. These days schools teach children from a very early age about the environment; how they impact it, how they can help it and so on. If you're a child friendly property then why not provide some child friendly garden experiences? (Don’t forget to share any activities you offer to your social media and booking OTAs.)

Child & wildlife friendly gardens ideas • • • • • •

There are many things you can do to improve your impact on the environment. But one easy way is to move away from immaculate outside spaces to more wildlife-friendly ones. The UK has one of the lowest biodiversity ratings in Europe. This is largely because the last 10-20 year trend has been for a

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Grow your own herbs / Fruit trees Green area for slugs/snails Wild native flower area Bird bath/Bird boxes/Bird feeders Insect boxes Hedgehog nest

more manicured look both at home and in public spaces. But this trend is changing now, moving towards more ‘wild green spaces’ to increase biodiversity. With the help of quality educational tv programs about nature and the environment, the greater public are now understanding more about the fragility of ecosystems and how they can have a positive impact on it.

Protect your environment • • • • • •

No harmful chemicals like pesticides or fertiliser Use peat-free compost Let dandelions flower - they are one of the first flowers bees can land on and weedkiller kills bees Plant fruit trees and/or flowering shrubs Compost area for garden waste and uncooked fruit & veg food waste Create a worm tube composter

Supporting your local nature conservation initiatives is another way to improve your environmental footprint. You can take part either financially or perhaps invite your guests to do so.

Support for local initiatives • • • •

Partner with local environmental charities and organisations - share activities on SM Offer local bike hire companies and local wine, beer or other businesses that provide interesting tours Offer hiking/walking footpaths starting from your door If you provide food, buy it from a local business or grow your own.

Highlighting local activities that involve short or no car journeys will help lower your carbon impact, as well as your guest’s. Giving financial support to a local or regional charity is not a cop out. During Covid, donations to charities dried up which has left them very low on funds, so this is very much a positive option. www.luxurybnbmag.com

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W M ALL

APS

By Dominic Johnson

When we refurbished our 3 bed holiday cottage by the beach, we planned to keep all the walls plain white mainly for practical reasons. We wanted to reflect the natural light from the sea and give the place a clean and bright feel. All good practical ideas, but maybe a little dull? We set out to find interesting, durable and cost effective wall hangings to spice up the walls. We opted for framed maps which work for many reasons. They are relatively cheap and let’s face it, we all love looking at maps. We opted for two; a custom made OS map for the walkers and a nautical map of the area for the old sea dog. There are many options available at various price points. Ordnance Survey Maps: With an option to put your property in the centre of the map. Nautical charts: Perfect for places close to the coast and available new for around £20 per map. For those on a budget, older maps are available from secondhand bookshops, antique shops or online platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Historical maps: Available on ebay E.g. navigational charts, transport maps, WWII maps and more. Popular historical maps include the old London Tube maps - these are often expensive and considered collectables. The Great Bear: A London tube map created in 1992, but in place of stations, the artist lists famous scientists, philosophers, explorers, comedians and more. Each Route represents one of the different groups of people. It’s fascinating to see and has sparked many copycat versions. www.luxurybnbmag.com

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Image Credit: Love Maps On lovemapson.com

Top Tips: 1. 2.

3.

Try and buy rolled maps over folded to avoid visible creases Frames can often cost more than the map, so try and pick a map that could fit in a frame you already own or will cover the whole surface. A list of standard frame sizes can be found online Choose maps relevant to your local area or business. E.g. historical maps of how your village used to look or old transport maps for city based businesses.

If you want something truly unique, our partner Love Maps offers a full range of maps in various different mediums; from framed maps and canveses to ceramic tiles and made to measure wallpaper. Present Day OS and Vintage OS maps. But it's not all UK, Love Maps also supply the Tube Map, Nautical Charts and many different World Maps. For more info and to order, go to lovemapson.com

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DIRECTORY Bathroom Amenities & Products

A BUYERS GUIDE Bed & Breakfast Insurance

Insurance for B&Bs 0800 085 5000

adrianflux.co.uk

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

www.letusfurnish.co.uk 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: sales@voguebeds.co.uk

www.voguecontractbeds.co.uk

PROPERTIES FOR SALE

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: hello@plumproperties.im

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GUEST HOUSE I NSU R A N CE 01288 353999 GU E S T H O US E I N S U R A N C E. CO. UK PROTECT YOUR B&B, GUEST HOUSE OR SMALL HOTEL FROM UNEXPECTED LOSSES. COMPREHENSIVE COVERS & TERMS AVAILABLE ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ • • •

Buildings & Contents Business Interruption Cover Public & Employers Liability Business Legal Expenses Cover Low Excess For Claims. FULL Theft & Accidental Damage By Guests. NO Security Conditions

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