Luxury BnB Magazine October / November 2022

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In this issue...

A warm welcome from LUXURY BNB

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The aftermath of the wretched COVID-19 pandemic and all that lockdown entailed has not yet brought about the land of fruit and honey the hospitality sector hoped for. But despite the incomplete fulfilment of such fundamental hopes as the restoration of solvency, for example, luxury hospitality establishments are still in a superior position to much of the rest of the market given their appeal on so many more levels. In this issue we explore the creativity of B&B owners diversifying into self-catering and balancing or merging the two. We speak to two couples who have explored the complexities and opportunities of diversifying into self-catering. Katharine Wolstenholme from College Farm and Sally Kellard from Crow Leasow Farm B&B outline the advantages of the benefits of the generally reduced effort that is entailed for visitors who are essentially looking after themselves during their stay.


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Equally creative are the efforts required to convert your property into one that will accommodate disabled guests. In this issue we speak to specialists about the provision of facilities for the disabled to find out what may or may not be possible at your property. Post-lockdown has not yet restored harmony across the sector and we analyse news emerging from Scotland that it now seems most likely the SNP will pass a law enabling local authorities to impose a new tax, initially set at 15%, on any visitors staying overnight. This fiendish piece of legislation will create all kinds of hitherto unheard of problems. As an optional tax for local governments to deploy, it threatens to pit tourist region against tourist region simply on the basis of cost. On page 4 we speak to two of the lobby groups who worked hard unsuccessfully to deter this new tax from coming into fruition.

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Happy reading!

44. 47. PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Dominic Johnson 01892 711 144 EDITOR Bill Lumley | Words DESIGN Tracy Poulsen | Design

CONTRIBUTORS Karen Thorne Yvonne Halling Bethnal & Bec

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

Lisa Holloway

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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NEWS YVONNE HALLING MAKING YOUR BUSINESS MORE ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES Inclusivity and accessibility are important factors to consider when you own a hospitality business. We catch up with industry experts to find out what steps you can take to make your accommodation accessible to the disabled. SEPTEMBER PUDDING WITH CASSIS from Lisa Holloway PRODUCT NEWS BETHNAL & BEC Renewable Energy & being let down by staff BUSINESS MODEL - SELF CATERING VS B&B Unable to decide whether to operate as a B&B or to provide self-catering accommodation? We speak to B&B owners to find out how they are diversifying to offer more options for their guests. KAREN'S COLUMN Cost Saving DIRECT BOOKING - AN INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITION OF TERMS Understanding all the elements you need to drive successful direct bookings. With costs on the rise and the incredible rise of easy-touse digital tools, there has never been a better time for you to develop a direct booking strategy. DIRECTORY PROPERTIES

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

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Edinburgh braces itself for a tax on overnight stays By Bill Lumley, (LBNB Editor)

The Scottish government clears the way for a new tourism tax that threatens to deal a body blow to the fragile hospitality industry

CREDIT: David Arthur

Accommodation businesses across the UK are emerging from about the toughest two years they have ever endured. Many have not survived. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, overall hospitality economic output was 42% lower than it was in 2019, and it was still 21% lower in 2021, according to a report by UK Parliament. Now, just as this fragile sector anxiously awaits good news, B&Bs, hotels and guest houses in Scotland are bracing themselves for the introduction of a new 15% overnight-stay tax. The Scottish government has passed enabling legislation introducing this discretionary new tourism tax to be imposed on anyone staying overnight in any district that chooses to implement the Levy. The tax is not expected to come into effect before 2026, but it has been condemned by the tourism industry and its representative bodies. The idea of an overnight tourism levy has been floating around in Scotland for a number of years, and trade bodies such as the Bed & Breakfast Association and UKHospitality have for a long time lobbied strongly against it. In fact, had we not had COVID-19, a tourist tax would have been introduced by now, according to Leon Thompson, UKHospitality Scotland executive director. It was merely put on hold during the pandemic, he says. He explains that the most likely place for the tax to be imposed in Scotland is the capital, Edinburgh. “This legislation will create the 4 || Luxury BnB || OCTOBER 2022

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ability for local authorities to introduce a tourist tax if they so choose, and Edinburgh Council has been incredibly vocal in calling for a tourist tax for a number of years now, so they are most likely to pursue it,” he says. Other local authorities will then look at it and decide whether it is something that they might like to use, he explains. However, given the timetable for introducing legislation, Thompson says the tax is unlikely to be introduced until 2026. The chances for any further lobbying are over. “There’s no plan for any further consultation by the Scottish Government,” he says. “They are looking at the details to ensure that local authorities, when raising such a tax, invest the money generated back into the local visitor economy, making improvements for visitors and tourism generally.” All such decisions will be made at a local level, he says. There will be an additional requirement for local authorities to consult with tourism and hospitality businesses as part of plans to activate and spend this money. One of the problems is that if it’s introduced, then that would mean Scotland would be alone in introducing such a tax, which could be off-putting particularly to visitors who may choose to stay elsewhere in the UK. “People may feel aggrieved that we’re having to pay more to visit Edinburgh or to stay in Edinburgh, for example,” says Thompson. In addition, there is the burden that will undoubtedly be placed on businesses. It is not just a simple 15% tax burden but encompasses administrative time to deal with additional costs around finance and accounting. Larger businesses meanwhile may

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well have to upgrade their finance systems in order to manage the payments and to make sure that make sure that the levy is paid to the local authorities, he warns. There is no guarantee that the new tax will not then be extended to be imposed on day visitors, whether arriving in a city centre or disembarking from a cruise ship, he warns. “These are these are all part of the discussions and conversations that still need to be held.” He suggests the new overnight levy, as and when it is introduced, may threaten to set taxed regions in Scotland against nontaxed regions, between competing local authorities, thus introducing regional tourism friction across Scotland. Once the legislation has passed, local authorities who are struggling financially may well look at how they could use such a tax to address their own revenue shortfall, even though the Scottish Government has to-date been clear that any money raised will be invested back into the visitor economy one way or another. Since local authorities have a choice as to whether to introduce the new tax, businesses just outside areas where the tax exists may well then benefit from more people staying with them. However, the problem with all new forms of taxation is that while they can start quite low, they do often tend to go up. For example, insurance premium tax was introduced in the UK in 2004 at 2.5%. A higher rate was then introduced, which by 2017 had risen to 20%. The impact on hospitality business could be worsened by people simply deciding not to visit Scotland owing to the new tourism tax. A question mark is also to be raised over what the costs will be to businesses actually to administer this scheme, because it’s not cost-free nor even a cost-neutral exercise for businesses. Thompson says, “We really need to understand what the financial burdens are going to be on hospitality businesses.” Hospitality businesses in Scotland are not altogether surprised that the tax is finally set to be introduced, he says, and he says the Scottish Government is not supporting hospitality and tourism businesses in the way that it should do by making an effort to enable it to continue as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. “The tourist tax very much seems like the wrong tax at the wrong time,” he says. “We will also need to bear in mind that we have businesses are trying to move towards

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recovery, and conversely, are in the midst of a very difficult financial situation with inflation, energy costs, and consumer confidence.” The Bed & Breakfast Association was also vocal in lobbying the Scottish government against imposing a new tax. Association chairman David Weston says, “We are opposed in principle to any new tourist taxes on top of the existing taxes on our sector such as VAT, APD and alcohol taxes, which are already amongst the highest in Europe.” Imposing a tax in say Edinburgh that does not apply in, say, Newcastle or Manchester will distort tourism within the UK to the detriment of Scotland’s tourism sector, waston warns, stressing that travel and accommodation is highly price-transparent and notoriously price-sensitive. “Our view is that our sector already generates more in economic benefits via existing taxes and its multiplier effects than it costs,” he says. “We are also hugely disappointed that the Scottish Government chose this time to introduce this measure, which will presage another burden on our hard-pressed and vulnerable sector. Only now starting to emerge from Covid, B&Bs and guesthouses are now being made subject to 32 new licensing schemes – as “short term lets” – and of course, they are also facing ruinous energy cost hikes and double-digit inflation. On top of that we now have plans for new Tourism Taxes to hit our sector.” Some UK Government schemes to assist and support the hospitality trade during the pandemic were commendable. Hospitality businesses were eligible for business rate relief and a temporary cut to VAT, for instance. The decision by the Scottish government to press ahead with this new tax, initially charged at 15% for the cost of an overnight stay, is likely to cause untold damage to every sector of Scottish accommodation businesses and to have a knock-on effect on thousands of other businesses. It’s a very difficult time for businesses. At 15% the tax seems to the hospitality industry in Scotland to be an act that some have unattributably likened to the burdens imposed upon their business by OTAs. The costs of doing business in the UK are the greatest they have ever been. Hospitality is a sector which is still in a very fragile state. With the backdrop of so much economic uncertainty, the last thing that it needs are more taxes or new regulations, all of which are likely to impede their ability to resume their lockdown recovery and back towards making profit.

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with Yvonne Halling

B&B vs Holiday Let

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

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

And what’s the difference anyway The truth is you can do whatever you want, but first let’s look at some background and then some specific differences. In my experience, the general level of “hospitality” has declined during the past 5 years, largely due to the rise of Airbnb properties. This is not to say that Airbnb properties don’t have their place, they do. And it’s important to distinguish between what they do and what you do. That will become increasingly important over the next few years. In my own experience of travelling in the UK and in France over the past few years, hospitality in its truest form is becoming harder to find My most recent experience was in France a few weeks ago. I found a suitable place to stay on one of the big online platforms, and then tried to find their website, so I could book direct. It didn’t exist so I had no choice but to book via the platform, for which they were undoubtedly charged a commission

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

We booked a “self catering” property, also known as vacation rental, holiday let, short-term rental and other names

w READ ONLINE & SHARE >> Read this and other columns at ... author/yvonneyvonnehalling-com/

Between the time I booked and our arrival date, they had ample opportunity to make contact with me to reassure me that they were legit, and that they cared about my stay, but they did nothing of the sort.

Not a B&B

Upon arrival, we were met with the usual greeting – this is this, and that is that, most of which went totally over my head,

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not just because they only spoke French (which fortunately I do speak) but because as humans we cannot retain new information on the first encounter. We need to hear it/see it multiple times before we understand it. A good “guest information file” would have covered key , but it was conspicuous by its absence. Other than a comfortable bed, a hot shower and functioning kitchen, there was very little in the way of real “hospitality” going on Unfortunately, in my experience, this is the story for many “holiday lets” I’ve stayed at, and it’s a shame B&Bs on the other hand are often really good at directing and caring for their guests, providing them with cooked breakfasts and even more importantly, local knowledge. The welcome chat on arrival or the chit chat over breakfast is crucial for getting to know guests and how we can help them get the most out of their stay in the area. Don’t underestimate the value of this true hospitality service, and don’t imagine for one moment, that guests no longer want it, whether you’re running a B&B or a holiday let. If you find yourself losing this aspect of your business, then claim it back, lean in and offer more than your guests are expecting, upholding the tradition of true hospitality This sets you apart from most of the Airbnb properties.

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Making your business more accessible Collaborators Srin Madipalli is former CEO and co-founder of Accomable, a travel tech platform for booking accessible holiday rentals acquired by Airbnb in 2017.

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Alison Hughes is interiors director at Coast Road Furniture, which sells products to help specifically with mobility.

Motionspot is an award-winning inclusive design specialist which creates design-led accessible environments from concept to post-occupancy stage for hotels, leisure facilities, retirement developments and office spaces.

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Inclusivity and accessibility are important factors to consider when you own a hospitality business. We catch up with industry experts to find out what steps you can take to make your accommodation accessible to the disabled. w READ ONLINE & SHARE >>

By Juliet Horner

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ccording to Scope, the charity advocating for equality for the disabled, there are an estimated 14.6 million disabled people in the UK.

What is the most important aspect of accommodating guests with disabilities? Srin: It is crucial to be upfront in your listing, making clear the level of accessibility and whether it is only accessible for particular requirements. There may be steps at your property, for example. Providing this detail will enable whoever is booking to decide whether or not it works for them.

What does a business owner need to do if they want their business to become more accessible? Alison: Firstly, if you’re unsure of where to start, I’d recommend arranging a Disability Access Audit of your property. This may add to your budget slightly, but these detailed reports are a worthwhile investment as they determine what accessibility adjustments you can and cannot achieve. They can also help you avoid costly mistakes, such as embarking on modifications that simply aren’t feasible.

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It’s also important for owners to be honest about what their property can offer. If accessibility improvements are still in progress, be clear and upfront about your bedrooms, parking or bathrooms and any provisions you can make during their stay. Potential customers must know about potential issues before their visit, so they can prepare accordingly or plan to stay with you once your property has been updated. This means their experience at your accommodation will be much better, thus leaving you less vulnerable to negative reviews. Srin: The first thing to do is seek professional advice as to what can be modified. For instance, what adjustments can be made to the building? Can doors be expanded? Can bathrooms be made accessible? You also need to work on the photos and copy for your listing, to ensure everything is as accurate as possible. Always use high quality photos and, if in doubt, be really descriptive and honest so people can decide what works for them.

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You must manage people’s expectations. What an elderly person needs may be different from what a blind person requires, which in turn will be different from what a wheelchair user needs. It is a challenge to have everything ready to accommodate every disability from the get-go, so you must consider what is realistic in terms of modifications. Even if you can’t do anything structurally to your building, simply being upfront about what is available and possible will greatly help your guests. Photos provided by Motionspot

Where should owners go for professional advice? Srin: There are plenty of agencies and companies that will provide consultations and plenty of specialist agencies that make accessible bathrooms and other such features. These can easily be found using Google. Property owners can check out the National Accessibility Scheme,

while VisitEngland offers an accessibility guide. You can also contact charities. There are many organisations that employ people who are disabled and who are therefore very good at advising on such matters.

What kind of features can owners put in place to become more accessible? Srin: At the most basic level, if you only have a couple of steps at your entrance, there is no need for you to seek out a specialist store, because ramps are available to buy online from Amazon. But before you dive straight into modifying your building, you need to understand that accessibility covers a wide spectrum. Everyone has different needs, so you must be realistic about what you can offer within the limitations of your budget and your property. There are various things that do not require costly renovation, such as installing ramps, rollin showers, braille signage and hearing loops. As a property owner you just need to do your homework so you know what exactly is possible for your business.

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Alison: I’d suggest it’s best to start with the basics, such as providing wheelchair ramps and a disabled bathroom. These are the main obstacles faced by customers with limited mobility and are therefore the most important things to start resolving. It’s important to remember that, while wheelchair access is a key part of physical accessibility, less than 8% of disabled people are wheelchair-users (source: Enhance the UK). There are a multitude of other disabilities that the hospitality industry could cater to more effectively and in so doing can make a huge difference to your guests’ stay – and therefore of course, improve their chance of returning. For example, a seemingly small yet much-

appreciated addition could be to provide a remote control with audio descriptions and subtitles for customers who are deaf or visually impaired. You may also provide menus with larger print to help the partially sighted order their food more easily and thus maintain their independence.

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Alison: As well as ensuring that the room itself is large enough for a wheelchair or scooter user to roll into, disabled bathrooms should always be fitted with handrails and a slightly higher toilet to help with wheelchair transfers. Handrails are a great addition, as they are inexpensive yet can make a huge difference to usability and prevent accidents. In the UK, it’s required that five supporting rails are provided in every accessible bathroom, painted in a contrasting colour to aid visually impaired guests. [One such provider is Liverpool-based Total Cubicles.]


How can bathrooms and toilets be made more accessible?

Along with roll-in showers, disabled bathrooms must also be fitted with an emergency assistance alarm and an outwardopening access door.

What is the range of options, from the cheapest to the more expensive? Alison: While ramps, lifts, and other large-scale modifications may be a sizeable financial investment for your property, there are plenty of more affordable additions you can make to improve overall accessibility in your B&B or holiday let. For example, bedside fire-alarm monitors for those who are deaf or hearing-impaired don’t require any professional installation. They simply need regular battery charging. Smaller additions such as largerprint menus can easily be made on-site using the recommended size 16 or 14 font and confirming numbers that are often misread — like 3, 5, 8, and 0 — with words wherever possible (source: Macular Society).

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What advice would you give to owners about making their business more accessible? Srin: You need to be realistic. It is one of those things that cannot be undertaken without due care and intent, otherwise you could just end up doing more harm to your property and your business than good. You are better off being honest and simply telling people who enquire that your property isn’t accessible, so they don’t waste their time booking something that is or is not practical. You will want your property to be accessible but also to look beautiful. There is an agency called Motionspot that specialises in pleasant-looking, accessible spaces. They’ve won awards for their beautiful designs and we have referred many people to them. They create amazing accessible designs that have neither the look nor the feel of a hospital. People often forget about aesthetics and design when thinking about accessibility, but it is possible to do both.

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Alison: When the time comes to update the décor of your property or repair broken furnishings, take this opportunity to improve your accessibility credentials one step at a time. For instance, when choosing new bathroom fittings, try opting for taps with sensors or longer levers. These might be a little more expensive than some of the basic models, but they are a worthwhile investment that can make it much easier for guests with limited mobility to use your sinks. Furthermore, sensor taps can help you to save money on water and energy bills. In terms of layout, you may be able to incorporate lower light switches into your bedrooms when redecorating or rewiring. These won’t inconvenience other customers, yet they can make a big difference for wheelchair users visiting your establishment. Installing lowered countertops or adjustable desks into your wheelchair-friendly rooms is also a great - and surprisingly affordable - way to make them more accessible.

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Light-touch changes to make your holiday property more accessible

• Make the location of the property and parking clear by using a large, sans-serif font that contrasts well against its background and is viewable from a distance. Symbols on signage should be universally recognisable. • Contrast helps to define a space and the features within it and is particularly useful for people with visual or cognitive impairments. Helpful changes include painting walls a contrasting colour to the floor and ceiling, and painting the frame of the door in a contrasting colour. Taking a picture of a space and adding a black and white filter offers a quick and easy way to see how much contrast there appears to be between surfaces. • Position items so that they can be reached by people from a seated or standing position. For example, drop-down baskets can assist with reach heights, sockets and switches should be easy to operate for people with limited dexterity, i.e. a push-pad rather than one requiring pinching, twisting or grasping. • Include a range of furniture options because lower furniture may be difficult for people to rise from or lower onto, for example older people and those with motor conditions. Some people need armrests to lower and rise from seating, while others prefer chairs without armrests, so both options should be offered. Cushioned furniture should be soft but provide firm enough support so that it doesn’t ‘sink’ when sat on and become difficult to rise from. • In the bathroom, wherever possible, create a level, open entry into shower cubicles as this helps prevent obstructions. If space allows, provide a folding shower chair for people who prefer or need to sit whilst washing. Provide details that will support people who are less steady on their feet, such as grab rails in the

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shower and slip resistant matting inside and outside the shower or bathtub. Lever style taps, operable with a closed fist or elbow are easier for everyone to use, and water temperature and pressure indicators should be clearly marked e.g. with ‘H’ and ‘C’ and blue and red colours. • In bedrooms, a profiling bed can support a range of visitors by providing a backrest and knee profile if needed. Ensure circulation space is available around the bed to accommodate mobility equipment and carers. Provide lower height shelving and/or adjustable height clothing rails. • When it comes to lighting, provide an even distribution of lighting in the kitchen, bathroom, and any space where accuracy is required. Task lighting under kitchen cupboards highlights the work surface and is helpful for everyone. Adjustable lighting controls accommodate a range of needs and preferences, for instance people who experience sensory overload or migraines. Where this is not possible, a variety of lamps and low-level lighting options may be offered, and note that large push-plate light switches are easier to locate and operate. • Embrace technology. For example, digital, vibrating pillow alarms that alert guests who are deaf or hard of hearing in the event of a fire. Alexa operated controls for blinds, lighting, music etc. can assist people with limited dexterity or mobility impairments. A smart coffee-maker with WiFi and voice activation which has a pot waiting for you when you wake up is a nice touch. And digital apps and shower controls that enable individuals to control the temperature of water before entering deliver great comfort.

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Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is a charity registered in England and Wales (206394)

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• For full accessibility, there should be step-free access into and around the property. On approach, avoid gravel, which can be difficult to traverse with a wheelchair and for people with chronic pain or motor conditions to walk on. A canopy will provide shelter at the entrance for a person waiting for assistance or stopping to find their keys etc. A wide door will offer generous clearance for people using wheelchairs or mobility walkers to enter the property. • For internal circulation, thresholds should be kept to a minimum. Even the smallest difference in height through a doorway can cause someone to catch their foot. Continuous, smooth surfaces should be achieved throughout the property. Avoid deep pile carpeting, which is difficult for a wheelchair to roll over. Easily moveable rugs can also cause trips and falls, so if used ensure they have chamfered edges and are fixed securely to the floor. • Wide internal doors and circulation should include enough space to facilitate circulation into and between rooms. • An accessible wet room should include flooring that is slip resistant and a 1,500mm turning circle should enable wheelchair access to facilities. Provide support around the toilet and in the shower by including grab rails. Some grab rails can be disguised as other features such as a shower riser or an integrated toilet roll holder. A higher positioned toilet is easier for people to sit down and rise from. • Provide a bedroom on the ground floor, ideally with an accessible wet room leading from the bedroom. Consider whether the room will accommodate a ceiling track hoist that is compatible with different sling types. An 'X-Y' or 'H' system covers the whole room so that a person can transfer between their wheelchair and the features they need to use e.g. bed, shower, WC. A mobile hoist is an alternative option but requires storage and space for its legs under the bed. • In the kitchen, include a lower sink and surface counter height with knee-space beneath. Controls for any appliances should be reachable from sitting and standing positions. Cupboards with glazed windows allow people to easily identify location of essential items easily.

The following organisations can provide expertise and online advice: Coastal Road Furniture Scope Tourism for All VisitEngland Enhance the UK Total Cubicles Macular Society Motion Spot Checkatrade


Renovating your property into an accessible holiday home

For contact details and more see the online version of the magazine

ERINS LINKS Advise for Guests: Airbnb - accessibility sites/default/files/national accessible_scheme_participants_ march_2022_0.pdf Online Directories:

TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR ACCOMMODATION MORE ACCESSIBLE Thanks to Kirstie Logan, Brickhouse Cottages - • • • • •

• •

Listen to what your customers want and be ready to adapt. Everyone is different and has different needs. Where possible talk directly to the person with a disability to understand first-hand what they need. Do not worry unduly about offending or upsetting them, but do be mindful of doing so wherever possible. Study government & building regulations and consider them as the basic minimum. Wherever possible, go beyond these levels. Make your doors and indoor spaces larger than the guidelines wherever you can. Wear your guests shoes: test your property yourself by borrowing a wheelchair or wearing a blindfold. Invite guests or your friends with a disability to test your property. The provision of suitable access for people with disabilities can be commercially advantageous as there is still a shortage of suitable properties. You could have a group of 10 people where only one of the guests uses a wheelchair. The chance of repeat bookings if you get it right are high, as guests know what to expect. Brickhouse for instance runs at 60% to 70% repeat bookings. This year's occupancy rate is 94%, with 60% of 2023 booked already. Do not try to make the accessibility features look too clinical. People with disabilities are aware that they may require extra adaptions but don’t want this to be the main focal point of their break away and neither do their families or carers. Be mindful that not all disabilities are visible therefore simple awareness and patience may be the simplest ways to make your business more inclusive.

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

Serves 6 For a quick pudding that you can have ready in the freezer, or tweak so it is a lovely breakfast pot, make the most of the soft fruits around at the moment. Blackberries are abundant in my neck of the woods, and I’ve picked pounds of them, to use now and to freeze. The sweetness of the Elderflower ice cream goes so well with the tangy fruit bottom!

Ingredients • • • •

300ml pot of double cream Elderflower Cordial, about half a glass Mixed fruits; blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrants Creme de Cassis



Email: IN: @looholloway

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In the fridge are some strawberries and half a punnet of raspberries so with a couple of handfuls of blackberries and a good slug of Cassis, (optional), they gently simmer together until the fruit breaks down in to a rich dark coulis. Place the glasses in the freezer until the fruit is hard or overnight. The whole mixture then goes through a sieve, and the delicious thick fruit sauce divided amongst 6 small glasses. Just halfway up the glasses as this is only the bottom layer. Meanwhile whisk a 300ml pot of double cream until it is firm, and add some Elderflower Cordial, about half a glass, whipping until you can taste the Elderflower and it is all absorbed by the cream.



Put a layer of Elderflower cream on top of the frozen fruit sauce in the glasses , cover with foil or wrap, and freeze again. Take the puds out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, and decorate with berries, or a sprig of mint. Serve the glasses on a saucer with homemade biscuits or bought Amaretti.Pour the fruit into the bowl and cover with more slices of bread. To serve for breakfast, no need to freeze the fruit, just top with plain Greek yogurt and decorate with nuts and berries. They look so pretty and your guests will enjoy a taste of late summer throughout the Winter.

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Product News


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


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

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

Vogue Contract Beds

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

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

27/09/2022 09:01

Product News

MSS Mobile Signal Solutions Love Maps On

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

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


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

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

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Bethnal Bec &

A column for owners, by owners

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


City chicmeetscountryside 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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Renewable Energy….it’s complicated

We received some positive news a few weeks ago when Suffolk Council replied to our pre-planning application in the affirmative for solar panels and air source heat pump. But if I thought that was the hard stuff done, I was very sadly mistaken. The property we are renovating in Felixstowe is currently only hooked up to electricity; no gas, not even an oil tank. For us it is therefore a no-brainer to add as much environmentally (and maybe long term wallet) friendly power sources as possible. With gas and electric prices stubbornly high it is something most Holiday Home owners should at last consider. You would think you would call three or four solar installers, the same amount of heat pump people and get some quotes after site visits, choose your favoured supplies, spend a load of cash and get the renewable power you want. But oh no, you’ll be lucky to get anyone to call you back, let alone undertake a site visit or prepare a quote. Even if you do get that far, thanks to many global issues, the chance of getting the materials needed in the next six months, or the labour scheduled in is an uphill battle. The only benefit of such a delayed supply chain is that it gives you additional time to think about all the details of the system you need…. let me repeat that again with a slight alteration. The nightmare of such a delayed supply chain is that it gives you additional time to think about all the details of the system you need?

I joined some amazing Facebook groups filled with advice from installers, from manufacturers, homeowners, doubters and critics it blew my mind. There is so much to know about these technologies and also the contracts with the electrical companies. Do you sell excess electric to the grid, use it to charge a battery? or buy an “eddi” and let it heat your hot water? What about charging an EV? Do you change contract and have a cheap overnight rate to charge a battery. Add in the complexity that I have no idea how my guests are going to use energy throughout the year and it leaves me in a confused spiral. All I currently know is that being as ecofriendly as possible will make sense for our new holiday let project; it may take a long time to get a financial payback, but the environment will benefit immediately and I believe that being as eco-friendly as possible will be a positive marketing angle for all accommodation providers and indeed will result in a higher occupancy rate for those who truly embrace it. Just check back in with me in six, 12, 18 months or whenever the planets align and supplies, labour and my own decision making have come together as one.

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When support staff let you down.....



I'm taking off my Rubber Gloves to write this article..... once again we are without cleaners and feeling like we're back to square one. Chris and I both ran different businesses with large teams before we started Bethnal&Bec. We both emphatically agreed on creating a business without staff as we had found it both costly financially and mentally - and felt we possibly weren't great managers either! Our (somewhat naiive) ideas for our new selfcatering business was that we did everything in it including the cleans. That all worked well, until one year in I was diagnosed with breast cancer and we had to rethink a lot of things! It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to clean or do much whilst going through treatment, and although with two small properties it was possible for one person to do 'turnovers' that soon became impractical when we found ourselves spending all day in hospitals and endless appointments. We knew a local cleaner that came highly recommended and Chris trained her up. Issue resolved and on we went. Once treatment was over we realised the efficiencies and value of getting cleaning teams in, as we decided (and realised for financial reasons) we needed to grow - and doing that whilst juggling daily turnovers and 4 kids was proving very tricky, so we took on a cleaning 'company' and cracked on with building the Empire (!) But we didn't.... as we've now just fired our fourth cleaning company and are back cleaning toilets (more than before as we've expanded) and wondering how can you expand your business and be reliant on good cleaning staff? Answers on a postcard please!

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Business Models: B&B vs. SelfCatering

CONTRIBUTORS: Katharine Wolstenholme from College Farm Norfolk (CFN) describes her business as “a B&B, boutique selfcatering cottage and wedding venue”. Sally Kellard from Crow Leasow Farm B&B (CL) writes on her website that Crow Leasow is a “Bed and Breakfast (and sometimes dinner)”. These two ladies explain why and how their businesses have diversified to become more than simply a B&B. 28 || Luxury BnB || October 2022

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Unable to decide whether to operate as a B&B or to provide self-catering accommodation? We speak to B&B owners to find out how they are diversifying to offer more options for their guests.


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n apparently never-ending debate for many owners in the hospitality industry concerns the question of how to pitch and operate your business. Across rural Britain there is an abundance of high-quality, well-run and attractive B&Bs, but today, particularly for the younger generation, are these now outdated? Are holiday-lets the way forward? Responding to shifting demand, owners are coming up with inspiring new business models, some creating a hybrid of a B&B and holiday-let to suit their needs, as we found when we spoke with two businesses who have diversified their B&Bs. The objective was to discover how they manage this combined arrangement.

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Why did you decide to diversify your B&B, and how did you go about achieving it? Katharine (CFN): My husband Richard and I began operating our first bed & breakfast at the end of 1989. After nearly a decade, one year before the pandemic stuck, the opportunity arose for us to convert two derelict barns next to our farmhouse. We started renovation work just as lockdown kicked in, with the result that our six-month building project ended up taking two years. We finally finished the work this Easter, just in time for our two daughters’ weddings in May and July this summer. Both daughters used the larger barn (The Cattle Shed) for their wedding receptions and both couples used the self-catering holiday home (The Goat Shed) as accommodation over the course of each of their weddings.

Even if guests are staying on a selfcatering basis, they may still come over to the farmhouse for breakfast – for a small extra charge.



Would you recommend this mixed model of hospitality to other B&B owners? Katharine (CFN): Yes I would, although it does of course depend on the circumstances of the owners. It works well for us at the moment, but I can see a time when we will move to providing fully self-catered accommodation as we get older and want more privacy and time to ourselves. Do you think you’ll ever become a fully self-catered business? Katharine (CFN): A couple of years ago I would never have seen myself moving away from B&B to self-catering, but circumstances change and our goals in life also change.

Richard and I are both in our mid-60s and the time will come when I have neither the energy nor the inclination to manage a B&B. At the moment I do it all myself as Richard spends the week working in London, but I find it can get very tiring, especially in the summer when there is a higher turnover of guests.

Now that our two daughters are married, they will with luck have children, whereupon my priorities will change. I shall want to spend more time with my daughters and their families and to be on hand to help them. If I were to be operating a B&B then that wouldn’t be possible. By moving towards self-catering accommodation, I will still be able to interact with our guests, but I will have more time for other things.

Our long-term plan is to renovate another barn (The End Shed) enabling us to switch to offering two self-catering cottages as well as occasional B&B guests in the farmhouse.

At the moment, running a B&B is a fulltime job and I often don’t have time for anything else. I love all aspects of the B&B. It keeps me fit and busy, but my priorities are changing.

Richard is due to retire in 18 months and when we are both living here full-time I expect the idea of doing B&B every day to become less attractive, because we’ll want to have the time to go out and do things together. We believe that self-catering will give us the time to achieve this, especially if I appoint someone to help with the cleaning and preparation of the accommodation.

I have loved every aspect of running a B&B. It’s meant that I was able to stay at home with my children while they were growing up, as well as giving me the chance to earn some money. Of course it’s hard work, but the rewards are enormous and I would not have changed a thing – until now, that is, as self-catering becomes more appealing.

Do you think your mix of B&B and selfcatering options works well? If so, why? Katharine (CFN): By offering a choice of B&B or self-catering to our guests, they can decide which option they prefer. Some of them even start as B&B guests and then move to the self-catering offering, or vice versa.

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CROW LEASOW FARM Why did you decide to diversify your B&B, and how did you go about doing this? Sally (CL): Back in 2015 we opened a B&B near the Herefordshire town of Leominster. The problem we had at the time of opening was that there were no good places within 20 minutes to send our guests to eat in the evening, and many of them were foodies. I found myself beginning to offer dinners, which were particularly attractive to those guests who’d travelled for three-and-ahalf hours from London and who didn’t fancy getting back in the car and driving another 30 minutes and back for dinner. Some three years later we re-located our business 12 or so miles north back home to Ludlow in South Shropshire, where – after extensive works – we opened Easter 2019. Over the years Ludlow itself has developed a reputation for very good food and whilst we are in a very rural spot here at Crow Leasow, we are less than 10 minutes by car

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from the centre of town, so we can offer an escape from the crowds, yet we are close enough for our guests to find places to eat. Upon relocating, I expected the rate of requests for dinner to decline. How wrong I was! In fact, offering dinner to our guests has gained me a lot more business. I want to appeal to all ages, with private space to accommodate every generation of an extended family. This means there is no need for them to worry about hotel space and about children being children and causing the occasional older couple to look on disapprovingly! A self-catering space would be the normal solution, but then dealing with the food planning, the shopping, the prep and cooking, the clearing up and so forth. The pandemic really brought it home. Among our regular guests was a a family from Bristol who for three years had not seen their parents, who themselves in that time had not been able to see their grandchildren. For the Queen’s Platinum

Jubilee bank holiday, they booked the whole house and I cooked for them all throughout their stay. How do you make this work? Sally (CL): This model is probably only possible with a house layout similar to the one we have at Crow Leasow. This house has two sets of stairs. The main stairs are for our guests, who also have their own large parking area and entrance. The back stairs – historically the servants’ stairs – are for us. The space our guests have is as much their own as it would be at a self-catering property. Meanwhile we have our own space, our own entrance and parking. The gardens surround the house, enabling ourselves and our guests and us to be separate and not on top of each other. How do you market yourself? Sally (CL): The problem is that I need a niche title for the property. It’s not a B&B, it’s not a hotel, it’s not self-catering and it’s not an inn.

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At the moment, I am happy to operate in the way described. A lot of B&Bs don’t offer dinner as it involves so much more work. Do you think this kind of business diversification works? Sally (CL): Yes, I do. A friend of mine who has a similarly laid-out place now offers self-catering, having given over the kitchen to guests. For some 20 years she did provide bed, breakfast and dinner, but now she enjoys the freedom that self-catering offers. The business model is also more lucrative since the whole place is filled with one booking rather than a single bedroom at a time. Another place I know called Fingals, near Dittisham, has recently converted from a B&B that provides dinners to self-catering guests. The age of the owners was also the reason for the change. Do you think you’ll ever become fully self-catered accommodation? Sally (CL): At the age of 61, having done this for just seven years rather than, say, 20-plus, I still have the enthusiasm and energy to keep going with the combined business. Give me another five years or so, though, and I am guessing I might have had enough and find myself wanting to swap completely to selfcatering. Watch this space.

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If you’re thinking about switching from doing B&B to holiday let, what would you need to consider from a marketing perspective? Here’s six strategies that have worked well for many B&Bs 1. To market yourself as a holiday let and stand out from the sea of other holiday lets in your area, start to think of yourself as a “concierge” or “expert on your area” sharing your local knowledge and becoming the face and voice of your area across the world wide web 2. Prepare a fact sheet that potential guests can download from your website, detailing the facilities and accommodation layout, so they can immediately begin picturing themselves at your property. Include lots of images and details of local attractions, so they can begin planning their stay. 3. Use your past reviews to sell your accommodation for you. We recommend a dynamic review widget on your website 4. Update your blog regularly, using keyword phrases that are being searched on, and video if you can, to demonstrate your excellent local knowledge 5. Trust is paramount (always) throughout the booking process. Make sure that your new bookings are reassured that you are real and genuine, via your online reservations system. Your confirmation email needs to have all the “transactional” information i.e.: dates, number of people, deposit paid, cancellation policies etc. and also a line or two from you thanking them for making a great decision to book with you, and how you’re going to help them have a memorable stay. 6. Let them know how they will access the accommodation, whether they’ll be greeted on arrival by a human, or not, and where they can get help from a human should they need it. What part will you play in their stay given that you’re unlikely to be chatting to them over breakfast?

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Whatever the project...


0115 965 9030

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Neil Fraser is a professional photographer of interiors, architecture and design. His passion for high quality imagery has taken him all over the world. His work has featured in a number of magazines, reports, brochures and various marketing materials. Can't afford a professional photographer? Neil has a wealth of knowledge concerning holiday home photography. Neil will be contributing to the next few magazines to provide insight and experience to help you with your own holiday home photography skills. FB: Neil Fraser Interiors Photography IN: @neilfraserinteriorsphotos

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Neil has put together a handy guide on preparing your property to get the most out of a photoshoot. Discover what should tidy away and remove in Part 1 of his 'Photoshoot Preparation' article. The main reason for hospitality businesses to have a photoshoot is, obviously, promotional marketing. As well as showing the property to potential customers, you are also trying to sell a lifestyle. I often see websites with photos that fulfil the former perfectly. They show the rooms as best they can but the images are, ultimately, a bit bland. Properties will not have been fully prepped beforehand; add to that bad lighting and wonky angles and the photos are not exactly going to make the property look inviting. There are a few important things to consider before you pick up a camera or book a professional photographer:

Make sure the property is clean and tidy During my time as an interiors photographer, I have been constantly surprised by the state of some properties when I arrive. More often than you’d think, the owner won’t have tidied up at all, meaning that I have to clean and clear things away before I can start. This, of course, affects how many photos I can take.

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General things to look out for throughout the property are: • Light bulbs. Replace any bulbs that are not working. An easy way to add a bit of sparkle to your photographs is to turn the lights on. If some bulbs are not working, it can make the place look scrappy and uncared for. • Open all the blinds and curtains. You want as much light flooding in as possible. Be aware, however, that crooked blinds never look good and curtains need to hang nicely. • Electric cables. Big knots of electrical cables and leads under any tables or by the TV may not be noticeable to you because you’re used to them, but they really stand out in photographs and make the place look scruffy. • Pets. Loveable as they are, not everyone wants to – or can – spend time with Tiddles or Spot. Tidy away pet toys and food bowls.

Kitchens You might have cleaned, but you also need to tidy away the cleaning products. No one wants to be reminded of washing up and house work when they are looking to book a relaxing holiday. • Move the sponges, cloths and washing up liquid out of sight. • Put tea towels and oven gloves away in a drawer. • Clear unneeded clutter from the counters: this includes baskets with sachets of tea and coffee. • Remove general clutter such as fridge magnets. • Sweep and clean the floor.




Bedrooms As well as the basics of making sure the bedroom is clean and tidy, there are a few things that I recommend excluding. • Kettles and drinks stations should generally be removed. • Again, clear up electrical cables, especially under bedside tables. • Check that the bedside lamps are working. • Remove bathrobes from the back of doors. • Remove Cuddly toys!

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Bathrooms There are a few important rules when preparing a bathroom. They can be a big selling point but a dirty or messy bathroom is a big turn off. • Hide away shower products: they never look good, especially if they are half empty. • Cleaning products should be put away in a cupboard. A bottle of toilet cleaner or a toilet brush on the floor next to the loo is not attractive. • Towels, as a general rule, shouldn’t be put out. • Toilet roll should either be new and unused or not there at all. • Give the mirror a good clean. Smears really show up in photos. • Most importantly, toilet seats should always be down for obvious reasons.

Exterior The outside of your property may not always be the easiest to clean up, but just a bit of tidying and creative hiding is what is needed here. • Move any vehicles you can away from the building and off the drive. Prospective guests want to see a photo of the property, not your car. • General garden mess. Put away kids toys, bags of garden waste, garden tools. • Tidy up and wipe down any garden furniture. • Hide the bins. Nothing brings down an exterior photo like a bin. It’s not something people need to be reminded of. • Sweep the patio.


Now what needs to be removed when preparing for a photoshoot. I’ve described some common oversights and highlighted the items that you don’t want to include in your marketing photos. Next issue, I will look at what you can add to make your setting look more professional and how you can create atmosphere for an upcoming photoshoot.

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

Read Karen's blog to discover more about toilet paper origami, how marrying a plumber has been very handy, and more about life as a B&B owner: bandbacademy.






Whilst we have little control over rising costs, now is the time to be thinking about taking positive action to help your business through this period. We don’t have enough space to print the full version of this feature, packed with more information. To read the full feature, visit Karen’s blog at:

How to reduce costs at your B&B •

Turn off appliances when not in use when you don't have guests Invest in more energy efficient appliances: fridges, TVs, tumble dryers? Install heated towel rails with timers: to reduce towel washes Invest in individual radiator thermostats. Possibly linked to your phone Buy an Air Fryer! Faster cooking and a 50% energy reduction. Reduce food waste Bake your own bread and cakes Review your working practices for

• • • • • • •

costs savings whilst maintaining quality. Can you drop the room refresh? Pre-order breakfast menus? Introduce a minimum night stay if your market will accept it. Put a warmer duvet on Are there other things you can do in your B&B rooms to make them warmer and use less energy? Check for drafts, hot water bottles, thicker rugs abnd curtains. Put more time into marketing your own B&B and reduce commitment to OTAs

• • • • •

How to generate more income at your B&B • •

• •

Review your pricing and consider Put your prices up. Increase the value of your offering with additional services: Consider offering Packed Lunches, snacks and Evening Meals. Sell crafts, post codes, local food and drinks. Tell them about the added value

• • • •

within your marketing message. If you do it, remember to tell people. Sell your cakes and other gifts! Set up an honesty bar - license reqd. Offer a late checkout Experiences: Yoga, local atractions. You might be able to earn commission on these transactions

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


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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DIRECT BOOKINGS EXPLAINED Understanding all the elements you need to drive successful direct bookings Contents:

1. Build your website with your own Domain name 2. Populate your website with photographs and content 3. Promote your website 4. Take bookings 5. Manage your bookings

Now is the time for a Direct Booking strategy. By Dominic Johnson With costs on the rise and the incredible rise of easy-to-use digital tools, there has never been a better time for you to develop a direct booking strategy. Over the next few issues we will be covering these topics in more details. In this feature we want to outline and define the varoiuos elements that make up direct booking.


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CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) Often called a website builder, a CMS is a system to manage the content on your website. An Essential tool used to keep your site updated and fresh. There are roughly 3 types of CMS open to you selecting an option depends largely on how you plan to build / design your website (see panel to right). Installed CMS, e.g., Umbraco and Drupal. This option would run on your own webspace and most likely need a professional web designer (or keen amateur). On the plus side is flexiblility and possibly lower running costs. On the negative is the possible un-front costs to build the initial site. Generic SaaS (Software as a service) website builder, e.g., Squarespace, WIX or Webflow. These systems are used to build for all company sites from Photographers to dentist. The advantage of these system is the ease of use (you tend to build the site yoursefl), low start up costs and functionality. The downside is a possible lacking of hotel specific functionlality like booking engines or channel managers Companies like Amenitiz and Little Hotelier have created website builders that have everything you need to build your own website and boost your direct bookings. From marketing, fullfillment and payment you will have full control of a feature rich cms that looks great. The plus ides are obvious - you have everything available in one place. The only downside might be the ongoing costs of the system but this is depended on the size of your business and the functionlaity your employ.

BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE Options for building/creating a website: There are a number of options available to you to build a website: -You can hire an agency or freelancer to build it for you. Ideal if you don’t have the time, interest or technical knowledge to build your own site - Do it yourself (from scratch). Websites such as Wix and Squarespace are easy to use and can build a great looking website. They often have templates you can use to make it easier. - Do it yourself (templates). WordPress is a leading CMS and uses web design templates, called themes, that can be purchased for little money. Once purchased, you can modify the template and set up your own website - Hire a specialist like Amenitiz to design and build your website. Our Advice: Initially I would consider the pricing of specialist system in particular Amenitiz website builder. You will be swimming with the tide, the website will work well and it will give you more time to concentrate on other areas of improvement for gaining more direct bookings. The exception for this is where you have very unique design considerations and a very specific idea of what you are trying to acheive. In this case I would work with your current desgners - maybe linking into Amenitiz for booking, payment and fullfillment. If however, you like to get your hands dirty and have experience of digital marketing, then CMS could be your answer.


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DOMAIN NAMES E.G. WWW.A-GREAT-BNB.COM This is an important element of running a business and managing your online presence. It’s also a good idea to purchase two domain names, ensuring they contain key words or phrases related to your business. For example, your primary domain name could be www. and then you can create a secondary URL which is shorter and easier to remember for any offline marketing, such as

#TIP: • If possible, buy a “” domain instead of .com / .net / .co / .uk • Consider buying more domain names than needed, e.g. .com & • Keep it simple and avoid strange spellings

CONTENT Other than the obvious, (making sure there is a link to your booking system on your website), there’s a lot of other ‘stuff’ you can put online to connect and encourage people to book. • Blog: Keep your audience and potential guests up to date. Did you have any special events take place or any upcoming events? Did you try out a new recipe? Have you installed something new? • News: A news section will be handy for guests, especially if there are any changes affecting their stay. You can keep people updated on hygiene policies (e.g. COVID regulations), any changes to check-in and check-out times, any problems with suppliers and changes to your menu etc. • Photos: Share your own professional images, or ones from your guests to show a first hand experience of people enjoying their stay • Reviews: Share reviews and comments from guests so people can hear it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’.

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DIGITAL TIP *Bed and Breakfast Coach, Yvonne Halling, said you should structure your website so that it not only attracts visitors, but leads them to the ‘book now’ button. She also said your online booking system should be a third party embedded on your website, linked to your payment provider (also a third party) so that you can take deposits and charge balances.

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PHOTOGRAPHY Images play a huge role in the booking process. Here’s some things to think about: • Create images that sum up the key experiences at your property • Have a look at other properties online and keep note of the types of images you are attracted to on their websites • Avoid using misleading images (e.g. making rooms look smaller/larger) • Whilst mobile phone cameras are a lot better now than they used to be, think carefully before you produce your own. It won’t hurt to hire a professional. • Once you have a great selection of images, produce different versions (e.g. landscape, portrait, high res, low res). This will save time if you’re planning on marketing your property on a number of sites that may have different image requirements.

SOCIAL MEDIA 1. Setup accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram early to ensure you ‘grab’ your profile names before someone else does. 2. Consider which social media sites you’re planning to use and how. Create a strategy.


Create images that sum up the key experiences at your property.

Have a look around and keep note of the photos you are attracted to on other websites.

Avoid suspicion and misleading photos.

You’ll never meet anyone who doesn’t think they are a great photographer. Whilst camera phones are technically capable of taking excellent photos, think carefully about producing your own photos. A great collection of photos is a vital part of the marketing mix.

Once you’ve decided on the photos you want to use, store them in a separate folder on your computer and well labelled. Produce different versions of the photos - high and low res, portrait & landscape. This will save you time if you’re planning to market your property on a number of websites

Use to keep your photos and marketing materials. There is a free version and this will allow you to share photos with partners rather than emailing them across.

FULFILMENT You need to make it easy for people to seal the deal and book your property. Consider the guest booking journet through your website.

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PROMOTION E.G. WWW.A-GREAT-BNB.COM There are many ways you can promote your business, both online and offline. Offline options could include promoting your business in magazines or specific interest publications. Online options could be anything from directories to social media to pay per click ads. Social media is a very popular form of advertisement and can help you to gain interest and followers: • Set up your accounts on your preferred platforms and create a strategy, thinking about what you will post (pictures, videos, reels, lives, blogs etc.), when you will post and how often you will post • Use hashtags (you can use a maximum of 30 per post on Instagram). People can search for hashtags and your post will pop up. • Tag locations and any partnerships • *Bed and Breakfast Coach, Yvonne Halling, said that you should use social media to build the “know, like and trust” factor of your business. This means promoting yourself as the face/voice of your business, driving visitors to your website through regular posting of educational, entertaining and engaging content. • National and local media organisations are always looking for stories and you can reach out to them if you think you have something to share: • Write a ‘pitch’ explaining your story. (Maybe you received an award, or installed a new pool, or recently became a net-zero business) Make sure the pitch is simple, interesting and accompanied by great photos • Do some research to find out which media organisation will be the best one to send it to. If it’s a local story, contact your local newspaper, if it’s relevant for a regional or national newspaper, get in touch with a larger organisation. • Send your pitch to the appropriate person. Most websites will have a page of contacts which you can use to get in touch with press people. Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out on social media! • Online news stories can be a great way to link people through to your website, so even if your story doesn’t get printed, online is great too! • Other ways to promote your business include: • Email newsletters • Tourism and hospitality awards • Google Business Profile

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Booking Engine: • A booking engine is vital. Reme mber if you are running your own website, you are competing with the likes of AirBnb where guests can get an immediate booking acknowledgement (if the property owner has agreed to this setting in setup). • Make a list of your booking terms: Max days per rent, varying rates for weekend breaks… Many booking engines need specific settings and complicated pricing structures • Many of the website builders will have integrated booking engines. Many of these can embed these into your website. • Many people now just link to their presence on an OTA (e.g. Airbnb) to manage all bookings. • Using external websites to manage bookings may be cheaper than an OTA

OTA: • There are plenty of large, popular OTAs but there are also specialist ones such as Dog Friendly, Large houses or those based on lifestyle - advertising properties that are cool / more stylish…

PRESS • National and local newspapers and magazines are always looking for stories. Does your property have anything unique? What would make it news-worthy? • To get your place noticed by the press you need to write to each news source with a story pitch. Make sure it’s simple, interesting and accompanied by a good set of photos (the industry is run by photos) • Do some research on your local area to find out what publications and news outlets are available. Most websites will have a page of contacts which you can use to get in touch with press people. Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out on social media! • Online news sources can provide excellent links into your site - this is a key factor used by google to rank the importance and relevance of your website / property.

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SEO • Check out our A-Z of SEO that we did during the Winter lockdown in 2020. Every day was a different letter of the alphabet accompanied by a prompt or some ‘food for thought’ to help you promote your business and improve your marketing: •

Advertising OFFLINE • Are there any local or interest specific magazines you can utilise? ONLINE Pay Per Click (PPC) Where you pay only when people click on your advert / link. Examples of PPC are Google PPC, Bing Ads and facebook advertising. They can be a very effective tool as you can target your audience very effectively. ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCIES (OTAs) E.g. and Airbnb. Used well you can find guests from all over the world and manage many administrative tasks. The best Holiday Rental Marketeers use OTAs where needed and do what they can to encourage guests to re-book directly.

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DIRECTORY Bathroom Amenities & Products

A BUYERS GUIDE Bed & Breakfast Insurance

Insurance for B&Bs 0800 085 5000

Furniture Supplies

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

Authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Hotel Management Software

Hotel Management Software

Luxury Towels Bathrobes & Footwear

Mattress Provider

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

Tel: 01455 841257 or email:

Image Joinery Projects Ltd

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

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THE OLD MILL HOUSE Little Petherick, near Padstow, Cornwall

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


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

CLOSE MOOAR FARM B&B and Holiday Cottages

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

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

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Perfect Sleeping Environment

Top tips from industry experts on how to create the perfect sleeping environment for your guests By Juliet Horner Wondering how you can give your guests a great night's sleep? Well look no further! We spoke to two leading industry experts to find out how you can create the perfect sleeping environment, to provide the best night’s sleep you can for your guests. Simon Williams is the Marketing & Membership Manager for the National Bed Federation, the recognised trade association representing bed manufacturers and suppliers in the UK. The NBF provides professional and unbiased advice on everything you need to know about beds. Andrew Thorpe is the Divisional Contracts & Export Director for Sleepeezee, one of the UK’s most wellknown bed manufacturers, producing handcrafted luxury beds and mattresses. Sleepeezee work closely with hotels, B&Bs and other hospitality businesses to provide premium bed options. Andrew and Simon have put together a helpful list of top tips on how you can create the perfect sleeping environment for your guests.

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Blackout Curtains Simon Williams said: “Ensure the room can be made as dark as possible for sleeping. You can use blackout curtains or blinds, or you could even buy some inexpensive eye-masks for your guests.” • Andrew Thorpe said: “Make sure it can really be ‘lights out’. Installing blackout curtains is important to ensure guests can enjoy undisturbed sleep.” 2. Lighting • Andrew said: “Use soft lighting and dimmer switches to allow guests to adjust the lighting before bedtime.” • Simon said: “Avoid anything with an LED display, including clocks. This type of light makes it hard to fall asleep and be disruptive.” 3. Temperature • S: “Make sure the room isn’t too hot or too cold. If anything, keep it slightly cool. Overly hot rooms are one of the major complaints in hotels.” • A: “Sleeping hot is one of the leading causes of insomnia so allowing guests to set the temperature between 16 and 20 degrees is ideal.” 4. Quality Feel • A: “Your body is in near-constant contact with the sheets. Providing high-quality, soft and breathable sheets will keep your guests cool whilst adding that luxury feel.” 5. Sound • S: “Make the room as sound-proof as possible as noise is a major sleep disruptor. Double glazed windows are a necessity if the room is near a busy road. Also think about the sound insulation of the

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6. • •

7. • 8. •

9. • 10. •

room, for example, fit a good quality door to reduce noise from other guests.” A: “Eliminating noise is important. Guests are in unfamiliar surroundings so rooms need to be quiet and peaceful. Invest in double glazed windows and lined curtains to reduce noise levels.” Colour A: “Harness the power of colour to ensure the decor is calm and neutral so that guests aren’t distracted.” S: “Avoid bright colours, such as reds, which are quite stimulating and less conducive to a good night's sleep. Use muted and pastel colours which are more calming.” Furnishings S: “Keep the room clutter free and minimally furnished. Cluttered and untidy bedrooms won’t help a good night's sleep.” Smells A: “This is one of our most powerful senses, with links to memory, mood and energy levels. Some studies have shown that lavender lowers blood pressure and heart rate, which induces a calming effect. This is why some of our customers use lavender scents in their rooms.” S: “Some smells can make you feel more relaxed and calm. Use diffusers or sprinkle potpourri with essential oils like lavender or geranium.” Decor S: “Putting some artwork, plants or flowers in the bedroom can help your guests feel more relaxed.” Invest in the Right Bed S: “Make sure you offer a good quality, comfortable and supportive bed with decent pillows. The bigger the better too, for less partner disturbance. Spend as much as you can afford on your bed; It’s where your guests will spend the majority of their stay.” A: “Invest in the highest quality mattress you can afford, as well as mattress protectors which help to keep the bed as clean and hygienic as possible.”

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The Luxury BnB team are in the process of creating a guide to ‘Picking the Best Bed’ with the help of industry experts. Keep an eye out for our August Magazine where you can learn what you need to look for when purchasing new beds.

URLs INSTAGRAM @sleepeezee

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the show

3. – 7. 2. 2023 FRANKFURT / MAIN

HORECA welcomes the crew Here is where business opportunities, innovations and trends are served up – with a particular focus on major industry themes such as sustainability and innovative hospitality: This is Ambiente, the global meeting place for the hotel, restaurant and catering sectors. Discover the Ambiente of the future: Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 84

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