How to prepare for the quiet season at your bed and breakfastOct 17, 2022
As we approach the winter months in the Northern hemisphere, many B&Bs - especially those in rural areas - see fewer guest bookings or decide to close for the season.
This blog post is a suggestion for some of the things you can do to ensure your B&B stays clean, safe and that may save you a bit of money!
Before I get into the blog itself, I just wanted to draw your attention to the risk of Legionnaire's Disease.
If your B&B bathrooms aren't being use for a period of time there is risk of standing water accumulating.
Standing water presents a risk of Legionella bacteria accumulating, and is particularly high risk in showers, as Legionella bacteria is dispersed in airborne water droplets, so the spray created by a shower is the perfect delivery mechanism.
Anyone using a contaminated shower risks breathing in the bacteria and developing the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease as the bug takes hold in the lungs.
There are simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of Legionnaire's Disease at your B&B.
For detailed guidelines on how to prevent Legionnaire’s disease at your B&B see this blog post here >> How to prevent Legionnaire's Disease at your B&B
Back to the blog and the very first action to take is...
Take some time out for yourself
I know a lot of B&B owners find it really tempting, when their B&B shuts or is a bit quieter, to immediately jump into decorating or other tasks around the B&B.
But it's really important to give yourself a break, pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work over the busy season and relax.
Remember that most people get 2 days off a week plus holidays, and you may well have been working 7 days a week without any breaks.
This was never a problem of mine, I found it very easy to go into semi winter hibernation - lots of country walks, long baths, afternoons and evening spent curled up in the front of the fire with my knitting and a movie.
You may prefer to take the time to get out more, explore the local area or go on holiday. However you chose to relax, don't feel guilty about taking some well deserved time for yourself.
Get your B&B rooms ready for the quiet season
This is the time to prepare your B&B rooms to minimise the amount of maintenance they need and potentially save you some money.
- Strip beds of bed linen and leave unmade beds to air
- Wash mattress and pillow protectors and duvets
- Strip rooms of any dirty crockery/cutlery items
- Turn off water to rooms if appropriate
- Turn off heating to rooms if appropriate
- Turn off power to televisions, radios etc
- Turn off power to in room fridges, leaving fridge door open
- Turn off landing lights if appropriate
- Send duvets etc off to be washed
- Remove any dirty towels
- Run hot water through all taps and showers and flush toilets weekly (Legionnaire’s disease prevention)
- Empty and clean all bins
- Remove half used toiletries and dispose of them or use them yourself!
- Contact any suppliers that deliver regularly to discuss your requirements over the coming weeks, or to put on hold
- Contact your laundry company to discuss your requirements over the coming weeks, or to put a hold on their collection/delivery
In the kitchen and store room
- Check the use by dates on food in cupboards/fridges and freezer
- Use food that expires before you open again
Website/ Third Party Booking
If you are planning to close your B&B for the winter months:
- Close off unavailable nights on your own online booking system
- Update availability on online travel agencies such as bookingdotcom
- Consider creating a blog post explaining that you are closed for the winter and when you will be reopening
The quieter months are a great time to focus on your marketing:
- Review your marketing plan
- Create a content plan for next year - blog post >> how to create a content plan for your B&B
- Consider offering gift vouchers for sale for christmas gifts
- Continue to post on social media to stay connected with guests and attract new ones
- Continue to send email newsletters to your list - blog post >> why email marketing is important for your B&B
- Get ahead of yourself and write and schedule blog posts and email newsletters for the new year
- Change your opening hours on social media such as facebook ( from your business page, select edit page info, scroll to temporary service change and select temporarily closed )
- Change your opening hours on Google My Business - from the home or info page there is an option to mark your business as temporarily closed.
In this blog post, I've linked to a free gift voucher template you can use in Canva >> How to use Canva for your B&B
- Identify any DIY tasks that need to be done
- Create a plan for all of your DIY tasks and prioritise them by urgency and importance
- Buy DIY supplies
- Do your DIY!
Take some time to review your B&B year
The quieter months are the ideal opportunity to review how your B&B has gone and see if you need to implement any changes. Consider
- What has worked well?
- What hasn’t worked so well?
- Are the things you’d like to do differently next year?
- Will you put your rates up?
- Will you offer a new service such as platters?
- Is it time to rethink your breakfast menu?
It's also the ideal time to go back over your reviews and honestly assess whether there are things you need to do differently in your B&B or stuff that you need to do even more of.
Review your figures
This is the ideal time to look through your figures and decide if you need to be doing anything differently in your B&B as a result. Consider:
- occupancy stats
- repeat business
- percentage of reviews received
- how far in advance do guests book
Plan your time off for the year
If you haven't done so already ready, look through your booking calendar and make sure you plan time off for the year ahead.
Block out dates in the diary now. You can always release the dates for sale at a later date if you decide that you don't need the time off.
If you've found this blog post useful and are thinking about running your own B&B.
I run a comprehensive online course on how to set up, run and market a B&B, which you can get immediate access to here >> Bed and Breakfast Training Course
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