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Hand writing on a paper notebook with goal and 1, 2, 3 - How to write smart goals for your B&B in 2023

How to write SMART goals for your bed and breakfast in 2023

running a bed and breakfast Dec 20, 2022

It’s getting to that time of year when many of us start thinking about setting New Year's resolutions and personal goals for the year. But it’s also important to take some time out to reflect on and set goals for our business too.

When I was running my B&B, I was guilty of having a wishlist in my head of things I'd like to happen for my business, without actually getting my goals down on paper and figuring out what I needed to do to make them happen.

But by setting goals, writing them down and deciding what actions you need to take, you’re far more likely to actually turn them into reality.

For example, maybe you often think that you’d like to get more direct bookings for your bed and breakfast. That’s far more likely to happen if you have a plan of actions in place rather than just hoping it might happen.

If you have yet to set up your B&B, then you will need a Business Plan.

Goals are a big part of your business plan and showing any potential bank or other lender that you have a clear plan of action for creating a profitable B&B.

In the online course there is example Business Plan to get you started - check out the online course here

In this week's blog post I've put down some ideas for creating some goals for your B&B and creating an action plan to achieve them. I'm using the example of getting more direct bookings to show you how you could build up a set of SMART achievable goals for your business.

But just before I get into that. I’ve recently discovered Notion, which is a great free tool which allows you to get organised in every aspect of your life including budgeting, meal planning, goal planning and more. To see it in action, I’ve created a free life goals template for you.

To access the template Click here and select duplicate at the top right of the page. You’ll be prompted to sign up for a free Notion account and then you’re ready to use the template!

1.Review the past year

Reviewing what has already happened is often an overlooked part of goal setting. To plan any journey we want to make, we need to know where we’re starting from!

Know your numbers

As a B&B, it’s a good idea to look back over your stats for the year. For example, you may want to track:

  • How many nights did you sell?
  • How much was your turnover?
  • How much were your expenses?
  • How many nights were booked directly?
  • How many nights were booked through the OTAs?
  • What’s the average time between people booking and staying?
  • What’s your cancellation rate?
  • How many reviews did you receive?

If you don’t already track these statistics, then maybe a goal for the year is to start.

As well as looking at your numbers, it’s also a good idea to look at how things have gone in your business, to identify any trends and see where you can make improvements or make things really better

Look at your positive reviews

Take time to have a good look through your reviews, and smile file, if you have one.

  • Are there any themes that emerge?
  • Is there something you’re doing that your guests really love?
  • If this is the case, can you do more of it or do more along similar lines?
  • Are you including it in your marketing? On your website, your newsletter on social media?

I'd also suggested having a good trawl through the reviews of your competitors.

These can be a great way to spark ideas for your own business.

Look at your negative reviews

None of us like to dwell on the negatives, but these can be as much a source of inspiration as your positive reviews.

Again, if something keeps coming up, are there actions you can take to reduce the negative feedback or is there something you can do to market your business differently.

Negative feedback is quite often a result of a difference in a guest’s expectation of the experience they will have at a B&B and reality. So make sure you’re accurately portraying the guest experience in your marketing.

Read more on how to respond to a negative review about your bed and breakfast here


How to set SMART goals for your bed and breakfast

The most effective goals are those that are:

SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound

Let's look at an example, that shows how you might develop a SMART goal for your B&B.

You might start out with the goal

"We want more direct bookings."

Let’s make it more SPECIFIC

"Grow the number of direct bookings by creating an email newsletter list and posting more on social media."

That’s a good start, but if your goals are MEASURABLE they are easier to plan and track

"Increase the number of direct bookings from 40% to 60% by posting daily on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok and sending an email newsletter once a month."

It’s important you don’t set yourself up to fail, so goals should be ACHIEVABLE

If you’re running a busy B&B yourself, using all of the social media platforms and sending a monthly newsletter may be too much.
Let's make this goal more achievable by focussing on the social media platforms where your customers are most likely to be, not posting so often and reducing the frequency of your newsletter. 

"Increase the number of direct bookings from 40% to 60% by posting twice a week on Instagram and Facebook and sending an email newsletter once every 2 months."

Your goal needs to be RELEVANT to your business and your overall vision for it. You need to be clear on WHY you want it as a goal.

"Increase the number of direct bookings from 40% to 60% by posting twice a week on Instagram and Facebook and sending an email newsletter once every 2 months. Because increasing the number of direct bookings will give us more control over our business, increase our profits and mean we enjoy hosting our guests more."

And finally the goal needs to be TIME BOUND

"Increase the number of direct bookings from 40% to 60% by the end of June 2023. We will do this by posting twice a week on Instagram and Facebook and sending an email newsletter once every 2 months, starting on 15th January, 2023. Because increasing the number of direct bookings will give us more control over our business, increase our profits and mean we enjoy hosting our guests more."

You can see this goal is far more detailed than “We want to get more guests booking directly with us rather than through the OTAs” and that makes it much easier to identify a plan of actions you need to take.

By the way, I really think every bed and breakfast should have an email list, read this blog post to find out why

90 Day Goals

A lot of businesses and bigger companies focus on 90 day goals rather than goals for the full year.

Having 90 day goals means that you can tackle fewer goals at a time, which allows you to really focus and do something meaningful.

Setting a smaller 90 day goal makes make it more achievable. You get results sooner, which then makes you more motivated to continue for the bigger goals.

Setting year long goals can cause you to procrastinate and put off doing anything, whilst the 90 day period means you need to start sooner!

Identify what actions you need to take to achieve your goal

With your SMART goal, you can start to see what actions you need to take to achieve it.

However some goals are pretty big. For example, If your initial goal for the year is to set up a B&B, that's a pretty huge goal and there's an awful lot of action steps to go through.

In this case it makes sense to split your goal into projects.

For this example, your projects may be Social Media project  and Email Newsletter project.

Here are some examples of actions you might want to take in yor email project.

Email project actions and dates

  • Sign up to mailchimp email software by dd/mm/yy
  • Create distribution list on mailchimp by dd/mm/yy
  • Create landing page on mailchimp by dd/mm/yy
  • Create sign up link to mailchimp by dd/mm/yy
  • Add sign up link to email signature by dd/mm/yy
  • Add sign up box to website by dd/mm/yy
  • Brainstorm content ideas for newsletters by dd/mm/yy

Read this blog post to find out more about how to create a content plan for your B&B Marketing.

Review your progress

Once you've got your goals in place, created your action plan and hopefully taken some of those actions, then it's times to review your progress.

I'd recommend adopting the 90 day model and reviewing every 90 days. 

The review is important to identify what's going well, if there's anything you need to do differently and if the goal is actually still relevant to your business.

I hope this blog post has inspired you to carve a bit of time out and help your business become more successful by having clearly clearly defined goals for the year!


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