clare / karen podcast
[00:00:00] Hi, it's Karen here, founder and owner of bed and breakfast academy. In this week's podcast episode, I'm joined by another BNB owner. And, uh, Claire.
Who will be sharing her experience of setting up a BNB from scratch with her husband. She's also going to be telling us why it's so important for your business. So look after yourself as a BNB owner. And then finally, we're going to talk a bit about marketing. And how the structure and organization of the BNB marketing community.
Has really helped them. Market their business more effectively. I hope you enjoy it.
karen: Today I'm very pleased to be joined by Clare Wright, who, along with her husband, Dave runs the school house B&B in chapel lawn. It's a school house, not the old school house. The school has here in Shropshire. In fact, they're just over the hill from where I'm sitting Claire and Dave opened their B&B in 2016.
And I are having a bit of a chat the other day. And we were talking about how it's been a very difficult [00:01:00] year for B&B owners or difficult few years for B&B owner. So first of all, we were coping with the first and the subsequent lockdowns because of COVID and, B&Bs are seeing all of their income disappear overnight.
Then there was that working. out How to reopen a B&B safely. I think the Facebook group was really frantic at that point. It wasn't actually, it was people just trying to make sense of all the precautions.
Clare: Yes. It was a, it was quite chaotic at first, but luckily our weekly zooms helped to restore some order
Oh yes, of course. Yeah. We I put some weekly zooms in place. So the Facebook group became more of a sort of impersonal not in person, the in-person over, over zoom rather than writing things in the Facebook group. So we talked about how to be safe running the B&B, how to I guess how to understand all of the COVID precautions, because there's a lot of advice out there wasn't that there was pages and [00:02:00] pages of advice about how to do things, but actually trying to translate that from being written for all of the hospitality sector to a smaller B&Bs, I think was quite complicated. And I think that's where the group worked really well together.
Wasn't it? Yeah.
That's right. Yeah. It was very open to interpretation. B&Bs tended to be mentioned as a little bit of an afterthought, I think in some cases. So yes, trying to weed through it all and make sense of it and apply it appropriately was quite a challenge.
karen: Yes. I remember seeing the one thing that sticks in my mind was seeing a recommendation that if you had a a public area, like a lounge that you covered all the furniture and plastic covers.
Clare: Yes. Yeah. I'd forgotten
karen: that. So we, we got we, I think we all decided that probably wasn't such a great idea and it was getting out of balance. And not a good look. No, I think it's that balance between continuing to give a fantastic customer experience without [00:03:00] thinking those sort of in an episode of everybody loves Raymond.
Everybody loves Raymond. DDMs.
Clare: My mom's a fan actually, but I've only seen little snippets of it, but to me it conjures up the image of an old folks' home from the eighties or something. The plastic covered sofas.
karen: Yeah. What did they say? Was it let the mother. Insisted on keeping the sofa in the lounge, in the original packaging.
So the Bassett
karen: And then she moved out and they sold the house
youngest son, our oldest son. And he took the plastic covering off. And of course that night they spilled red wine over it. So there we go. No plastic covers in the And then I think it's great that locked down and did something that was May 17th this year.
Wasn't it? That was the third
karen: this year. Yeah. And since then, it's been an incredibly busy season for B&B owners and I think you're dealing with usual guests. But [00:04:00] also guests who don't normally say at B&Bs, the people who would be normally traveling overseas and potentially people who aren't used to staying at B&Bs, they might be used to seeing in hotels or say self-catering and also people might be anxious about traveling more than usual because it's With this in mind, Claire and I were having a chat about how important it is to stay happy and healthy is a B and B owner with all the additional stresses of going along.
It's great being busy, but it does bring additional stress and additional work. So Claire had some really great ideas, which she sent me. So I thought instead of writing it in the blog, I'd invite you on the podcast to share those with you too. But first Claire, I'd love you to tell us a bit about
B and B.
Tell me what, remind me first. When did you attend the course?
Clare: We came in October, 2014. Wow. Yes. With some lovely people [00:05:00] who we've kept in touch. Allianz Simon and Dylan, Steve who've who were at Stonebridge who've just recently closed their B&B. And yes, we're very lucky we had a lovely group.
And then I guess for us, it was a five-year plan to open a B&B. But given that we opened 18 months after that, so it's certainly changed our perspective. Made us realize that we wanted, we were chomping at the bit, really we wanted to get on and open as soon as the time was.
I think. And certainly that time came much sooner than the five years that we originally intended. Yeah. So we ended up, it was a bit of a a mixture of luck and judgment. Obviously, we were lucky enough to stay with you when when we did the course. And when we left, we, or just before we left, we said, can we book to come back?
So cause we'd love to drop. So we'd had a, our first holiday, Dave and I together was interruption. And so we booked to come back. Do between the October and the [00:06:00] following January, when we came back to stay with you, we were just happened to be with some friends in Cheshire. And we were talking about B&B properties.
And, at that time we'd plan to open in the peak district. But one of our friends just saw this old school on, for sale in Charlotte. And we talk shop. So yes, we do like disruption thinking it would be miles away from any parts of shops that we've ever seen. And sure enough, we looked at it and it was just over the hill.
The bed and breakfast academy in Optum house. So yes, we we, I think when we came back to stay with you that second in time, we actually had arranged a viewing. And it was a very long and drawn out process after that, because there was a covenant on the property and we had to go through the process of getting planning permission for change of use and all sorts of other things that came with buying an old house.
But eventually we moved in that following December. So just over a year after we'd done the course, and then we spent six [00:07:00] months getting the place sort of shipshape. It was a reasonably, yeah. Structure of the house. We didn't have to do too much major work in terms of restructuring apart from turning an old woods or into what is now our utility room, which is the beating heart of the operation, the hot water tank, the cold water tank, washing machine dishwasher, et cetera, et cetera.
And then, yes, and then we were open the following July in 2016. So
karen: the time scale for moving into opening up was just
Clare: over six months.
karen: It was pretty in my head. It was longer, but
Clare: at night, yeah, we already had three bathrooms and we needed four offices, three guest bathrooms and our own.
So in terms of bathrooms, it was Let me, which is, which tends to be quite troublesome part of a build. Everything was fine. We've still got the same kitchen, unfortunately. I'd love to have had a brand new, great big [00:08:00] kitchen, but but we didn't have any kitchen work to do so that was that. We did knock down a couple of walls to make the downstairs bedroom a bit bigger, but yes, it was fairly straightforward.
karen: Did you always plan to set it from scratch rather than buying a B&B or were you quite,
Clare: yeah, we did. We we, when we were looking at properties, we never looked at existing businesses. We were looking at houses that would convert well into a bed and breakfast.
It was just something we always wanted to do. We wanted to shape the business as. As we wanted it to be. And yeah, we didn't ever consider buying an a going concern at all. Yeah, it was quite important to us. I think we're both fairly well-traveled and picked up a few things along the way, and we just wanted to apply what we'd picked up to our own environment.
karen: It's one of the questions I'm asked an awful lot on courses. Is it better to buy an existing property or set one up from scratch? So you talk about wanting to shape [00:09:00] the business to be exactly how you wanted it to be. Would you see any other advantages of setting up from scratch?
Clare: I think down to the nitty-gritty, we bought the bed.
So we knew that the beds were going to be comfortable. We bought everything ourselves. We did a lot of research on on what types of bed to buy and just the nuts and bolts of it. I think we, we did. No, what we wanted, we knew how we wanted to to make it look and feel and how we wanted people to be comfortable.
So I don't, I think it's just yeah, I, it's definitely a horses for courses question. I think it really is. It really does depend on your preference, but like I say, for us, it was definitely. Building up the business, the setting up part of it was very important to us as well as that's, when I was going into the room.
karen: Yeah, that's something I really enjoyed actually was the whole setting up and creating it. My mum called it my Wendy house.
Clare: Yes. I never had a doll's house. I [00:10:00] don't think. But it did feel a bit like that on occasions. We decided to start from scratch. Like I said, I think we wanted to we wanted to bring some of our own experiences of staying in nice places to our own business. And, we'd both worked for a long time in corporate environments and having this sort of freedom, if you like to shape something was was very important.
karen: Okay. And I think you talked about the beds you went for the seat. We did.
Clare: Yes. We've got Sealy Windemere in one of the rooms and then Reidel in the other two, but to be honest, they're all as comfortable as each other. I think we had a lady here or the weekend actually, who had been an insomniac for 18 months.
She said, literally she had not slept for 18 months and on her second month. She slept right through. And she said to us in the morning, thank you for the sleep. She said when she left. I think, yeah, [00:11:00] they wanted to take the bed away with them. We said you can't afford it.
karen: Yeah, the the silly ones, one of the what's the one main one I recommend on the, on, on the course.
Yeah. It's a local, it was not a local company. Like district companies, net as well. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I think one of the people in the Facebook group was saying that they bought B&B and they expected not to have any huge costs for them. That was one of the advantages of buying a beam.
It was already set up and running was that they wouldn't have any sort of beat costs. And they ended up having to replace eight mattresses because
Clare: it's not cheap.
karen: Is it? I think probably the, from if you're buying a contract mattress from Celiac's, but eight, 900 quid, I think the king size. So yeah, so it wasn't a cheap thing to have for them to have to do so even if you are buying an existing business, there are things to keep an eye on.
To make sure you [00:12:00] don't have some unexpected costs. Is there anything that you would say was a disadvantage of setting up from scratch?
Clare: It's, I suppose it's difficult to say because we only know the one way, I think the period of time when we were having the refurbishment was very stressful and having a date that we decided that we were going to open by and having to get.
Jobs done to meet that date was all very stressful. I suppose with with an existing business, you've thrown in at the deep end, whereas with us, we set the data ourselves. And so I don't know whether that's a disadvantage in particular of setting up from scratch, you do have to be very careful if your costs and your time You have to manage everything very carefully.
And luckily we had a project manager for a while and also Dave was very on top of everything while I was busy going off and researching mattresses and things. He was right down to the finer detail of everything that [00:13:00] was being spent.
karen: Did you come in on budget or?
Clare: Yeah. Yes, we did.
I think again, Dave would probably answer that question differently to me, but yes. We We did certainly from an input, from an inventory point of views and stuff I was buying, I think we actually came in under budget in the end. And it's amazing results. So you can become when you're looking for things and find trying to source furnishings and kit for the for the B&B.
But. Yes, I think it was it certainly wasn't a spiraling cost. Like most grand design type things are,
karen: does it surprise me knowing how organized you and Dave are?
Clare: Oh, there was definitely either flip charts or a white boards or all sorts of things up at the time. I would imagine. There is most winters when we've got no guests
What sort of B&B did you create? What sort of B&B's of school house?
Clare: We've got three rooms, three double rooms, which one of which can be a twin, but we [00:14:00] don't actually get that many twin bookings to be honest. But but the thing about them is they're all very different. They offer something quite different.
We have guests who come back, several times and have tried different rooms, but I think the thing is that we wanted guests to feel that. Their room is their space. And we don't have a communal lounge . We have to walk through the breakfast room to get to our bedroom and bathroom from our lounge and kitchen.
So we didn't want to create a communal space. We wanted everything to be in the rooms, but for guests. And I think that's what we've created. Is a really relaxed and relaxing atmosphere where people just want to be in their rooms. They don't spend all day in there fortunately, but we find that people turn up, some people do find the journey a bit stressful, particularly if they're coming from the Southeast, because obviously we're at least an hour away from any motorway.
But w when they pull up part the car and they say, hello, they just look around and it's like [00:15:00] a power down happens. They relax. And they just, from the moment they arrive it's all about relaxation and and chilling out and enjoying the surroundings. I think. Cause you are,
karen: you're in a very peaceful spot there aren't you?
It is yes. The three road, but it
Clare: doesn't really know exactly. Yes. Yes. It's we have had some logging going on recently, so there's been lots of big lorries from through, but that's finished now. I think so and
karen: you asked a big on and
Clare: they are. Areas as well. We've got one room. That's got its own little sitting room.
That's separate from them, from the bedrooms. So people who come for four or five nights or more, they liked that because they liked the feeling of watching the TV and then going to bed in the bedroom. But and also we do the bedroom picnics. We need, space for people to be able to have a nice munch on their picnics in the evenings.
And obviously we've got the, we've got the silent mini fridges, which are essential for that. [00:16:00] Yeah, I think lots of space and places to relax is what we try and offer. Okay.
karen: So you're very clear on what you want to offer your guests and the
Clare: experience. Yeah. Yes. That's key, I think is yeah, definitely is to have that clarity.
You do have to be a bit flexible cause not everybody, not every guest that comes is, fits into your ideal B&B guests, but But yes, having a clear focus on what you're offering is very important.
karen: That's something I do in the online course now is the whole first module is getting very clear on when you were setting up, you were talking about what you wanted out of creating the B&B for yourselves.
And then then I go on to talk about. What what sort of your ideal guest is the sort of experience you're creating from your guests as well? So your B&B experience is very different to one, say someone in running a B&B in Shrewsbury,
Clare: for example. [00:17:00] Yes. And I suppose the other thing is that there isn't a lot to do around here other than enjoy the outdoors and walk and from the door, it's just about relaxing, it's that enjoying doing nothing type thing that we try and nurture here.
karen: Yeah. Which I think is something that you think about more this time of year, because I know September, October around here tend to be quite busy. The tourists, everyone waiting for the school holidays to finish and all the people without children coming away in, in my experience. But then it starts to really slow down.
Doesn't it? In November, December time. It's I think because it is that sort of focus on your guests were very similar to mine in terms of it's that focus on the coach side and relaxation. So it's understanding the seasonality and the occupancy quite important as well.
Clare: Yes. You can't step out the door and go out shopping or out to the local coffee shop or anything, it's it is, like I say it's relaxing and enjoying the surroundings.
And luckily we've had some good weather. There's someone people have [00:18:00] been able to enjoy sitting out in the garden on our new garden furniture. And I think that picnics out there and yes, it's been. It's not been too bad. No. Otherwise,
karen: so what'd you like about running a B&B
Clare: It's a freedom, it's obviously a business you've got ties, but the freedom to do things in your own way and And to mold it to your liking. Obviously we enjoy working for ourselves. As I said earlier, Dave and I both worked in corporate life for sort of 30 odd years each So having the operation unity to do something where you dictate the pace, new dictate, the the order in which you do your jobs more to, to a great extent is important.
This morning they've gone off to do an outdoor first aid course for his duke of Edinburgh work. And so I. Got up and took Molly out for her morning walk, which was just lovely, seven o'clock out or half seven, I suppose it was being out and listening to the sounds of nature was just [00:19:00] lovely.
No breakfast to cook this morning, cause we're on a forced break and. Yeah, so it's just, we just love having that flexibility of doing things the way we want to do them, not being told how to do things.
karen: So is the is there anything you don't enjoy about it?
We don't enjoy what I think like you, I'm not really, I'm a fan of cleaning. I I know I don't mind cooking. I wouldn't say I don't enjoy it some days, when it's everything's real rush and wish I could be doing, I wish I could be getting someone to do this for me, but no, it's a lifestyle, isn't it. In any lifestyle, you have good things and bad things. I would, wouldn't swap this for what we used to do in a million years. So that's good to hear. Yeah. The other thing is. Meeting people, it's just such a sociable profession, shall we say? You just meet so many different people.
So many [00:20:00] from so many walks of life. We had people on the weekend to owners of a number of self-catering cottages. So that was a, I wouldn't say we, we don't normally get people here. Who've also got somewhere that they run as a hospitality, but but they, they were lovely people and they'd loved it here.
They'd never been to structure. One of the, one of the best things about being in this place is watching people, discover structure and seeing them enjoy it so much because it is such a lovely place.
karen: Yes. It's an undiscovered county, isn't it? I find people sometimes come for a reason, like the Ludlow food festival.
And then they would just absolutely fall in love with the countryside and the fact that it was so quiet compared to, for example, the late district or walking up Snowden.
We went for walk Hopton woods, which is woods between you and me. And we went to walk there the other day and we didn't see a single person. An hour, whereas in certain parts of the country where it's very touristy, you've got people every two minutes, 70 on [00:21:00] some walks.
Clare: Yeah. We usually find that the car parks full within 10 minutes, you've lost everybody anyway.
Yeah. There aren't many places where the car parks get full. I think carding mill valley was very full on Sunday. Apparently some guests went up there, but Yes, it's a, it is a very undiscovered county and one of the reasons why we wanted to come here be somewhere. A bit different and a bit less well-known
karen: On to our main topic today.
Clare: We haven't got there yet, which
karen: is always really about the importance of looking after yourself. When you run a B&B and you actually contacted me about this and this, you said you had some ideas to share. So why do you think looking after yourself is so good?
Clare: The key thing is that you've got to look after yourself.
You can't look after your guests. If you're not looking after yourself You don't want guests to arrive and you want them to arrive and experience what you've sold to them and what they've seen on your website. What they've [00:22:00] heard about what they've read in that, in your reviews, you want to make sure that what their experience is either as good as, or better than what they're expecting.
And I think you can only do that if you're looking after yourself and. Physically or mentally. And I think there are times when you push yourself and push yourself in it and it gets very hard and you don't want your guests to, to read. That you're feeling a bit under the weather or fed up or whatever.
It's just so important to come across to guests as happy and healthy, I think.
karen: For those people who don't want to be in, what does pushing yourself look like? I think we know, but it's that not taking breaks isn't it is one of the big things.
Clare: Absolutely. When we used to live in or work in for other businesses, we had two days off every seven in every seven. So you've got to remember that, although we can't do, we can't take weekends off in this business. Or [00:23:00] where you can, I suppose it depends where you are, but I'm the type of business you're running.
But I would say most people will be working weekends. And I think it you just have to remember that there's only so much, it's healthy to take breaks. We force breaks. We've we've got three days off now. There's still work to be done, but we've had A barbecue with the neighbors.
We've had a lovely couple of walks with the dog. But we've also worked. We put a wash in and then go and walk the dog or bake a cake and then sit down and eat it. No, I think, just factoring in time for yourself. Is very important. And we, to be honest, we haven't had as many breaks this summer as we traditionally have made ourselves have.
If that makes sense. Because bookings just came in so thick and fast that we just didn't spot where the gaps needed to be and actually going into September Often from [00:24:00] next Monday, we were on a, something like 22 days stint without a break. And that for us, it's very unusual. We would normally manage it.
So that, that doesn't happen. We'd normally try and make a force a break every sort of 10, 12, 13 days, something like that. So this is quite timely this, because I'm thinking ahead to those 21 days and thinking, how am I going to. Management, keep myself sane and both of us keep ourselves sane.
And I'm looking at days when, we might be able to go out for lunch or we'll be able to do a proper family walk instead of Dave walking, Molly, when I'm waiting for guests. I'm planning ahead as well as looking back. The last few weeks and how busy we've been and what we've done.
So yes it's about keeping fresh, making sure that you're experiencing your You're lovely being B almost as much as your guests , you want them to have the most up-to-date information. One of the [00:25:00] things we really pride ourselves on here and we get lots of good reviews about is our local knowledge.
So we make a point of going out to events, festivals. Occasionally going out for a meal more often than not it's fish and chips in the sun and lent to a dime. But but we'll go out and we'll experience the things that we recommend to our guests. And that helps us. No, that reminds us that we must tell our guests that this festival is happening.
Or we must warn our guests that all the foot pals are overgrown round here. So make sure you wear long trousers. If you're going out for a walk from the door. It's keeping up a hand in with the local knowledge, as well as keeping ourselves happy and healthy.
karen: So it's that it's an overused phrase, isn't it? It's that oxygen mask. You the airplane you need to put your oxygen mask on first. Yes. To be able to help other people.
Clare: Yep. Yes. That's spot on. Yes. That's a very good analogy. Yeah.
karen: And I think it is difficult. Isn't it? Especially [00:26:00] given the few years that we've had.
Blocking time off. Cause there's that sort of, that the psychology of it is I need to block some time off, but if I do. That might be the only days that guests going to come in and I'm turning away business. So I think when you plan and you set up your business you have to allow for a certain number of days off.
That's what I used to do. Certain number days off a year.
Clare: Yeah, I think, and you get to know which days are the least popular ones for bookings. This time of year. There isn't really a, at least popular day, but you wouldn't block off a Friday night. We wouldn't block off a Friday night, for example, unless it was a really important, something really important was happening pers family event or something.
We would we would look at blocking off a Monday or a Tuesday because we're less likely to get people arriving on those days. It, it is definitely about planning ahead. And making sure that you're able to enjoy the lifestyle. [00:27:00]
karen: Yeah it's going back again. On the online course, I have a whole module on getting very clear on what your, why is for running the business.
And you talked about walking with your dog, Molly, and Actually walking together as a couple, rather than one, if you happen to do it as a rush job between doing something else, and it's getting clear on your wife and wanting to run in business, isn't it. And reminding yourself of that all the time.
Clare: yes, I have to apologize to Molly. Who's asleep at my feet right now, because I didn't mention her. What would say about running a B&B that, having a dog was on the list of, why do we want to work for ourselves and run a B&B? I always wanted to talk, we had a couple of dogs when we were kids, not always successfully, but being keen walkers, we wanted to share our walking passion with our four legged friends.
So yes, Molly is definitely a part of our lifestyle and has been part of, has always been part of the plan.
karen: So it's definitely one of them. [00:28:00] Main reasons for running a B&B was to be able to have the dogs and oh, and do I have dogs at the moment?
Clare: It'd be pretty quiet.
karen: Yeah. Ralphie's Ralph is curled up behind me.
It's a morning. They don't do mornings. These two they're a bit like me.
Clare: Yes, they do mornings or cleaning. It's been, yeah, she's been pretty quiet considering. She's normally back in her bed while we're cooking breakfast at this time in the morning. So she's just sitting under the table here being very good.
karen: So do you have any other tips versus of staying sane in the silly season as you've called it?
Clare: I think I think, obviously planning is key. It's not always feasible, but try and plan ahead, look at the days when you've got no arrivals, no changeovers planned something in, even if it's just a bit of time away from.
Mentally away from B&B life catch up, watch a box of [00:29:00] movie, go out, have a cream tea at your local place that you'd recommend to guests. Just, yeah, I think it's having that time to park yourself away from. Everything, but without being completely detached all the time, if you're going out for for a meal or an afternoon tea or something, I personally, I would be thinking is this a good place to recommend to them?
One of the things in our older years is going around gardens, we've got some lovely gardens where you can just wander around and you're on the one hand, your mind is away from work. But on the other hand, when you get home and you reflect on it and you look at the photographs, you think, wow, what a great piece, great place to recommend to guests.
karen: So some of the things I agree with you it's okay.
It feels like a sort of permanent busman's holiday sometimes. Isn't it? It's one of the things I was talking about in a blog a couple of weeks ago, it was saying that I don't actually like to visit B&Bs. Cause it was so much of a busman's holiday in terms of, I wouldn't do it this way or they're doing this, doing it better than me, [00:30:00] but it's I still find it now when I'm going around, it's mentally my head writing a blog.
The day trip I'm having or the food I'm eating or taking a photograph thinking my guests would like this, even though I'm not really in the B&B anymore. It's that it takes time to wind down from that.
Clare: Yes. And yeah. Keeping on top of your social media as well. So you need a bit of time. I spent most of yesterday evening putting a video together for hello Watham but it got parked about 98% done.
While I was doing something else and yes, I need to finish that off today. Cause it's September the first.
karen: Yes. Yes. It's appeared new school year. For me. I've always got my new pad and pencil case. I do have a pencil case
Clare: Snoopy one, probably
karen: like Snoopy don't we always send Snoopy files. So actually talking about social media.
So [00:31:00] you're in the BMB marketing membership as well. Yes. Can you share your experience of that and how that might've helped you in your business?
Clare: Wow. For us, it's been it's been great to have something that just gives us some structure. I think, to our social media marketing to all marketing and having.
Having the principles of the buckets and, the smile file and just, I think, I guess having places where you can just draw on content. Any point in time it's just, it's been so useful. And we've learned so much through it. Different ways to use Canva different ways to present information.
Yeah, it's been really helpful to us because we're not natural marketing people. We're not naturally good at selling ourselves. And tools and techniques. To help you do that has just been so important for us. Okay. That's
karen: good to hear. Yeah. So for September, I've done a content calendar for each month, so just suggestions [00:32:00] to people, if they're stuck.
I think it's really important to understand your business. You talked about the buckets Sydney, and when we talk about buckets, we're talking about what would your, so we talk about themes, isn't it guest experience. So what would your buckets
Clare: be? So we've got breakfast bucket.
We've got a dog. I know dogs dog-friendly bucket, but I think I'll say that we've got S Ludlow. Buckets, we've got a walks bucket. So all these different buckets, we we take photographs, we capture, information and we store them in folders either on in our photos on, on the PC or on the cloud, wherever.
And we just gather all this content so that, I went to I had a. Season's folder not necessarily a content bucket, but I had a within the buckets we've got seasons. And so I just went to my autumn folder and gathered up all the photos that I've that I've taken over the years of, autumn colors and things.
And [00:33:00] that's what I've used to create my hello, autumn video. It goes back to having this structure and organization. And, I think 3, 4, 4 years ago, 1st of September. Oh, it's awesome. I'd have just probably found one photograph, but actually I've got seven or eight photos, which I've created into a video, which hopefully will be a bit more.
Interesting for people to look at than just one picture. I look forward to
karen: seeing that when it's
Clare: ready. Yes,
karen: Clarify to everyone listening that we're not talking about actual buckets here, such as not taking all her photographs and putting them in buckets. Virtual is the sort of theme so that the customer experience that they might experience when they come to your B&B. And the idea of having the buckets is that you're not just relying on me suggesting content, but it's actually right.
What am I going to post today? Oh, I'll take something out of this virtual bucket, which is breakfast or take something [00:34:00] out of this bucket, which is day trips or market towns or the doc family bit. Yeah.
Clare: But I think the other thing about marketing community is the sharing. We exchange, we all share ideas and it's a type of profession and community where.
We using someone else's content is not frowned upon. Oh, I like what you did there. Can I copy? It is quite I wouldn't say it's a frequent question, but it's the answer is always, of course, we've all got different guests. We've all got different markets. Every B&B is different.
So being able to use someone else's ideas and apply them to your own and your own situation is just, it's quite normal. And yeah, so the sharing side of it, that's not just down to the marketing. I think that's part of the whole community. It's all about sharing ideas and sharing.
Concerns as we saw a lot of last year.
karen: Yeah. It just to clarify for people, we've got two communities, so there's the we have a paid B&B marketing membership which is the sort of [00:35:00] smaller community on Facebook. And then we have the wider group, which is for people who've attended the courses, which It's quite clunky called the Facebook group for past course attendees, but that's for more general sharing, isn't it.
Whereas the marketing groups a bit more specific to marketing. And one of the things we talk about in both groups actually is no question is too stupid. And I think particularly with the marketing people think that they should know the answer or they feel that the question they're asking is too simple, silly, but the emphasis is very much on.
No question is stupid. You just don't know what you don't know. And sometimes people have to hear things in several different ways before it goes in.
Clare: Yeah. So myself.
karen: I've taken lots of training courses over the last few years, and I get to a point where I see something and it's oh, here we go again with the ideal customer avatar, but I always approach it with a sort of fresh mind in terms of what can I learn from this?
How can [00:36:00] this help me, even if it's something that I've gone through several times already, and there's always something to learn from it. Yeah. Excellent. Thank you very much, Claire. Is there anything else you wanted to add today?
Clare: I don't think so. No. I think it's, it's important to to have chill time and it's not always easy and you have to be a bit disciplined about factoring in that time, but planning ahead is always a good thing.
If you can And it will benefit you and your guests in the long run, I think. Yeah,
karen: I think I just wanted to add something that I think for me, there's two aspects of it. First of all, the sufficient side of it is a very physical job.
Clare: Isn't it? It is. Yeah. I'm creaking all over Chad
karen: and I though the same age.
So we have the same creeks, so it's the physical side of it. But I found for me, it was very much the mental and the emotional side. In terms of needing that break from people now I'm I'm an introvert, which means I like people I get on with people, but I [00:37:00] have to have that downtime away from people and more than happy spending a whole week on my own without seeing anybody.
But so I think that's one of the important aspects is realizing for your mental health. It's not just the physical side, it's the mental health as well is taking those breaks and having time away from your guests. However, wonderful your guests are. But they are your guests. They're not your friends, they're not your social life for them.
That's an important thing to bring
karen: So Claire, thank you very much for today. How do people find you on social media or your website?
Clare: Oh, website a bit of a long URL, but it's the school house B and b.co.uk. So that's all spelled out. Oh, Instagram is similar to that school house B and B, but just to be different Facebook with, we were on Facebook before Instagram and what we couldn't get what we wanted, but the Facebook Is at the school house, B [00:38:00] B.
So it's B and B in between there and the school house that there's more uppercase in there. So I didn't explain that very well, but
karen: the links in the show notes, click on those and follow you on social media and hopefully go on and stay with you that you're quite busy on you for the next couple of months.
Clare: We've got, yes, we've got a few slots free in October. And then after that quite usually quite normal for us not to have November, December bookings until a lot near the time. So the whole of November, I think after the fifth is available. If anyone wants to come for a nice autumn break and the wood behind here will be looking stunning at that time and beautiful golden color.
karen: Maybe as good as new England. Not at that time. Yeah, absolutely slightly smaller scale, but
karen: I'm not sure anyone will be getting to see the fall colors in new England this year, but those of us in the UK
Clare: anyway, but.
karen: Brilliant. Thank you very much, [00:39:00] Claire. It's been really useful.
Clare: Okay. You're welcome. Hope people found it
karen: useful. Yes, I'm sure. People will find it very useful. So thank you very much.
Thank you for joining me on this week's episode of the podcast. I do hope you enjoyed it
if you're thinking of running your own BNB, then do check out my website, BNB academy.co.uk, where you'll find details of my BNB training.
If you're already running a BNB and you would like to learn how to market it more effectively. Then head across the [email protected] I look for the details of the marketing membership. See you next time.