June 2022 mistakes podcast
[00:00:00] Hi, it's Karen here, I'm founder and owner of bed and breakfast academy. I help aspiring and existing B, B owners to create a B, B lifestyle that they're going to love living. So I must submit. It's been a while since I recorded a podcast, life gets in the way my husband and I both went down with COVID. He went down to a work meeting in London that turned into a bit of a super spreader event.
Luckily we had it quite mildly this time, but it still took a long time to get over and get back to, well, I've been working out if you saw one of my newsletters, I'll take up strength, training and cardio. Um, I haven't quite got shoulders like boulders yet, but I'm working on it. So it took me a while to get back to that.
Then we went [00:01:00] on holiday to Scotland, um, which was a wonderful trip. We stayed on look fine. And then we've had family illness. My mom's been in hospital for a few weeks. So all of that has meant I've not had much time to sit down, uh, at my desk and record a podcast, but I'm here today. Say I was going to talk you through.
What's turned into one of my most popular blog posts, mainly due to a Pinterest pin, which has gone viral. I do enjoy Pinterest, but you can never tell what pins are gonna work and which you're gonna completely flop. So I do have a blog post all about how to use Pinterest for your BMB. So if you, you can head over to my blog, B B academy.uk/blog, and do a search and you find pin there.
I must apologize, but sadly, the dog have sat down next to me. Um, and she's found something to chew. I'm [00:02:00] my American express card. I'm just gonna pause a moment. My back where I have rescued my card. Unused. Luckily I wasn't sure if she was planning to chew it or to, uh, go online and spend probably the latter.
She's a, a very bright dog. That's probably with having a German ship across with a rough colleague. So back to my, to blog. So the most popular blog, uh, on my website has been the top eight mistakes. I made setting up my B and B rooms. And one of the reasons I, I started the B and B courses was that I made so many mistakes.
When I set up the B and B, I didn't have a course to attend when I set up. And I spent a lot of money on things that turned out to be a complete waste of time. In fact, far more than the cost of the course. So one of my aims of the course is to provide you with some shortcuts rather than doing it by [00:03:00] trial and error, but to have a, a good starting point and a good base.
So hopefully by sharing my mistakes, it will help you avoid the same mistakes. Save you money and time when setting up your own B B. It's almost important to think about your own markets, every B and B is unique. And it's important to think about the types of customers you'll have coming. So whilst some of the things I'm gonna talk about, be mistakes that I made, they may be exactly the right thing to do for your business.
So number one, mistake was getting zip and link beds. And this is one of those things where it might be completely the right decision for you to get zip link beds for your Airbnb. But for me, it wasn't such a good idea. When I first set up the B B, I didn't really know who my B B guests would be. So I bought zip and link beds.
The advantage with them is that they give you the flexibility to make the room up either [00:04:00] as a large, double or super king size or a twin. However, whilst I had a few requests for twin beds in my 17 years of running a, B and B, I could easily fill my room with people wanting super king size bed. So twin beds were really not right for my market, who I came to find out were couples usually in a romantic relationship, wanting to come away for a bit of rest and relaxations.
Zip link beds do come up with several disadvantages. You need twice as much bed line and you need both single and super king size duvets though. If you read my blog post about, is it time to put the summer duvet on yet? There is a solution to that in there, which is the idea that instead of having single and super king signs, you just go for the single or double.
And then have two duvets [00:05:00] on the bed when you have it set up as a super king size. But if you do go down the route of both single and super king size duvets, you're going to need to buy both summer and winter weight duets. And if you decide to go down the feather duvet route, You'll need to have microfiber as well for people with allergies or for people who are ethical vegans as they tend.
Well, my understanding is that ethical vegans would not want Duvas that are made of any animal byproduct then is the initial cost of buying all of the bedding, the bed line, replacing it when it wears out and laundering it. And one of the biggest issues is where and story I've asked past course attendees.
Sometimes, you know, what's the biggest thing you wish you'd known when you first set up a B. A remarkably large number of people actually say they, they wish they thought about the storage and how much storage they were going to need for all the duvets bed line [00:06:00] in towels, the beds, the zip in Inc beds, I bought had a rather basic ugly demand base that needed to be covered.
I used a balance for years, which I really disliked. It was in my dog friendly room and it used to get covered in dog hair and needed cleaning frequently. Just after COVID I bought some cheap upholstery material, which obviously compliant with fire regulations, uh, that covered the base and it made a big difference.
I am not an upholsterer or a seamstres. Uh, I love my kniting, but I can't sew to for Toi. So we use staple gun to fit the material onto the demand base. And that worked very well. I also ran the B and B on my own, and it was always a struggle. 5 43 woman with not a lot of strength at that point, struggling and putting the, the beds back together and trying to manhandle a six foot wide, uh, mattress, which would add about 45 minutes to the clean.[00:07:00]
And another issue is zip in beds is getting headboards that work when the beds are both separate and linked can be a challenge. I bought some square headboards, which we originally upholstered in a Chanel material. It got dirty, very easily showed the grease marks from people's heads. So I would actually recommend having a long wooden headboard attach the wall as an alternative.
And that way it looks good. When the beds are both separated and pushed together. I'm not saying that zip and link beds are wrong for your B and B. They may be perfect for your type of guest. If you have a lot of people who aren't in a relationship coming to stay, who want twin beds or mothers and daughters who don't necessarily want to share a.
Then they worked very well. They just didn't work for me. It just wasn't my audience. If you've read any of my blog posts, you'll know, it's really important to know who [00:08:00] your customers will be and to work out if it's worth your role investing in zip embeds. And we do a lot of that in module one and module two of the online course is to get really clear on the type of B B you want to run and the type of guests you want to attract.
Because the type of guests you want to attract could make a huge difference in the way you either update or create your BMB rooms. If you're setting up a BMB for scratch. But the second mistake I made was actually buying a brass bed with a footboard. I wanted a footboard, not a football. I wanted a country feel in one of our rooms when I modeled it.
This was back in 2000 and 2008. So I bought a six foot wide grass bed from marks and Spencers. It looked very smart. However, a lot of tall people have told me over the years that they don't like having a footboard. My husband included as they find it [00:09:00] difficult to, to stretch out. And the bed itself has always been very squeaky.
I actually got marks and Spencers back to try and sort the problem out. I was hoping they would take the bed away, but we never sold the squeakiness, which can, you know, obviously disturb the guests. If they move around and locked in their sleep or could have disturbed the other guests, if the guests in the squeaky bed were otherwise engaged.
So the third mistake, a big mistake I made was not having blackout curtains or curtains with blackout lining or blackout blinds in the B and B rooms. We don't actually like to close the curtains in our bedroom. In fact, we didn't have curtains in our bedroom for a long time. We then adopted Ralphie, who is a lovely dog, but he's scared of stars.
And he sleeps in the bedroom and we had to put curtains in because this poor dog. Was terrified of stars and, um, wood B at them. So we do have [00:10:00] curtains now, but we leave them open whenever we can. And when we go away, we tend to leave the curtains open whenever we are staying anywhere. So when I set up the B and B rooms, I didn't even think about the need for blackout curtains.
The curtains we had S do let in a lot of light. And I did have feedback from a couple of people that they couldn't sleep in a room. If it wasn't pitch black, We did provide a sleep set from out Eden, which included a mask and earplugs. However, if I were buying new curtains for B and B these days, this is something I would definitely make sure that they are both blackout and thermal lined.
If you have existing curtains that aren't blackout, you could, I guess you could line them yourself if you are so inclined or by blackout blind. And so say it, number four, is it back to windows, back to curtains again, or blinds? We put these [00:11:00] rather nice shutter style blinds in all of our rooms. They're quite wide and they look more like those new England shutters than a traditional wooden blind.
I would've loved to have put the shutters in, but they are half very expensive. If you've got a downstairs B and B room. Supply a barn room. If the room is overlooked, guests do need some sort of window covering that will let in the light whilst giving them some privacy. So we needed some solutions. One of the problems though, with the wooden blinds is they get very dusty and they take time to clean, which has to be done with each room clean.
Our rooms get particularly dust deep living in the countryside. And I tried all sorts of gadgets over the years, various gadgets, which would clean the blinds, um, civil blinds at a time. You've probably seen them in Lakeland or something like that. One, one solution I saw on online ones [00:12:00] was to use a sock.
So you put the sock over your hand and you clean the blinds with the sock. And so the next thing I needed was to find a solution to get sock fluff off blinds, state number five. Was actually putting in a, a shower over the bath. We didn't have a lot of space for a bathroom. So we put in a bath, the shower over it.
There are a lot of older people or those with mobility issues who can struggle with an over bath shower. If I were doing the bathroom again, I would just have a bathroom with a large walkin shower. I've written a blog all about designing a, B and B bathroom. Again, that's on the B and B academy blog.
There was a time when you couldn't have wet rooms upstairs, but we actually installed a wet room upstairs. My husband did it himself. We couldn't get the plumbers in to do it. So we did it himself. Not of swearing. He doesn't like plumbing very much, but it is possible to have a wet room [00:13:00] upstairs. I would recommend that over a, if you've got a small bathroom, I would recommend that over a bath with a chair over.
If you do decide to go have a bath with a chat over, or you are have, or you are inheriting existing rooms and you aren't remodeling, then make sure you have a grab rail to make it safer for people to get in and outta the bath and also supply non-slip bath mats. It's not just for those of us who are getting a bit older or, or people who have disabilities that need that.
I, as a 25 year old, uh, pregnant 25 year old, I slipped getting into air bath, uh, bruised very badly. Luckily, no over damage to me or Jessica, but, um, it's, it's made me very nervous ever since then of, of getting into a bath that doesn't have some sort of grab rail to hold onto. And the problem is that if someone, if there isn't a grab rail and someone does [00:14:00] slit as they're getting in that bath, the thing they're likely to grab onto is the, the shower.
And that could end up being pulled off the wall. As we once experienced the state. Number six is having unnecessary design features in the room. One of the things I discussed in the course when you're designing a B. You know how to design a room. I've got a, a huge checklist which goes through in detail, all the rooms and all the things you need to consider.
But when you're designing a room, the very first thing I would think about is how easy is it to clean? You can do all the nice stuff afterwards, like, you know, what color wall, paper to have, what type of furniture. But the first thing to think about is, think about how easy is a room to clean. We had our two outside rooms built from scratch in a new annex.
Our builder suggested we had an exposed brick base about a foot high at the bottom of the wall as a sort of design feature. [00:15:00] And on top of this, he put a small wooden ledge and this runs all around what is a very large room. And I just didn't think about it when he suggested it. These things are great in retrospect, but I should probably calculate the extra time I've had to spend clean eat over the years, because as I said, we have a lot of dust.
This wooden ledge is a dust trap needs to be dusted every room clean and also goes behind a lot of furniture it's difficult to get to, and that has to be moved. So talking about furniture, state number seven was making well buying the wrong furniture. I bought a furniture set from Oak furniture land for at downstairs barn room.
It's all good quality solid Oak. And it came with interest created at the time, which was a real bonus. However, the set I had got, I've got this ledge underneath the top of each piece. So underneath the wardrobe, the dressing table, bedside tables and [00:16:00] chest drawers. And again, like the ledge around the room, it's a dust magnet and just adds extra dust in time to each room.
All of the furniture also has a lot of drawers and some of them are unnecessary. The, the drawers at the bottom of the wardrobe, you couldn't get anything in it's tiny. Or very shallow and there's three drawers in the dressing table, which people never use, but at each clean, these have to be opened and checked and cleaned.
So my advice would be to think about how many drawers your guests actually need and make sure that you don't buy furniture with unnecessary drawers and necessary ledges and necessary shelve. The last mistake. I've made far more than eight mistakes in my time. And I covered these at length in the course, but the last mistake is having spotlights put in the room.
When we were setting up the B and B, we had someone design the lighting in our room and we put in some [00:17:00] rather nice spotlights we was designed so that we can have soft lighting or brighter lighting, you know, depending on people's mood or time of day, whatever. Unfortunately, the type of lights we had and it, you know, spotlights may not be the mistake.
It might just be the type of lights we had. They had a transformer built into the ceiling, and this has gone 40 on a couple of the lights and the only way to fix the lights and get them working again, was to cut into ceiling, replacing the transformer and then re-clustering and redecorating. And the added complication in one of our rooms is that we have a false ceiling to remedy some soundproofing issues that we had.
So cutting into the ceiling, obviously causes problems there. So think about when you are putting in lighting or anything, electrical. Think about what happens if this goes wrong, how easy is it to fix the same with [00:18:00] hidden plumbing that sort of. So finally, that's just a few of the things I've done wrong.
Cause I said, I mentioned a lot more of them in the course. Some of them have just cost me time in terms of extra cleaning, a lot, a lot of extra cleaning over the years and others have cost me money. And I say quite a lot of money putting in those Chanel headboards alone cost me over 400 pounds. So there we.
In the online courses, I've said I've included a room design checklist, covering all the things you need to consider when putting your B, B room together. And the aim of that is to help you stop in the same mistakes that I've made and to save you both money and time, I can't guarantee it, but it's probably at least one tip in the course at all, pay back the cost of the course for you.
Okay, well, thank you very much for listening to the end of this podcast today. I am planning more podcasts for the future [00:19:00] and I will be record them a bit more frequently. Thank you for your patience in waiting on this longer waited episode. Bye for now.