Hi, it's Karen here. I'm the owner and founder of Bed and Breakfast Academy. I provide training and ongoing support to aspiring and existing bed and breakfast owners helping you to create a b and b lifestyle that you're gonna love living with guests who become repeat fans. I can't quite believe it's July Already.
The year is flying by and my New Year's resolution to record a podcast episode at least once a month, has failed miserably. Must try harder, Karen. It makes it doubly hard on me because every time I get back to my podcast software, I have to learn how to use it again from scratch, and it's all changed again as things do these days.
So it's really difficult to keep up. Anyway, I'm here now enough for the excuses. I was in the private Facebook group for people who have attended my course last week, and there was a, a [00:01:00] very active discussion going on about room tidies and when, or even if you should do them. And I did write a blog post about this last year, so I thought I'd turn it into a podcast.
If you wanted to read it at a later date, just head over to my website, airbnb academy.co.uk/blog, and you can read it there.
When I was in the Facebook group, actually, when I was in it, I'm in it every day keeping an eye on things, making sure people's questions are getting answered. , but. Last week I saw a post and it was written by, Ville o Sullivan. Duroville took the online course in February, 2021 and set up her lovely luxury b b the Noll at St.
Nards on the Sussex coast. She did that last year. It's a beautiful b and b, so do go and look it up if you're [00:02:00] after some inspiration or just looking for a very nice place to stay near the seaside. Anyway, Deville said this in her post. Just wanted to say that this course is the best investment we could have made as we set out on this adventure.
Karen's sage advice and experience is invaluable and the support from you lovely lot has been an an unexpected bonus. Thank you. She also said, Your course has been amazing, and I bet if I went through it again, I'd hear even more gems. I might redo it this summer.
Well, thank you, Ville. That really made my day. If you want to find out more about the course that Villes talking about, do head over to bmb academy.co.uk. Right, so back to roomies. When bed and breakfast opened following the first covid lockdown, many b and b owners, myself included, stopped offering the room tidy.[00:03:00]
But as covid rules became relaxed and life started to feel a bit more normal in the, in the UK at least there were several discussions in the Facebook group as well as this most recent one about what happens to room tidies going forward. So I wrote the blog post last year, March, 2022, just to discuss the sort of things you need to be thinking about.
If you are doing room tidies and basically even going back to what room tidies are, so the sorts of things I'm gonna talk through today are what is a room tidy and how long does it take? What does a room tidy involve? When should you change the bed linen? If a guest to stay more than one night, that's a hot topic this week.
What if guests leave the room in a mess? What happens if the guests don't go out? What happened to room tidies during covid? So just a little bit of history and what's the future of the bed and breakfast room? [00:04:00] Tidy. And then I've got a few quick tips for you on managing your room Tidies, to make your life a whole lot easier.
So a few years ago, pre Covid, a lovely elderly couple stayed at my b b. They were the type of guests we would all wish for. They told me they loved every minute of their stay. They were definitely coming back and they heaped me with praise. But one of their comments really surprised me. So they said we've been staying at bed and breakfasts for over 4 44 years, 40 years, and this is the first time we've ever had our room refreshed during the stay.
We loved that touch and I was really taken aback by that comment. Nearly every b and b I know used to pre covid offer a room refresh or tidy, and it was also always being part of the quality inspection requirements. So those stars that Visit Britain and the AA [00:05:00] award you, if you decide to be part of their scheme.
So that's why the comment was quite surprising to me. Every guest has their own preference about whether they want their room tidied or not. Some people expect it as part of the whole b and b service, but not everyone likes a, b and b owner or cleaner to go into their room whilst they're staying.
I thought I'd step back a bit really and say, what is a roomie deal? Or sometimes some b and b owners. Call it a room refresh. Obviously all b and b owners will obviously, I hope they do give their rooms a really good clean between guests, so they'll change the bedding. They give the rooms a clean from top to bottom.
They refill all of the room goodies. But what happens when guests are staying for more than one night? At my bed breakfast prior to 2020, once guests went out for the day, I'd pop into the room and I'd give it a quick tidy and clean, and this would [00:06:00] typically. Take me about 30 minutes compared to the hour and 20 minutes a full changeover would take.
I typically, I did have one couple staying. They were there for, they were there on honeymoon and the room was such a mess. When I went in there, the room tidy. It took me an hour and a half to do, and funnily enough, in my whole 17 years of running a, b, b, it was the only time I was ever marked down. Two, four stars for cleaning, which I, I was a little grumpy about, but hey ho.
So what's involved in a room tidy and now again, this varies from B and B to B and B, and yet we only had to look at the post last week to see that it is very different depending on the the owner and the B and b. But at my own b and b, I'd do the following, so I would make the bed. I would empty the bins, clean the bathroom, and I would vacuum the [00:07:00] room.
I tended only to wash floors in the bathroom and wooden floors if I felt they really needed it. I would replace any towels that had been put in the bath or those that were very wet in the summer without the central heating on. So, you know, in, in the winter, the central heatings on, so people would hand their towels on the heating rail and they would dry off nicely, but quite often in the summer, they'd still be quite damp.
So if they were very wet, I'd replace them. I'd replace all the. Dirty cups, et cetera, and top up tea, coffee, and biscuit supplies. On more than one occasion, my two landlady selves, let me introduce you to, we have Miss Charming Karen and Miss Grumpy Karen, and they would get into a huge row with each other when the whole lemon drizzle cake had been eaten in one night.
Ms. Charming, who was the perfect hostess and wanted the guests just to have the perfect time, would want to go and bake another cake [00:08:00] so the guests would be delighted when they got back to the room. Whilst Ms. Grumpy would be incredulous that anyone could eat a whole lemon juice or cake in one night when it was clearly meant to last for their whole stay luck for my reviews.
Ms. Charming Inva invariably won. I dunno why I, I ever started the argument with myself cause I always knew what the outcome was going to be and I felt very virtuous for the rest of the day. And, and sort of feeling like I've got the moral high ground really. I have written a blog post on tips for cleaning a bed and breakfast.
Again, it's over at bmb academy.co.uk/blog. There is a search function there, so if you search top 10 tips for cleaning your bed and breakfast, you'll find it there. One of the questions I'm often asked on the courses is, do you need to change bed linen of guests to stay more than one night? And this is a bit of a contentious one.
So in the visit England and the equivalent visit Wales, Scotland, [00:09:00] and Northern Ireland and AA quality standards, the requirement was change the bed in every two days if you were five star and every four days, otherwise, Though in both cases this could be stretched out to seven days if you had an environmental policy in place.
I did have an environmental policy, so I, I was most comfortable with changing the bed in every four days or, or less if I felt it needed changing. And in the guest information folder, I would also offer guests the opportunity to ask for a bed linen change sooner if they wanted one. At my dog Friendly bnb with the no Dogs on the bed policy, I always had a bit of a dilemma when I spotted a lovely white duvet covered in muddy paw prints.
Again, Ms. Charming, I want the guests to return to a lovely, clean, [00:10:00] welcoming room, would often be in conflict with Ms. Grumpy, but the dogs shouldn't have been on the bed again. Ms. Charming usually won the argument.
And this is what this discussion was about. The other day actually was the guests had, had left the room in a bit of a state and the pillow cases were, were covered in, in makeup. So the question was, should you change the pillow cases? And I think in the end, the person who posted it decided that they would, because, you know, again, they wanted the guests to come back to a beautiful tidy room.
And it is about the guest's experience. It's not what is inconvenient or an expense to the b and b owner at the end of the day. So what did the guests do? Leave the room in a real mess like this honeymoon couple of of mine. You know, this, the dilemma I was often faced was walking into a room to find, I couldn't see the floor or the bed because both were covered in guest [00:11:00] belongings.
Now I am the. Unti ist person. I know no one never believes this, but I, I promise you, ask, ask, ask my parents, my husband or my in-laws, and you know, I am the unti person I know. But even I much to my husband's amusement will give a b and b or hotel room a quick tidy before we go out for the day if I know someone is coming in to give it a refresh.
I so at my own bnb I would normally take the clothes off the bed, make it, and then put the clothes back on in exactly the same spot they left in. I did have a bit of a dilemma once. It was a bit of a sensitive, sensitive topic. This was, I came in and a bumper pack of condoms. Luckily a news had been scattered all over the floor.
And I'm sitting there thinking it was a fairly young couple, and I'm sitting thinking, Do they expect me to tidy these [00:12:00] up or vacuum around them? Anyway, that was one of the dilemmas I had. Once, when we were staying, we were staying at a, b and B in Oregon I spotted a sign. On the door that said they would only make the bed if there were no personal belongings left on it.
So that might be a good option for you if you are uncomfortable about moving guests belongings around. What if your guests don't go out? So for me, room Tide is, would really eat into my day. Miss Grumpy was in full control at this point, so the advantage of a day filled with changeovers. So, you know, a guest is leaving in the morning and new guests are coming in the evening.
Was that I had a good idea of what my schedule would look like, assuming the guests check out and checked in at the advertised times. But when guests weren't checking out that day, they'd often hang around in their room or morning and then come back early in the afternoon. I obviously made the b B [00:13:00] five too comfortable for people.
I'd be waiting for them to leave in the morning so I could get in and clean their rooms before I could get on with anything else.
This was particularly difficult if I had an an appointment to get out to, and I'd be particularly grumpy if I'd paid my cleaner to come in for the day and the please clean the room. Sign went up five minutes after my cleaner had left, I got around this. By stating that the rooms would be cleaned between 11 and one, and if the guests chose not to vacate their rooms during that time, there'd be a no room tidy.
I did have one set of repeat guests who stayed in the room nearly all the time, and they tended to go out between I. Three and four or something like that. Never, it was never consistent. And I used to say to them, well, I don't normally clean the rooms unless you're out between 11 and one. But they were quite adamant they wanted the room cleaned [00:14:00] now.
It sort of broke my rules But they also come and stayed with me once a month, so I wasn't about to argue with them and, and get upset. You know, it's, it was one Saturday, once a month, so it wasn't really an issue. But if you do want to read more about setting boundaries at your b and b so that you can also have a personal life as, as well as running a business take a look at the blog posts, setting boundaries when you run a bed breakfast.
So what happened to b and b room tidies during covid? So when Ben breakfast opened following the first Covid lockdown, many B and b owners, myself included, stopped offering the room tidy and the reasoning behind this. Was that we wanted to minimize contact with guest belongings and reassure the guests that the space was theirs and theirs alone during the stay.
There were a lot of questions about how Covid [00:15:00] was tra transmitted at the beginning. W was it left on surfaces? I think we found out since then that it tends to be through the air that we breathe, and so. One of the recommendations when you were changing over a room was that you would leave the room for an hour before going in to change it, and then, you know, there'd be another hour for guests who are arriving so that it was nice and fresh.
Now, that's quite difficult if you've got guests, Sony going out for a couple of hours a day.
I must admit, I really enjoyed not doing room tidies. It meant less cleaning, yay, and also gave me a big part of my day back once breakfast was over and provided I had no changeovers, no one arriving that evening, I could finally go out without having to wait for guests to leave. It did mean that rooms took a bit more time to clean [00:16:00] during a changeover.
This was commented on a lot in the Facebook group that if you do leave the rooms for a few days there's, it's, it's a bit more effort to get back on top of when, when you've got to change over for new guests arriving, and especially for those of us who live in a hard water area and have bad lime scale.
The only way I ever kept on top of the li lime scale was with, with, with daily cleaning using my trusty vinegar spray. So what's the future of Room Tidies Now? The Covid rules have been relaxed and life feels like it's getting back to normal. So what's happening to Room Tidies as we move forward?
We've been and stayed at one of my favorite small hotels a few times over the last couple of years. We stayed there as soon as it reopened after Covid and a few times afterwards. And it's been interesting with my industry expert head on to see how they've. Adapted their [00:17:00] procedures around covid and what it felt like being a customer.
You know, to start with, like most accommodation, they completely dropped the room, tidy, offered replacement towels, et cetera, on request, and had supplies offered fresh milk, tea, coffees left at a sort refreshments station, which you stopped at on the way up to the rooms.
Then . They actually changed their policy to room tidy on request only. They supplied a little wooden sign to hang on the door, and you had to hang it on the door by 11:00 AM if you wanted your room clean. I must admit, as a customer, I really like this option. We, you know, we only ever go and stay there for two or three days and we don't need the room cleaned in that time.
And it's nice knowing it's our space for the whole time and we can come and go as we are there. The, the last time we went, the same policy was still in place, but I was in the room, I think I was actually in the shower and the cleaner walked in. So I [00:18:00] think if you, if you're gonna have a policy that says we don't come into the rooms when guests are staying, unless you ask us to, you do need to stick to it because it's just gonna be confusing for guests.
. I would also, and I had this as a caveat in my room information, was that we reserve the rights to go into rooms in an emergency. One of our rooms, the, the granary room had vex windows as sort of in, you know, in in roof windows. And if those were left at a certain angle and we had a downpour, the room would just fill with water.
So we would have to, to go in and Check the windows were shut
At my own b b pre covid, I had signs for guests to put on the door if they didn't want the room cleaned. I had a please clean the room sign. I had a do not disturb sign, I asked them if they didn't want the rooms cleaned to put on the do not disturb sign the tiny detail here. Is that the hotel actually said that the sign should be [00:19:00] hung on the door by a certain time.
And this was my mistake. Guests wouldn't hang their sign up until they were going out. So I might be hanging around all morning just to see the do not disturb sign go up as they left.
Just to summarize what I've just said and offer you a few more quick tips for room tidies, it's up to you to decide how your b b will run, whether you'll have opt-in or optout room.
Tide is what they involve and how you communicate this to guests. Bear in mind that if you do have a star rating or. Belong to some other quality scheme that they ha might have their own requirements for room tidies. So you do make sure that you're sticking with their rules. I think the communication part to guests is really important.
As I said at this hotel, , they said they wouldn't come in the room if we hadn't , hung the , clean the room, sign up, but they were still coming in and you know, that's a bit confusing. You could communicate to guests, you [00:20:00] could do it in the pre-arrival email, explain about room tidies.
You could do it in person when they arrive, or over breakfast as they're going out for the day. You could put it in the room information folder, or you could have a separate notice or post it on the wall or the door. I think giving guests the option to either opt out or to opt into room tidies with a timeframe for them letting you know which they prefer, eg.
Hang the sign on the door by 11:00 AM or let us know at breakfast is a great option. Let them know what a room tidy involves, so there are no misunderstandings. Have a clear timeframe for when the room tidies will be done and explain what will happen if personal belongings are left on the bed, on the floor, et cetera.
Many issues with guests when you get bad reviews. Or if you get [00:21:00] negative feedback, it's quite often a lack of communication about what's gonna happen and when. So, you know, try and make things as clear as possible. And I know not every guest reads what's their emailed or what's in the room, but you can only do your best.
Who knew there could be so much to a simple room tidy. Well, I hope you enjoyed that. Thank you for listening. If you want to know more about running your own bed and breakfast, please head over to bmb academy.co.uk where you're gonna find over a hundred blog posts all about starting up running a marketing b.
B. You'll find details of my complete bed and breakfast course, and I've also got a short course for just 30 pounds, which is the sort of the first steps. To starting up A, B, B, which is great if you are undecided about whether it's for you or not, or if you have decided working out what your first steps are [00:22:00] going to be before you go all out and buy the online course.
Thank you and I'll speak to you next time.