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Value Added B&Bs – Part 1

publication date: Jun 7, 2012
author/source: David McAlpine Cunningham

Costs for B&B owners are going up all the time, forcing many to increase their rates. But you can take the sting out of this by emphasising the value you offer your customers…

Recent research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) has found that overheads for small businesses, like B&Bs, have risen by about a quarter (23%) in the last five years.[1] It also suggests that rising costs are having a dangerous effect on independent accommodation providers. The vast majority (78%) identify rising costs as the most significant threat to their businesses this year.

 Value Added B&Bs – Part 1

Seven in ten (70%) properties have seen their profit margins hit by increasing costs over the past three years, whilst more than half (55%) have been forced to increase prices.

But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. There are ways to make guests still feel that they’re getting great value for money when they stay with you, even if you’re forced to raise your rates. With a few clever strategies, you might even be able to increase their perception of value.

First of all, look at what you already offer. Many of us err on the side of modesty, and it can be easy to take for granted just how good your property is. In the internet age, your website is your most important advertising billboard (especially when software from companies like freetobook offers you the chance to provide online booking at no extra cost). So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your website really emphasise all the aspects that make your property special? These could include its location, its special features (e.g. open fire, sun terrace, any period details) and its proximity to interesting tourist sites (or just to some pleasant local walks.)
  • Are you mentioning all the great things that you already do? Do you serve breakfast using locally sourced ingredients? Do you even grow some of your own food? People are more and more sensitive to issues of sustainability these days. If they see that you’re doing your bit for the environment and helping the local economy, they may be willing to pay that little bit extra.
  • Do you offer free WIFI (as opposed to most chain hotels, who charge for it)? If so, let prospective guests know.
  • If you have a garden, do you put cut flowers in each room during the summer months?
  • Look at the feedback from your past guests. What was it about staying with you that they particularly liked? Did they, for instance, mention the friendly family vibe that you offered? If so, make sure you emphasise these positive things on your website.

But enough from us, what do you think? Do you already include ‘extras’ to offer your guests added value for money?

Editor: David McAlpine Cunningham

I was born in Ayrshire and educated at Glasgow University where I studied English and Scottish literature. After that I spent a number of precarious years as a freelance journalist. I’ve worked in travel for seven years, mainly as web content developer and editor for the hotel booking companies Hotels By Phone and Just One Hotel.

My short stories have appeared in various magazines/anthologies (most recently the London Magazine) and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. I have also published two well-received fantasy novels: CloudWorld (Faber & Faber, 2006 ; nominated for the 2007 Manchester Book Award) and CloudWorld At War (2008; acclaimed as “a heart-pumping tale set in a vividly-imagined world” by the best-selling author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson). Feel free to visit my personal website here.

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