Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why the little things make us the Better Way to Stay.

Writing this article came into my mind as I was helping a guest with a problem last night. As we sat with all the rubbish that had come out of the bedrooms that day scattered on the floor around us (he had realised he
had thrown his rather expensive train tickets away that morning), I thought to myself you would never get this service in a hotel. So my point is yes, we do get the big things right amazing breakfast, comfy beds, free wi-fi, free parking etc but it is also the little things that can make the difference to your stay. B&B's are in the main owner operated or have very carefully selected managers who excel at customer service. People in the UK seem to have the idea that if a business is family run it isn't professional. I myself did 20 years in hotels and use what I have learned to provide a superior service without many of the mistakes hotels make by being too management heavy. B&B's in this day and age have moved away from the many mom and pop operations of the 1960's and have updated our facilities in line with what the modern traveller wants from their accommodation experience from the luxury romantic getaway to the modern practical business center. Most B&B's are run by their owners and so they are there on site to deal with any issue you may have, you will never be told in a B&B "well you have to wait for the manager to make a decision on that" as is so often the case in a hotel over an issue as simple as could I have some more toilet roll. As other B&B owners read this I am certain issues we constantly ponder over to enhance the enjoyment of our guests will come to mind. For example a neighbour of mine had a review saying one of her beds was lumpy she bought a new mattress the same day, what hotel would do that? For myself I spend a considerable time at the post office returning people's lost property (the things people forget you would not believe). I have a neighbour B&B who specialises in providing gluten free breakfast giving people who have this restriction a much better choice than they would have anywhere else. I myself was out at 9pm on a Saturday night buying skimmed milk as it is all two of my guests can drink and I have goats milk for my guest arriving today who is lactose intolerant. So far this year I have organised trolleys for my exhibitors, sorted out rooms for colleagues of my guests, taken people in stranded during a snow storm, set up birthday surprises and sorted out directions to all four corners of the earth. Unlike many hotels B&B operators are locals and are usually a font of local information, if you are wanting to know what is best to see and do simply ask. We want to help you with your special requirements but we do need to know in advance preferably when you book to give us chance to get what you need, 9pm on a Sunday for the next morning is a bit short notice. We also ask that you do your homework and understand what you have booked, there are very few of us that don't have a web site full of information or simply call on the phone if you have a question. Please be aware that most B&B's are in converted houses and historic buildings it is therefore unlikely that there will be a lift and if you require a ground floor room make sure you book one. Make sure that what you have booked is what you want, despite what the slogans say if it is too cheap there is probably a reason for it and last but not least if you are coming for a particular event book early or you will end up in the places no one else wants. However in return for the extra mile we constantly go for our customers we ask that you respect the fact that we are usually a two or one person team and this being the case we are up at 6am starting your breakfast and work all day, therefore we are usually in bed by 9.30 so please don't ring to make a booking after then. When you stay with us remember this is our home and there are other guests so please come in quietly and don't slam the doors. Finally and this is for your benefit as well as ours, we state a check in time for a reason and that reason is that during the morning we clean up after breakfast, clean all the rooms and then do any shopping etc that needs doing. This means we will not necessarily be home to let you in unless you pre-book an early arrival. This is one of the reasons when you come away we suggest that you put our phone number into your phone for these situations, it also means should you get lost you can ring for assistance. Finally last but not least if you can't see where to park or you aren't sure please stop and ask us, we live here and organise parking every day so why struggle when you don't need to? So the moral of this tail is "Help us Help you have a Better Way to Stay."

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