“Undersell expectations and over-deliver on service.” This is the message that NightsBridge consultant John-Ross took away from his recent visit to Sir David Guest House in Bloubergstrand.
Even though the guesthouse has a 4-star TGCSA grading, they deliver 5-star service. When asked why they don’t go for 5-star grading, the answer was that the slightly lower grading ensures that the client expectations are always met and most often exceeded. This is a clever way of using grading to your advantage.
The other tip we brought back is to identify and target a specific market. You can then ensure that all services and décor tie in with what that target market expects. In addition, marketing can focus on channels through which they would most likely socialise and look for accommodation. This can simplify the way you run your business, and ensure that resources are used more efficiently.
First impressions count and this was certainly the case on arrival at Sir David Guest House.
“I was immediately struck by the relaxed environment and how it seemed like the world’s problems dissolved the moment I stepped in the front door. The pristine views and comfortable rooms perfectly balance with pleasant and efficient staff, which creates the ideal stress-free atmosphere”, says John-Ross. Read more
There is no statistic closer to the heart of a guest house, lodge, hotel or bed & breakfast owner than room occupancy.
To be clear, room occupancy is the number of times a room (or tree house!) is sold to guests (and thus occupied) in a given period – compared to the maximum number of nights the room can be sold in that period. This number is usually expressed as a percentage.
As a quick example, a room is sold for 15 nights during June (maximum is 30 nights) has a room occupancy of 50%.
If all the rooms in an establishment are pooled and the calculation is run, then the room occupancy for the whole establishment can be determined.
A variation on this calculation is the bed-night occupancy. This calculation focuses on the number of beds available in each room. If the above example is changed such that the room is a 2-bed room and sold for the 15 nights to a single guest, the bed-night occupancy will drop to 25%.
By its very nature of allocating specific rooms to bookings, NightsBridge is the perfect tool to generate room occupancy statistics.
Our home-away-from-home for Indaba in Durban is always 10 Woodlands Road B&B in Glenwood. This year I really paid attention to all the small details that ensure that we keep coming back again and again.
It starts before you get there with a quick reply to your realtime, online booking to assure you that it’s been received and to reconfirm payment procedures. Even us techies appreciate the “ping-back” from a real person at the other end to confirm all is well with your online booking.
The welcome continues when you arrive. However, the friendliness never compromises the professionality, so the check in still covers all the formalities quickly and efficiently. A glance through guest review sites will show how often the hosts or owners are mentioned as having made the real difference to whether someone will return or not. It seems to require a balance between being friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, without being too effusive and invasive. A tough one! But Ursula, James and Naphtal get this balance exactly right.
We recently started a program to get our friendly support consultants and techies out from behind their desks and telephones — and into a guest house or B&B for a day.
We’re trying to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at the day-to-day running of an establishment (for those of us who’ve never worked in a guest house or hotel before). The brief is to really get involved in the work that happens on a daily basis, so we can better understand the challenges facing owners and managers.
By walking in your shoes for a day, we hope to gain some insights to help us advise and support our clients even better.
Ferozah Peck, who’s been with NightsBridge for almost four years, was one of the first consultants to set off on her mission. She really got into the spirit of things! From serving breakfast, to carrying suitcases, to helping with last-minute preparations for a renovated room that was being occupied that night, she had quite a day.
Many guest house and B&B owners feel that finance is beyond them and rely on an accountant to assist. Once you know some of the basics, it’s a lot easier to keep an eye on the health of your business.
We asked an experienced accountant, previous guest house owner and NightsBridge user to put together some useful information and tips to help you take control of your establishment’s finances.
In 2004, my wife Gaynor and I built and opened our guest house. We ran a successful establishment for the next seven years. In keeping with our background as commercial accountants we applied the processes and disciplines we had learned from our previous lives to ensure that the guest house ran smoothly and profitably.
In other words, from day one, we regarded our guest house as a serious business and ran it as such.
Hobby or business – what’s the difference?
A hobby is an activity that brings you pleasure, challenge, satisfaction etc, but costs money to pursue. How much money you invest in or pay for your hobby is up to you.