Shepherd House

Welcome to “ON THE MARKET”, the new section of Luxury Bed & Breakfast website specifically designed to showcase the best B&Bs for sale across the country.

If you are looking for a B&B for sale in your local area but can’t find what you’re looking for here, drop the Luxury Bed & Breakfast team an email or call with your requirements and we can get in contact with our network of estate agents to see if we can find you your next dream B&B.

If you would like help with any of the above, please contact our team on 01737 852 342 or email at frankie.butler@jld-media.co.uk

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    Luxury BnB October / November 2020 Online Issue Available NOW

    For owners & managers of B&bs, Inns, Guest Houses, Boutique Hotels & Holiday Lets.

    – NEWS, Industry news and analysis from around the UK
    – Ask Tina – questions & answers from the Tiny Troubleshooter
    – Spirit of Scotland with Dornoch Castle Hotel, Station Hotel and The Craigellachie Hotel
    – Biker Bed & Breakfasts. Tips & advice to market your property to the biking community
    – The True Value of Industry Awards
    – A guide to Hotel Mobile Marketing
    – Grottos for Guests: Enticing Lodges in the Heart of Ticehurst

    Read on issuu by clicking here 

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    Tina The Tiny Troubleshooter – Your Questions Answered

    Tina Boden is no stranger to the hospitality industry.

    She works one on one with business owners, providing virtual assistance and marketing support.

    As one of the B’s in the B&B Kepper, Tina will step in to run your B&B, Guest House, small Hotel or Inn whilst you are away on holiday for that much needed R&R.

    As a co-founder of #MicroBizMatters Day, Tina is one of the leading voices for micro businesses in the UK.

    Email your questions to tina@luxurybbmag.co.uk or reach out via social media.

    Q. The ever-changing legislation brought in by the UK Government regularly leaves me confused. Often guests travelling from areas with local restrictions will call to see if it is still ok for them to come and stay. When I turn to www.gov.uk for advice I can find myself questioning my intelligence as often it does not seem to make sense. Are there any alternatives that are more specific for B & B, Inns and Guest Houses?

    A. I have found the B & B Association to be a great source of information over recent months and, in my opinion, they have been a fantastic support to B & B and Guest House owners across the UK. Their lobbying and campaigning with other organisations who represent the hospitality sector, especially UK Hospitality, to obtain fair outcomes for those in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries has been second to none. If you are not a member, I suggest you join to benefit from the resources and support they offer. In addition, make sure you follow them on Twitter, @BandBassoc, along with @davidjweston the Chairman. Follow Kate Nicholls @UKHospKate Chief Exec of UK Hospitality as well if you do not already. If you are not on Twitter I highly recommend you create an account for your B & B to obtain up to date information and also to be able to request advice from the people and organisations I mentioned, they are very forthcoming.

    Q. We seem to be getting more than our fair share of potential guests who feel because they cannot go to Majorca, France, etc that we should be offering them a discount. Since re-opening our B & B has been really busy, we do not need to reduce our prices and find their demands quite insulting. Would appreciate advice on the response – what we want to say will most certainly result in a negative OTA review without them even crossing our threshold!

    A. While I was B & B Keeping for a client recently, I had one of those calls. I explained that the B & B owner offered a set discount for booking direct also in quieter Winter months they may have offers that would see a reduction in the room rates but other than that nothing more was available. I went on to explain that many self-employed people had lost a considerable amount of income not just in the UK but worldwide during the past 6 months but still had bills that needed to be paid. In addition, I added that they are now grateful to be busy and do not need to reduce rates to attract guests. Like you there was actually no availability for this potential guest that spoke to me and I took great delight in telling him so. Stand your ground, Billy Connolly has a great word to describe these people but as the Luxury B n B Magazine is a reputable publication I will not share it here.

    Q. Since re-opening after lockdown we have found ourselves to be in the very fortunate position of being busy, in fact we have had maximum occupancy for most of the time and bookings keep coming in. There is obviously additional work to be done and there seems to be more admin than ever before. We have considered taking on an extra member of staff to help with breakfasts and housekeeping but are worried that we will not have enough work in the future as this could be a short-term surge. What are your thoughts?

    A. Have you considered taking on a Virtual Assistant to help with the administration of bookings, accounts, general office work even social media. There are a plethora of self-employed VA’s working across the world that can help. In this day and age of technology nearly everything can be done in the Cloud so both you and they have real time access to whatever is needed. They often take on short-term assignments and this would give you an opportunity to see if it helped reduce your work load while you carry on running things front of house. The other thing to bear in mind with a VA is they can get a lot of admin done in a short space of time as this is all they are focusing on. 

     

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    Hotel Mobile Marketing

    Each Issue, we will be serialising a section of the Complete Guide to Hotel Marketing, an eBook by our partners, SiteMinder.com. This week, it’s all about Hotel Mobile Marketing.

    The Oxford Dictionary defines a trend as something that is “…developing, changing, or in fashion”. And for a long time mobile bookings could be determined as all of the above.

    Over the last five years there have been countless white papers, blogs, webinars, and seminars dedicated to predicting the uptake of guests choosing to book hotels via smaller screens. Google recently announced user queries completed on mobiles have surpassed desktop as the majority Google search type. This has prompted it to introduce a mobile-first indexing initiative, meaning Google will now begin to use the mobile page versions of a domain for indexing and caching in search results, and subsequently, for ranking.

    Independent hoteliers need to do everything they can to adapt their marketing strategies, and take a mobile-first approach to attracting global guests.

    Everything needs to start with a hotel’s mobile website. The experience delivered to guests before they’ve even booked a room is so important and the way a hotel’s website responds to small devices is the key to mobile marketing success. Ultimately, here are some aspects of your website that should be in place for a good mobile experience:

    • Users don’t have to pinch, scroll, or zoom to see information
    • Font is legible and content is concise
    • The use of Adobe Flash and pop-ups are limited
    • Click-to-call functionality is enabled
    • Google Maps is integrated so people can find their way to and from your hotel
    • Your logo is linked so it’s simple to return to the homepage
    • There’s an easily accessible search bar and date calendar
    • Forms are auto-filled for returning visitors
    • There is contrast between images and colours that make the site beautiful

    What this adds up to is speed and ease of use, something Google values very highly.

    When it comes to mobile bookings, there are four key consumer ‘moments’ hotels need to be aware of. Findings from Google have show you need to focus on these traveller motivations if you want to convert guests:

    1. I-want-to-get-away moments

    In Australia, 38% of travel site visits come from mobile, and even though for 60% of consumers travel is the biggest discretionary purchase of the year, one in three don’t have a specific destination in mind when they first consider taking a trip.

    Hotels are advised to be present when inspiration strikes. By doing a search of common queries you can see if your property features in any of the results and optimise your search engine rankings from there. In millennial groups, up to 50% say they’ve discovered a new travel brand while researching on mobile.

    1. Make-a-plan moments

    When a plan first begins to form travellers most often search for prices, hotel reviews and pictures, flight lengths, and available destination activities, with 69% of travellers worrying they’re not finding the best price and second-guessing their choices. However, 85% say that information sourced on their smartphone helps them make decisions.

    Be liberal with the information you display to mobile searchers. While you want to keep things simple, you also want to give them all the information they need to choose your hotel over a competitor.

    1. Book-it-now moments

    This is where travellers are still somewhat reluctant to rely on mobile devices. Only 23% are confident they can find the same information on their smartphones as they can on desktop or laptop.

    You can ease the worries of guests by givingbut giving them the ability to cancel mobile bookings without incurring a penalty. You should also eliminate as many steps as possible on mobile and make it easy for people to contact you. For example, you could implement a click-to-call link or button.

    1. Waiting-to-explore moments

    Travellers still turn to mobile even after they’ve begun their trip. Around 85% decide on their activities after they arrive and nearly nine out of 10 expect their travel provider or hotel to give them relevant information. They’re looking for weather-specific information, public transport help, exchange rates, and traffic updates along with other relevant news.

    Given 67% of travellers feel more loyal towards a brand that shares useful information with them during their trip, it’s a good idea to offer travellers tips on what to do or where to eat while visiting their chosen destination.

    BONUS TIP:

    It might sound simple but it’s surprising how many businesses fail to implement a mobile-friendly booking engine into their mobile-friendly website. Today’s booking engines are incredibly powerful and can integrate directly with both your website and channel management solution, via two-way integration, ensuring any direct bookings received are reflected automatically. This means inventory and rates are up-to-date at all times.

    By putting a smart engine in place, you will be able to decrease time spent manually updating inventory and increase time spent on the more important things.

     

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    B&Bs & hotels are absolute goldmines of hidden, unclaimed tax reliefs

    By Clare McKee, Hospitality Tax Relief Consultant at specialist tax consultancy Catax. Tel: 0121 293 1197  or Email: clare.mckee@catax.com

    Investing in guesthouses and B&Bs can be an expensive business, yet so many owners don’t realise they can be a goldmine of tax benefits too.

    One of the most overlooked incentives neglected by the hospitality industry are Capital Allowances (CAs). These are tax credits that allow firms to offset the Corporation Tax they pay on profits against the cost of physical assets within commercial properties. They can apply to everything from wiring and plumbing to boilers and specialist equipment, and they can be extremely lucrative.

    A fantastic example of this came earlier this year when Compass Hospitality asked Catax to find out whether there were any hidden, unclaimed CAs among the properties in their portfolio of hotels. Catax identified three hotels where £1,225,000 worth of CAs had not been claimed, resulting in a windfall for the business of backdated tax credits worth £505,809.

    One of the largest of these claims related to £878,000 of eligible CAs identified for drainage, water and electrical work carried out at the group’s Columba Hotel in Inverness, which resulted in a benefit of £159,149.

    Umar Farooq, Group Commercial Manager at Compass Hospitality, said he had no idea quite how worthwhile a CA assessment could be. CAs can only be claimed on eligible items once, but new owners of existing properties are entitled to claim where the previous owners neglected to do so.

    CA claims relate to any age property & any type of commercial building. A claim can be made at any time. The sad fact is that over 80% of CA’s go unclaimed.

    “We didn’t think we’d get as much money as this,” said Umar.

    “We thought the previous owners would have claimed more CAs themselves but they hadn’t and we really benefited from that.

    “I think the problem is that there is a general lack of awareness in the industry about what you can claim for. You can’t just assume that accountants will pick everything up and, until you start really exploring your premises and their tax history, you have no idea how much money is just sat there waiting to be claimed.

    “We got the money so quickly, and the process was seamless.”

    OTHER REAL LIFE EXAMPLES INCLUDE:

    • A Carlisle hotel bought for £2.4m where Catax identified £495,265 of CAs producing a total benefit of £92,732

    • And a £485,000 guesthouse that was able to reclaim £17,000 for water, mechanical, communication and electrical installations, as well as internal fittings.

    For more information on Capital Allowances, Clare Mckee can be reached at clare.mckee@catax.com. Or call 0121 293 1197.

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    Biker Bed and Breakfasts

    Realised you get a lot of bikers in your local area and want to start hosting them? We spoke to the owners of Limetree House and Aurora B&B in Scotland to find out how you can provide for your biker guests and what you can do to market yourself to the wider motorbiking community.

    Touring the winding roads across the Scottish Highlands.

    The rush of air as they ascend Winnat’s Pass and traverse Snake Pass in the Peak District.

    Flying along the English countryside and finally catching sight of Land’s End.

    Wherever their journey, these biker’s will need somewhere to rest their heads at night.

    This is where you come in. But how can you provide for this target market? You’ve noticed that your inn, b&b, hotel, or guest house, is close to a popular motorcycle route, but you aren’t quite sure how to reach out to the biking community. With so many popular motorcycle routes found all over the UK, it can only be a matter of time before you find yourself face to face with your first biker guests.

    If you need a bit of a push, Katherine Clemmens from Limetree House in Moffat, Scotland, thoroughly recommends targeting motorcyclists. She says: “While they are often ‘larger than life’ personalities, we find them to be excellent guests, who respect our property and appreciate our efforts to accommodate them.”

    But what can you do for them as bikers in particular?

    You could try to tell them your best motorcycle pun and Yama-hahahaha your way into a good review, but our guess is that you’ll want slightly more substantial advice than a (somewhat terrible) joke.

    Sure, you can learn from experience, but we’re here to provide you with a bit of a kick-start.

    Location, Location, Location

    Dining Room, Aurora B&B

    One of the first things to consider is location; are there any particularly popular motorbike routes near you? Or if you are looking to start a new business, are there any routes you would like to be based near?

    Richard and Jane, owners of Aurora B&B in Caithness, Scotland, said: “Bikers tend to look for good proximity to the routes they are following.”

    With so many popular routes to be found across the UK, there are plenty for you to take advantage of, especially if you find a location close to not one, but multiple routes.

    Katherine said: “Bikers often book multiple night stays [at Limetree House], so that they can go on different rides in the area.

    “This area offers some excellent touring, and some years ago, the A708, (the road from Moffat to Selkirk), was voted ‘Favourite Road in Britain’ by bikers”.

    Not only is Limetree House found near a number of popular routes, but it’s also ideally located as a stop-over for those travelling north on their way to the NC500, or those completing longer routes such as Land’s End to John O’ Groats.

    Aside from the popular, national routes such as these, there are also plenty of ‘local’ routes that are great for bikers. Katherine said there are “13 circular routes, which all begin and end in Moffat.” As Limetree House is based in Moffat, Katherine said: “The plan of course, was that people use us as a base while touring, and they do!”

    Found in the far north of Scotland, Aurora B&B is just one of many stop-over options for those travelling the NC500.

    Richard and Jane said: “Our location tends to attract bikers completing the NC500 route because we are located less than a mile from it.”

    “We are also located close to Orkney Ferries and John O’ Groats for the travellers completing the [Point-to-Point] route (Land’s End to John O’ Groats or vice versa)” – Aurora B&B

    However, one of the downsides of being so close to routes such as this are that “bikers are unlikely to stay for more than one night, which drives additional changeover activity for us,” says Richard and Jane.

    But if you look on the bright side, this high turnover rate gives you the means to reach more people, who may decide to stay again on future trips.

    Knowing Your Audience

    Master Bedroom, Limetree House

    No matter what industry you work in, it’s always good to know your target market, although this can sometimes be a bit harder to do in the hospitality industry.

    One week you could be hosting a family, or a couple in their retirement. The next week you could be hosting a pair of teenagers on their first road trip, or a group of middle-aged bikers. You can’t always be sure of who is going to walk through your doors and stay the night.

    But if you find yourself close to popular biking routes, you can be sure to greet a variety of members from the biker community.

    Katherine from Limetree house said: “We do get a lot of motorbikers and I would estimate that they comprise about 20% of our customers, which comes to a good income.

    “The bikers that we tend to get are 40+ in age and are usually ‘hobby’ bikers who have come back to biking later in life. They tend to drive expensive, larger machines such as Harleys or BMWs.

    “They drive expensive bikes, and these are not guests who want to rough it, otherwise they would camp or go to bunkhouses. They are more than willing to pay for good accommodation.”

    She added: “I would thoroughly recommend targeting motorbikers because their average age and spending ability fits our target market very well.”

    Aurora B&B’s Richard and Jane said: “In general, our rates are targeted at the mid-price range rather than budget, in line with the quality of accommodation and services that we provide.

    “We also encourage our guests, who may wish to stay again in the future, to book direct through our website to avoid commission charges.”

    Top 8 Tips For Hosting Bikers

    1. Know the local area and nearby routes
    2. Provide off-road parking
    3. Secure storage for helmets, boots and panniers
    4. Offer drying facilities
    5. Visor cleaning facilities
    6. Offer degrease hand-wash
    7. Know where the local garages are
    8. Provide access to a tool box

    Specific Provisions

    Helmet Storage at the BnB
    Helmet Storage

    So, let’s say you’ve decided you are ideally located for biker guests and you want to start marketing yourself to this community. But what do they actually need from their accommodation providers?

    In contrast to walkers, cyclists or drivers, guests who arrive on motorbikes will be on the lookout for a couple of amenities in particular.

    One of the first things to be mentioned was parking facilities.

    Richard and Jane said: “Of the bikers who have stayed, the requirements are generally the same. One thing they tend to look for, is off-road parking or secure storage for their bikes.

    “We provide off-road hard-standing parking for bikes and can also provide secure garage storage if it’s required.”

    Katherine says that they “have a large outbuilding beside the house which can accommodate up to eight motorbikes,” so Limetree House often gets group bookings.

    She believes that the “truly important aspect of providing for bikers, is to let the biking community know we welcome them. Even nowadays, there is still a good deal of prejudice against bikers as a group.”

    In contrast, Richard and Jane from Aurora B&B “believe that drying space and covered/secure storage are the most important facilities to have on offer.”

    Richard says that “bikers tend to look for drying facilities” when booking accommodation, so they “specifically provide drying facilities and garage storage due to the nature of Scottish weather and it’s something that’s a much-welcomed provision.”

    He said: “We have a heated drying area in our utility room available on request and can also provide use of a washer/dryer if it’s required. Guests can also access storage racks for helmets, boots and panniers.

    “Although we haven’t had any specific requests, we also provide basic tools for any emergency maintenance and can give guests information on local garage services.”

    Top 10 Bike Routes

    Motorcycle Routes of the UK
    Motorcycle Routes of the UK
    1. Point to Point
    2. North Coast 500
    3. North Coast 250
    4. North York Moors
    5. North Norfolk Coast
    6. Ultimate Lake District
    7. Ultimate Peak District
    8. Ultimate Snowdonia
    9. Cornwall
    10. Faversham to Brighton

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What else can I do?

    Limetree House

    You know what they say, ‘Knowledge is power’.

    It’s important to do your research so that you are well equipped to provide the best service possible.

    If your B&B or guest house has a number of popular biking routes nearby, it’s always a good idea to know the ins and outs of the area.

    Guests might ask for route recommendations, things to do or places to visit whilst on their biking holiday.

    Are there any quieter routes nearby for the bikers wanting to escape the crowds? Are there any roads with particularly stunning views? It’s up to you to know where the best pubs are, and which are the best garages should guests have any maintenance problems.

    Food is also a major aspect of hospitality. Bikers might spend a long time riding through the countryside before they stop for food, so it’s always good to make sure you provide a “substantial breakfast option using good quality, local produce,” says Richard.

    Katherine said her husband is “an excellent breakfast cook,” who often earns high praise from their guests, especially the bikers.

    You could also go one step further for your biker guests and offer packed lunches for their journeys. Providing little things such as this, can help you to stand out.

    If you haven’t already, it would also be a good idea to set up your own website. This way, people can see what your property looks like, find out about the surrounding area, make direct bookings and so much more.

    There are plenty of different website builders you can use to build the perfect platform for your property.

    Once you have your site up and running, you can also choose to advertise on different booking sites such as Expedia, Booking.com, AirBnB and other biker-specific accommodation websites.

    Katherine said: “While it’s not always easy to set up a website from scratch, there a number of websites that target motorcyclists, which I would encourage fellow B&B owners to join.”

    There are so many different booking channels that Richard said it can be “difficult to determine which ones will give [you] the best coverage,” but joining them and advertising your property on these sites opens you up to a wider audience.

    The Sun Room, Aurora B&B

    Aside from advertising your property on different websites, whether they are OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) or other biker-specific sites, there are other ways you can market yourself to the biking community.

    Advertise your facilities! It’s important to put your best foot forward and show off your property. Advertise the biker-specific facilities you have available for your guests to use during their stay.

    If you are fully committed to hosting bikers, you might want to create a page on your website specifically targeted at these guests. This is where you can post about local routes, local garage information, facilities available and whatever you think your biker guests would like to see!

    You can join biker friendly schemes such as the ‘Visit Scotland – Biker Friendly Scheme’ so that bikers know they are welcome, and you can provide what they need. You’ll also be able to advertise the scheme on your website and social media, helping you to stand out.

    Circling back to Katherine’s advice, one of the most important aspects of marketing to the biking community is your attitude.

    It’s important to let them know they are welcome. Display a positive attitude and a genuine desire to anticipate and meet their needs.

    5 Top Tips for Marketing to Bikers

    1. Join biker-friendly schemes
    2. A specific page for biker guests on your website
    3. Advertise facilities available to bikers
    4. Positivity towards the biking community
    5. Join biker accommodation booking sites and

    URLs To Note