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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.