Friday, 28 September 2018

Worst things about running a Bed & Breakfast

This is a post that I have had in my drafts for a long time, although I want to make sure it's balanced, so there will also be a 'Best Things About Running a B&B' post too! It's definitely not all bad, but there are some downsides, and I wanted to share them with you. This summer has been particularly testing. I'm not entirely sure why, but we have had our busiest year yet, so that could certainly have something to do with it!


I am just entering my fifth year of running the B&B and feel like I have learned a lot in that time about the pros and cons. Each year I implement new strategies to make our family life fit around the B&B, and each year I still have to change something! I am hoping to strike the right balance sometime soon!

Here are the five worst things about running a B&B, although there are more downsides too!

1. Dirty bed sheets/dirty towels/wetting the bed
We have found some pretty disgusting things in the rooms, from a grown adult wetting a mattress, to finding poo on the bed sheets (yes, I made the mistake of smelling the sheets)! Also people taking off their make-up on the towels is a bit frustrating. You never quite know what you are going to find when you enter a room to clean it the next morning. I have to admit I was incredibly grateful to my mum, who cleaned up a load of vomit when she was visiting us! I didn't have the stomach for it, and knew I would end up throwing up myself if I tried it! Thank goodness for mums!


2. Tied to the B&B
It's really difficult to find the right balance, but we obviously cannot go on holiday during the B&B season, which is from March to December. It's also tying at weekends when we have to be here to do breakfasts, but then also to greet guests in the afternoon. We try and make life as normal as possible for the children, so they both have clubs on a Saturday, but sometimes it's a logistical nightmare trying to get them there! The school holidays are hard too, because I take guests during the week, so it's pretty full on and I feel ALL the mum guilt for not being able to spend time with my children.

3. Rude Guests
Thankfully this doesn't happen too often, but sometimes people have certain expectations that you will be serving them or waiting on them constantly. This summer we have also experienced guests who decided that their room wasn't worth what we were charging for it, so they would pay us less. I genuinely was flabbergasted that people think this is an acceptable thing to do, and I blame Four in a Bed for giving people the idea in the first place. They did pay less, I didn't really know what else I could do, because I didn't want them to give us a bad review! The vast majority of our guests are absolutely lovely, and I think that probably makes it more difficult when we get someone, or a group who are difficult to please.


4. Negative TripAdvisor Comments
The first one we received nearly broke me. I was absolutely gutted about it. I know that you cannot please everyone, but it was from a guest who I had bent over backwards for, and gave up my evening to bring them tea and coffee. It took me a good six months to be able to write a balanced response, rather than a purely angry one. Learning that you cannot please everyone was very difficult. The B&B is my livelihood and one bad review can have a massive impact on our visibility online. I think that often people don't think about the possible implications of one bad review. I really hate that it has such an impact, and am trying to not let it hurt so much!

5. No-shows
When people simply don't show up for the night, in spite of having paid a deposit. I never really understand why people don't just let you know they aren't going to be turning up. If we were a large hotel it would be different, but we're a small family-run business. The same goes for people who turn up really late (after 9pm). It's difficult when you have been up at say 6am to make breakfast for guests and then the new arrivals don't turn up until after 11pm. Again, it's just one of the sides to the job that I hadn't really anticipated to be frustrating!

There are many more frustrating things about running a B&B, but there are also some fantastic parts to it too! Have a watch of my video below, and I'll post in a couple of weeks with the best things about running a B&B.


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