Bed & Breakfast Finance Going Forward

2020 is definitely going to be a year to remember. Life went from normal to “lockdown” overnight and hospitality businesses were closed down by the government. So does this mean that you won’t be able to buy a bed and breakfast or guest house in the future?

Of course not, what it does mean is that lenders will see the sector as a higher risk post Covid 19 and as a result loan to value ratios may change. Up until now the maximum loan a new to trade operator would have been able to secure on a bed and breakfast or guest house was 65% of the purchase price meaning you needed at least a 35% deposit plus funds to cover fees such as stamp duty, valuation etc. to be able to buy your dream property.

Going forward we are still to see how lending criteria will change but, having said that, Stewart Hindley & Partners have mainstream and specialist lenders who are still willing to lend on hospitality properties. We don’t know what society will look like after the Covid-19 pandemic has gone but one thing we do know is that many people will be looking to take more short breaks and staycations in the UK rather than travelling abroad.

Post Covid-19 could mean a boom period for bed and breakfast owners which would help them to recover from the sudden loss of their incomes and hopefully inject some confidence back into the sector.

If you are thinking about buying a bed and breakfast or guest house and need the best finance deal available to meet your circumstances speak to us here at Stewart Hindley & Partners as we are specialists in the hospitality sector and if we can’t help no one can!

Contact us today and you could have your own bed and breakfast.

How To Turn Your Home Into a Guesthouse

Running a guesthouse can be rewarding and fun, not to mention a great way to make money from your property without having to sell it.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that running a guesthouse is a big commitment, and there are rules to follow and standards to meet.

Here are just some of the things you need to consider if you’re thinking of turning your home into a guesthouse.

Starting a guesthouse business

Get The Relevant Permissions

Before you can open your guesthouse, you’ll need to acquire the relevant permissions, so your first step should be to contact your local council to see what is legally required.

If you’ll be carrying out building work on the property, you may need to apply for planning permission. Regulations change frequently and vary depending on where your property is located, so be sure to check in with your local planning office.

Even if you aren’t making any structural changes to the property, you might need to complete a change of use application before you can open your home as a guesthouse. Again, ensure you check these details with your local council.

You’ll also need to comply with fire and gas safety legislations, as well as food standards if you’re planning on serving any meals on the premises.  Find out more by contacting your local environmental health department.

Finally, make sure you contact your mortgage provider and insurer. You may need to update your policy and will need to switch your existing mortgage to a commercial mortgage.

Fit Out The Guest Rooms

Once all the relevant permissions are in place, you’ll need to ensure that your property is up to the job of hosting visitors. That means properly furnished bedrooms with facilities including WiFi, TVs, storage space, and tea and coffee making facilities. Today, most guests will also expect their room to come with an en suite bathroom.

If you’re offering breakfast or other meals at your guesthouse, you’ll need a dining room where your guests can comfortably enjoy their meals.

Finishing touches such as bathrobes, slippers, and washing products can go a long way to ensuring your guests have a memorable experience.

Market Your Guesthouse

If you want to promote your guesthouse effectively, a good website is essential – make sure it’s responsive on all devices, appealing, and optimised for search engines such as Google. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also useful ways to market your guesthouse successfully.

Running Your Guesthouse

Running a guesthouse can be immensely enjoyable and rewarding, but you’ll also come up against several challenges.

One thing to always keep in mind is that this isn’t just a hobby, you’re running a business and it’s important to approach every aspect of your guesthouse with a business mind to ensure that it is a success.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun! Part of the attraction of running a guesthouse is the interaction with guests, building lasting friendships and ensuring visitors get the most out of their stay.

Running a guesthouse is flexible – you can choose when you want people to stay and when you’d rather have the space to yourself. But it’s important to set boundaries if you want to avoid working 24/7 and burning out. Have house policies in place, including setting out the times breakfast will be available and when reception service will be provided.

Get In Touch

If you’re thinking of turning your home into a guesthouse, get in touch. We can help you find the most effective way to re-finance or release capital to launch your guesthouse.

The secrets behind a good B&B breakfast

Whisper ‘full English Breakfast’ and ears will perk up instantly as images of sizzling sausages, crispy bacon, juicy mushrooms, tasty vine-ripened tomatoes grilled to perfection, golden hash browns and eggs, sunny side up, spring to mind.

However, balancing the guest experience with the rising costs of food, can be tricky. You don’t want to see good food (and potential profits) go to waste, but you can’t disappoint your guests, and a decent breakfast can secure rave reviews and subsequent bookings.

Tom Kerridge, in this article on how to make a full English breakfast, suggests that the perfect English Breakfast includes sausages, smoked streaky bacon, plum tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, black pudding and eggs (sunny side up), topped with a slice of toast.

Whilst a supermarket saver sausage may save some pennies, it’s not going to leave your guests with a good taste in their mouth (literally). However, you can really get positive feedback flowing with decent ingredients in your breakfasts. If you can splash out and upgrade ingredients, tell your guests. If you see ‘locally produced sausages’ in a menu, it sounds so much more appealing than just ‘sausages’. And, if you’re dishing up organic sausages, say so.

Much of these ingredients will keep for at least several days in the fridge, which means you don’t have to limit yourself to a full English. You should consider offering a continental option too, with croissants, pain au chocolat, or other pastry options.

With an increasing awareness of healthy foods, you could offer a smoothie option, or fresh juicing? Whilst not exactly hassle-free, it can be a great way to minimise waste by using up leftover fruit and veg before it goes off. Juices are delicious and nutritious, and are almost certainly a unique selling point to share with your guests.

And, it doesn’t all have to be about the food.

Consider where your guests might like to eat. Whilst many will be happy with eating in a communal dining room, take into account that some may prefer to eat in the privacy of their own room. A ‘breakfast-in-bed’ option may provide added B&B appeal and many guests would be happy to pay a little more for the privilege!

Tell your guests what they can look forward to. Help them to anticipate the treat that awaits by describing the breakfast options. Maybe leave a menu in their room, or in a shared area, or at the very least on the tables. When your guests know what to expect, they can choose what not to have, cutting down on your waste too.

The very name, Bed & Breakfast, suggests that the breakfast part is a big deal. By considering what you are offering your guests for breakfast, you can ensure that the breakfast you offer is as responsible for getting return visitors as offering your guests a good nights’ sleep.

Stewart Hindley & Partners is an independent, whole-of-market finance broker which means we can find the most cost-effective way to re-finance or release capital for your B&B business. Our specialists in business funding and business recovery can help you find the right products and ensure your application for finance is successful.

What Support is Available for Business Buyers?

While entrepreneurs can often find lots of generic information about buying a business, it’s less easy to find details on more specific kinds of regional support. So, we are looking at the various kinds of help available to those looking to purchase a business in the Principality of Wales.

What businesses are popular in Wales?

There are a large number of business opportunities in a country with such rich diversity.

Traditional tourism is very strong in Wales, but the coastal regions and wild interior landscapes are now being exploited for more adventure-type of experiences than ever before. And with its own rich and unique cultural history, Wales is also the natural home for many different types of creative and craft-based industries.

The energy industry also has deep roots in Wales, though the rise of renewable energies and modern concerns about the environment have also played a prominent role in the formation of some new sustainable, eco-friendly Welsh businesses.

A welcoming, outgoing and tourist-heavy population also provides countless locations and opportunities for food and drink businesses.

Wales attracts global players in areas such as Life Sciences and all kinds of Tech and ICT industries. And furthermore, the country is renowned for its workforce expertise and strong track record in developing strong links between industry and the higher education sector.

Why buy rather than start a business?

Starting a business has its own merits and may seem like the obvious option for an aspiring entrepreneur full of fresh, innovative ideas. However, there are some important advantages in choosing to buy an existing business instead.

Not only are there less risks attached to buying a ‘going concern’ rather than attempting a new start-up, you will also be able to reap the financial rewards much sooner.

In Wales especially, buying an established business will provide you with a fast-track opportunity to grow and find success in a rapidly growing market. There are now a record 238,200 active firms in Wales, and a huge 99.3% of that number are independent SMEs.

An ideal business-purchase opportunity for example, could be purchasing an off-license in a prime location. Not only would such a business have its own local customers, in many areas there would also be opportunities to contact and supply other establishments – especially those business owners catering for tourists.

What kind of support do you need?

Buying a business comes with its own special difficulties, so getting the right help at the right time can make this process far easier.

Broadly speaking, support services will involve: Financial, advisory and overall mediation services.

Finance

It’s very important to have all your finances in place before attempting to buy any business. Sellers will be keen to know not only that you wish to purchase the business, they will also need firm reassurance that you have the necessary means in place to go ahead and complete the transaction.

The Development Bank of Wales is a specialist lender to businesses in Wales and can offer loan support in a number of different formats.

The Bank can support both B2B and B2C enterprises and, although it does lend to others, its particular focus is on micro to medium-size business needs.

Brokers

A broker’s expertise can be very helpful, especially if you feel intimidated by the entire purchase process.

They can guide and support you from start to finish. Your relationship with your broker will be vital to your success, so you should also spend time to ensure your broker understands precisely what you are looking for.

And it goes without saying that your broker should be someone you can get on with and trust completely to manage your investment on your behalf.

Advisory

In our modern age, finding an advisor can be done from the comfort of your own home. And thanks to the abundance of resources available, you will be able to find advice on trends and all kinds of sound investment for yourself. For example, Business Wales can offer business advice to prospective entrepreneurs.

Whatever route you choose, when it comes to helping you to develop business ideas and innovation, the enthusiastic help and support you will receive in Wales will always be second to none.

By Jo Thornley, Head of Brand and Partnerships at Dynamis. Joining in 2005 to co-ordinate PR and communications and produce editorial across all business brands. She earned her spurs managing the communications strategy and now creates and develops partnerships between BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com and likeminded companies.

 

British coastal path walking and guest house holidays

In 2020 England’s 2,800 mile coastal path is set to open, offering ramblers, hikers and walkers access to one of the world’s longest walking routes.

And for B&B and guest house owners, securing hospitality finance to invest in a B&B next to a coastal path can be a shrewd move.

Whilst most people won’t have the time to take on the full coastal path in one go, there’s nothing to stop them from taking on sections of the English coastal path and enjoying some of the most spectacular views that nature has to offer.

Top 6 coastal path sections for walkers and hikers already open to the public

  1. Rock to Polzeath: North Cornwall

This 1 hour stretch of English coastline can be accessed from the slipway beside the sailing club in Rock Village and will take you past boats bobbing in the estuary, beaches perfect for picnic stops, and clifftops where you can watch surfers catch waves at Polzeath.

  1. Burnham Overy to Holkham beach: Norfolk

This walk starts at the Drove in Burnham Deepdale and is signposted by black and white National Trail acorns which guide you along flood banks, beside a small harbour and along one of Norfolk’s most spectacular beaches, used for the filming of ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

  1. Sea Palling to Weybourne

If you fancy more of a challenge, you could take on the 25-mile section between Sea Palling and Weybourne. An established part of the Norfolk Coast path, and one of England’s 15 National Trails, it’s renowned for its dramatic landscapes.

  1. Robin Hood’s Bay to Boggle Hole

This North Yorkshire stretch is scattered with fossils, and cliffs peppered with caves where folklore says mysterious goblins called Boggles hide. Pop into the Old Coastguard Station at Robin Hood’s Bay to learn about the area’s secret history of smuggling.

  1. Marloes Peninsula Coastal Walk

You can’t talk about the great walking trails of the British coastline without talking about the Pembrokeshire coastline with its seals, porpoises and Iron Age forts. A National Trust trail, the Marloes Peninsula Coastal Walk starts at the Marloes Sands car park.

  1. Isle of Staff

For something a little more remote, the The Isle of Staff coastal walk in Scotland takes you around an island known for fantastical and dramatic basalt columns. At 30 minutes, it’s a short walk, but what it lacks in distance, it more than makes up for in experience, with dolphins, porpoises, puffin colonies and more. However, this isn’t a walk for those unsteady on their feet.

So, if you’re thinking of experiencing the spectacular coastline of Britain for yourself, why not find a B&B to base yourself, or even a series of B&Bs throughout the route?

If you’re looking to open a B&B, finding the perfect location just a short distance from the coastal path can certainly be a draw for potential guests. Stewart Hindley can help you find the right hospitality finance to be able to invest in your dream guest house.

Top tips on how to make your B&B dog friendly

With concerns about the economy, flight delays and not wanting to leave beloved pets behind, it seems that more people are choosing to stay in the UK for their holidays. And according to a survey by Natural England, more of us are spending time in the great outdoors than ever before.

For B&B owners there are ample opportunities to take advantage of this rise in staycations and offer guests something special.

Across the UK, walking holidays where you can take your dog with you, are becoming increasingly popular. It’s understandable when we have such amazing places to enjoy; Cumbria, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, to name but a few, all offering nature lovers and their pets some fantastic rambles.

So, as a B&B owner here are some top tips on how to attract guests and their furry friends.

  • Offer your four-legged guests treats. Why not offer a breakfast menu for pets? It could just be some dried or canned food, but it means their owners don’t have to bring food with them. Or, you could link up with a pet food delivery company and give your guests the choice to pre-order.
  • Somewhere special to stay. Offering pets somewhere special to sleep could give your B&B an advantage over one down the road. Consider creating add-on packages where your guests can choose different dog bed sizes, special treats or their very own door to the garden.
  • Creating new rooms. You may decide to attract walkers and their dogs by extending or altering some of the downstairs accommodation in your B&B. Adding patio doors that open on to the outside space transforms a room into a dog friendly environment, making it more relaxing for both the pets and their owners.
  • Play area for dogs. If your B&B has the space you could offer both an inside and outside play area. The sun doesn’t always shine on UK walking holidays so an indoor play space could be perfect for dogs to let off steam before they venture outside.
  • Local knowledge. As a local B&B owner you may know of secret dog friendly beaches or pubs that welcome pooches, so let your guests know. You could also have leaflets and brochures available to guests who want to do their own research.
  • Dog sitting service. Your guests may want to eat out in the evening at restaurants that aren’t dog friendly. Consider offering a sitting service for dogs at an extra cost.

Stewart Hindley has been helping B&Bs and boutique hotels to find and secure the right hospitality finance package for their business for more than 13 years. If you’d like to discuss your hospitality finance requirements, give us a call today on 01488 393046.

The best B&B in the world and it’s in the English Riviera

Basil Fawlty and his English Riviera hotel was a source of much laughter for many years, but ‘The 25 Boutique’ B&B in Torquay has called time on the joke, as it’s announced The Best B&B in the World by TripAdvisor in its annual Travellers’ Choice Awards.

The truth is, ‘The 25 Boutique’ B&B is one of a number of English Riviera B&Bs that are changing the way people see the hospitality industry in the English Riviera.

The 25 Boutique B&B opened in 2017 and boasts just 6 rooms, all stylishly decorated, and yours for a night for just £125.

The B&B has an unblemished 5* record on Trip Advisor and has received rave reviews from guests for their homemade yoghurts, biscuits and cakes, Elemis toiletries and unique features in some of the rooms such as a slipper bath and mood lighting.

Owners Andy and Julian Banner-Price cut their teeth running a country house hotel in Wales for seven years before opening ‘The 25 Boutique’ B&B in 2017 after extensive renovation work.

Since opening, they’ve notched up awards including Gold for the ‘Best B&B in Devon’, 2017 and Silver for the ‘Best B&B in England’, 2018. Last year, they were voted the 9th Best B&B in the world before going on to take the number one spot this year.

We featured another of these new style B&Bs popping up in the English Riviera that are redefining B&B vacations, Blenheim House, back in June of last year.

The Other 9 B&BS around the world that have made the TripAdvisor list are:

  1. Jail Hill Inn, Galena, Illinois, USA
  2. Bindon Bottom B&B, West Lulworth, UK
  3. The Grange Bed and Breakfast, Fylingthorpe, UK
  4. Swallows Rest Bed & Breakfast, Brigstock, UK
  5. The Parsonage Bed and Breakfast, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, USA
  6. Hillstone Lodge, Colbost, UK
  7. B&B Mondello Design, Sicily, Italy
  8. Creevagh Heights, Carrowmore-Lacken, Ireland
  9. Casa Da Praia, Candolim, Goa, India

There are also a number of other categories in the awards, with UK properties coming up top.

If you’re interested in owning a B&B and need some help to find the right finance to make your plans a reality, call Stewart Hindley on 01488 393044. Specialists in hospitality finance, our teams will set you on the right track to finding and securing the right B&B finance for your business.

How will Brexit affect B&B businesses?

We may be tossing and turning at night, trying to recall what last-minute Christmas gifts we need to purchase, but one person is definitely getting less sleep than us. As Teresa May continues to burn the candle at both ends with ongoing Brexit negotiations, we are left wondering how our extraction from the EU is likely to impact our business.

In recent years we’ve seen a steady growth of tourists to the UK, and Visit Britain expect us to have welcomed 41.7 million visitors to our shores by the end of this year – 19.6million of whom were from the EU.

It isn’t just the number of visitors to the UK that have increased either. The amount they are spending has surged too, with an anticipated jump of £1.8bn in total spend between 2017 to 2018.

This week it has been announced that, following Brexit, there will be a charge for UK citizens to get into EU countries from 2020, but will there be a reciprocal fee for those entering the UK?

And is it possible that this additional cost will be enough of a deterrent that Brits will be increasingly inclined towards booking themselves a staycation?

The uncertainty that we face around Brexit at present isn’t all bad. The low value of the pound means that now is a great time for tourists wanting to visit the UK.

In 2014, Brits spent around £19.76 billion travelling in the EU. As holidaying abroad becomes more uncertain with the potential for travel chaos as borders transition, and the poor value of the pound increases the likelihood of Brits opting to stay in the UK, it’s forgivable to feel a pang of excitement at even a portion of this being spent here in the UK.

It isn’t all about tourism though. There are considerations that stretch this. For example, many B&B businesses and hotels rely on European staff for essential day-to-day operations. With the potential for restrictions being placed on the free movement of people, the industry could be impacted by a shallower recruitment pool or a lack of applicants with the right skill sets.

However, over the coming months, we will gain a clearer view on how the post-Brexit world is likely to look. Until then, we should make the most of the opportunities that present themselves right now.

If making the most of these opportunities means freeing up capital to invest in your business, speak to one of our team about how hospitality finance could help. From ensuring you have the right documents in place to give yourself the best chance of remortgaging or refinancing to secure funding, to finding the right finance solution for you, our specialists are here to help so call us today on 01488 684834.

How a B&B Commercial Mortgage makes good financial sense for your B&B business

With New Year around the corner, many of us start to think about what we want out of the year ahead.

The prospect of being your own boss and running a lifestyle business from home definitely has its appeal and a B&B Commercial Mortgage can help you to make that dream a reality.

New Year offers a new start, a chance to take the first step towards achieving those dreams and creating the life that you want. Whether you’re looking for freedom from office politics, or whether you’ve always dreamed about being the hostess with the mostess and creating a welcoming environment in your home for tourists and holiday makers, or whether you just want another income stream, a B&B could be exactly what you are looking for to take control of your own lifestyle and work from home.

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is B&B Commercial Mortgage finance. You’ll need capital to invest, but it’s likely that beyond a deposit, you’ll need B&B finance to bridge the gap.

Why B&B Finance?

If you’ve already got a mortgage on your existing home and you’re planning to borrow against it, you may want to reconsider. Using a standard residential home mortgage can lead to your mortgage debt being called in early if you are making an income from letting rooms in your property.

If your mortgage debt is called in early, you’re then faced with a challenge – either find alternative B&B Finance at VERY short notice or lose your home and your livelihood.

Other reasons you might need B&B Finance

Perhaps you already have a B&B that you don’t feel fulfills its potential. Sometimes a small cash injection is just what you need to be able to create the business you want, or to open up new opportunities with what you have.

Often a B&B Commercial Mortgage provider will take into consideration your plans for the business, delivering greater potential benefits at a lower rate than a standard credit card or bank loan might do.

Stewart Hindley & Partners are hospitality finance specialists that can help you find the hospitality finance you need to build the business you’ve always wanted. For more information on how you could benefit from hospitality finance, or to find out how you could raise finance for your hospitality business, contact Stewart Hindley & Partners on 01488 393049.

Why being passionate about local produce could boost your business

If you run an independent boutique hotel or a B&B, you want to stand out from the crowd.

You may not have the advertising budget of a large hotel chain but there are ways you can make sure your guests recommend you and return themselves. It’s not just about greeting them with a welcoming smile, and making sure their rooms are spotlessly clean or serving up delicious meals, there are some things closer to home you can do to boost your business and give your guests an experience they won’t forget.

Here are our top tips:

  • Give your guests a sense of place: Whether your business is based in the countryside, town or city, give your guests a sense of place by using products made locally. It won’t cost you much more than buying big brands, but it shows you care about the area you live in.
  • Buy local fresh seasonal produce: Offer your guests local ingredients in their meals and tell them where it’s all from on the menu. You can offer local eggs, meat, vegetables, cheese, bread, jams, cakes, honey…the list is endless.
  • Buy handmade products: Just like food, you can source locally made products for your guests, such as soap, bubble bath, chocolate, beer, wine and soft drinks.

How to source your new ingredients:

  • First of all, check the internet for local outlets like farm shops. Farmers markets are all about locally grown products and are held regularly in most areas. You also usually meet the person who reared the cow, or made the cake, or produced the cheese. It gives you a great opportunity to talk to them about using their product and starting a business relationship.
  • Go micro: There are lots of smaller companies brewing beer and producing wine. Go along and visit them and see for yourself what they offer.
  • Partnerships: If you decide to serve beer from a micro-brewery or cheese from a local dairy, you could consider teaming up with them to offer your guests free tours.

Finally, make sure you shout about what you do. Tell your guests on your website, in the welcome pack, on the menus, and on your brochures, about your links with local producers. It will make you stand out from the crowd!

The Stewart Hindley Partnership are specialists in securing hospitality finance to enable you to set up your own B&B or boutique hotel. So, if you’re ready to invest in your B &B or if you’ve decided it’s time to pursue that dream, give us a call on 01488 393040 and speak to one of our advisors about your hospitality finance or B&B finance requirements.