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.

6 of the most unusual B&Bs in the UK

They say that to set yourself apart from the competition you need to find a point of difference. A unique selling point. A niche. By creating unusual B&Bs, some owners do just that.

Here are some of the more unusual guest houses and B&Bs in the UK, where owners have really found their niche!

1. Want to feel at one with nature? Maybe an overnight stay that combines South American atmosphere with llamas and views over the spectacular Cumbrian countryside is for you? The Llama’s Pyjamas B&B is just 3 miles from Penrith and offers guests the chance to trek with llamas, experience animal handling and enjoy other animal activities whilst on holiday.

2. For those looking for something a little more flamboyant, consider a stay at The Witchery By The Castle in Edinburgh. Billed as the ultimate romantic bolt hole, it has just 9 suites decorated opulently in gothic style with large oak beds and 4-posters, velvet-lined walls and lavish red and gold décor.

3. Fancy sleeping in a bus shelter? I don’t mean that dirty one on the A3, but this luscious one in Gifford, East Lothian. The Bus Stop is set on a working farm. You can enjoy panoramic views whilst soaking in the hot tub, or gaze at the stars through the glass roof as you drift off to sleep. Although, with a small kitchen, maybe it shouldn’t really join our list of unusual B&Bs?

4. Incarceration doesn’t have to be a punishment. Well, maybe it did once, but now a stay in the Old Lock Up in Derbyshire offers B&B guests something a little bit different. Previously a magistrate’s house and before that a police station, the rooms are named after their earlier functions, such as ‘The Solicitor’s Room’ where lawyers could talk to their clients in private. Don’t worry though, a private bathroom has been installed in the adjacent cell, giving The Lock Up all the mod cons you could want in a good old-fashioned English B&B.

5. There are some unusual B&Bs in the South too, such as this restored Railway Station in Petworth, just 25 minutes from Chichester, where guests can stay in Edwardian Pullman Railway Carriages and enjoy breakfast in the Booking Hall.

6. If you’re not adverse to steps, then a country-chic stay in the converted Cley windmill B&B could be just what you need to blow those cobwebs away. Spectacular views over the coast and marshes can be enjoyed from the upper rooms.

7. If you’re one of the thousands of people that find water relaxing, maybe a stay on St Hilda, a tall ship in the waters of Tobermory Bay on the isle of Mull, would be the perfect space to allow the gentle waters to rock you to sleep as they lap against the hull of one of the smallest tall ships to ever compete in a Tall Ships race.

If you’re a B&B owner and are looking for funding to develop your niche, or if you have a wonderful idea to offer B&B guests something a little different, Stewart Hindley can help you find and secure the right hospitality finance package for your B&B. If you’d like to discuss your hospitality finance requirements, give us a call today on 01488 684834.

 

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.

Top 10 things to do in Wales in 2019

For a small country, Wales has a lot to offer.

In fact, there’s so much on offer in Wales that it’s easy to see why it’s the subject of so many songs, or the set of so many movies. The Welsh have even got their own word to describe the feeling of longing and nostalgia for their homeland – Hiraeth.

Here are our top 10 recommendations if you want to experience for yourself what makes Wales unforgettable.

  1. Discover the magic of Conwy Castle

An imposing C13th castle on the North Coast of Wales, Conwy Castle is said to be the most magnificent of Edward I’s Welsh fortresses and it’s easy to see why. With its fairytale turrets, imposing battlements and views across the sea, a visit to Conway Castle makes any stay in Wales unforgettable.

  1. Soak up spectacular scenery on Wales’ coastal path.

In 2012 the Welsh coastal path was connected, making it possible to walk all the way around Wales along the coastline, taking in the scenery of Welsh coastal landmarks such as Postmeridian, Cardigan Bay and the rural Gower Peninsula.

  1. Experience the feeling of flight with Europe’s longest zip line

If you feel the need for an adrenalin kick, Europe’s longest zip line ensures there’s more to Wales than picturesque villages and fishing harbours. A trip on Velocity 2 will take you over Penrhyn Quarry at speeds of up to 100mph. If that’s a bit too wild and crazy, you’ll find other, more sedate experiences such as a Quarry Tour or an underground trampoline park.

  1. Conquer a Mountain

Fancy a quieter challenge? A walk up Snowdon may be just the thing. There are six main routes up Snowdon so you can choose the one that best fits your ability. if you get to the top and don’t fancy the walk back down, you can hop on a train. Of the three highest peaks in the UK, Snowdon is said to be the most accessible.

  1. Visit the spectacular setting of Portmeirion

In 1925 welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis set out to create a development that, instead of being a blot on the landscape, enhanced it. He created Portmeirion which, renowned for its Italianate beauty, has served as the backdrop for many different TV dramas and even movies.

  1. Explore the oceans with wreck diving

You don’t often think of wreck diving when you think about Wales but, with some of the best wreck diving sites in the UK, maybe it’s time you did. With seals and Sea Fans at Skomer Marine Reserve, impressive trigger fish at the more sheltered Hens and Chicks, or a four-masted steam ship to explore at Anglesey, there’s plenty to see, whatever your experience level.

  1. Step back in time with Ffestiniog Railway

If you prefer to discover wales from a slightly drier vantage point, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways stretch for 40 miles through the glorious Snowdonia National Park. With children free and dogs welcome, or the opportunity to treat yourself to a first class experience, you can choose how you enjoy the magnificent scenery of Wales.

  1. Go underground at Dan-Yr-Ogof caves

Nestled in the heart of the Brecon Beacons are the Dan-Yr-Ogof caves. Actually, there are 3 caves; Dan-Yr-Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave. Each of these offers a unique underground experience that include enormous passageways and 40 feet high waterfalls that cascade around you in the ‘Dome of St Paul’s’, an atmospheric end to a truly wonderful cave.

  1. Paddle along the English and Welsh border in a canoe on the River Wye

Canoe down the fifth-longest river in the UK, through spectacular countryside. The river stretches 215 kilometres from its source on Plynlimon, mid Wales to the Severn estuary, largely along the Welsh English boarder. The Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Wye is important for nature conservation and recreation.

  1. Expand your horizons at the UK’s largest literary festival

If you’re into reading, the UK’s biggest literary festival that takes place in May each year in Hay on Wye on a country farm that welcomes 250, 000 avid readers and writers every year.

If you’ve read this and started to think about all of the exciting business opportunities for B&B businesses and hotel businesses in an area with so much to offer, give us a call on 01488 684834 and speak to one of our B&B finance advisors. They’ll be able to find the right hospitality loan for you and advise you on the best way to secure your B&B loan and get the business of your dreams off the ground.

 

 

 

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.

How Christmas can help you achieve year ‘round occupancy

Most B&B owners are dependent on hospitality finance or B&B finance to set up, grow or improve their business. The trouble is, hospitality finance needs to be repaid and to do that, B&B owners need to focus on ways to bring in new business all year around.

However, once the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, Brits tend to be much less interested in booking holidays or staycations, instead focused on hunkering down until Spring. However, there is one thing that can be used to draw Brits out of hiding and into your B&B or boutique hotel – Christmas.

Here are three Christmas activities that could help pull in bookings for your rooms.

Christmas Markets

People travel all around the UK to get a hit of that festive feeling, so, with a bit of planning B&B and boutique hotels in Bath, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Exeter, Cirencester and Winchester can tap into a whole new potential market for those colder months.

Christmas Shopping

If your B&B or hotel is based around cities and larger towns, Christmas shopping can be a great appeal for tourists. And not having to drive home at the end of a long day shopping can enable guests to get the most of their day out and allow them to enjoy a glass of wine over lunch or dinner. For extra helpings of festive fun, you could even team up with a local florist or craftsman and offer wreath or gift making workshops.

Christmas lights

If your B&B isn’t in London, Birmingham or another city renowned for its festive lights you could still capitalize on the Christmas months. Castles and stately homes often have Christmas lights, trails or tours, or maybe even a Christmas market evening where they make the most of their homes and gardens. By finding out when these are, you’ll be able to make the most of yours too!

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 B&B finance for your 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.