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

What do I need to legally open a guesthouse?

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 rooms in the guesthouse

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.

How to 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.

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.

Historic houses and cultural cities: why tourists love the UK

Inbound and domestic tourism is on the up in the UK. More people are visiting from overseas and more residents are choosing a staycation over a trip abroad.

According to VisitBritain, 2017 set a record for inbound tourism with 39.2 million visits, and British residents took 47.2 million holiday trips in the UK last year.

So what’s attracting overseas visitors and what’s keeping us Brits here? Is it the beautiful landscapes, the quintessential British pub or our cultural cities?

Here’s some interesting facts which may or may not surprise you from VisitBritain:

1) Visitors love our historic properties, such as houses, palaces, mills, monuments and boats. Visits to these attractions were up by 8%.

2) The British Museum was the most visited ‘free’ attraction for the 10th consecutive year with nearly six million visitors.

3) The Tower of London topped the list as the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction for the ninth year running with 2.8 million visitors. Chester Zoo came second with 1.9 million visitors and 1.58 million people walked around the famous prehistoric monument and cultural heritage attraction, Stonehenge, last year.

4) More people are getting closer to nature visiting farm attractions. Visitor numbers to these family friendly locations are up by 5%.

5) More Brits are taking short breaks of 1-3 nights which accounts for two-thirds of English holidays and is worth £19 billion to the economy. But, according to the stats, we’re visiting our friends and relatives less.

6) 14.2 million overnight business trips were taken last year in England. That’s the same as the year before.

7) Overseas tourists are spending on average £625 per visit. That’s up from £599 from the previous year.

8) Last year nearly two-in-five inbound visits to the UK were for a holiday (39%), whilst a quarter (22%) were for business.

9) The top three countries visiting the UK are France, the USA and Germany.

10) Last year 76% of visitors reached the UK by air. The rest travelled by ferry or the Channel Tunnel.

11)  Interestingly, visitors who fly tend to spend more when they get here.

12) Tourism is worth £106 billion annually to England.

With beautiful beaches, cultural cities and historic houses, the UK has so much to offer both overseas and resident holiday makers. What’s on your doorstep that could be enticing more visitors to stay with you?

Stewart Hindley has been helping B&Bs and boutique hotels to 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.


Up and coming UK holiday destinations

When considering setting up a B&B or a boutique hotel, it can be disheartening if you aren’t in popular UK holiday destinations.

However, as the cost of holidays in Europe and further afield rises, Brits are finding new places to visit right here in the UK. This is opening up all sorts of opportunities for people thinking of setting up a B&B, boutique hotel, or glamping site.

  1. Lake District

What better escape from the 24/7 chaos of our always-on-world than a retreat in the timeless and unspoilt rolling landscapes of the Lake District. Whilst some areas have been UK holiday destinations for many years, other areas are more untouched, more beautiful. The western lakes such as Wast Water are not only some of the quieter more unspoilt parts of the Lake District, they are also without a doubt some of the most beautiful too.

  1. Huntstanton

Norfolk may not be the first place that springs to mind when looking for a UK holiday destination, however, with over 125 miles of navigable, lock free waterways, interspersed with idyllic market towns and attractions such as Bewilderwood, B&Bs in Norfolk are being seen in a whole new light as tourists realise the area has something for every member of the family.

  1. Lee-on-Solent

Lee-on-Solent is often overlooked in favour of more traditional South Coast tourist haunts such as Brighton and Bournemouth, but Lee-on-Solent offers great value for money whilst also being a stone’s throw from Gun Wharf Quays, Portsmouth Historic Docklands and some spectacular beaches and headlands. This makes it a great place to base yourself if you are looking at setting up a B&B that can offer guests opportunities to make the most of the sun and coastline, with shopping and attractions close by for those rainy days.

  1. Fife

Fife in Scotland is almost unbeaten for scenery. It’s great for discovering the array of castles and exploring the Jacobite trail whilst soaking up the nature and rural beauty that Fife has become renowned for.

  1. Camber, East Sussex

Often missing out on consideration as a tourist destination to big brother Brighton, Camber isn’t always the most obvious UK holiday destination, but with the beautiful Camber Sands, idyllic for kite surfing and playing in sand dunes and just a short walk from the quaint and picturesque village of Rye, it certainly should be.

  1. Cotswolds

Miles from the sea, it’s easy to overlook the Cotswolds for holiday opportunities but with beautiful Cotswold stone villages, lakes offering all manner of water sports, endless walks and the unique market towns of Burford and Bourton-on-Water, the Cotswolds are the perfect place for family holidays in the UK.

So, if you’ve been considering setting up a B&B or a boutique hotel and you happen to live in or near one of these areas, maybe now is the time to start turning those dreams into a reality. Our hospitality finance specialists are available to discuss finance options suited to you, and will help you to get started with the investment you need to get your B&B or boutique hotel off the ground. To speak to one of our B&B finance specialists please call us on 01488 393046.

5 Ways to help your B&B guests enjoy rainy day holidays in the UK

The British weather is one thing that can make or break your guests’ stay that you have no control over. However, if you can weatherproof their holiday, not only are you more likely to benefit from referrals, but you’re also more likely to be welcoming them back for return visits.

Weatherproofing your B&B experience also has the added bonus of extending your season, spreading demand throughout the year. But what can you do to weatherproof your guests’ stay?

1.      Ensure your B&B guests are equipped for bad weather

Whilst jokes are about UK holidays being the only holidays that require swimsuits, rain coats, shorts and woolly jumpers, packing limitations sometimes mean that’s just not possible.

Make sure your guests have the essentials to get out and about when it’s teeming down outside.

Chewton Glen provide a pair of wellies for guests wanting to take a stroll around the grounds in inclement weather, whilst many hotels and B&B’s have a selection of large golf umbrellas to keep guests dry.

2.      Keep the kids entertained when it’s rainy

There’s nothing worse than children getting bored and climbing the walls when you’re stuck indoors, but rainy days can be a great opportunity for families to bond and to discover new (or forgotten) pastimes.

Have a small library of children’s books, board games and card games that families can enjoy together, like Gwel an Mor in Cornwall. Depending on your guest demographic (and the space you have available), you may choose to set up a games room with a games console.

3.      Invest in indoor appeal for days when the great outdoors doesn’t appeal

By giving your guests opportunities to make the most of a rainy day, you can turn even the wettest of days into a fun memory. We can help you find hospitality finance solutions to make your spaces special and create features for your hotel or B&B that can really help to extend your busy season. Clydey Cottages in Wales had enough space to build an indoor pool and soft play area, so when the clouds roll in, their guests don’t have to turn in.

4.      Help your guests find rainy day alternatives

Even if you can’t create a rainy day appeal at your B&B or boutique hotel, you can still help your guests out. Keep a variety of leaflets available for guests that include things to do on rainy days. Aquariums, museums and local swimming pools can all be great ways to spend a few hours doing something you wouldn’t normally do at home, so help your guests find things they will enjoy.

5.      Make every moment memorable – even the soggy ones

There’s nothing better than returning from a cold, wet outdoors to a warm fire, a hot drink and cosy blankets to snuggle into.

Provide drying facilities for coats and boots. This will reduce the risk of water and mud from being traipsed through your rooms, and your guests will appreciate taking home dry clothes, rather than plastic bags full of damp, smelly clothing.

If you are looking for investment to extend the appeal of your B&B or hotel, and help guests to make the most of every day of their stay, speak to one of our hospitality finance experts on 01488 393040 to find out how hospitality finance can help you find the funds to invest to give year-round appeal to your B&B or boutique hotel business.

Why Boutique Bed and Breakfasts are Big Business

More and more luxury B&Bs are popping up all over the country. Whether it’s a Victorian seafront city break in Brighton or a rural countryside retreat in Cornwall, boutique B&Bs are fast becoming a strong competitor to larger hotels. Offering quirky and personal experiences for guests, these types of businesses are also a good choice for potential guest house and B&B owners.

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