Set up a B&B in Malton and Achieve a Work-Life Balance
A massive shortfall in holiday and short break accommodation in the Malton area is a huge opportunity for budding B&B operators, says the company behind the Food Festivals and Malton Monthly Food Markets.
Fitzwilliam Malton Estate is keen to boost the numbers of Bed & Breakfast establishments in Malton so that local people can make the most of the opportunity provided by visitors wanting to stay locally for the growing number of high quality events in Malton. From the annual Food Lovers Festival, the new Malton Festival of Cycling to the Ryedale Book Festival, there’s a packed calendar of events planned for 2015 and beyond. With spring around the corner, there’s never been a better time to set up top quality tourism accommodation in the market town
In a bid to inspire would-be B&B owners, Karen Garrett of Brawby Grange, near Great Barugh, Malton, opened the doors of her own successful B&B business so likeminded ‘entrepreneurs’ can learn the ‘tricks of the trade’.
Karen, who runs the two-bed B&B in the heart of the Ryedale countryside, started her business five years ago, which also includes camping pitches for touring caravans. Karen has a recruitment, sales and marketing background and decided to set up Brawby Grange to help sustain a work/life balance.
Karen said: “I enjoy meeting people and given our wonderful location, it seemed the right choice to set up a high quality B&B. It meant I could work from home and my husband could also run his business from our premises, so the long commute I used to have was a thing of the past!”
With a good percentage of return visitors, Karen promotes the area, and with Karen being born and bred in Ryedale, she knows the value of the attractions in the area.
Karen said: “Being a B&B owner has huge benefits. It’s very rewarding, and a very pleasurable way to make a living. You are welcoming people under your roof, so you have to be sociable, but at the same know when to ‘hold back’.
“Prospective B&B owners should be aware, though, that running a B&B is a lifestyle choice. You can’t just nip off to York for the day, for example; you do need to be available to meet and greet and be prepared for anything to go wrong, from faulty showers to a blocked loo!”
To help prospective B&B owners, Karen has come up with some key pointers to help set up the perfect business from home:
- B&B guests now expect a high quality hotel experience. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see what you would expect from your stay.
- Keep up with market demands and trends for bedding, fixtures and fittings, technology.
- Taste-test and research breakfast items – bacon, sausage, egg and the rest. Also have plenty of dummy runs with serving breakfast.
- Have a couple of ‘soft stays’ – either stay as a guest yourself, or get a friend or member of the family to book a night – and ask them to be honest with their feedback!
- Ensure your website is up to scratch – good images, clear tariffs, easy-to-find directions, use key words to help with Google listings.
- Decide your USP – is it location, boutique décor, family-orientated?
Karen also suggests keeping an eye on TripAdvisor reviews, and Karen sent over an example of a review:
“This time I stayed here with my daughter and 3 grandchildren in ‘The Big Bedroom’. The room is HUGE which was great for the children. There’s a super king size bed and 2 singles all made up to Karen’s very high standard, ample storage, tea, coffee etc and a little fridge for fresh milk which Karen replaced each day. There was even a charger for my iPad besides lots of other gizmos!
There is a lovely shower room and a body dryer which was very efficient, although plenty of fluffy towels are also provided.
“Breakfast was very, very good. Cereals, fruit, full English, using local produce, (there’s a menu in your room as Karen cooks your breakfast to order) toast etc and plenty of tea and fresh coffee.
We were made very welcome by Karen and Glenn and thank you to Zoe for her kindness to the children and our pretty bracelets. Looking forward to our next visit.”
Karen, who is currently preparing for the 2015 season by redecorating the bedrooms, said in conclusion: “Running your own B&B can be a very positive and enjoyable way of making a living literally on your doorstep. Providing you do it well, it’s well worth the effort and investment, and would be an ideal addition to the existing businesses in Malton.”