Why attend a B&B Academy course?
When I first set up B&B academy in 2006, I was one of only a few people or companies offering B&B training. Since then an increasing number of people have set up B&B training and consultancy, a few of whom have attended my courses 😉
So, with an increasing amount of choice out there, why attend a B&B Academy course?
To get the most out of the course, it’s important that you choose the training that feels right for you. I suggest you look through the training school’s website and social media to get a feel for what training they offer and how it will be delivered.
As far as B&B Academy is concerned, I’ve written some points below, which may help you decide whether or not my training course is right for you.
Why do B&B training at all?
This is a question quite a few people ask. Surely running a B&B isn’t that difficult and isn’t all the information out there on the internet anyway?
Maybe a few years ago, it would have been the case that you could just tidy up your spare room, order in some extra sausages and put a sign up outside and you were done. But, unfortunately, running a B&B is a bit more complicated these days.
There’s an increasing amount of legislation that applies to B&Bs, even if you’re only running a one room B&B for a few months of the year. There’s always been a bit of an urban myth that if you’re 3 rooms or under, none of the legislation applies to you. This isn’t there case at all. Things may get a bit more complicated with a larger building but you still need to be aware of rules apply to you. For example. there’s fire risk assessments, licenses for entertainment, licenses for picking guests up or dropping them off, legislation about food hygiene, food allergies, intolerances, alcohol licensing, data protection…..and the list goes on.
B&Bs guests are expecting much more that ever before. For example, WiFi used to be a nice to have, now it’s as essential for the majority of guests as heating and running water. The line between hotels and B&Bs is getting blurred. And gone are the days of cash in hand, most guests will expect to be able to pay by credit card.
The ever changing face of B&B marketing
How to get people to hear about you and choose to stay at your B&B can be a bit of a minefield these days. The way you market a B&B has changed beyond recognition since I first set up my B&B in 2004. Back then I was the only B&B in the area with online availability. Now now over 75% of people will choose not to book with you if your website doesn’t offer instant online booking.
The online travel agencies such as bookingdotcom have changed the way people find B&B rooms and now you’ve got AirBnB too. And of course there’s social media.
Another huge change is the rise of review sites such as TripAdvisor. In the good old days, the hotel assessor would visit once a year and you’d scrub and clean, put on your best outfit, treat them like royalty and hope you kept your rating. Now, every single guest who stays is assessing you and may leave a review which could be very damaging to your business.
But isn’t all this information out there on the internet
Yes it probably is. But what a good course will do is provide you with a framework so you don’t miss anything out. One thing course attendees always say to me is “We hadn’t even thought to ask that question or considered xxxx was something we needed to know about” It’s also invaluable to be able to ask questions of someone who is actually running a B&B themselves.
So why consider B&B academy and my ( Karen’s ) course?
I’ve been running a B&B since 2004 so have a wealth of experience in dealing with issues and guests over the years. I’m happy to admit I’ve made a lot of mistakes and had lots of mishaps along the way, and I’m keen to share those mistakes with you as potential B&B owners, in the hope it will stop you making the same errors!
You could argue that someone who has only just started a B&B may be better to run a course and there is something in that. They’ve only just gone through the process so it will all be fresher in their minds. It’s been a long time since I set up my B&B, but, as well as over 14 years worth of experience, what I’ve done is set up and manage an amazing online network of B&B owners and potential B&B owners. I’m looking in on this group on a daily basis and keeping an eye on the issues that people are running into and the solutions other people are offering, so I’m constantly keeping up to date with the issues facing new B&B owners.
Before I dropped my star rating, I was rated as 5 star gold award B&B and I do consistently well on Tripadvisor. So my guests ( and the hotel inspector ) think that I’m pretty good at running a B&B. In April of this year 100% of my guests were repeat visitors. Though even after 14 years my inner chimp is constantly criticising me, so I never get complacent!
Not everyone wants to run a 5 star B&B and that’s absolutely right. We need a mix of quality, price levels and standards of B&Bs to suit different guests. And it’s something we look at on the course, ensuring you know your market and are pitching your B&B at the right level. But I do know what it takes to achieve the highest level
I hold the courses at the B&B, so you get to see first hand what a B&B looks like and the behind the scenes of how it all works. I don’t have guests staying whilst I run the courses, and the phone is left to go to voicemail, so we aren’t disturbed by the daily runnings of the business. Though the odd course has been interrupted by some pretty noisy chickens and the odd Jehovah’s witness.
Before I set up the B&B I worked as manager for BA in the IT department. One of the roles I took on there was training and facilitation, so I have been trained in and have experience of running many different types of training, working with many hundreds of different people. I’ve also run other training courses since I’ve left BA
I have a bit of an admission in that I LOVE the marketing side of my business. It’s up there with cooking and welcoming my lovely guests ( I don’t like cleaning or early mornings ). So I’ve kept up to date with the changes in marketing and technology over the years. People tell me I use social media very well, and even if you hate the idea of social media right now, you do need to use it in business these days. I do most of marketing myself.
B&B Academy Alumni Community
Becoming a member of the B&B Academy alumni community is one of the great advantages of coming on my course. It’s got 160+ ( and always growing ) members, comprising mostly of people who have been on my course, with a few very experienced B&B friends. There are people there at all stages of owning or setting up and buying a B&B and it’s just amazing. Everyone just wants to help and I don’t think a question has gone unanswered yet.
I don’t take myself too seriously
I really believe that life should be fun and joyous, and running a B&B should be fun and joyous. Whilst it’s very important for me to remain professional and ensure everyone is getting the most out of their weekend, the courses are fun and relaxed. I don’t take myself too seriously and am more than happy to poke fun at myself and my B&B bloopers. Most people leave having had a great, enjoyable, relaxed weekend and having learned a lot!
I’m always learning
It would be far too easy for me to get complacent when I’ve been running both a successful B&B and popular courses for so many years, but I’m always looking for new things to learn that will help improve my B&B or help the people who come on my courses.
I do my best to keep up to date with all the latest legislation and, where it gets a bit complicated, like GDPR and the changes to data protection, try to translate that into something meaningful for B&Bs.
I’m also currently signed up for an intensive online business school and am using my learning on that to refine my courses.
So what next?
If you want to book on my course then have a look at the available dates on the right of the page. I usually run a course once a month.
I do recommend that you attend the course as early in the process of setting up or buying a B&B as possible, Some people attend the training as a way of deciding whether a B&B is right for them or not.
If you still more information please drop me an email.
I hope to meet some of you soon!