Why Closing Her Bed and Breakfast was the right choice

One of my clients has just closed the doors on her B&B business.

For a while now, I’d been getting the feeling that her heart wasn’t in it anymore

So I wasn’t surprised when she sent me this

She’s given me permission to share with you

  1. Describe in detail what your life was like before you worked with me (be specific in terms of health, relationships, money, and give examples where possible)

I lacked insight. I had no knowledge of email and/or internet marketing. I also have, for the majority of my life, lacked self-confidence. Moving to France from the UK caused money problems, often felt we were working to pay everyone else, with very little left over.  Treading water sums it up well. The purchase of our house in Normandy was more a heart over head buy, but I felt we were meant to come and live here.  Great believer in fate and what will be will be. Very different from life in the UK having jobs and stable income, but we needed a change and we got that in bucket loads.

  1. What had you tried before and why did they not work? (List the programmes you took, the books you’ve read, the strategies and tactics you tried )

Signed up with all online travel agents in first year. Did a split between self-catering/gite and B&B. It worked out at a 55:45 split and carried on with that in the second year which was more B&B as opposed to S-C. In August 2014, we had a meeting with the head of tourism for Normandy who recommended listing with booking dot com as “that was the way the  business is going and everyone was listing with them and paying commission to get guests”, “it’s a sign of the times”, “ you need to be on there or you will not get any guests”, “reduce the price of your rooms to get guests to book”.

Sound familiar?

I did not know booking dot com existed until then and I was not convinced that it was the way to go as I could see that the option could easily become an “all your eggs in one basket” scenario. Things were going well in 2015 and we would have reached target, then my mother passed away in the UK. We honoured the bookings we had at that time and but blocked out a few prime weeks.

We hit the target anyway but it did not really mean anything to me at the time and still does not.

Previously, in early 2015 I had read Yvonne’s book, which I recommend anyone thinking of venturing into the B&B or hospitality business reads at the contemplation stage.

The advice and experience outlined in the book was very different from the advice I had earlier been given in 2014. 

I started working with Yvonne seriously on Bed and Breakfast Marketing Breakthrough Programme in August 2016 as the “all your eggs in one basket” scenario became a reality.  Booking had supplied all the bookings for the 2016 season and I found that my previous guests email list was tiny and with hindsight I had missed a lot of opportunities either by not realising to obtain or, subconsciously not wanting to obtain more details, from guests.

I can see the warning signs now  that maybe running a B&B business was not the way to go for me.

To cut a long story short, in May 2017, after coming off booking dot com with no guests of our own sourcing, we decided to call time on running a B&B.  It was not meant to be. I think you have to love your business as you have created it. People often refer to a business as their baby for that very reason.

I took over this one from someone else, and that I feel for me was the big difference; if I had created it, I would have moved heaven and earth to make it work; I would have had possession, ownership,  rather than feeling like a manager or caretaker.  I was dreading any guests booking and/or arriving and, fate being fate, no-one booked!  It was always going to be this way as my mindset really did not want any B&B guests.

  1. What specifically has changed now?  (please give full details about the way your life has changed, how you feel, in all areas of your life and give examples where possible)

I don’t run a B&B anymore! I feel so much better that the decision taken was the right one. As I say above, I never felt ownership of the business and I did not like it very much. I found the confidence in myself to admit that, I felt I had come as far as I could in this and Yvonne was not surprised at my decision.

The weight had definitely lifted, I listen more to myself now and trust my instincts more and they are usually right.

  1. What specifically made the difference (be specific about the change in the way you see things, think about things, deal with things and give examples where possible)

Having a good dose of self confidence injected into me.  I have learnt a lot from Yvonne about email marketing and yes, you do have to keep in contact with guests. I know my worth now. I have many new skills from building websites – I felt more proud of my website that I created than the business! SEO to knowing what to look for in a CRM/email marketing system, to name a few.

Yvonne is so right when she says the B&B business is not about hospitality, it’s about marketing and understanding how the power of the internet can be used to help/make your business flourish.

I have started to plan my new business. It will be done in a very different way from how I took over the old one. It will not be a B&B and I am planning it on paper before anything else. I have never been one to rush into things and usually give a decision a night’s sleep before a yes or no. I am glad I do that. I have respect for myself and confidence in myself.  I know that people will think I failed in my business, but to me the business was never mine in the first place.

Congratulations Jane.  It takes courage to call it a day.

Please do leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts

Yvonne x

how to run a bed and breakfast business






Yvonne Halling is the leading Consultant, Coach and Mentor for the small hospitality industry.  Could you use some experienced input in your business?  CLICK HERE to watch a 20 minute presentation on how it works