Guest House Success – Ultimate Guest Checklist
A guest house is different from a hotel. It’s most often a separate, free-standing structure that you rent to a person. They are on their own when it comes to meal preparation, and the house feels more like a home.
So, if you’re thinking about owning and operating a guest house, what can you do to ensure your guest house success?
While it may seem easy enough to convert a home to a guest house, it does take some work to ensure its success. You want to think about research, planning, management of the guest house, and marketing.
In this article, we’ve got the ultimate guest checklist prepared for you.
Decide on Your Level of Investment
For this step on your checklist, you want to think about the type of investment you’d like to make.
Are you going to rent out your guest house part of the year and live in the rest of the year?
Or, would you like to purchase a separate house to rent out?
Perhaps you have some land and want to build several guests houses on your property, while you live in the main house.
Once you’ve decided on your level of investment, you’ve taken the first big step.
Choose Your Location
This might be easy because you already have a house you want to use as your guest house.
But, if you don’t, you want to choose your location carefully. This often involves careful research into different areas of town.
In addition, you want to consider your overall goal and vibe. For example, do you want a guest house that appeals to families? Or, are you looking to appeal to the business traveler? Or, is a guest house for couples more what you’re looking for?
You also want to consider your local. Do you want a guest house in town or out in the country? Are there local attractions you want to stay close to?
Really think about the audience you’re appealing to when choosing your location. You might consider an out of the way guest house that is small and quaint if you’re looking to appeal to couples. Yet, if it’s the family you want to attract, you’re looking at a larger location that is close to activities.
Do Your Research
Before inviting guests to your guest house, you want to do thorough research of the competition. This is going to help you price your house accordingly and provide the right amenities to compete.
Research your competition in the following areas:
- Proximity to local attractions and amenities.
- The total occupancy of their lodging.
- The type of clientele they appeal to.
- Their average occupancy rates.
- The amenities they offer. They might offer none, but you want to know this, too. For example, if they offer none, you might offer free coffee, bottled water and soda, or even a light breakfast.
- Room rates – this is key, especially if you are offering something comparable.
- Their online reviews.
- What travel sites they are listed on. Check Airbnb, VRBO, TripAdvisor, and others.
- How many employees they have.
- The location of their properties.
Learn About Licensing
When running a guest house, you most likely need permits and a business license. Do check with your local city or county government to learn what kind of license you’ll need.
Plan of Financial Expenditures
Before you can price your lodging, you’ll need to know a few things so you can factor in the overall cost of your guest house per night:
- Room rates of your competitors.
- What you’ll pay for licensing, property tax, other taxes, legal needs, and insurance.
- Whether you need to do any construction to meet any regulations.
- The cost of home improvements, décor, and things like pots, pans, dishes, linens, etc.
- Monthly rates for Wi-Fi, TV, electricity, cleaning, maintenance, trash, water, security, and more.
- Your salary and that of any other staff you might pay.
Once you have a grasp of these overall costs, you can better figure out your per night and per week rates.
Plan Your Outdoor Décor
Once you’ve gotten the initial details out of the way and have a guest house, it’s really time to consider your customers.
The overall impression of your guest house coupled with your customer service is what’s going to garner you repeat business, good online reviews, and positive word of mouth.
Remember that one bad review can really hurt your guest house revenue. According to one study, just one negative review can lose you up to 30 customers.
The first thing to consider is the upkeep and décor of the outside of your guest house. First impressions are so important, and if your exterior is uninviting, you can bet your guests won’t feel comfortable.
Think about your entry way, your garden and lawn areas, as well as your overall paint job.
Develop Your Indoor Décor
When it comes to the inside of your guest house, it should fit with your overall theme. For example, you might have modern decor, an industrial vibe, romantic floral, rustic cabin, mountain theme, or something else. The ideas are endless.
Whatever you decide on for a theme, stick to it throughout the guest house.
You also want to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness because this matters above all other things for your guests. Hire a company that is very detailed to clean your property.
Your guest house should sparkle with a clean kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and common areas. You also want to supply the nicest bedding and towels you can afford.
Consider going one step further and leaving robes and slippers for your guests. This adds a nice touch. You can also add some vases with flowers in the kitchen and bedrooms.
Take it another step and leave some fresh baked cookies along with a welcoming note in the kitchen for your lodgers.
Customer service should be your top priority. It is what will gain you those positive online reviews and garner you new bookings.
Your customer service is essential. While your guests don’t want you around all the time, they do want to be able to reach you if problems arise, if they have questions, or even if they want to know where to eat. (tweet this)
Consider providing some tourist type information for them in the guest house. This might include the typical tourist attractions but could include some of the things only locals know about.
Going the extra mile for your guest house customers is vital to your success and overall marketing.
The last thing you want to consider in your ultimate guest checklist is how you’ll get the word out about your new guest house.
You have many avenues including local travel sites. But to really drive business, you want a strong digital presence. This means including the following in your marketing strategy:
- A strong mobile-friendly website with a booking system, professional photos, online reviews, and great user experience.
- An email marketing list.
- Social media presence – consider starting with Facebook first. You can then start to add others such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You don’t have to be on all of them, so in the beginning, pick the one where your potential customers are.
- Continue to engage with your customers, offering them specials, news, and events in your area.
Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll soon notice your guest house success is on the rise.
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