In a recent blog post on the InnStyle website, I talked about how important it is to stay on top of your game. To stay in business, we need to pay attention to industry trends and be ready to adapt our business plan. And part of paying attention means participating in industry trade shows to view and purchase products, and attend conferences and seminars. These events are important because you can learn about new product innovations and find out what competitors are doing. For me, it also offers an opportunity to meet and greet customers and hear what they have to say about our industry, whether it’s their victories or their concerns. When we do this sort of networking, we come away with ideas for ways to help customers keep their properties fresh and inviting.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to keep your inn, B&B or vacation rental property that way.
Keeping a room up to date is not as difficult as it may sound. Some things are just basic, such as keeping the paint fresh and maintaining the plumbing. You can make other updates slowly, doing rooms at different times, depending on your budget and occupancy. If yours is a seasonal business, you can make changes when you shut down for the year.
These days, a lot of properties are choosing wood or faux-wood floors over carpeting, with an area rug to soften the room’s look. These rugs don’t need to be expensive, and are easy to clean.
It’s also important to update your linens. Bedding and window treatments — we’re referring to draperies or valances here — should be retired when they begin to lose their color and brightness.
We recommend using duvet inserts (solid comforters — down or down alternative) and duvet covers, as they can be washed on most properties. If you’re not a fan of duvets, coverlets and/or quilts are also easy to wash on site.
We’re seeing a lot of properties choose triple sheeting with a fitted sheet, flat sheet, blanket, flat sheet and then duvet and duvet cover, coverlet or quilt. I’ve also noticed that some properties (mostly the economy hotels), will not use the third sheet but will have the duvet cover next to the body instead.
Personally, I think that using the triple sheeting option is the best way to make the bed. It has a clean look, and the guest does not have to use the decorative bedding (coverlet quilt or duvet/cover) for warmth when sleeping. If using a duvet cover next to the guest’s body, you will have to wash the duvet each and every time the room turns.
We also recommend using pillow protectors and mattress pads, and washing and replacing them often. Your towels, washcloths and tub mats shouldn’t look faded or frayed either. Replace them as needed. It’s important to take a regular inventory of your linens. It shows your guests that details matter to you, and gives them peace of mind that they’re staying in a fresh, clean room.
Weddings, Lighting and Themed Rooms
Good lighting is another important convenience for guests. Many guests want to read in their rooms, so make sure there’s good lighting near the bed and a comfortable chair where they can enjoy their books. For many people, “reading” these days means using an electronic device, so it’s important to have the proper electrical outlets for them to charge their equipment.
I also want to say a word about themed rooms/events. It’s something many properties are trying to do to differentiate themselves, whether you’re catering to motorcyclists, craft beer lovers, tech geeks or organic foodies. Establishing your property as a place where couples can get married can be a huge boost to your business. Of course, you need to have enough space to host a wedding. It’s also something that will take a considerable amount of time and effort. But when you pull it off, you’ll not only earn some extra funds, you’ll help make a wonderful memory for the bride, groom and their guests. The same premise would be apply to a business meeting or conference. If you have the space to hold a meeting/conference and rooms for business people attending, it is another terrific revenue source. Who knows? The people who attend a conference at your facility might love it so much they come back with their significant others when it comes time to get married.
And isn’t that what you always want to do for everyone who comes to your inn, B&B or vacation rental property? Your goal should be to make their stay comfortable and memorable. By paying attention to both broader industry trends and the smaller details in this article, it’s a goal you can absolutely achieve.