Cooking facilities in bed and breakfast

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  • Avatar
    Graham Fisher

    Oh you'll get used to the abuse over the years Contact - I find the most effective way of saying "No" when people ask to use the kitchen etc is to say your insurers will not allow such use - and smile sympathetically.  This way "you" are not to blame.  If people say the previous owners used to allow this... you are not with the same insurers.

    Either way - I doubt your insurers would cover liability if you allow guests to use a BBQ or your kitchen anyway!  As for raiding your laundry store - we have a lock and key on it!

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    Contact

    Thanks Graham yes I think I am going to have to do a lock on it from now on :( thanks for your comments.

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    Raymannering

    We have a small bed and breakfast we run in our own home. Guests can be awful. I had a review from one man complaining my bathroom cupboard was dirty. But the pipes had flooded it so we took the handles off so no one could open it. We have now screwed the door shut after we found it open again. As for cooking facilities it drives me mad. People pay a lower price for a b and b and expect motel facilities and even give lower reviews because you don't have them. Luckily we have a lot of really nice guests and a lot of 10 reviews. Btw we have signs in the room say guest can't you the kitchen because of council regulations here but they still moan. Private signs don't help either  had one woman who kept knocking on my bedroom door late at night.

     

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    Graham Fisher

    Welcome to the world of B&B Raymannering - don't worry, you get over much of it after the first twenty years...

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    Contact

    I really don't know what is wrong with some people. I only every had one bad review the woman was a nightmare and had issues before she even came. As you say luckily we too have mostly great guests and great reviews but after a few awful guests in a row it does put the damper on things ! such is the life of being a landlady lol....

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    Anchristys

    I am the owner of a ONE star hotel B+B only and believe me I get mad when I see people cooking in  the room. People who bring with them all the necessary utensils (toasters/microwaves/oven/gas heaters etc. They even use the kettle    we supply for tea and coffee making to boil eggs, to prepare soups and even boil their cereals. The result:-the food smell is spread rapidly to the neighboring rooms and most important, after they go we need a week to keep the room empty until the smell goes. To my belief Booking.com should issue a catalog of guests obligations and self respect. On my part I  am writing to-day to Booking.com to add onto my property's policies that  COOKING IN THE ROOMS IS NOT ALLOWED.

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    Graham Fisher

    Wow Anchristys - if this is a regular problem I have never heard the like before... are these people who normally go camping - to have such equipment with them??

    This shows an amazing lack of respect for your accommodation, we get the occasional request to use the kitchen, but the main problem is people bringing "take away" food back to their room - pizzas/Chinese meals etc - if we see this or they ask if they can borrow knife/folk etc - we take the food and sit them in the breakfast room to eat it - tomato sauce from pizzas is very difficult to get out of the bed linen.

    Could I suggest "Cooking and eating food in the bedrooms is not allowed" may be a better policy?

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    Taylor Johanna

    I can completely understand where you are coming from.  We've managed to add separate entrances and now deliver breakfast hampers to the rooms so guests don't come in our house at all.  I feel that guests who spend longer than an hour over breakfast, chatting away and monopolising your time is an imposition (I love guests really!!).  I have all sorts of requests for putting pizzas in oven and microwaving strange things. They usually come as I'm just about to go out of the door to pick the kids up or something time critical to me.  I just say our insurance doesn't cover it.  The town centre is a 5 minute walk away.  Honestly :-) 

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    Aaltje B.

    I have the opposite problem. My unit is self-contained. Some guests wondered why they had to cook their own breakfast. So I changed the title of the unit, and have created hand-written extra's in the photos they see when looking on my site. Also, I have a big folder on the table with all sorts of information, photos etc. One of them states, no food in the bedroom, please. I try to point out to people when they arrive that there is important information in the folder. And most people read through it straight away and take it seriously. 

    IDEA: It would be good if Booking.com has different categories for us hosts. B&B / Self-Contained / Coffee facilities as one of the first things to read, ideally having different pictures for each. 

    I do have a sofa, for instance. It is in the lounge. Many people think this is a great way to let a third person sleep on, and pay for two. oh noooh. 

  • Avatar
    Tony Clout

    Unfortuantely we all get the odd request.

    I agree with other posts here. Go down the line of they are not insured which is true in some cases.

    Also asking you to cook a pizza for them etc. Unless you have the right licence to provide food then you could be liable if you give them food and they then become ill. Avoid this scenario at all costs!!

    Most major hotel chains, airlines etc have a zero tolerance to verbal or physical abuse toward employees. You should have the same in your private B&Bs , guest houses etc. If they are rude and offensive ask them to leave and report it to booking. 

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    Info

    we been doing bb for over 10 years now, and this year retiring ...we won national awards, running at 9 .7 on booking.com and all through bending over backwards for guests!! we are knackered... Guests are expecting more of more, invasion of your personal spaces. cupboards that say Private. gatecrashing your breakfast room set up for Guests breakfast. using microwaves middle of the night to heat bottles. and food... you get to feel like a prisoner in your own home!!!   the only advise we can offer ( learnt the hard way probably the same as some of the other hardworking BB ers... our guests have ruled us... no guests like the Word No you cant do that or use that.. we have guests asking to sit in out lounge ( marked private ) think folders with info are a waste of  time! guests today are quite vocal when needing help.. directions so just be bold..start as you mean to go on...(wish we had ) 

    if you are a BB just make it clear on any booking sites. what you offer and what you dont!  if you dont want them in your kitchen, make it clear... there are some positives as at times you get to meet really lovely people that outweigh the awful guests... but we all do have a tendency to remember the bad ones!!! 

    booking.com should  have a section in the booking section .. ie important notes, and bb owner could write a few short sentences so that they cover themselves from awkward/ difficult guests... 

     

    Good Luck with your BB.. from a Knackered Old Bird!!!!

     

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    Enidrichmond

    I must say that over the years I have had a hotel, self catering and now a small B and B and have very few problems with my guests. In fact I would say 99% of people are great and you just have to shrug off the 1%. I think it helps to make your facilities very clear to guests at time of booking so they know what they are expecting. Don’t be put off by a few remember most guests are delightful and enjoy.

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    Barrowgarth

    It’s sad to hear that you are close to giving up on what should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  We opened a small B&B about a year ago and had the advantage of setting it up from scratch so didn’t have to deal with any previous owners ‘quirks’.  We love what we do and have some great guests – also the odd awkward one.

    It’s difficult to give advice without knowing more about your business, i.e. size, where you’re located, etc.  I understand when you take over a business, it makes sense to carry-on with the established routine until you get a feel for the place, but you’re now 18 months in and it sounds like you have a very clear idea how you want your business to run.  You should go for it and make the changes you want.  If people compare you to the previous owner, use the ‘Under New Management’ banner to explain the changes. 

    It seems part of the problem is managing your guests expectations.  If people turn up and there are facilities for them to make themselves meals, they will use them.  Remove any confusion by getting rid of the facilities.  Think about putting a list of places you’d recommend for evening meals in the Guest Information pack in the rooms and tell them it’s there when you show them in.

    As for people wandering into areas you don’t want them to, the only way to stop them is to put locks on those doors.

    Finally, it’s easy to say, but be brave and make the B&B yours by making it the establishment you originally dreamed of running.

    Hope this helps.

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    Mwatson

    Hi :) First post but I loved yours could I had a weekend just like that.  Normally I come away feeling so buzzed cause I feel like I have given something...this weekend, not so much.  Our rooms have private entrances and we removed the cooking facilities when we bought and renovated so we didn't have rooms that smelt like bacon all the time.  I do think it is reasonable to provide BBQ facilities (but this is Oz & we all could live off our BBQ).  In the rooms I supply basic plates, knives and forks for this and reserve the fine china for breakfast.  We have a kit that has the utensils in it ie. tongs, scraper, oil, sauce etc).  We are 15mins out of town on a rural property that has a magic all its own.  I watched the guests initially and once they wound down nobody wanted to go out so we had to have some meal options.  We put a dinner menu in place which requires 24 hours notice and this is actually a little bit of a money maker for us and the BBQ platters full of local produce are the highest margin oddly enough. Not everyone wants to go out to the local pub so I can understand that.  I don't know what the expectation is when the house is shared, sounds like Air BnB has created a new set of expectations which are falling into hosted BnB's.  We have guests that come with everything except the kitchen sink, mostly booze, snacks etc.  I stopped being offended 6 months ago.  But I think that is where the change in expectation has come from and I think your only way out is outlining your policy, perhaps re-iterating it in the initial meet & greet.  Our rooms all have spas but I always tell them "we kindly ask you don't use them after 9.30 as they are noisy" and people were ignoring the signs and room manuals.  I have stopped worrying what everyone else does now and I have just continued to tweak and tweak as things annoy me (so I wasn't miserable all the time). Just tell them we kindly ask that you don't use the kitchen area after 2.30pm and I think the council line is a brilliant one.  I imagine that is a little more believable with the health inspectors than the insurance almost.  But don't get disheartened.  Some people are just miserable and I met 3 sets of them this weekend!  So I emailed one of our regulars and invited them up for dinner this weekend if they stayed.  Get my mojo back!  The laundry annoys you, put a lock on.  The kitchen annoys you, maybe tell them the policy and see how you go.  You can only try different ways to steer your guests to the facility you want to provide and  see how it goes.  It's always evolving :)  I think the BnB market is a little muddied now.  We took ourselves off Air BnB because I know I think of that as self contained accommodation, not hosted.  You just need to be a little more confident in the product you want to provide.  Outline it. Communicate it and stick to it.  Chin up!

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    Churingasbb

    Having read some of the comments I feel that we must be the luckiest Bed and Breakfast in town.

    No abuse in the time we have been running our operation.   

    We have a deck that is 27.8 metres long and 5 meters wide totally covered with a large large bbq with a side burner for a wok.   This is available to guests should they require it plus we provide all the utensils and wine glasses.  They have always brought them in after use and I pack the dishwasher.  No problems.

    Have not found any of our guests demanding but I would say that my experience in the hotel industry may have been a help in this area.  We do not cater for children as we have creeks surrounding our property and feel this would be too dangerous for young folk although we do take babies.

    Each room has its own en-suite, tea and coffee facilities and fridge plus large screen tv and video player so there is no need to view tv in the main lounge but should they wish it is available for them.   The main family area also contains a pool table with air hockey which can be used up until 9pm.   

    Breakfast is a time on request whether it be 7.30 or 9pm.  For any working lads  6 or 6.30 breakfast on request.   Cooked breakfast is provided

    We cater for international guests and they tend to want us to join them to get an insight of the Australian way of life and to brush up on their English.

    Every human being has a key you just need to find the combination.

    I have found booking.com excellent with the caliber of guest sent to us.

    churingas bed and breakfast

    Joan

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Steve

    I used to do Breakfast until 3 years ago - now we're fully self catering, best decision I've made!  Of course we still get the odd problem - e.g. when they cook something smelly - but this is quite rare now.  I think self catering is much more popular than it used to be and my advice to anyone who can make the move to this will be happy they did. 

  • Avatar
    Stay

    No nononono   No, you Do Not give up :-)  :-)

    We've been in the accommodation sector for over ten years (NZ, self-catering, ten years.  UK, B&B, 6 months)

    Firstly, many, many guests are brilliant

    Most guests are fine

    A few are rude, selfish, thoughtless, downright ignorant / arrogant.and don't see you as a human with feelings.  This is nothing personal; they're like this with everyone else but themselves.

    This in my humble experience reflects humanity.  The problem is when the latter category stays with you.

    My suggestions:

    1) Define what level of service You and Your Husband want to offer / don't want to offer.  Don't get hung up on what the previous owners did / didn't do -  it's Your business!! :-)

    2) Does your B&B pricing and facilities match your preferred level of service (if you're 'too cheap' you're actually encouraging cheap guests who want to get blood out of a stone.  When we put our prices up a little we got fewer 'vampires' and more 'nicer' guests.  We got fewer issues / nicer reviews / less stress .....

    3) Does your website / signage / room facilities / door locks / ease of guest access to sensitive areas support what you want to offer, send mixed messages, or does it encourage guest behaviour you don't like?  Yes, look at your signage - but vampires ignore these because they can only read when it suits them.. 

    4) If you make a bbq, microwave, utensils, etc available, you have just put up a 'Make a Mess! sign in huge neon lights.  If you want guest mess, keep offering access to those things - but don't whinge, because you're getting what you asked for.

    If you hate guest mess, remove / restructure access to those things. Here are some suggestions.  Remove the bbq from the guest area / website / any photos / printed references to it, and do it now, before the warmer weather. [Out of sight, out of mind :-)  ]   Next, grab a coffee / tea with hubbie and have good hard look at your breakfast room.  To a 'vampire', access to a microwave / toaster, plates & cutlery after breakfast hours are an automatic invitation to 'eat in'. You won't see it like that because you're nice people.  Accept this fact of B&B life;  vampires are not nice people; they only see what they want to see and rules are for everyone else not them. 

    Vampire taming strategies ...

    a) .'Tweak your pricing - see first paragraph. 

    b)  Remove any hint of an 'eat in' invitation!  Lock your breakfast room door (easiest), or lock plates / microwaves / cutlery in cupboards / behind a grill.  At night, we lock our kitchen door.  

    c) Vampires are excellent destroyers of other people and other people's hard work.   Be proud of your great little business. Just because 'everyone else does it' or the last owner did it' does mean that they are / did - and it most certainly doesn't mean that You have to :-) 

    d)  You and hubbie have made a great career choice -well done!  But do think hard about what you want to offer, and how you can offer it. 

    All the best.  Regards, Liz Salt, The Emsley, Stratford upon Avon

     

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    Floraloizou

    I am wondering if it's possible for "booking.com"  to list for it's hoteliers and b&b owners a list of "name &sham" available for our use, after all customers have the ability to ruin our business by placing bad and unfair reviews. 

      

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    Info

    yes floraloizou i totally agree!.. airbnb offer this and its great to view the peoples profile.. i have over 10 years had pretty amazing guests, but also encountered Guests from Hell... and its a shame that its those that leave ever lasting memories over the ones that typically have a great memorable stay !

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    Bb4beaches

    Sounds like you've got lots of good suggestions - hopefully you're able to use some of them. We are fortunate not to have had any issues regarding food and there are no cooking facilities available to guest.

    Here's what we do:

    1. if we are asked, we do not offer any cooking facilities (there are none in the rooms)

    2. There is a list of all the local restaurants in each room which is pointed out when we do the guest arrival orientation

    3. We do have our own BBQ on the back deck but if asked we explain it is not for guest use (due to insurance issues if asked further) 

    4. Sometime we are asked about using the microwave - if we are home, we will gladly heat something up for the guest, if not, then they are out of luck!

    5. There are coffee and tea making facilities in the guest lounge along with a small fridge for them to use.

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    Westville1

    Important. Put up a friendly sign in the guests bedroom stating that self catering is not available. Put a kettle and coffee, Tea, snakes, all sorts of nice goodies in there room. When they arrive have a long friendly welcoming chat with them and that is the best time to make house rules clear to the visitors. Do it when the ARRIVE. :-) 

    Always be nice, caring, welcoming and kind to your guests. But if you are doing BNB from your home ( the rooms in your home ) then you should stay with you visitors all the time they are out of there rooms. Just be nice, keep them company. 

    Here is a useful tip. When your guests arrive tell them about AND show them all the AMAZING place to vist is the area. GET EXCITED FOR THEM.  For myself, I have prepared loads of couldfull pictures of the many lovely places to go to in my area. Remember they are strangers to your town and may not know where all the exciting places are to go to. Or you could have then sitting at home watching TV all day. 

     

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    Thepass

    Some great advise!  After 5 years of hotel and then 16 years of B&B the only thing I can add is times have changed in regard to booking. Before online booking we all talked to guests and could weed out the "vampires" ( oh I love that)  Today the operators "before" contact is much more limited and so many book and don't really know what they have booked- they don't read the listing all the way through. They think they are booking a hotel room or a VR and arrive to discover they have booked a B&B or the place is not located where they thought etc. etc. etc.  The only thing we can really do is work on strategies to minimize  the confusion. Things like  make sure our photos don't suggest things that we are not willing to supply. Set the rules and stick to them. Try and make the descriptions reflect that you are a B&B or what ever you are- Remember BDC started out and is still in many peoples minds a way to book a hotel. 

      

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    Graham Fisher

    Interesting approach Westville - not sure my guests would welcome my putting SNAKES in their bedroom ;>))

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    Westville1

    me feel the same sometimes. :-))

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    Kerrie Cox

    We have been very fortunate with most of our guests and I feel this is due to how we welcome our guests as we make a point of being present when they arrive, we bring them into their accommodation area and explain benefits and rules for their stay.  We are only very small and do have a completely seperate entry for our guests and the accommodation is very private and seperate.  We have found the best thing we have done is have a small dinning table and chairs in their accommodation and on their verandah. Our guests do have a separate bedroom and their own private lounge area and tea and coffee facilities in their hall area where their small table is, so we never have anyone eating in the bedroom.  Some people bring their own food and make use of the small bench provided, but todate we have never had anyone wanting to cook in the room.  If they would like a meal, I am happy to offer this with plenty of notice and this way, I get to serve it at their table and then remove the dirty plates, so there is no smells left in the room.  I will often offer a raw food menu, so they get quality nutritious food without the mess and smell.

    If people want to cook, we bring a small portable BBQ onto their veranda and provide all the necessary cooking equipment and set up the table on their veranda, so the smell and mess stay outside.

    I think, as many owners have said above, it really is a matter of being very clear with what you would like to offer. Our council does not allow cooking facilities or microwave ovens, so if someone has booked for a few days, we let them know that there is a small fridge and food prep bench, but they will not have the option to cook meals. this way to are upfront and there is no surprise when they arrive.

    I feel that the more respect we offer our guests, the more respect we get back.  We seem to attract a very good quality of guests, with the occasional person that is a little more demanding. we currently sit at 9.7/10 guest review and use to take anything other than a 10 very personally, but have since decided that people will mark you depending on where they are at, not necessarily with what you offer, so we have let that go.  We sometimes get marked down on location which to us is quite weird as we have a clear indication of where we are and how far we are from beaches and villages...they chose to come to us because of our location, then make us down...so go figure???  We also provide a feedback form to our guests as we serve their breakfast on their last day and ask them to fill it out so we can better serve future guests, that way we get a better understanding of what they are thinking. This way, if there is a total variation to what they then write on booking.com, I can contact them or booking.com to object to the comment if it does not seem fair.

    I think it is important to project the type of guest you are wanting to attract and make sure your online detail is calling that type of person.  It may be good to sit down together and re write your details ensuring that you are in the right frame of mind and are actually energetically putting detail in that supports you and the guests you want.  

    We project a healthy getaway, we provide a breakfast that is gluten, dairy and processed sugar free...and you would be amazed at how many guests we get coming... that may not have even read this in the literature... but turn up and are gluten intolerant, or who can't have dairy, or craving a healthy getaway.... and even those that don't have any thought about this, go away stating that they really do want to start looking at living a healthier lifestyle.

    So what is your getaway about... is it a romantic getaway, is it budget accommodation for those who cannot effort the more upmarket getaway, is it a family fun adventure, it is a quiet retreat to rest and relax, it is a great spot to rest your head that is close to all the action of the city buzz... Sometimes getting that clear for you, will then give you an idea of what type of guest you are trying to attract and then make sure your facilities are supportive of the same, and thats where your energetic pull is coming from.  May sound weird...but it works.

    Not sure if this is helpful...but good luck, don't get disheartened...just re think your offer and who you want to attract.

    Warm regards

    Kerrie

    'belle la vie' B & B

    Northern NSW Australia 

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    Sue Norris56

    It's really interesting to read other peoples' comments. I have had a few complaints about my location lately... I'm sure guests don't bother to look at the map provided and I have now come to the conclusion that I think I should send a letter to the guests as soon as they have booked giving a more accurate description than is on the website. I give a 24 hour grace period so, if after reading my letter they decide they don't like it after all, the can cancel without having to pay anything. 

  • Avatar
    Tony Clout

    Hi Sue ,

    Yes send a little e mail as they book giving more precise details of what you offer and where you are.

    We had people turning up here thinking they were getting a whole cottage for themselves when in fact it was a room. People weren't reading the listing properly and as always blinded by price.. 

    I send out an e mail almost immediately so there is no mistake made and if there is then the guest clearly hasn't read things properly 

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    Sue Norris56

    Hi Tony. Thanks for that.  Yes,  very few guests read everything properly. They assume that because they have been able to use the kitchen at one homestay they can do it everywhere and are then ticked off when I say sorry you can't cook in my kitchen. It's a good job I have a thick skin and these guests are few and far between otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. 

     

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    Leandri Klopper

    Hi everyone!

    Wow this was such an interesting read!

    Although all our lodges are self-catering... sometimes people don't use their common sense. They will bring three extra "children" along and complain that there wasn't enough crockery and cutlery. If a 2 bedroom lodge can sleep 4 people privately and maybe two kiddies under 12 on the sleeper couches, then why would we equipt the lodge with enough crockery and cutlery to ensure seven armies can eat at the same time? 

    So our check-in process has been made Extremely strict. If you even bring an extra baby, you need to let us know and we have full right to say no. (Okay but our insurance company actually won't pay out if there was an extra person in the lodge and the lodge burnt down for instance). This is to ensure the Guest is comfortable (and also to protect us from bad reviews or having to pay for damages because our insurance didn't pay).

    So this is my advise: If you decide to add crockery and cutlery/ cooking station etc then you need to keep in mind the amount of people that needs to use it at the same time. You can be strict on this. People will understand.

    Once again, thanks for the great read! Keep well all. 

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    Clairelouiseduplessis

    I am so glad I found this post!  I am also struggling to enjoy running my guesthouse.  I feel people's expectations as to what my place is and what the reality is are completely off scale.  I list accurately with up to date photos and nothing is incorrect but I get some guests who just complain or look disdainfully at everything no matter what I do!

    I am considering renaming to a bed and breakfast to maybe lower expectations?

     

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