Bed and Breakfast or Family Hotels
By Carole Kennedy
Decorating the Bed & Breakfast to appeal to tourists.
People who stay in a bed and breakfast fall into two categories.
1. The first type of person who likes to feel they get a better impression of a country when
they stay with citizens of the country and they take home human-interest stories of their
trip that they would not get if they stayed in a hotel. This type of tourist likes the
ambiance of a home. Embroidered towels covering tables or windows, local pottery,
painted bowels, spoons, carving, wool wall hangings, blankets, pillows, and any other
type of folk items you might be able to find.
2. The other type just wants cheap. Try to get the first kind, where you can make some
Service in a bed and breakfast is a very personal matter. In most cases there are no employees, or
only one or two and they usually do the cleaning or help in the kitchen. They generally do not
have very much contact with your guests, but they must be informed that they should do their
work quickly, quietly and be pleasant if they do have contact with your guests. People do not like
to have workers around when they are trying to get dressed or have come back early to take a
The caliber of service offered is directly in your hands and is a reflection of your personality.
This is not a business for everyone because it takes someone who is out going and hospitable.
This type of person must genuinely like people and not mind having strangers wandering around
If a couple is running the Bed and Breakfast which is the case most often, and one person is
reserved they should handle the part of the business that has the least amount of contact with the
Here are some recommendations that will make your establishment outstanding, and your
guests want to come back again.
Think of an interesting name to call your B&B or Family Hotel. It should have a name even if it
is in an apartment building.
In the case of B & B’s and Family Hotels the best advertising you can get is word of mouth, so
it’s very important that you do everything in your power to make you home as appealing as
There are certain things that you can do to reach this goal.
1. Most important is attitude. You must be friendly and give the feeling to your guests that
you are happy to have them in your home, by offering a good example of Ukrainian
hospitality. It cannot be over stated how essential this is to making your enterprise
successful. First impressions are extremely important. Please remember to smile when
you welcome your new arrival. Give a firm and shake. A weak handshake influences
your guest’s opinion of you.
2. The guest’s room should be ready. If another guest has not left on time and the room
cannot be occupied, what should you do? It is a very good idea to remind your guests in a
pleasant way what the check out time is the day before their departure. In this way you
can avoid the problem if possible, if not.
First explain the situation to your new arrival. Be specific about the time they can
expect to get into their room. Offer them coffee or tea and cookies while they
wait. Give them any information you have about things of interest in the area to
read, and the information should be current. This is a good way to help your
Then go to the guests who are still in their room and explain that the other guests
are waiting. In most cases people will hurry up with their packing. Offer to keep
their luggage if they have a late departure.
3. The rooms must be clean and if the furniture is old it should be covered.
The beds should have an extra blanket and pillow available if needed.
Make sure that the pillows are not soiled in any way. If there are spots recover the
pillows. People can be very fussy about this and will not consider them clean
The mattresses should be decent with out bad springs or hollows.
Beds should be properly made. The sheets should be big enough to tuck under the
mattress and the corners should be squared off this will prevent the sheets to move
If there are plants in the room make sure they are in good condition, don’t have old
straggly plants around.
Make the rooms color coordinated, don’t let the rooms look as if you threw any old
thing you had in them.
What you put in a room does not have to be expensive but it should look fresh.
Anything broken should remove.
A small and large towel will be appreciated.
Soap should be of a decent size Americans use small washcloths (some times called
face cloths they would be happily surprised if you had one with the other towels)
Every room should have a wastebasket.
The room should have water glasses, plus a cork screw and bottle opener.
Every room should have a free bottle of water. After that they can pay for it. Put a
card in the room saying it is a complimentary bottle and what additional bottles
should cost. You can make a small profit for the service as an example if a bottle
costs 1gr 50k in a store you can charge 1,75 for the convince. Try to buy the water by
the case so you get a better price.
No room should have bugs of any kind.
4. Do not have a rug on the floor with lots of spots or a hole it can be old but not soiled.
5. Make sure the windows are freshly washed, and that there is no trash lying around on the
ground of the property.
6. If you have a house, then plant flowers in the garden so when your guests look out the
window they have something pretty to look at. Plant as many perennial flowers and
bushes as possible in your garden and choose hardy seasonal flowers like geraniums and
marigolds. If you have a lot of shade use foliage that likes shade. If absolutely nothing
will grow cover the areas with pebbles or brick it in. Put a bench or table and chairs there
so your guests can relax in the shade. People do not like looking at bare ground that looks
as if no one cares about it.
7. Make sure your house is painted and in good repair. The address number should be
clearly visible from the street.
8. Even though ceiling lights are common here, a reading lamp beside the bed or next to a
chair will make your guest room more appealing and saleable, many people like to read
before they go to bed.
9. A small piece of chocolate on their pillow for sweet dreams is something people like.
Even if they don’t eat it it’s the thought that counts.
10. All rooms should have a good size mirror
11. If the toilet is far or the power goes out frequently there should be a flashlight or candle
in room. The toilet should have a nightlight; they don’t use much electricity and are
helpful when people don’t know their way around.
12. All windows should be clean and have screens to keep out the mosquitoes. This very
important! Do not assume just because they might don’t bother you that they will not like
to bite your guests.
13. There should be a plug that works and is in a convenient location to the mirror If not get
and extension cord.
14. Have be a small heater available to take the chill off in the room or offer real heat if the
weather gets cold.
15. The bath should have hot water and a good shower curtain that keeps the water in the tub
and not on the floor. Sometimes two curtains in the tub solve the problem. This will save
you work and your guest discomfort.
16. Make a very simple map of your location.
It should have the name of the public transportation stop or stops close to your house.
It should include any specific landmarks, and the direction of your house or
apartment from the stop.
It should also include your name and phone number as well as the address.
A reliable taxi service can also be helpful. Give your guest an idea about what an
average ride should be.
Location of the nearest Internet Café.
List of recommendations for any good restaurants in town, also pastry shops and
Location of the nearest Bank or ATM machine
17. Have an assortment of local attraction pamphlets or fliers and one or two day trips where
you can use your house as a home base. If your guests would like to do a two-day trip
offer to keep their extra luggage.
18. If you do not speak a foreign language this is no reason to be discouraged. You would be
surprised what you can do with sign language. You should how ever have a sheet written
up in English and if possible in German giving important information.
Cost of the room, is breakfast included? If not what is the cost.
I would recommend that you do include breakfast and that it should be a big
Ukrainian one. People always remember food. Add the cost to the room rate
Do you take credit cards and if so which ones.
What is the checkout time?
What time is breakfast served, from to from?
Do you serve other meals? Lunch and dinner if so what is the price for each, and at
what time do you serve them? Will you pack a picnic lunch? If so what is cost?
19. If there is some specific festival on special entertainment in the area when they are
staying at your home, let the guest know when he books. Ask if he would like you to get
tickets and how much is the cost. This is a little extra work for you, but it will be very
well received. Even if they are not interested, the offer will be appreciated
20. Check your home for safety. Are there frayed cords on plugs? Are there scatter rugs that
move when you walk on them? Are there uneven height steps? If so warn your guests
about them. If there are any chairs or tables that are not stable have them fixed or
21. If there are any areas that you consider unsafe in your town or city tell your guests so
they can avoid them. Every town has some parts that are undesirable. Remind your guests
about beggars and pickpockets. You do not want to give your guests the feeling that they
are not safe but that they should use good judgment especially around tourist centers.
22. If you serve dinner, flowers and candles on the table add a nice touch to the meal .Cloth
napkins also help, no spots please. If the people are staying a few days you can keep
fabric napkins in a napkin ring. It will give a homey touch as if you are a member of the
family. If you use paper do not cut them in half.
The food does not have to be elaborate but of good quality. It is best if you cook what
you do well and not exterminate. Some type of national dish should be offered.
In the summer serve some meals out doors if possible. People like to dine out side
24. Any local customs should be explained .If your English is to poor maybe you can have
someone write them up in English or German for you.
25. If you have pets ask if your guests like pets. If not keep them in another part o the house.
Some people are allegoric to cats and others are afraid of dogs.
26. It’s nice to have some kinds of games available. If the weather turns bad and it’s not
desirable for touring around.
A deck of Cards in the west has 52 cards
Most people play checkers, some chess, and board games if the directions are in
27. Decide if you are willing to stay up until your guests come home, if you want to leave the
door open, or give them a key. Some people ask for a small deposit for keys that will be
returned when they leave. This is practical way of getting your keys back.
28. If you have Internet in your house, do you want to let your guests use it free or pay for it,
If so the rate should be the same as the local internet café.
29. Send every guest a thank you note or e-mail after they leave saying you look forward to
seeing them again and ask them to recommend your home to their friends.
30. If you have friends in other cities in Ukraine or in other countries. Tell them that you
now have a Bed and Breakfast or a family hotel and you would like them to tell their
friends, members of clubs or churches they belong to, and maybe put the information up
on their office bulletin board. See if you can get listed with any Ukrainian American
Clubs in areas like Brighton Beach in New York City or in Ukrainian clubs Canada.
31. Tell your friends you will give anyone they send special treatment if they mention their
name. If some one does come then give them a big welcome and see that there are fresh
flowers in their room or maybe a bottle of wine, if you have an up scale B&B. People just
32. Also ask them if they would give the information to local Travel agencies. Travel
agencies get a commission. Their charges could be everywhere from 10% to 30%. If you
figure about 20% you should be safe.
33. If you have a computer it is a good idea to have a web site. It should have a picture of
your home and a room with some interesting copy about your location, amenities cost
etc. Plus E-mail address, and phone number.
34. If you don’t have a computer maybe you can make some arrangement with a friend. You
might also check and see if you can make a deal with the local Internet café to check your
e-mail for a small fee.
35. If your guests are arriving by train or bus. Make arrangements to have them picked up.
Make sure you have the correct, day, time and train or bus number. Note Americans do
not use the 24 hour clock so you must know AM or PM. Have who ever is meeting them
has a big sign with their name on it, in their native language, if you could be there all the
36. If someone is coming by car make sure that your directions are very clear.
37. Taking off your shoes is not a common practice in most other parts of the western world.
Keep some cheap plastic slippers in the house in assorted sizes. Buy the kind of styles
you can wash and use over and over again. It is a good idea you tell your guests why you
do this. It is an old custom but a practical one. Your guests will probably think it’s a
38. Have pair of scissors and a needle and thread available. It is something often forgotten by
39. A hair dryer is also good to have.
40. Is there a washing machine available?
41. All amenities should be listed on any kind of promotional material.
42. Decide if you will accept pets
43. Find out if there is a place where you guest can buy a news paper in their native
44. If you have guests on any holiday, have your house decorated appropriately.
45. Be sure to give your departing guest a card with your name address, phone number, E-
mail and fax number.
46. If you can think of some tiny little token you can give them as a thank you it will be
worth wile. Something likes a magnet. People love presents.
47. Offer to keep their luggage if they have a late train or bus.
Having a B&B can be a very nice way of making money and it’ as always fun to meet new
people. I have known people who have made life long friends from their guests.
The object is you should try to make your home as appealing as you can. If you cannot afford to
do everything at once, put a little money away from each guest and improve your
accommodations. You might be able to up grade a third class room to a second class and so on.
You will find that in going so you will be more then compensated for the expenses. The side
effects of doing the above things for a B&B or small family hotel is they will make your home
more beautiful and pleasant to live in.
There can be 3 classes of B&B accommodations. All classes must be clean no matter how simple
They must be inspected and get a letter of approval from the city. If the city receives complaints
from tourists regarding cleanliness of any establishments the accommodations should be
removed from the program.
Using a scale of one to three, One would be the lowest, Two the middle and Three would be the
They should have a real bed or if not the tourist must be told, and the room should be priced
accordingly. It would put the room in the third class.
Having to climb more then 2 flights of stairs should automatically put the accommodation on the
lowest level. Having to carry baggage up 3 flights is a hardship regardless no matter how nice
the room is.
The second level of room should have better appointments and be of reasonable size and also
should a good location
The third class: (Star) Rooms should be large with TV and Phone. Good location and nicely
If there are any Historical buildings that could be converted into a small hotel or B&B would be
interesting in helping your tourist business.
If accommodations have cooking facilities then they should be equipped with all the things you
need of basic cooking. Utensils, pots and pans, dishes, glasses, matches if necessary and dish
washing soap plus kitchen towel.
Both Spain and Portugal have done an outstanding job of utilizing small historic and interesting
properties, which have a limited number of rooms. They are so popular with tourists that there is
usually a waiting list to get into these accommodations.
Before starting a B&B check:
Regulations, fire, health
No matter how simple or how elaborate your accommodations are remember, that what your
guests will remember the most is you. Your kindness, consideration and sense of humor will be
how they remember your home, your city, and your country.