With a vaccine or two on the way and lockdown restrictions being loosened, we now have to look to getting through the winter and being prepared for 2021.
Bookings are cancelling still, due to tier restrictions, plus it is difficult for people to plan too far ahead.
Therefore make booking, cancelling and postponing as simple and fair as possible is really important. These are difficult times for everyone with people afraid of catching the virus, self-isolation, quarantine reduced wages, and losing their jobs.
This means that to attract guests for the next year, we need to be as flexible and understanding as possible. If you are short of cash due to the financial hit from lockdown, it is hard to be as understanding as you might want to have been. However we need to show more empathy and be more hospitable than ever.
If you are concerned about your own finances, here are a few things to consider.
You can take longer term stayers on a room only basis, people who are looking to rent a room by the week or month. You can post your rooms for let on spareroom.com or any of the other letting websites. These would be classed as lodgers, as long as you live on the premises.
You should get about £120.00 per week per room, which is better than nothing and the rooms will be let for longer, up to 3 - 6 months or more. This way you stay in control, as you provide the rooms as a 'winter let'. This would be self catering and you do not need to clean the rooms during the stay. If you have no communal kitchen for guests to use, then put a couple of microwaves, toasters, and hotplates (Ikea convector counter top Hobs) in the dining room and use this room as a communal area. Make sure guests clear up after themselves or go in once a day and clean up after them if there is no sink available for them to do it.
Take a security bond of at least 2 weeks rent to cover any damage, or pre-authorise a credit card so that you are protected against people who do not respect your property.
You can do as much or as little as you want and if you have 4 rooms you could be taking about £2000 a month or more. Your business is still affected by COVID19 therefore you should still be able to claim the grants that are offered by government.
Check your insurance policy allows longer term bookings, some insurance policies do not cover stays of over 28 days. However if you change the room that someone is staying in every 28 days then technically it is a new booking. You can change insurer to one that does allow longer stays, which is what we have done. It cost £250.00 a year more but insures the guests to use cooking/kitchen equipment and to stay for any length of time.
Only take employed people, again most insurance policies do not allow you to take guests referred to you by local government departments or off of housing lists.
Contact building companies or contractors that are working in the area and give them a special rate.
How do you find these?
Well most contractors have vans with their telephone numbers, company details and websites printed on the sides. Look around your area for development sites and look out for vehicles that come from other parts of the country. They must be staying somewhere and you can get in first, be proactive.
Filling your beds can be done, can be more beneficial and more financially rewarding than going out and getting a part time job. If you did get a job how many hours would you work? would that time be better off spent getting heads in beds.