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Choosing Toiletries: A Guide for B&B Owners

B&B Guest House - 05.03.2024

Welcome to our guide on choosing toiletries for your bed and breakfast business. To bring you this article we've been working with Karen Thorne of the B&B Academy, an online training and support community for B&B owners. In this guide, Karen shares her expert insight into the daily running of your business and what to consider when introducing a new toiletry range into your B&B.

The Importance of Quality Toiletries in B&Bs

Providing your guests with a luxury experience at your B&B is often about getting the small details right. It is often in the small details, like the types of toiletries that are offered, that can leave a positive impact on your guests’ overall experience.

Let's explore how to choose toiletries that meet your guests' expectations and elevate their experience to new heights.

Is it time to change your toiletries?

If you've been using the same toiletries for a while, perhaps it's time to consider a change. But how do you know when it's the right time? Guest feedback is crucial in making this decision. Check through your reviews. Are your toiletries ever mentioned? Do your guests rave about them?

Aside from your reviews, keep an eye on guest usage of toiletries. Are they being used or mostly untouched?

Keep up-to-date with current trends

Guest preferences in toiletries can change. So it's important to stay contemporary and keep on trend with developments.

For instance, there's a growing demand for eco-conscious toiletries. With this in mind, you can choose toiletries that come in recycled and recyclable packaging, like our favourite eco friendly Bright Earth range that is packaged in 100% Prevented Ocean Plastic.

It is also worth considering that there is an increasing focus on ethical consumption, with a rise in demand for toiletries that are cruelty free and vegan. Out of Eden offer a range of toiletries that are vegan, cruelty free and free from SLS and parabens. The dermatologically tested formulations are kind to sensitive skin, all while being made in the UK.

Bright Earth USPs

How to Choose the Best Toiletries

When selecting toiletries, prioritise the best experience for your guests and also consider options that are sustainable for your business: 

  • Seek high-quality, affordable products from exclusive brands that guests won't find on the high street, such as Cole & Lewis, or Eden, that offer a range of options, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap
  • Look for toiletries that have a pleasant scent, as fragrance plays an important role in enhancing the overall guest experience
  • Try before you buy. Request free toiletry samples so you can try the products for yourself. Order a sample online today

Convenient Travel-Sized Toiletry Kits

Travel-sized toiletry kits, or Amenity Welcome Packs, were once a guaranteed amenity in many types of guest accommodation. But with the rise in popularity of refillable toiletries, the demand for travel-sized toiletry kits has decreased. However, there is still a place for these types of toiletries and you may find they are more suited to your B&B.

Eden Miniature Toiletries

Travel-sized toiletry kits offer a practical solution for B&B owners and their guests. These pre-made packs typically include essential items like miniature shampoo, body wash, conditioner and soap. Some kits may also contain a vanity kit, shower cap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and disposable razors.

The advantages of travel-sized toiletry packs are:

  • They meet certain guest expectations
  • They are a time-saving solution at changeovers
  • Some guests like to take miniature hotel amenities away with them
  • You can choose from range of brands to match your house style

The disadvantages of travel-sized toiletry packs are:

  • They are often a more expensive option
  • They can be wasteful, with guests leaving half-used bottles
  • They contribute to more plastic waste

Is it Time to Switch to Refillable Toiletries?

In recent times, refillable toiletries have revolutionised the way hospitality owners provide toiletries to guests. Rather than travel-sized toiletries that are disposed of at every changeover, refillable toiletries are permanent fixtures in the guest bathroom environment. They are typically pump top bottles, around 300ml in capacity, that get topped up or 'refilled' for each new guest.

"If you're currently using travel-sized toiletries, then refillable products offer a greener and money saving option." says Karen.

In choosing to provide refillable toiletries, you can contribute to a greener future while enhancing the overall experience of your guests. We have written a blog on the benefits of switching to refillable products, which you can read here.

When making the switch to refillable toiletries, there are a few factors to consider:

1. Presenting Your Refillable Toiletries

The way you present your refillable toiletries can make a significant impact on guest experience. "(It's) an opportunity to showcase your commitment to guest satisfaction and attention to detail." says Karen.

There are several ways you can present your refillable toiletries:

  • You can present them on a slate display presenter or a ceramic presentation tray
  • For a more permanent option, why not present your toiletry bottles on a wall-mounted bracket. These smart wall brackets are made from rust-resistant stainless steel and they are a great way to keep your toiletries secure and in one place. They add a professional touch to any guest bathroom environment.

2. Placement of Refillable Toiletries 

Strategic placement of toiletries can enhance guest experience and convenience. Consider the following: 

  • Ensure toiletries are within easy reach of guests, such as on the bathroom counter or in a shower caddy. 
  • If you have a bath with a separate shower, consider how guests will access your toiletries. For instance, if your toiletries are fixed to the wall in the shower, do you need another bottle of shampoo and body wash beside the bath?

3. Hygiene and Cleanliness 

Clean, full toiletry bottles will reassure your arriving guests that the toiletries they are using are hygienic and not tampered with. For this reason, we recommend swapping out your part-used toiletry bottles at changeover with full bottles from the cleaning cupboard. This saves a considerable amount of time at changeover. You can take the used bottles away to top up and clean them at a convenient time.

Don't forget to clean your pump top dispensers diligently. Soap, dirt and grime can build up around the pump top and underneath the dispenser so pay particular attention to these areas. Karen advises that for those guests who are not comfortable with refillable toiletries, you can offer them an amenity welcome pack: "These packs can also be sold to guests."

4. Shelf Life of Refillable Toiletries

Check the back of your bottles to keep a tab on its recommended shelf life. Most bottles will say 12M, which means the product is at it's best within 12 months of opening.

Karen recommends using a pen to put the date first opened on the bottom of the bottle. This will remind you when the contents are past their best. "I would remove any contents and recycle the bottles once I reached that time period - or sooner if the bottles or contents started to look less than perfect."

5. Allergen Free Options

When selecting toiletries for your B&B, it's important to consider allergen-free options. "With an increase in allergies in the population," says Karen, "providing allergen-free toiletries for guests who might request them is a nice touch."

Karen recommends asking guests with allergen sensitivities what type of toiletries they'd prefer, rather than having to second guess.

Use refillable toiletries to earn extra revenue

When you are providing your guests with exclusive toiletries, you may find they will wish to take some home with them. So it's a great idea to offer some for sale on display in your reception area. For instance, we recommend selling a bottle of our Cole & Lewis Lemongrass & Bergamont Body Wash for £10.99 incl VAT. If you buy six, the wholesale cost to you is £3.30 a bottle, which is a nice profit of £7.69! 

Remember, the key to providing your guests with a positive experience at your B&B is all in the small details, like the types of toiletries you offer. Small touches like these go a long way in delighting your guests and helping them to remember you for their next break away.

As the founder of Bed and Breakfast Academy, Karen has been providing training and ongoing support to both aspiring and existing B&B owners since 2006. Her training covers everything from starting up and managing, to marketing a successful bed and breakfast. Karen ran her own B&B, Hopton House, a successful bed and breakfast in Shropshire, for 17 years. To contact Karen and to find out more about Bed and Breakfast Academy, check out Karen’s website (www.bandbacademy.co.uk), podcast and blog.

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