The January blues have passed, Cupids bow is packed away until the next Valentine’s Day, schools are breaking up for a fortnight, and the first bank holiday since New Year is on the approach…and people all over the country are raring to travel!
Easter continues to be one of the busiest times to staycation in the UK, with tens of millions of people packing up in desperation for a glimpse of summer, and some well-earned time off work.
This is great news for you with visitor numbers set to rise once again, but it can also feel like a thrust back into the reality of running a busy B&B business after perhaps a quiet winter.
So, here’s a checklist for you to follow to make sure you have your chicks in a row ready for a smashing season (sorry, we can’t resist the Easter puns!).
Easter will kick off your spring/summer season so be ambitious in the occupancy rates you want to achieve. Not all Easter trips are planned in advance, for some guests they hype of a long weekend off work, or the kids breaking up for two weeks will lead to a last-minute booking, so don’t panic too early.
That said, if you’re a week or two away from the holidays and still have a number of rooms available you could consider promoting some ‘last minute deals’ in a bid to attract and entice new guests.
Over the bank holiday weekend there’s one thing you can count on, and that’s masses of people causing challenging travel conditions! It’s reported that more than 17 million car journeys take place over the Easter bank holiday weekend, and train stations and airports alike see record numbers of traveller’s year-on-year. What does this mean for you?
The good news is that there’s a huge opportunity to fill your rooms, but the not so good news is that guest behaviours and needs are likely to be unusual! In particular, bear in mind that your guests are likely to be late arriving and may be turning up at unsociable hours, and so you need to plan how you will cater to this.
You will know from experience that by the time Easter Monday rolls around you’re often left feeling exhausted, but if you can push through the long days then you can rest assured that the warm welcome your guests received (no matter the hour) will make a lasting impression.
Why not embrace the excitement of the holidays and give your guests a little extra treat on arrival?
Something as simple as an Easter egg in their room will make your guests smile and impact their experience with you…and perhaps even the review they will later leave on Trip Advisor!
Remember, Easter will mean more than a chocolate egg to many guests so be cautious of the gifts you give. If you feel an Easter Bunny may be a little overboard then why not opt for a spring greetings card or a bunch of daffodils instead?
Hopefully it will be a busy weekend for you, and then half-term and spring/summer season to follow, so it’s time to do a last check of your supplies. Do you have enough linen, toiletries, amenities?
Make a note of any changes to order deadlines and delivery dates ahead of time. They are likely to change around the bank holidays so plan for that in advance. You don’t want to be caught out with a B&B full of guests and not enough shampoo to go around!
As with your supplies, account for an increase demand for food and drink too. Remember that local shops will close over the bank holiday (albeit momentarily!) so make sure your cupboards are stocks and you’re not having to pop out on a trolley dash!
It can take some time to get back into the swing of high-season after the slower pace of winter, so do a couple of walkthroughs ahead of Easter to be sure you have an accurate understanding of your turnaround times.
Think back to the un-expected arrival times to be anticipated at this time of year. This could work in your favour if guests turn up later in the day but, be sure your guests who are checking-out are clear on the times they need to leave the room by.
If they are planning on leaving late at night to avoid traffic then they need to know that they can’t use their room for the duration of that day!