« 16. Hospitality EQ: Help your B&B guests relax »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute.

Emotional intelligence may not seem relevant to you if you are running a bed and breakfast or working in a related aspect of the hospitality industry. But it is.

Emotional intelligence and EQ are very important across the hospitality industry as you are dealing with people and their emotionally charged expectations and demands.

EQ skills: How people feel when they visit your B&B matters

Home grown eggs for breakfast can be a treat & leave people feeling special

How people feel when they visit your bed and breakfast matters.

People come away on holiday expecting a particularly good emotional experience. They want to feel good, relaxed, pleased, happy, excited, and similar emotions.

Even if people come to your bed and breakfast as part of their work they are still looking for a particular emotional experience.

For example, they want to feel comfortable, cared for, safe, looked after, well-fed, or similar emotions. 

It is therefore important to the success of your bed and breakfast, your communication with your guests, and the way you set up your accommodation that you take the emotions of your guests into account.

The way you set up your bed and breakfast can make people feel cared for or ignored; feel safe or insecure, feel luxurious or cheated, or feel satisfied or uncomfortable.

You can make people feel safe or relaxed or delighted just by how you set a room out.

I am not a Bed and Breakfast owner but I am a bed and breakfast user. As I go from one B&B to another it fascinates me as to how people set up their B&Bs and what works and what doesn't. Based on these experiences across a number of B&Bs, over the years, I offer the following suggestions, (but do bear in mind they will reflect my bias and possibly not the opinion of all guests).

This article is the third in a four-part series on emotional intelligence and EQ skills for bed and breakfast owners.

EQ skills 1: Be generous at breakfast

What do people go to B&Bs for? One thing is for sure, they go for the bed and they go for the breakfast. Make sure therefore that your breakfast is generous and impressive.

I have had some fabulous breakfasts at B&Bs.

I remember one where the host had cooked pancakes and muffins, and prepared fruits from the garden and presented a whole table of beautiful home cooking. We all ate for a long time in complete delight!

Another we went to gave us many, many different options of home-made cereals, home-made breads and home-made jams.

A further one gave us a choice of nine different cooked items, such as eggs, bacon, sausages, potato patties, mushrooms, tomatoes, and beans.

Imagine after eating such generous breakfasts going to another B&B with a high star ranking and receiving a plate with just a single egg on it. We had been asked if we’d like a cooked breakfast to which we had responded positively. In addition, I had said, kindly, that I didn’t eat bacon. The host came out with bacon and egg for my friend and one egg lost in the middle of a large plate for me. I was surprised and disappointed. It did not leave a good impression.

Be generous.

It’s not that you have to home cook everything, simply be generous. Generosity and meanness are remembered, and generosity helps your guests feel cared for.

EQ skills 2: Have a really good quality bed

Have a really good quality bed. Don’t skimp on this. The first thing I always check when walking into my bedroom at a B&B is the bed. Why? Because one big reason for being there is to have a good night’s sleep, and feeling comfortable in the bed is vital.

I have had some excellent quality beds and I have had some poor ones. The ones that are floppy, bouncy and bend so that two people roll into the middle are not welcome. A comfortable, firm, non-bouncy bed is a good start. Please provide it.

Guests who have not had a good night’s sleep become grumpy guests – you don’t want that. Also, usually, people will spend more time in bed at your B&B than doing anything else.

EQ skills 3: Have an excellent quality pillow

I have been to many B&Bs that provide a really good bed but accompany this with cheap, thin pillows. It is so rare for me to find a B&B with really good pillows that I now travel with my own, as much as possible.

I want a good night’s sleep and do not want to wake up with a headache or neck pain. Nor do I want to be tossing and turning trying to get comfortable.

Maybe you could provide a choice of pillows because what one person likes another may not. I don’t think I've ever been to a B&B that has provided a choice – they have provided more than one but always the same make, shape and thickness.

Have the comfort of your guests at heart - it's emotionally intelligent, isn't it?

EQ skills 4: Don't have paper thin walls

You have probably been to hotels or B&Bs where you have heard everything in the next-door room. It can be dreadful.

On one of the recent B&Bs I went to, my companion was kept up for a long time during the night by the sound of the man in the next room vomiting.

Similarly, I was in the room next to my companion and could hear word for word what he was quietly saying on the phone. This is an invasion of privacy. It makes it hard for people to sleep. It will stop people coming back to your Bed and Breakfast.

Paper-thin walls can leave people feeling awkward, embarrassed or irritated. None of these are helpful emotions for you to have to deal with in your guests. 

EQ skills 5: Provide peace and quiet

Make it easy for people to sleep soundly at your place. The quality of the bed, the ability of the blinds or curtains to keep out the light, and the quietness of the room are all-important in facilitating this.

It may look good to have some fancy blinds on the window but if they let in the morning sun two hours before people want to wake up they may not be appreciated. Sleep in each room yourself to test them.

Part of emotional intelligence is being able to predict how people will feel, it is the fourth emotional intelligence competency on the Genos emotional intelligence model. Consider how your guests will feel when you set up and run your Bed and Breakfast.

Don't just be practical but also accommodate to their feelings, so they feel the best possible way when they are with you.

Develop your EQ skills, now

There is so much more that you and your team can do to develop your conversation and interaction skills in your hospitality business. The Institute has a number of options to help you:
  1. There are CDs, books and DVDs. The DVD "Business Networking: The skills you need" is ideal for B&B owners. It covers top tips on how to meet, greet and speak to people. You also receive a free copy of our networking checklist and a free copy of our "Top twelve talking topics" card to slip into your pocket or handbag.
  2. There is a series of advanced emotional intelligence master-classes
  3. There are high energy, interactive and practical emotional intelligence workshops. Of particular value in hospitality are: "Networking skills: Meet, speak and exit well" and "How to keep your cool with difficult people". 
  4. There is a dynamic keynote speech on networking and conversation skills: "Easy meet: Sizzling networking success" which will get your conference, seminar or event buzzing.
  5. There is 1-1 emotional intelligence coaching for business owners, managers and executives.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us and we will discuss your options with you.

Develop your emotional intelligence now and build your business.