Holidaying in South America

Maintaining The Family Feel When Your Pub Opens Lodgings

by Joseph Webb

If you're a pub landlord of a small establishment, you've probably put a great deal of effort into building a cosy family atmosphere and turning your locals into regulars.

There are plenty of fantastic reasons to open some of your rooms and turn your pub into a B&B, inn, hotel or lodging house. There's money in it, of course--but it's also a lot of fun, provides a vital service that bolsters other local businesses and gives you a great, new way to meet people. Many landlords worry that the one major drawback will be a loss of the "local's pub" atmosphere; how can you feel like one big family when strangers are coming in and out for a few nights at a time?

The good news is this concern isn't necessary--you absolutely can have the best of both worlds, and here's how.

Be as welcoming as possible--and encourage your regulars to behave in the same way.

Make sure you don't run the risk of making your guests feel like they're in "someone else's local". Be warm, welcoming and attentive, and ask some of your most loyal regulars if they'd mind giving you a hand helping guests settle in. This will make your life easier and avoid a feeling of "us and them"!

Come up with ways to get the people who stay with you involved in the life of your pub while they're there.

Many of the activities pubs like yours run are compatible with people who are new to your little "family". Team sports like pool and darts tend to require an established presence--so why not save those league games for the week and schedule weekend nights for things anyone can join in with? Karaoke, pub quizzes and live performances are all great choices, as are more off the beaten track ideas like poetry readings or an open mic night. Ask your clientele what they want, and see if you can make it happen.

Encourage return visits and build relationships with your guests just as you do with your regulars.

All this is all well and good, of course--but what happens next?

If you put in the time, you'll develop a base of people who come back to your pub time and time again. Not everyone will want to become a 'regular' at a B&B in this way, but some will--and those people will become as vital to the running of your establishment as the ones who prop up the bar every night after work!

Given a little effort, they too will be part of the family--and you'll find yourself looking forward to their visits all the more for it.

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