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Equipping your guesthouse

Written by  Staff
| in Toerisme
| May 14, 2015

Hosting guests in your guesthouse is not all that different from having family staying over. Paying guests just have the right to complain if they are unhappy and people will hopefully occupy your beds more regularly than family crowding you during the holiday season.

According to Marius Stols, lecturer at the Private Hotel School in Stellenbosch, guesthouse owners should pay particular attention to offering the best possible food and beverages (according to your marketing promise), comfortable sleeping arrangements and private ablutions with the necessary amenities.

From the kitchen

        Even with a limited food service, breakfast is usually part of the package. The good news is that you need not offer an extensive buffet. “You would be surprised how many breakfast menu options you can create using bacon and eggs,” says Marius. “The continental spread should include fresh fruit, one or two fresh juices, a selection of two or three cereals and yoghurt, and if you want to be more extravagant add pastries, cold meats and cheeses. However, be sure to consider the costs.”
        These days one of the vital elements of your food and beverage offering is coffee.  According to Marius it is not necessary to have a commercial coffee machine, but good quality coffee is essential. Invest in a high quality coffee machine and fresh coffee. Start your search with Yuppie Chef (www.yuppiechef.com). mei2015-toerisme-3        A good tip for preparing the hot breakfast is having the correct equipment. “Your guests want their breakfast fast,” says Marius. “Make use of commercial kitchen equipment as they last longer, work harder, are more efficient and are much easier to maintain. BCE Foodservice Equipment (www.bce.co.za) is an excellent online resource. Gas is the trend and with the current reality of load shedding you might have to consider cooking with gas. It is a much cheaper option than electricity and the added advantage is that you have immediate heat. If overhauling your kitchen is not an option, consider induction cooking. The Snappy Chef range of induction cooking equipment might be the solution to your electricity woes. For more info on Snappy Chef visit their website www.snappychef.co.za.

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Sleep tite and dont let the bedbugs bite

        This is the primary reason you have visitors – to offer them a sleepover away from home, preferably better than they are used to at home. Luxury does not have to come at a premium; there are many ways that your guest rooms can exude luxury without spending a fortune.
• Use white. It is not by coincidence that the world’s top hotels make use of white linen. White linen has a definite impact on the guest’s perception of the room. A guest expects a room to be in pristine condition. White linen always looks clean, fresh and welcoming. Not only does it have an impact on guest perception, it is also the easiest to maintain.
• Percale, tog and Egyptian cotton. The term percale refers to closely woven fabric which is often used in the manufacture of bed linen.  Percale fabrics are widely used in the hospitality industry. Percale weave is much tighter than a normal weave, which thus gives it much more durability.
       Tog refers to a duvet’s heat retention ability. The higher the tog number the higher its heat retention capabilities. The room setup (air-conditioning, under floor heating, etc.) will play a big role in deciding the duvet tog. The experts at Linen Drawer recommend a duvet with a tog rating between 4.5 and 7 for summer, 7.5 – 10 for autumn and 10.5 – 15 for your winter duvets.
        Egyptian cotton is the preferred fibre to use for heavy-duty linen due to the cotton being of superior strength and quality. All natural fibre linen is preferred as it is more comfortable. Natural fibres are also hypoallergenic. It is however harder to maintain as it creases much easier than blended fabrics.
Protecting your pillows and mattresses is important, but make sure to choose a breathable protector as waterproof protectors are less comfortable and tend to make a creaking noise. The EVOLON® protector, for example, becomes dust- and mite proof after the first wash. No chemicals are used to make the protector dust- and mite proof.
        Remember the guest amenities and decide what should be standard issue and which ‘nice-to-haves’ your guests would love. Consider docking stations for the guests’ technology, Nespresso machines and free Wi-Fi – currently the number one expected amenity.

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Bathroom delux

        Continue with your white theme and make use of natural cotton linen for its high absorbency rate. The minimum requirements are hand towels, bath towels and bath- and shower mats. For more information on linen visit Linen Drawer’s website
www.linendrawer.co.za.

Relax here

        Public areas are not as customary in guesthouses as they are in hotels. Nonetheless, the public areas in your guesthoue need to be welcoming and the number of guests your operation can accommodate at any one time will dictate how much space you need. A courtesy bar is welcome, but make sure you have a valid liquor license before you sell alcohol.
        A valuable resource is the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (www.tourismgrading.co.za). On their website you will find the minimum requirements for guesthouses graded from 1 star to 5 stars. Whether you want your guesthouse graded or not, the information will be of enormous value to ensure your guesthouse is equipped for any type of guest.
        “Spending exorbitant amounts of money is not the only way of equipping your guesthouse,” says Marius. “Keep it simple, but buy the best you can right from the start. There’s nothing that deters guests the way faded flowery duvet covers and frayed towels do.”