How To Run A Guesthouse As A Family Business.

Running a Guesthouse is Easy, Right?

With two young children and an elegant guesthouse to run in a beautiful Yorkshire Coastal town, we like to think we have one of the best jobs in the world.
Every morning, when we draw back the curtains, we see the sparkling sea, hear the cry of the seagulls.
We see the fishing boats leaving or returning to the safety of the harbour.
Yet running a guesthouse and running it well isn’t without its challenges.
From replacing a broken cup, to a mix-up with the laundry, to investigating the reason for water pouring through the ceiling, these little bumps along the way can be a daily occurrence.
When the alarm wakes us up to when our heads hit the pillow, we are on the go…!

We double check that we have enough fresh eggs for breakfast …

We check the rooms are spic and span. We see that our guests are happy following a good night’s sleep. Laundry is all washed and ironed.
Marketing and admin are ticked off. We ensure our guests make the most of their visit to Whitby. We take bookings … and lots more besides.
While these aspects of the business are all part and parcel of the routine, the actual juggling of family and offering our Yorkshire hospitality can be a bit of a task!
Negotiating who does what in terms of housework, who’s preparing the evening meal, taking the kids to pre-school and child-minders; oh, and the car needs its MOT … like any family, it’s a constant, never-ending list of tasks.
And keeping the hustle and bustle of family life away from the guests can be tricky!
Many a time I’ve found myself on the phone saying a polite, ‘Please hold the line just a minute whilst I get the computer loaded up…’ AKA ‘Please bear with me whilst I stop the toddler from using the baby as part of an inventive obstacle course and stop the baby from emptying the full pack of baby wipes down the toilet’.
However the latter of the two I have often let happen so as to give me 5 minutes to finish taking a booking – deal with the consequences later!!
We do love to merge the two occasionally as some of our guests have become more like friends: they have watched us grow from a couple, to busy parents of one, to frazzled parents of two!
And keeping the hustle and bustle of family life away from the guests can be tricky!

The very core of a family business usually means it’s been handed down from one generation to the next.

This is very true of the Riviera and we hope that this will continue with our children.
And when we unexpectedly took over the Riviera in 2011, we not only moved in to our new family home, we also had to learn the ropes of creating and maintaining that great Yorkshire hospitality too.
For some folks, opening their home to the public would be the last thing they’d like to do.
For us, welcoming our guests up the stone steps and into our guesthouse is exactly where we want to be.
Our home is your home here in Whitby.

Whitby Abbey

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