My first 2 weeks with Lyn at BusinessXchange have been an eye opener, to the industry which I have always enjoyed as a customer and holiday maker – not on my own front door – but when visiting other locations.
I’ve lived with the summer wave of visitors here for over 20 years and being an import myself I know what it’s like to move to the sea. There are visitors all year round, but being on Paignton or Torquay seafront on a summer’s afternoon hearing all the visitors (mostly) enjoying their holidays and choosing our home as their holiday destination is special.
Living in the area since 1997, working previously in residential estate agency, Spanish property sales but recently focusing on sales and Account Management, making sure the client’s journey is an excellent one, with a long-lasting relationship after the sale, meant I was well placed to join Lyn – especially with a love of hotels, B&B’s, holidaying and being by the sea. Thankfully she thought the same!
Our first week introduced me to the process, the influx of enquiries, our systems and the associated businesses we work with going forward. It was clear very quickly that Lyn is exceptionally busy, popular and trusted by all she works with.
The best way to get going is to get on the phone to see what people are looking for, and there are plenty of them! So many people wanting to sell up and change their lives and come to Torbay and live their dream of owning a B&B – fuelled by the pandemic and returning to jobs that no longer bring them happiness. We have all realised life if too short to do something that doesn’t make you happy – myself included!
With a buoyant property sales market, and people wanting to change their lives, there is definitely a supply and demand problem with customer’s v available businesses! And also finding who fits where!
After speaking to a few clients and observing Lyn on the phone, we went for back-to-back viewings on a new business on our books. Four viewings, on a property with 11 bedrooms and private accommodation in the summer 25-degree heat was definitely an experience! It definitely got me learning on my feet and upping my steps for the day!! Doing my first lone viewing with an experienced B&B owner looking to expand their business and learning from his knowledge and humour was great!
Since this experience there have been more buyer enquiries and we have been able to put them in touch with the financial brokers to help their needs, there are also clients needing help through the buying process, and we have a guide available to send them – as well as helping them through the process, gaining Lyn’s knowledge myself, that I am trying to download from her!!
With our Vendors I am very much learning from them too; completing several viewings and one virtual viewing via face time in the last fortnight has been great. They have grown and adapted their business to suit their needs and requirements, they are proud of what they’ve created (rightly so) and their full rooms reflect this. Their businesses have been hit by COVID and they have dealt with it in their own way, for some, enough is enough and they are onto pastures new. Others are onwards and upwards! Some have changed their business model to accommodate the pandemic, have liked the new changes and are sticking with them – the guests like the changes too.
There are certainly the customers available for everyone, B&B’s generally use the booking giants to bring the visitors initially and, once the relationship is made, the clients book direct – saving everyone money.
One thing that is apparent from speaking to the Owners is that there is a lovely community between them all. There is a B&B/Hotelier group, called the Bridge Group, which helps them to support each other, via a Facebook group, along with regular meet ups with an exhibition in the winter. In Paignton a lovely B&B we are working with has a great community around them and they all sit out the front chatting and have celebrated with street parties etc. They help each other with guests who need accommodation if they are full, keeping the business close by with neighbours – the same on Belgrave Road, which I have driven down so many times and looks so busy – has a community too. They all want each other to do well and succeed – and for the visitors to have a lovely time.
But the sunshine and sandals doesn’t hide that running this type of business is hard work! My steps per day and distance travelled have doubled in my first week from my desk job, and I haven’t cooked 14 breakfasts covering all different client requirements and complying with COVID H&S too or changed 7 beds, as well as cleaning the rooms, bathrooms and common areas, carrying bags of washing up and down stairs, as well as dealing with the little quirks every individual brings with them – never work with animals or children they say!!! These guys are working with all the above, in their home, in the holidays, in a pandemic and presenting their businesses to potential buyers who want to visit when their schedule allows.. It’s not easy at all.
But, it’s a buzz, they enjoy their lifestyle, what they bring to the tourist’s holidays and memory making – who so often are repeat visitors, then become friends. Our clients have a good relationship with Lyn, some from making their purchase, and we look forward to dealing with them again in the future. It’s never just a sale.
With the boom in staycation, the changes many are making to their lives and ‘day jobs’ I must say I’ve enjoyed meeting everyone so far and their wonderfully different locations in The Bay. I would encourage you, if you’re thinking about making the leap, do come and visit, research where and what you want and can manage, get in contact with us via www.businessxchange.uk
Written by Sara, Business Sales Advisor for BusinessXchange in Torbay, the beautiful English Riviera