Many pet owners agree that our pets are our family. So why is it when we go on holidays our pets are left behind? As an avid animal lover, Bronwyn felt the same way. Combining her dreams of one day of owning her own B and B and over ten years of planning, she knew that having pet-friendly accommodation was a fundamental difference in her small business, Finchley B&B Wandandian. For this small business spotlight, we caught up with Bronwyn to discuss how she built her successful business.
Bronwyn, tell us more about Finchley B&B and how it came to be?
Over the past five years, we have been running Finchley B&B Wandandian, a pet-friendly accommodation only twenty minutes from Jervis Bay.
We have a gorgeous two-bedroom cottage and adjoining one-bedroom unit with their own secure space for guests’ pets. The beautiful tranquil location allows our guests to immediately relax and unwind. Finchley B&B is also conveniently two minutes from the Princes Highway.
We spent some ten years planning this idea, and amazingly found this site online! We specifically looked for somewhere on the South Coast of NSW that lent itself to becoming a B and B. To get this to happen, we moved from interstate to be back close to my beloved Sydney.
The cottage was perfect for a B and B, only requiring some minor structural alterations. We later added the smaller unit “Little Finchley” as a more budget-oriented alternative but also to open up as an extension of the main cottage for larger groups.
While there are thousands of B and Bs in this region, not so many are classified as pet-friendly. Of those, it seems, quite a lot of them are either not as pet friendly as guests would prefer, or have no qualms in sacrificing the quality of the product for the sake of allowing animals indoors. This is not my style.
I like to offer an experience that is as enjoyable for the pet(s) as for the owners and have received many very positive reviews as a testimony to the success of my endeavours.
What has been a major lesson you have learnt from running your business?
Firstly, we’ve noticed that guests who come to stay with their pets are often far more considerate of how they leave the accommodation, compared to people who don’t travel with pets!
Secondly, guests are impressed that I provide many more supplies than they are used to finding in B and B’s. I find that some guests like to use a lot of supplies, whilst others use hardly any. So, it all evens out in the long run.
Also, we are in a small town that has, during the time my B and B has been operating, lost both it’s high-quality Mediterranean restaurant, and a brilliant cafe-take away facility. So I like to supply everything guests are likely to need when they arrive, that can last until the next day without having to leave.
Do you have any tips or advice for those looking to start or are already in business?
If you are in a business where you are in regular contact with your customers, it’s essential to be a people person, communicate well and promptly, and be somewhat flexible in the negotiation where feasible.