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Part 7: Make a list of the pros and cons

Pro : It can be a lot of fun. You meet a lot of very interesting people who are in a good mood because they are on holiday. Remember, you are selling them their holiday dream.

Con : You can’t like all your guests equally, and some can be really grumpy if something totally beyond your control (building noise of neighbours if in the town, barking dogs and cockerels if in the country) upsets their sleeping hours (night time or siestas) and it becomes their holiday nightmare.

Pro: It is your own business. You make your own guidelines and determine your own working hours.

Con: Flights arrive late, or late at night. Guests arrive late, enjoy a drink with you on arrival as you tell them the bare essentials, and enjoy an early breakfast (another reason why I don’t do breakfasts!). You adapt your working hours accordingly.

This list could be endless. Rest assured if the PROS had not won, I would not still be running a guesthouse. We have a long list of returning guests (the biggest compliment you can get) and I get a real kick of seeing their names on the booking sheet, of making sure they get their favourite welcome wine (they listed when they left whether this was red or white), and meeting and greeting them yet again. I enjoy switching from English to Dutch to French and (adequate) Spanish. I love to see them stretched out on a lounger chair on the roof enjoying the sunshine and a book. I feel really worried when the wind is too strong to enable them to do this or when it is too windy to enjoy a sun-downer outside .... or when there is not enough wind for the surfers ..... but my own house is adjoining so it is often great fun to invite them in to chat at my bar.

SO THINK TWICE or twenty times before opening your guesthouse as it is a long curve upwards before you are established with a good name, regular guests and top reviews. ‘Rome was not built in a day’ !

Many, like myself, see running a guesthouse as an interesting job after official retirement. If I ever thought this would the easiest of my many jobs, I was wrong, but it is certainly one of the ones I have enjoyed the most. I recommend you take the plunge.

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