These simple ideas to add something extra to your accommodation offer, will make all the difference - as tested and suggested by licensees themselves.
1. A hot water bottle
Upham Pub Group has 159 rooms across 14 sites, all offering posh Algotherm beauty products and home-made biscuits.
At The Mill and The Swan in Chiddingfold, Surrey, however, guests can also get hot water bottles to take to their rooms.
2. A survival kit
Tommy Mark, general manager of The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland, Northumberland, says that customers are provided with a survival kit comprising walking maps, a silver blanket and compass. "They can also borrow wellies, anoraks and binoculars," he says.
3. Fresh milk
Run by Tony Leonard and Dominic McCartan, The Roebuck Inn, Laughton, East Sussex, provides its guests with fresh milk, as
Leonard says UHT milk is "disgusting, undrinkable and vile." They'll also find cafetieres with roasted coffee sourced
from a local company in each of the pub's four rooms.
4. Dog treats
All 110 rooms across the eight Oakman Inns' sites that offer accom-modation come equipped as a "home away from home," with Nespresso coffee machines, DAB radios, HD TV and toiletries from luxury brand Noble Isle. The dedicated dog-friendly rooms come with an extra treat, however, in the form of dog biscuits.
5. Personalised cookies
All Thwaites hotels and inns offer personalised cookies for children, alongside fresh milk and complimentary home-made shortbread. "There are certain things that a guest expects when staying anywhere – a comfortable bed, clean bathroom and a warm welcome," says
Chris Hill, Thwaites Hotels operations director. "But it's also the little things that
6. A decanter of Port
Six of the Brakspear sites offer accommodation and, "while we of course ensure rooms have the most comfortable beds and powerful showers, we've also put a lot of thought and money into the added extras," says chief executive Tom Davies. Those extras include a decanter of Port, and a "bits and pieces" kit containing spare buttons and other useful items.
7. A Mars bar
At The Greyhound on the Test, in Stockbridge, Hampshire, owner Lucy Townsend has done away with offering "stupid little boxes of chocolates" to her guests. Instead they can help themselves to whole bars such as Mars and Twix free of charge.
8. Board games
Run by former BII Licensees of the Year Ashley and Kelly McCarthy, rooms at Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, North Yorkshire, are stocked with games, puzzles and DVDs, as well as home-made chocolates and fruit juices. Ashley says: "Adding the opportunity to stay overnight at the venue not only
adds to that experience of comfort to the guest, it also gives us the chance to
show a different side to our hospitality."
9. Local knowledge
The 29-bedroom Worpleston Place, near Guildford, owned by Redcomb Pubs, provides guests with the Survival Guide. It features all the essentials including the kitchen hours, check out times, details of the local area, places to visit, and recommended businesses such as taxi firms and hairdressers. Each room also has quality bathroom goodies as well as a tray of complimentary drinks and nibbles.
10. A microwave
Part of the Distinct Group of pubs, The Three Compasses in London's Hornsey, boasts four rooms that are rented out via Airbnb for only around £38 a night. A communal kitchen offers milk, biscuits, fresh bread, fruit and cooking facilities.
"While chocolates are always appreciated, it seems to be the practical extras, which save on the packing, that are appreciated the most," says Rupert Bagnall, operations director at Wadworth. So, when the brewer invested £510,000 into The Inn in the Park in Poole, Dorset, the little touches were considered just as important as the full refurb. There are complimentary slippers and bathrobes in each room and fridges on each landing stocked with bottled water and milk.
12. A book
In each of Fuller's 714 rooms, across 32 sites, customers will find a book. The tome, Crafting a Company, charts the brewer and pub operator's history. Other special touches in rooms include free bottles of beer and even hampers. Mark Fulton, the pub company's head of operations for hotels, says: "These added extras add to the customer experience, help us exceed rather than meet expectations and hopefully drive improved reputation."