'Guesthouses dropping like flies because of Airbnb': Hotelier puts business up for sale
PUBLISHED: 12:22 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 11 February 2020
The owner of a 10-bedroom guesthouse in north Norfolk has said she and her husband are selling up because they can't compete with the likes of Airbnb.
Andrea and Daren Squires took over The Cobblers guesthouse, Standard Road, Wells-next-the Sea two years ago but are finding it tough to compete with rival firms which don't have the same overheads.
And although The Cobblers remains open for business as usual, the couple have put it up for sale for £995,000, expecting it may take years to sell.
The Squires have made The Cobblers a huge success, gaining a top five rating on TripAdvisor and ranked almost the best out of 24 B&Bs in the area, at number two. They have loved running it despite working long hours in the peak summer time and doing all the work themselves.
But with more people booking rooms and apartments on sites such as Airbnb and with more places offering short self-catering stays, they've found it tough competition because they have more overheads and tax bills to pay.
Mrs Squires said: "The seaside guesthouse used to be so popular but younger people tend to use Airbnb. We also have to have licences for things like music and fire safety certificates as well as various taxes which people running an Airbnb just don't have; they can get round the regulations which is so unfair, we're not competing in a fair playing field. Some of the apartments are absolutely beautiful, people pay a fortune on them because they've got no overheads like we have and there's more places which are offering self-catering for one or two nights to get the business - so it's undercutting us. Guesthouses nearby have closed; they're dropping like flies. It's really hard work but we've loved it and we would never regret buying The Cobblers."
The couple, originally from North London, moved to Norfolk in 2011 and had enjoyed holidays themselves in Wells-Next-the Sea. They bought the Cobblers, which had been run previously as a guesthosue, but redecorated it throughout.
Agents Everett, Masson & Furby, marketing the property said: "We are advised that turnover is currently in the region of £150,000 per annum. Providing only B&B at present there is scope to offer evening meals or packed lunches as well."
The main house, which is spread over three floors, has eight letting rooms with six double bedrooms and two singles, seven of which are en-suite and the eighth with its own bathroom. On the ground floor are communal guest areas as well as two further letting rooms. There is a kitchen and utility room , a breakfast room large enough for 14 guests and a residents' lounge as well as a conservatory. Outside is a cottage-style garden and eight car parking spaces. The property comes with an owners' cottage with two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs with a fitted kitchen, cloakroom and lounge on the ground floor with double doors opening out onto a private garden.
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