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This article was submitted by Brian and Carole of Guesthouse in Spain: www.guesthouseinspain.co.uk
Hello to all the members of Eye on Spain, especially those who in one way shape or form are trying to make a living under the sun…it’s not easy, but this is our story so far.
Nine and a half years ago, we as a family were enjoying the pleasures of owning a boat in the U.K. and we decided (or I talked them in to it) to change for a bigger vessel. The search took us as far as the marina in Estepona before we found the suitable machine. At this time we intended to transport it back to the U.K. but eventually we all thought lets give it 12 months in the Sun. Those 12 months lasted 5 years, during which time we had many enjoyable holidays.
Alas, the kids got bigger and older (bored) and interests changed, so the plan started hatching to sell the boat and buy a property, which could be converted into a Bed & Breakfast.
Sure enough the boat sold and we became landlubbers, the next task was to find a suitable property. After a long search and what seemed like hundreds of viewings we found it, ideal to modernise, and at the same time to keep all of the traditional Spanish touches.
The property was situated in a traditional Spanish village named San Enrique de Guadiaro. An offer was put to the owners who to our joy accepted. This was in the May of 2002 and by the August we were the proud owners of a Spanish town house in a peaceful village just 2km from the beach but on the edge of the wonderful Andalucian countryside.
Then came HARD WORK, walls had to come down, walls had to go up, doors had to be knocked through, at this point I realised my Spanish was not as good as I thought it was!!
So along came another task…learning the lingo.
During this time we were doing the work ourselves while travelling to and from England and trying to earn a living, this proved a very tough time and took longer than planned. Whilst in England we decided to construct our own website to advertise the Guesthouse. After a very steep learning curve the website was published to the great world out there.
I then thought “come on lets have some bookings”, I had a figure in mind regarding the amount of guests we needed to make a great living…..only one problem, no one told the guests!!
The Guesthouse was ready; we decided that we would wait for bookings and arrange our trips to Spain around our guests, meanwhile continue working in the U.K. until “the time was right”. We didn’t get many of the ideal “advance bookings” during the first year, rather lots of last minute enquiries. Because of the fact that we were trying to “commute” we ended up turning down potential customers. From this point we decided that it’s got to be “all or nothing” and so the ball started rolling for the big move to sunny Spain which we did at the beginning of this year.
Over the last 9 months we have had some wonderful people stay with us including British, Italians, Swedish and Germans, and yes it’s still hard work but we have now slowed down to the Spanish way of thinking. We still don’t get many advance bookings but we can now accept the short notice travellers, and we think that the best form of advertising is “word of mouth” so the more visitors we get the more the business should grow.
The Guesthouse is aimed at family holidays but also golfing holidays. As I mentioned before we are only 2km from the beaches of Sotogrande, but we also have 12 golf courses within a 15 minute drive, so we are ideal for affordable golf holiday packages on the Costa del Sol.
For those of you planning to start a business or rent out your property it’s not as easy as some people might lead you to believe, it’s hard work, but you can lead a better lifestyle than back in the rat race in England.
To see more of our achievements take a look at the website www.guesthouseinspain.co.uk. Eye on Spain members who are planning inspection trips to their developments in areas such as Manilva, Sabinillas, Duquesa and down to Alcaidesa, why not check us out we could be an ideally situated and competitively priced base for your visit. Anyone interested please contact us through the website, we will also give a discount to fellow members of Eye on Spain, so please mention this article when contacting us.