No.21 York is a multi-award winning Bed and Breakfast housed in a Victorian Terrace property offering homely hospitality in some of the finest bed and breakfast accommodation in York. We invited husband and wife team – Simon Boyle & Andrea Schipper – to tell us more about the establishment and the secrets behind its success.
No.21 York has a history of offering quality accommodation and breakfast to guests since 1966 when Mrs. J.P. Morcome opened her home to travellers to the city as Morcome Guest House. Since then, Simon and Andrea, who purchased the establishment in 2014, believe that the firm has evolved through its dedication to providing the highest possible quality of professional and traditional service to our guests.
“Here at No.21 York we do what we can to make our guest’s stay all that more memorable for all the right reasons. We aim to surprise and delight our guests by going the extra mile wherever possible, be this making table reservations at restaurant, providing prosecco or hand-made truffles to celebrate a special occasion, driving guests to their destination when taxis are unavailable or to organising a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant complete with personalised cake and decorations.
“In addition, we are also fiercely proud of the fact that all of our fresh produce is sourced from within 25 miles of our front door and we are able to pinpoint exactly where it comes from & when it was produced. We also cater to all forms of dietary requirements from vegetarian to gluten free and lactose intolerant – making up breads and dishes to suit our guests wants and needs.”
York is an amazing city and destination that attracts a wide selection of visitors to the city, for example York’s Racecourse hosts some of the premier flat racing meets every year drawing 10’s of thousands of visitors each year with the John Smith Cup & Ebor Festival along with the Summer Music Showcases. Both the city and the county host some of the best Stately Homes in the country and – outside of London – have the highest number of Michelin and Rosette Restaurants in the country.
All of these wonderful attractions have helped Yorkshire to be ranked third in the top 10 regions of the world to visit in the Lonely Planet guide.
Based in St. Mary’s, a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of York, No.21 is just a five-minute stroll through the beautiful Museum Gardens into the City and an eight-minute walk to the Train Station, and as such is ideally located for everything guests will need or want to do in York.
Alongside this excellent setting Simon firmly believes that what marks out No.21 York as a paragon of excellence in the B&B market is its dedication to excellence and its friendly, approachable staff.
“Without a doubt our Team and the personalised approach we offer our guests is what sets No.21 York apart from our competition. Ewelina, Dawn, Adi, Mirka and Barbara are the most amazing bunch who give us great support. We would not be able to achieve what we do without them. Guests regularly comment on what a friendly team they are and that they will go out of their way to help.”
“We also use local products throughout the B&B in order to showcase the variety and quality of the local produce which we are lucky enough to enjoy from our local and independent suppliers and producers in Yorkshire. From our fresh produce to the biscuits, spring water and toiletries – everything we utilise or provide for our guests is sourced from within a 25-mile radius of our front door. Even our beds were sourced and manufactured in Yorkshire. We try to cover every eventuality by providing everything our guest will need during their stay from umbrellas to hair dryers and even bottle openers.”
“A secure and reliable free wifi service along with onsite parking also helps”
In today’s ever evolving hospitality market the need to integrate new technologies and online platforms into an establishment’s marketing strategy is more important than ever. As such, Simon talks us through how No.21 York has expanded its technological offering since he took it over in order to keep up with client needs.
“When we first started out we used just our website and booking engine, provided by EVIIVO with a link to TripAdvisor and LateRooms.com. With just eight reservations on the books from the previous owner, it was a very tenuous time for us as – with no history – we were unsure of where the business would come from. We were also new to York and Yorkshire we weren’t too sure of the market but research had shown that it was a destination city and that would stand us in good stead. It was only after our first guests all wrote reviews on TripAdvisor and it was like the flood gates opened, following four exceptional reviews from our first weekend of operation, the bookings started to pile in.”
“A great website built, with the help of Jonah at Hosting Yorkshire, to our design and specification, helped to attract customers in the first instance but it is the reviews on TripAdvisor that have helped us get on our feet. By providing a homely and traditional style we have managed to get over 800 Five Star reviews across all social media platforms and this has helped to drive our business forward. Word of mouth and a high percentage of repeat and/or recommended guests also helps. Having linked to Booking.com and Expedia earlier this year, alongside the Brexit vote, this has only cemented the success of No.21 York for 2016 and 2017 is looking to be just as busy with over 20% occupancy on the books already.”
With this exciting rise in interest the B&B needs to continue its focus on innovation in order to build upon its current success. As such in his concluding comments Simon is keen to outline the exciting plans he has for the establishment as it seeks to continually adapt and innovate in order to offer guests the most authentic display of Yorkshire hospitality in the region.
“Currently we are working with the Planning Department at York Council to bring the exterior of the property back to it’s original Victorian façade and create a small extension to the rear of the property which will increase the size of the kitchen and improve the guest parking area. We are also looking to re-configure the guest rooms so as to create more space that will include a seating area in our Superior Rooms as well as upgrade all of the shower rooms. We had hoping to begin this work at the beginning of 2018 and are excited to start this exhilarating project.
“In the meantime, we will continue to upgrade our breakfast room with new décor in keeping with the period of the property, as well as the front entrance, which we intend to rejuvenate by taking the stairs back to the original and natural Yorkshire Stone.”