The face of the hotelier is changing in Britain. More and more City workers, PR gurus and designistas are escaping life in the metropolis to start new lives as the proud owners of B&Bs, hotels and guesthouses. Bringing five-star living to their country pads – hoping to lure stylish city types for cheeky weekends away – this new breed of hotel owner is encountering a whole new host of challenges. Thanks to the launch of a new website aimed at these very people, owner of The Hotel Exchange, Rachel Seed, is ensuring that these hardworking business men and women find time to escape and be inspired by offering a hotel room swapping website. Hotel owners sign up to the website (£79 per year) and this allows them to access a database of nearly 300 properties across over 30 countries. From a yoga retreat in Goa, a castle in Cumbria and a beachside retreat in Sri Lanka, to boutique hotels all over Europe and the States. Hoteliers find a place they like the look of, drop the owner a line and arrange to swap rooms in their establishment at a time convenient – and because these are hotel businesses, exchanges can take place at different times. Meaning free travel for those in the hospitality sector. Rachel, a chef and B&B owner herself, came up with the idea after launching an award-winning gastropub-with-rooms: “I’d just launched the pub and had been working seven days a week, 15 hours a day for nearly seven weeks. I needed a break! So I contacted a cool, boutique B&B nearby and asked if they fancied a night at ours in exchange for a night at theirs. They jumped at the idea. As well as breaks for the exhausted owners, the exchange allows business owners to offer incentives to key staff members.
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