Farmhouse B&B providers work to instill confidence

Farmhouse accommodation providers are among the B&B properties that are signing up to a safety charter devised by Fáilte Ireland to instill confidence in those choosing to holiday in this country.

2020 saw a great start for farmhouse accommodation, with high demand especially from international visitors looking for a farm stay experience, according to Micheál Stapleton, director, business development, B&B Ireland.

“The level of business on the books into the summer was higher than 2019, but when the country closed down the bookings fell away and guests were no longer able to travel,” he said.

“With the properties reopening now, there is a slow return of business from the domestic market but very little international guests. We are not expecting business levels to increase in any great numbers in 2020 and it will be 2021 before we see international travel returning, albeit in much smaller volumes.

European markets

“European markets are some of the strongest markets, with Germany and France leading the way for farm stays. The US follows these markets in guest nationalities.

“Guests from all over the world are always amazed at what there is to do on a farm stay. Guests typically stay two to three nights on average, using the home as a base to explore the area and to get to experience what happens on a farm,” Micheál said.

Farmhouse hosts are always going above and beyond, giving an amazing experience. From acting as the local concierge telling them all the hidden secrets and must dos in their area to arranging walks around the farm, collecting eggs, watching the cows, feeding the lambs to name but a few activities.

“The farmhouse B&B stay has so much more on offer than your traditional vacation, adding great additional value to a break.”

B&B Ireland has been working with Fáilte Ireland on the domestic campaign to instill confidence and encourage holiday makers to take a break in Ireland.

“A farm stay is certainly an amazing experience for people who don’t live on a farm or are not used to one. We have farm stay properties located right across the country,” said Micheál.

“Internationally, we have been working with all our travel partners, keeping them informed of the new extensive safety protocols that have been put in place to ensure both the guests’ safety and of course the host families’ safety as well and to instill confidence.

“A farm stay or B&B stay in the smaller environment is a very safe accommodation option,” he said.

Safest places

“In order to instill confidence in people choosing an Irish holiday, Fáilte Ireland has launched the safety charter which B&Bs will sign up to.

“This is a further confirmation for guests that the host and team members have read and implemented the government reopening protocols and completed an infection control management course. Homes that display this logo are among the safest places people can stay,” Micheál said.

“The unregulated Airbnb market has affected all accommodation offerings to some extent but, with farm stays, they are so unique that people who are looking for this type of vacation will still go for a farm stay. There is nothing else like it,” he contended.

The government protocols have to be implemented before a property can reopen, Micheál said. Some examples of the organisation’s farmhouse stay offering includes:

  • The Arches farmhouse B&B, Arva, Co. Cavan, is a luxurious farmhouse on a beef farm 500m from the Ardra Lake, where guests can enjoy farm strolls, bog walks, lakeside picnics and boat trips. In the winter/spring months, guests can watch cows calving in the sheds or on cow television and in the summertime guests have the chance to view the livestock;
  • Sea Crest farmhouse four-star B&B in Quilty, Co. Clare, is on a working dairy farm. Those who stay with Angela and Kevin Morrissey can have a tour of the farm by Kevin. Guests can also watch the cows being milked and collect the eggs from the hens. The couple are working to finish the protocols and will be reopening in August;
  • Kyle farmhouse four-star B&B in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, is on a working dairy farm. Visitors can enjoy the many activities taking place on the farm and gain first-hand experience of milking.