Steve and Amanda White set up Belford based B&B, Market Cross Guest House 8 years ago, and after 8 successful seasons, the 9th looked to be their best yet after being awarded the bronze award for Best B&B in Northumberland 2020.
The duo met in 2010 and decided to pursue their dream of running a B&B in 2012 and the guest house went from strength to strength. Incorporating local produce from Northumberland into meals for guests and Amanda’s home cooked dishes from biscuits to muesli using locally sourced ingredients where possible, they had the perfect recipe for championing local success. With plans to evolve their business, they knew it was time to improve their digital skills.
Business Northumberland provides support to small and medium enterprises across the North East who are looking to sustain and grow their business online. The fully funded support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Advance Northumberland, so there is no cost to eligible businesses when accessing the support.
After attending their first social media workshop in Berwick, Steve and Amanda were delighted with what they had learnt and were ready to attend more courses.
“We have built this over 8 years, this is us until we retire, we are always changing and evolving…we knew that social media was important in any line of business, we had a lot of gaps in our knowledge…and after seeing all the Business Northumberland courses available to us as a Northumberland based business, we knew we had a lot to learn. Attending the courses provided by Business Northumberland has allowed us to plan out where what we need to do to build our digital presence going forward.”
Even though they lost out on 50% of business during peak months due to the current pandemic, they used the time wisely to attend Business Northumberland’s virtual workshops and continue their social media journey to help them grow and sustain their business as well as prepare for reopening once restrictions were lifted.
“Steve did a few workshops in Berwick, then when lockdown hit, everything went online, we made the most out of the online courses and signed up for as much as possible. We have been impressed by the fact there has been so many courses … there is always something to learn… we can always ask for more support and guidance at any time.”
Not only has Market Cross Guest house utilised Business Northumberland’s fully funded support, but they have also received support through Northumberland Covid Business Response Programme (NCBRP).
NCBRP is a new service for businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. The Project is funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and delivered by Advance Northumberland on behalf of Northumberland County Council and the Northumberland Business Hub. It has two elements - Business Advantage and Digital Advantage.
Market Cross Guest House have also been successful in receiving the “Kick Starting tourism” grant from Growth Hub/NBSL for the equipment needed to start putting their digital marketing plans in to practice.