According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), the bed and breakfast (B&B) industry is worth around $3.4 billion just in the US alone. So, if this is a business you’re considering opening, you’ve got a decent chance of making it work. However, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your establishment is cost-effective and a place guests want to visit.
Location matters for any business, but there are specific factors to consider for a B&B. For one thing, the area needs to have something that draws in tourists. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tourist town, though. It could be an area where a lot of hunters frequent, or where a lot of festivals are held. But it’s also best to choose an area where there is not an overwhelming amount of competition from hotels and other B&Bs.
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Customizing your property
The typical B&B guest is someone looking for a unique experience. They usually prefer the quaint and welcoming atmosphere of a B&B over the bustle of a busy hotel. Most of them have an average of six rooms with their own private baths. So, if you haven’t bought your property yet, keep that in mind. Additionally, a lot of them have themes. In an ocean community, you might have nautical-themed decor. Or in a rural area, it might be more farmhouse chic. Of course, you don’t have to have a theme. The most important thing is that it’s decorated in a way that’s inviting and aesthetically pleasing.
Working with vendors
To run a successful B&B, you’ll probably be dealing with several types of vendors, whether it’s one time or throughout your time in business. You’ll need to find a quality restaurant supply store to provide you with dishes, linens, and cookware. And you might also have to track down food vendors to keep up with your daily meal-prep needs. This decision will, of course, be based on the number of rooms you have and your usual occupancy rate, though. If you have a four-room B&B, for example, you might be able to get by with doing the daily grocery shopping yourself, depending on how elaborate your meals are. Any vendors you work with will likely require you to have a federal tax ID number in order to get your goods at wholesale prices. So, make sure all your business tasks are in order before you begin any purchases.
Marketing your property
Advertising your B&B should be one of your top priorities, especially in the beginning. There are many ways to do this, but listing the rooms on a site like Airbnb or VRBO is a great place to start. With around 40 million users worldwide on Airbnb alone, your property is likely to be viewed. But don’t stop there unless you’re booked a year out immediately after listing it.
There are plenty of other ways to market your B&B, as well. You can — and should — run a press release and regular ads in your local paper. And get active on social media. Advertise the property both on your personal pages and your company pages.
Aside from all the important information you need to have when starting your B&B, there are some important considerations you need to make ahead of time. For one thing, most B&B owners are very personable. These types of establishments feel more like staying in someone’s home than a commercial property. That means you’re responsible for greeting them, showing them around, mingling, and answering questions. Also, most new B&B owners have no idea the amount of work running one entails. It’s a good idea to talk to other people with these types of businesses before making a decision to run one yourself.