If you’ve always dreamed of running your bed and breakfast, it’s time to make your dream a reality! For those who aren’t familiar, bed and breakfasts are small businesses that provide guests with lodging and amenities. These establishments have been around since the 18th century. But they have become popular in recent years due to an overall increase in interest in traveling among middle-class citizens.
Running your bed and breakfast isn’t easy, especially if you’re doing it alone. But many of the most successful B&Bs have been started by one person alone, so it’s certainly possible! Here are some tips to help you establish your bed and breakfast business, no matter how much experience you have in the hospitality industry or starting the B&;B yourself.
Pick a Good Location
Finding a good location is one of your biggest challenges in getting your business off to a strong start. In addition to picking a good location with a solid walk-by customer base, you’ll also want to take into account its accessibility — both by car and transit, since some guests prefer staying somewhere that’s easy to get to via public transportation. Cities like Las Vegas and New York are so big, bed and breakfasts in these cities have made it possible to avoid ever having to drive at all—making them especially appealing for family travelers looking for kid-friendly accommodations.
So when choosing your location, it can be helpful to look at where your target audience might be traveling from, then determine how accessible those places would be without a vehicle.
Plan the Location’s Structure
When thinking about planning a bed and breakfast, you have to decide what kind of structure it will be. These questions are essential to consider when locating your business. You might want to select a particular area that has natural beauty or that already has lodgings nearby. You also need to look at zoning laws. Apartments and commercial areas can’t usually house B&;Bs unless they’re specifically zoned as lodging locations. Townhomes, however, may work depending on city regulations. There are several townhouses for sale that would make wonderful settings for a B&;B — consider buying one and turning it into an income-generating property.
Figure Your Theme
The best bed-and-breakfasts are often created around a theme. Maybe you love history, for example, so you can use your passion to help create a property that will draw people in based on their shared interests. Or possibly you’re more of an outdoorsy type: How about starting a B&B centered around hiking? Wherever your interests lie, they must be reflected in your B&B.
Make a Budget Business Plan
Create a business plan with a budget, or make one separately. Before you can accurately gauge whether your idea is profitable, you’ll need to know exactly how much money it will take to get your business off of the ground. Consider all of your projected expenses—from start-up costs, operating costs, marketing costs, etc.—and include them in your budget. Don’t forget to factor in projected revenue too!
Figure the Type of Rooms You Should Have
Before you can launch a B&B, you’ll need to decide what type of rooms you want to offer. Will they be large or small? Luxurious or budget-friendly? How many will there be? You’ll also need to consider whether these rooms will come with a private bathroom if guests have to share and whether they should include en suite facilities.
Extras You Can Offer
Not all bed-and-breakfasts have to be old Victorian mansions with a quaint pub attached. Of course, if you have enough money to buy or rent such a place and your state allows it, great! If not, try something smaller, like a cabin in an area known for its hiking trails. No matter what you choose, don’t forget to offer guests something unique. A big part of why people go on vacation is to get away from everyday life. Make sure you can give them at least one thing they can’t find at home.
Decide On a Pricing Point
Pricing is one of those controversial subjects within small businesses because there’s no right or wrong answer. Every product or service has a different market, and every industry reacts differently to pricing changes, so what works well in one field might be a disaster in another. When it comes to bed & breakfasts, however, you’ll need to set prices according to a few factors: What are your property’s main draws? Is it a location? Luxury amenities? Service quality? Whatever your B&B offers that make it stand out from competitors should be reflected in your rates.
One of the biggest benefits of starting your bed and breakfast is full control over your business. You can decorate your inn exactly how you want to, choose what sort of guests you want to host, set your prices and even design different sorts of rooms.