The bed and breakfast (BnB) industry has boomed in recent years and owning one has become a popular notion for many. It can be a fulfilling and profitable endeavor. However, it does require a level of responsibility that some aren’t willingly to commit to. Here are some of the basics you should know about starting a bed and breakfast.
Is it for you?
Looking after a BnB requires a lot of time and effort. Before making any concrete decisions, you should do as much research as you can to decide if running a BnB is really something you want to invest your energy and money into. Here’s 5 things you should ask yourself:
- Are you a people person?
- How do you handle pressure?
- Do you have a thorough understanding of your local area?
- Are you willingly to look after others and clean up after them?
- Will you give up holidays/weekends to manage your BnB if necessary?
If you plan on running your bed and breakfast solo, it is important to remember that it is a substantial amount of work for one person. Having a business partner that has a different skill set to you allows you to divide the workload and focus on your strengths.
Some factors to consider when starting your bed and breakfast
Before starting your BnB, you should consider whether people want to come to your local area. How do accommodations fare in your town? Are there any incentives for people to visit? If you don’t get many tourists in your area, it probably isn’t going to be a worthwhile venture.
Experience in business
If you have experience in business or the hospitality industry you may have an idea of the logistics that are involved with running this type of business. If not, it’s a good idea to complete a course that is aimed at running Bed and Breakfasts to give you the best possible start. Some things you should have an understanding of to ensure its success:
- How to market your BnB
- Hire and delegate staff
- Put strategies in place to optimize occupancy rates
- Negotiate with contractors
- Manage cash flow
Make an appointment at your local council’s office
Before you spend any of your hard-earned cash on your Bed and Breakfast, your first point of call should be your local council’s office to ensure your property is suitable as a BnB. They handle state and local laws that are in place to ensure your property is compliant. Regulations such as building and planning permits, fire safety, business registration, road and property signage, food, water and electrical safety are mandatory for BnBs to adhere to avoid breaches and fines. You can also risk not being covered by insurance if you fail to comply with any of the rules that are in place.
Create a business plan
When starting a Bed and Breakfast you should have a business plan in place. It should include your vision for the business, goals, targets, expenses, marketing etc.
If you need to seek finance for your BnB, that is something that you can be taking the steps towards. Once finance is approved, it allows you to put your plans into place. You should consider the ongoing expenditures involved with running your BnB and if you can accommodate them long term, even when business is slow.
Once your proposed Bed and Breakfast has been given the green light from council you should consider getting your insurance in order. You want to put an insurance policy in place that will not only protect your Bed and Breakfast property but yourself and your guests too. An insurance policy that has liability and property cover are essential. Your insurance broker can discuss with you the options that are suited to your business needs.
Having a strong online presence is an essential component to running a successful bed and breakfast. Social media is a great way to promote your business. You can market your accommodation before it’s even opened to build interest and anticipation. Ensure the pictures you share are appealing and inviting. If you are not confident with technology, it pays to take a short course in ecommerce. Online transactions are highly popular and that is unlikely to change. The accommodation industry is highly competitive, and you have to have good marketing strategies in place to get noticed. Here are some tips to help your business stand out:
- Allocate more to your marketing budget during peak season
- Provide incentives to your potential guests
- Sell the location as well as your BnB
- Have a modern and easy to use website
- Establish local partnerships
- Be easy to find online
- Use social media to promote your business
Source a supplier
You will need a variety of furniture pieces and supplies to fit out your accommodation. Things to consider are bedding, linen, towels, toiletries and food. Find a wholesale provider that specializes in accommodation supplies. Offering your guests something unique and different such as a breakfast pack or locally made toiletries can leave a lasting impression.
As mentioned, running a Bed and Breakfast requires a lot of work, if you or/and your partner are unable to fulfill all the duties required to keep your business running at its best, you might need to hire staff. Things such as cooking and cleaning can be time consuming. If you choose to hire staff, you can then decide which jobs you can manage and which you want to delegate to them.
Starting up any business is an exciting time although, it is important to factor in the things mentioned above to ensure its success. With careful planning and by implementing some clever marketing strategies your BnB can be a rewarding business venture. If you are looking for something unique to offer your guests, we can help. Here at LePack Hotel Supplies we specialise in innovative and convenient food packs. For further information, call our friendly team.