More and more people are choosing to set up their own business and leave their 9-to-5 office job behind. One popular home business is running a bed and breakfast (B&B), which has its own attractive reasons. You get to work from home and get away from the hassle of driving to and from work, you get to meet travelers and talk to them about your area, and you also get to be your own boss. Despite the rosy advantages, there are also some important points you have to consider. It’s your business so you are on call anytime of the day or night, strangers will be living under the same roof as you, and you have to smile and entertain them whether you’re in the mood or not!
If you still think that the benefits are greater than the drawbacks, here are some questions that should guide you on how you can set up a successful bed and breakfast.
What kind of B&B do you envision?
The market has different types of B&Bs: romantic, family-friendly, farm stay, 5-star boutique, etc. Find out what you want to achieve with your B&B and write them down. Once you have clarified your goals, you can start on your action plan for each of them. An important thing to consider is to build on what you already have instead of starting from scratch, which may be costly when your business is just starting. If your house is in the middle of the countryside, you can opt for an equestrian B&B and have horseback riding packages for guests.
How do you encourage guests to keep coming back to your B&B?
Have a survey and find out the essential details that many tourists want in their lodging. You can go to review sites, such as TripAdvisor.com, to read about what people usually look for. It may be comfortable beds, clean rooms, delicious local breakfasts, and may also be friendly hosts. Once you got the basics complete, you can start working on the extras to distinguish your place from other accommodations in your area.
Do you have a budget for marketing and advertising?
Besides the cost of repairs and renovations, you also have to allocate money for marketing and advertising. When preparing your financial plan, make sure to include these aspects as well besides the tangible assets you have. You can’t rely on simple word of mouth when just starting. You would have to go out on the World Wide Web to get noticed.
What’s your marketing plan?
Allocate 20% of your profits in your first year to marketing costs. You can use the money for leaflets and business cards, membership to local tourism associations, B&B guides, quality ratings, and websites. Don’t be afraid to try some new marketing tool and make mistakes. As you go on, you’ll find out which works best for you and you can focus on that.
Have you fulfilled all legal requirements?
Before anything else, make sure that you are following local and national legal requirements for your business. Set up a meeting with your local council to find out of there are any restrictions for accommodation providers. It may be helpful to attend a seminar on how to set up a B&B business, such as this Aspiring Innkeepers Seminar in Eureka Springs, so you can have a list of necessary requirements you need to partake.
Beverly Breitling gives business seminars on how to start your own bed and breakfast, which discusses a range of helpful topics from getting a loan to breakfast recipes.