What is a bed and breakfast? It’s a sort of hybrid between a luxury hotel and a private home, a small establishment with 4 to 10 guest rooms instead of the 50 to 100 or more found at most hotels. The owner live on-site and interact with traveler, traveler who is served with sumputuous breakfast, home-cooked repast that comes with the price of the room and is served each morning in a communal dining room or in the guest’s own quarters. It’s a difficult business, a very lifestyle decision, but if you love caring for people, are always able to give service with a smile and don’t mind having strangers sharing your living space, than to start a B&B business could be a great opportunity.
In UK, tourism industry is one of the largest in the world, involving of around 180,000 businesses, employing 1.4 million people, and generating £19bn per year in foreign revenue. So there are a lot of chances.
The first question to start is: “Are you going to buy an established business, purchase and customise a new building, or renovate your existing home?”. If you decide to purchase a house and build the business from scratch, consider the size carefully. Ideally you’ll have your own space to give you a break from the guests. This is important for your business too, because guests will feel uncomfortable if they have to share rooms with your family. Remember that most guests expect a private bathroom, so you’ll need to buy somewhere with multiple en-suites, or get these installed in whatever property you’re using. Make sure you have sufficient parking spaces nearby and are well positioned for guests to visit local attractions. Avoid noisy streets, too, but not so much that guests would be scared to walk back alone at night.
Before invest, figure out if there would actually be enough guests in your desired area to sustain the business throughout the year. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce, tourist information and local council to get important tourism information: how many visit the area, the types of attractions they visit, whether tourism is seasonal etc. Also consider how many travelling businessmen and women spend the night in your area. They will be valuable guests through the ‘slow season’.
Even if you run your operation from your existing home instead of buying a new, local laws may require you to install new kitchen equipment or fixtures, upgrade the pool to public standards, or add fire safety fixtures. All costs that you have to consider.
Second step: the staff. You’ll usually require staff if your B&B has anything more than four guest rooms. The choice of the people is important. All staff must have excellent customer service skills, because the happier your guests are, the more likely they are to refer you to their friends.
Third step: money. The cost of buying either an existing B&B or a large property varies hugely depending on size, location, how the market is doing and how long the property has been for sale. You can find opportunities on specialised site .
Fourth step: advertisement. Get listed on Trip Advisor and make yourself known to local tourist offices and websites listing B&Bs in your area. A website is necessary. Make sure your website is geared up with all the SEO you need to get found online.
Fifth step: price. Your room rates will depend on several factors, the amenities you offer, your location, the going rates in your region. No matter how upscale your amenities or how desirable your location, your rates will have to be in line with other B&Bs and lodgings in your area. If you charge significantly more, you’ll lose business. If you charge significantly less, you’ll also lose because people will think there’s something wrong with your inn and won’t try you out. Consider rates applied by your competitor to understand how much your clients will pay but don’t forget the costs (for example laundry and electricity bills), insurances and taxes.
In USA, difficults and steps are the same, but the market is different. Average occupancy, or number of rooms filled on a daily basis, according to PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International), has skyrocketed along with the number of available properties, increasing from 45 to 50 percent in a recent four-year period. And room prices have also increased, going from $103 to $121 in the same four-year stretch.
Here, there are four typical target markets: tourists, business travelers, adults whom are looking for romantic getaway and college or university students. If you can pull in two, or several, that’s great. But you’ll need to attract at least one.
The only really problem of USA market is the business license. The license fee is nominal, as the paperwork, and zoning ordinances vary tremendously from one local to another (are typically regulated by the city or county planning commission or planning board).
Moreover some municipalities include limits in their zoning ordinances. Some limit the number of days guests can stay per visit (typically seven or 14 days), some prohibit cooking facilities in guest rooms, some limit the number of guest rooms allowed in a residential neighborhood.
If your B&B is located in a business district, you’ll probably pass with flying colors. But if your neighborhood isn’t zoned for a bed and breakfast, you’ll have to apply for a variance or a conditional use permit.
- Business license