How to Start a Bed and Breakfast Business 1-2-3
Bed and Breakfast hotels are becoming more and more popular as an alternative form of lodging for a variety
of different markets including baby boomers, college students, business travelers. Their draw can be location,
cost savings, unique environment, etc..
You've got to enjoy being around people and be knowledgeable of activities and transportation options in the
area. For people who are social or enjoy entertaining, this can be a terrific home-based business.
Keep in mind that this is typically not a high-earning line of work - it's more of a lifestyle decision.
That said, this business offers lots of benefits, including, home decorating, event planning, socializing,
cooking and more.
You do not have a degree in hotel management to run a bed and breakfast business. However, innkeepers with
B&B industry knowledge and experience have a greater chance of success than those who don't, simply because
they are better prepared to handle unexpected situations that frequently occur in business.
InnCaring.com is a team of experienced innkeepers who offer bed and breakfast training to entrepreneurs
wanting to start their own B&B's. Also, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International has a
membership website that provides current industry information to it's members and a networking forum for
Food Safety Training &
Certification This course prepares food managers for the ANSI-CFP certification exam (nationally
accredited). This exam can be taken through Prometric, the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals or
the National Restaurant Association(ServSafe).
Zoning and Licenses:
If you already own a property or have found one that you want to use for your bed and breakfast, you want to
make sure that it is located in a neighborhood that is zoned for business. Zoning laws can also impact parking
and signage for your business. You can check with your city on this.
You will also need to register your business name and apply for a business license. Requirements vary by
city, so you may also need a bed and breakfast license, a home occupation permit. If you have a kitchen where
you will be preparing food for guests, it's likely that youll need to have your cooking space inspected by your
state's Department of Health.Start-Up Costs and Rates:
Start-up costs will of course vary on a variety of things, including size, location and amenities.
Entrepreneur.com advises to allow $20,000-$50,000 to furnish each guest room.
The rates that you charge guests will depend on similar factors, plus the going rates of competing hotels.
The more value, amenities, activities or services that you can offer guests, the more visitors you will attract
and the more money you can make. Therefore, you want to look into services you can offer guests that offer more
value than what they cost you.
It's even better when you can give your guests services that they can't get elsewhere in the area. For
example, I stayed in a B&B that offered free bicycle use to guests. Centrally located downtown where
parking could be a hassle, this was a great selling point, so I booked a room. Turns out we never took
advantage of the bikes, but they got our business because of the unique amenity.
Bed and Breakfast Supplies:Need supplies for your bed and breakfast like furniture,
appliances, bed linens, bath accessories, office and lobby supplies, staff uniforms, outdoor furniture,
housekeeping supplies and cleaning products? Check out American Hotel Register Company. HD Supply also has plumbing, lighting and HVAC products, tools, hardware,
fitness equipment and more.
Here's the bad news: in the bed and breakfast business, it can be easy to make costly mistakes because you
are dealing with such a large investment. Getting a few tips from a successful inn owner can make the
difference between making a $1,000 mistake - or not.
With the start-up kit below, you can see step-by-step how to open your bed and
breakfast inn with professional advice from multiple inn owners for
- Where to find inns to buy, how to renovate and decorate an inn plus what you should have in common
- How to set room rates, take reservations, decide policies, handle repairs, guest safety AND everything
you need to know about serving food
- How to market your B&B through reservation agencies and directories, set up a website, ways to keep
your inn full in the off-season and how to keep your guests coming back.
- Lots of sample checklists and forms, plus ideas for products you can sell at your
B&B to make more money.
See Testimonials | Bed & Breakfast Start-Up Guide
Turn a Farm into a B&B:Many successful B&B's offer more than just
a place to stay. They make themselves a destination spot that travelers want to explore, and guests want
to visit again. An example of this is a farmhouse converted into a guest lodging. This can also be a farm
that rents out a few rooms to generate some extra income.
Farmers can teach guests about milking cows, making cheese, hold organic cooking classes or beekeeping
workshops - even cattle drives. These activities are great for families with kids, but are also now becoming
more popular with people who want to escape city life or prefer a learning vacation.
These B&B's don't have to be fancy or exotic, in fact many visitors are looking for quite the opposite.
Simplicity, peace and a chance to experience something new. Check out Hidden Villa for example.
B&B Business Resources:
Marketing Tips for Bed & Breakfast Businesses
Local Search for
More and more people are looking for local businesses online (instead of the traditional yellow pages) - and it
is easy to start advertising to travelers using this method. Local Search sources that are affordable and
receive substantial traffic include: Google Local, Yelp, Super Pages and specialized site Trip Advisor.
Advertise Your Travel Business Online
If you have a vacation property, a tour business or travel service, you can get access to millions of
interested customers online with a travel directory like RealAdventures. Find customers who have money to spend
and want help planning a vacation. It can't get much easier than this. Start here >> Get customers for your travel
Design Your Own Promo Items
National Pen has lots of cool items that
you can customize with your logo - hand them out to prospective customers, and they'll think you're cool too!
This is an easy way to invite a client to do business with you. Start here >> Design Your Own Promo Items
Free Website BuilderBed and Breakfast
Create an online presence for your bed and breakfast and show off a professional visual display of your
accomodations and services. This is a great way to attract local clientele - and your website can do much of
the "selling" for you. It's easier and cheaper than you think with a Free Website Builder
Professional Association of Innkeepers, Intl.
For innkeepers offering innkeeping courses & seminars on starting and running a bed and breakfast.
American Bed and Breakfast Association
The American Bed and Breakfast Association is an organization dedicated to the promotion of bed & breakfast
(B & B) inns nationwide.
Founded in 1946 in Paris, France and move to Geneva, Switzerland as of January 2008. The IH&RA is the only
business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide.