If you’re looking for the perfect getaway, there’s nothing like staying at an amazing bed and breakfast.
Not only is it a great alternative to staying in hotels and motels, but there are plenty of benefits to staying at a bed and breakfast:
- You get more privacy, peace and quiet than you would in traditional hotel settings.
- You get personalized service.
- They’re usually off the beaten path, giving you a chance to see and do things you might not normally do.
- They’re more secure, with fewer folks coming and going.
- It’s the perfect place for you and your loved one to have a romantic getaway.
If you’ve been to an amazing bed and breakfast, you know how quaint they are and how peaceful the experience can be. It might even have you thinking about opening a bed and breakfast of your own.
More than 30% of couples have claimed they went on a romantic getaway last year and it’s a safe bet that, for many of them, that getaway was at a bed and breakfast. The industry has been estimated to be worth more than $3 billion and appeals to consumers in so many ways.
So how do you open an amazing bed and breakfast? These steps will help you turn your bed and breakfast dream into a reality.
Looking At The Market
You might have a notebook chock-full of great ideas for your bed and breakfast. But before you get a chance to set it up and make it your own, you need to evaluate the area you’re looking to open up in and ask yourself some important questions:
- Is the area you’re interested in popular with tourists?
- Can you support such a business in this area?
- What can you offer travelers that they can’t get anywhere else?
- What other lodging options are in that area?
Ideally, you’d like to open that’s not already saturated by accommodations, but that also shouldn’t discourage you. Just because there are hotels and motels in that area doesn’t mean they offer all the same accommodations you’re looking to offer.
Get Yourself A Location
Once you’ve determined where you want to set up shop, you need to get a piece of property. You can easily check listings of commercial properties for sale or check with local real estate companies to see what kinds of property are available.
Obviously, you’re going to be looking at property prices and the size of the property, but you need to do as much homework as possible. Before you sign on the dotted line and purchase property of any kind, you’ll also need to check with local land surveying companies and zoning boards to see whether or not the property you want is zoned for commercial use. By doing your homework now, you can save yourself from problems down the road.
Get All The Paperwork In Order
With your area scouted and your property secured for your amazing bed and breakfast, the next thing you need to do is get all the necessary paperwork in order.
Whether you know it or not, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in running a bed and breakfast and license requirements are usually different from city to city. You’re going to need business insurance, your business license, and your food service permits just to name a few pertinent forms. Ultimately, you’ll want to check with local zoning boards and local governments to find out exactly what you’re going to need.
Set Up Work Projects
Even if you’ve got the absolute perfect space for your bed and breakfast, odds are good that there’s a fair amount of work to be done before you can open for business.
If you notice your property needs a little TLC, one option is to set up a consultation with a commercial construction company. Commercial construction project managers can survey your property, access your needs and help you map out a plan to transform your property.
Once you’ve got a plan in place, take time to address all of your other property needs:
- Consult commercial electrical services to check all of the wiring and electrical connections in your property. They can also help if you need connections for WiFi or you need new light fixtures installed. They can even help you restore older lighting setups like those found in chandeliers.
- Regardless of whether your amazing bed and breakfast is in a warm climate or a cold climate, you’re going to need a working HVAC system. For that reason, local HVAC contractors can do a thorough inspection of your system, make sure it’s in working order and change filters to enable your guests to have heat or air conditioning as needed.
- If your property is older, your roof might be in need of repair. Roof repair services can patch holes in your roof, reinforce your existing roof or even give your place a new roof to complete a total transformation.
Make Your Bed And Breakfast Your Own
If you’ve visited an amazing bed and breakfast in the past and been wowed by how the owners transformed an historic building into a sparkling bed and breakfast, one of the biggest reasons is customization.
With a bed and breakfast of your own, your job as a business owner is to transform and customize the space into something that exceeds customer expectations. After all, your customers are going to visit with expectations for a unique experience and it’s your job to give it to them.
That might mean creating a theme based on the community you’re in or designing the place with a certain kind of décor that evokes a certain vibe. Ultimately, you’re trying to create a space that’s inviting, can receive guests, and give them a place to have breakfast each morning.
Keep Yourself Focused
You may be full of ideas and driven to make your amazing bed and breakfast the best it can possibly be. But if you’re the new kid on the block in terms of accommodations, your operation isn’t going to become a well-oiled machine overnight.
One of the best things you can do ultimately achieve your goal is to stay focused and make a daily list of things to get done. Spending as little as 15 minutes in the morning making a list can make all the difference. That list might include tasks like making breakfast, cleaning rooms and booking rooms.
The bottom line is that running a bed and breakfast is hard work and there’s a lot of little jobs to be done every day to make everything go smoothly. For management purposes, you can invest in point-of-sale or POS systems. These systems can help you keep track of kitchen inventory, make it easier for customers to pay online and make reservations and it allows bed and breakfasts to keep better track of their occupancy. For companies with an eye toward going paperless, POS systems also make that much easier.
Keep An Eye On Finances
Depending on where you buy property, what the property costs, and what your operational costs, the reality is that running a bed and breakfast costs money. Getting a handle on what your operational costs are day to day and month to month can help you determine what your nightly rates are, how much you charge for food and other amenities, etc.
Once all construction and work has been completed and all preparations have been made, you need to make customers aware of your business. If your tech savvy, you can design your own website and list your rooms for customers to make reservations. You can also create profiles on social media profiles on sites like Facebook and Instagram to increase your outreach. Remember, your goal is to get people to notice your amazing bed and breakfast and posting pictures on Instagram and information and links on your Facebook page can make it easy for people to find you.
Another way to reach customers is through signage. As much as customers are engaged on mobile devices, signage catches their attention as they’re driving. You can put a lot of eye balls on your bed and breakfast with a new digital signage solution that lets customers you’re open, you have vacancy, and you have great, appealing amenities that they should check out.
While it’s important to market your business, you should also encourage customers to market your business as well. They can do this with reviews on sites like Trip Advisor and by leaving comments on your social media pages. This helps create positive feedback you can use to improve the way you do business and also makes people want to visit your amazing bed and breakfast, especially if they get a glowing recommendation from a friend.
A small business consulting service can give you all the tools of the trade to open a small business and be successful at it; advising you on everything from what kind of property to buy to how to handle finances to how to successfully market your business.
One of the toughest things for any business to do these days is stand out. If you think you have an amazing bed and breakfast, you want the customer to think it’s just as amazing as you do. So how can you make your bed and breakfast stand out from the competition?
Customers love it when hotels, motels and even bed and breakfasts go the extra mile to make them feel special during their stay. You can do this by personally greeting customers, learning their names and even giving them recommendations on fun things to do in the area. If you really want to wow them, you might consider having gift baskets in the rooms as a surprising way to welcome them.
Deliver Outstanding Food
Your amazing bed and breakfast can be extra amazing with killer breakfasts that really wow your guests. If there are delicious local foods native to the area, find ways to incorporate them into breakfast dishes. Find ways to offer menu specials such as Eggs Benedict and put a twist on it to make it your bed and breakfasts signature dish. Offer customers some freedom of choice with options like custom-made omelets.
Parter With Local Companies
You can really offer something unique to your customers by partnering with businesses in the area. If you have a local winery close by for example, you can partner with the winery to offer complimentary tours or discount tours to customers. You may even be able to offer them some wine at a discount as well.
Think About Your Selling Points
When you really boil it down, what is the one thing or two things that make your bed and breakfast stand out from the rest? Why should customers spend their money there instead of somewhere else? Whether it’s the unique décor or themes you offer or the five-star meals or modern touches in a restored historic house, finding those unique selling points will help you nail down what’s different about your place and how you can market that uniqueness to customers.
There’s no doubt that running a successful bed and breakfast doesn’t happen overnight. But by taking time to do some research into properties, filing all necessary paperwork and renovating your purchased property, you can have a place to make completely your own.
Once you’ve got your place, you can transform it into the bed and breakfast of your dreams, offering different themes and activities and amazing food to really take a customer’s breath away. By finding what makes your business unique, honing it on it and marketing it effectively, you can draw new customers, repeat customers and customers who have been impressed with reviews other folks have made about your place.
To paraphrase a popular movie phrase, “If you build it, they will come” and that’s certainly true of a bed and breakfast. If you’ve got something unique and fun to offer customers, the sky is the limit for the success of your bed and breakfast and you can make sure each and every customer leaves with a positive and memorable experience.
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