Seven Steps to Bed and Breakfast Inn Business Heaven
If you’re considering a career move and want to get away from the stressful corporate world, running your own bed and breakfast inn could be the answer and we’ll show you how to make your B&B a business success.
There are many advantages to running bed and breakfast inns. You get to live and work at home as the two become the same. You get to be your own boss and choose to base your B&B in your favorite part of Maine. And you regularly meet new and interesting people, especially those guests who return to stay every year or on a regular basis.
Of course, we’re not saying that managing a Maine bed and breakfast inn is easy – far from it. You will, for example, have to work long hours and share your home with strangers. However, with our simple steps you can help make the experience more enjoyable and more profitable.
Know Your Guests
Before you start your bed and breakfast inn, decide who you want your guests to be. Do you want the family type on a reasonable budget? Or the affluent city type on a shopping holiday? Or perhaps those after a relaxing countryside retreat? Once you know your customer base, it will be easier to market your bed and breakfast inns to various audiences.
Regardless of whether your bed and breakfast is humble and charming or lavish and exclusive, you need to ensure you have the budget to furnish the property appropriately. Don’t overlook the basics like having comfortable beds, fresh bed linen, clean curtains, and tidy lodgings, not to mention a welcoming smile to greet your guests when they arrive.
Like all businesses, potential guests need to be able to find your bed and breakfast inn easily and find reasons to want to stay there. You need to tell people why they should stay at your bed and breakfast inns, whether it’s for the friendly atmosphere, stunning views, ample amenities, affordable prices, or legendary breakfasts. There are over 300 houses offering bed and breakfast inn, in Maine alone, so you need to ensure your B&B stands out from the crowd.
You should try to allocate 20% of your year-one turnover for marketing. This will reduce over time as you become better at reaching your target audience and through repeat stays, including word of mouth.
Administration is the key to the success of your bed and breakfast inn since it will ensure a smooth booking process and necessary audit trail. Make sure you check with the relevant bodies to guarantee you are meeting all legal requirements with your bed and breakfast.
While you want to provide guests with a relaxed atmosphere at your bed and breakfast, you need to have rules to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Set the arrival and check-out times, although offer a flexible approach as needed. Advise guests which rooms other than their bedroom they’re allowed into, if any. And explain about the safety procedures including when the fire alarm sounds.
Surprise your guests when they arrive at your bed and breakfast inns with a food or drink offering. For example, if guests arrive during the afternoon, you could present them with some tea and cake or for evening arrivals, perhaps a whisky or hot chocolate. These small gestures will impress your visitors and make them want to come back.
Depending on your house, try to have a spare room at your bed and breakfast for guests to relax in. This could be a conservatory overlooking the garden or a sitting room with a log fireplace. As well as letting your guests unwind in this room, you could make the most of this space to promote local events or special offers at your bed and breakfast inn. This encourage and facilitate repeat bookings.