Opening a B&B? Do’s and Don’ts
Running a B&B can be a very rewarding experience. I think most of us have dreamed of opening a quaint bed and breakfast along the shore of a tropical island somewhere. The trouble is most people get so caught up in the romance of it all, they forget that a B&B is still a working business.
Yes, you’ll meet lots of wonderful people, but if you don’t have the right business skills, your venture will fail.
Follow these do’s and don’ts if you plan to open a B&B:
Do Have a Plan
Like every other business, running a successful B&B requires a plan. Not only do you need a business plan; you also need a marketing plan.
The concept of “build it and they will come” doesn’t work in the modern business world.
Along with a business and marketing plan, you also need to establish an online presence. Start with a professional website that offers guests an easy way to book their stay online. Don’t forget to include plenty of stunning, colorful photos of your inn. Photos are a great way to sell the experience of staying at your B&B, so make sure your gallery tells the story you want to tell.
Set up accounts on social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Be active on those accounts by posting frequently and interacting with your followers. Remember, social media puts your B&B in front of a huge audience – and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Do Make an Effort to Connect with Guests
Connecting with guests and meeting new people is one of the most appealing parts of owning a B&B. Don’t hide behind the curtain; take the chance to sit down and talk to your guests.
Breakfast is a great time to not only serve guests, but get to know them. Making those connections and interacting with your guests personally will create a memorable experience for them – one they’re likely to share with their friends and family.
Make the effort to connect with guests on social media, too, or through other outlets if they feel so inclined. Many innkeepers still exchange written letters with former guests.
Do Find a Niche
There are thousands of hotels and B&Bs. What makes yours so special? Whether you have a unique atmosphere, an historic building or you cater to a certain type of traveler, it’s important to find your niche and play to its strengths.
Don’t have a niche yet? Find one. Look for unserved demographics and needs in your market, and cater to them.
Don’t Think Running a B&B Will Be Easy
If you think running a B&B will be a walk in the park, think again. It’s hard work running an inn, particularly because you only have a small staff. This is a hands-on job in most cases, and most innkeepers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
If you’re not renovating, you’re tending to guests’ needs. That chair in the sand will stay empty until the low season comes.
Don’t Take the Hiring of Employees Lightly
To run a successful B&B, you need a staff you can trust. Take the time to vet potential employees. Having reliable and trustworthy staff can make running a B&B that much easier – and more fun.