The popularity of the humble B&B has never waned and this form of homely accommodation is more popular now than ever before. With the success of boutique hotels around the world many regular patrons of bed and breakfast accommodation cannot see the difference between an overly priced boutique hotel and a good old fashioned B&B. Many good bed and breakfasts offer exactly the same amenities and qualities that small hotels do, and at a fraction of the price, with the added advantage of top quality and personal service. So how do you even begin to think of starting your own bed and breakfast business? In this blog we explore how to start to run a successful bed and breakfast and to make it profitable.

Know the Market

Pick a market you want to pitch your business at, this will rather depend on location. For instance if your property is close to the beach then you might want to concentrate on families, but if you are situated in a town close to art galleries and museums then it is a more mature market that you should try to attract. Honing your business to target one type of demographic is a good idea, scout the local area and see what the main attractions are and who your target market is. Speak to other businesses in the area and ask their advice on what type of tourist or visitor is the most common.

Social Media and Trip Advisor

Whatever your personal feelings about Trip Advisor may be, remember that their comments and reports are taken as gospel by some of the people who read them. Be proactive with Trip Advisor, provide top quality information and images of your business, if possible add referrals or comments from happy customers. These testimonials will only be positive if you are doing a good job and treating your guests in the correct manner, and collecting positive reviews. There is some evidence to suggest that over eighty percent of visitors go to a B&B because of positive reports on Trip Advisor.

By the same token, do not ignore social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are powerful and cheap tools to get your message across. The most successful way of passing the word on any business is by referral, and positive tweets and posts are better than any expensive advertising.

Make Sure Your Business Plan is Workable

Lay out your fiscal plan in detail and revisit it again and again. It is highly important that you list every expense your business is likely to incur, think outside the box and include items that may not seem significant. Work out what a profitable room rate would be, and balance that with no show guests.

Then look at your business model, who are you targeting your business at? Will that target audience be able to afford your rates?

If not, you have to figure a way to reduce costs, this can be in many areas, from the type of linen you use to the food you serve. But you must come up with a room rate that is profitable and can sustain your business. In part two we offer more tips in starting up your own bed and breakfast business, including first impressions and little extras.