Starting a bed and breakfast sounds like a dream job for many people, you get to enjoy the company of your guests and it is not unheard of for lasting relationships to be formed between guests and hosts.So while forming good friendships, you also expand the scope of your business, because the guest can act as a good referral. People that frequent bed and breakfasts are in search of lodging and service of high quality as well as uniqueness of each innkeeper and B&B. Many of these people are willing to pay more if they feel that they have been treated well. So what does it take to start your own bed and breakfast? Here are some things to consider:
Guest Rooms / Beds
You should look at this aspect objectively. Is there enough closet space? Are your furnishings okay? What types of beds are in your room? King, waterbed, twin, etc? It is a helpful thing to spend a night in one of your own rooms and see how it feels as a guest. Because it is your place, you may have grown accustomed to noises like the chime from an old clock or the normal noises from the street such as a cat meowing. These things may bother a potential guest. Other things to consider are whether the beds sag or not, the type of pillows you have, lighting in the room, squeaky doors, and so on. It all comes down to detail, all of these things can make your guest satisfied or dissatisfied.
A private bath is what most guests expect, often en suite. If you cannot provide this, a guest may not object if you have made appropriate arrangements for bathroom sharing. Remember though, sharing your bathroom with outsiders costs you your privacy; you may have to wait in line sometimes! The best solution is to make sure that the guest has his/her own private bathroom.
Hiring a cook, housecleaner and dishwasher make the guest feel comfortable and at home. Additional staff such as waiters, bartenders, and groundskeepers are also helpful during the peak season when your business begins to get busier.
Security and Keys
Dealing with security in your B&B would probably involve giving your guest a key to the front door and their private room. Most hosts hand over a key for free while others charge a “key fee”, which is usually a maximum of $10. However for security reasons, it would be a good idea to retain the only key to the deadbolt. It would also be smart to give your guest a key to his/her room but set certain hours that the front door remains unlocked.
Other helpful things to consider are selecting a good wine and food list, setting up a proper budget within your means, subscribing to reservation service agencies in order to broaden your market, networking with other B&B owners, and surveying the prices of your local competitors. Remember, as you start your B&B business, the aim is to make sure your guests feel as comfortable as possible and to give them an experience worth remembering.