Thinking about starting a bed and breakfast? Susan Poole, the B&B Coach, shares her expert advice on the questions she’s always being asked by potential B&B owners – and the ones you should really be asking.
As The B&B Coach, I talk to a lot of people who want to start a bed and breakfast and are seeking the answers for the following three questions:
• How much money can I make?
• Can I run a bed and breakfast and still have a life?
• How do I get people to come?
If you’ve done any research into the topic of starting up a bed and breakfast, you’ll have a pretty good idea that finding concrete answers are like find the proverbial needle in the haystack! I know when I started my journey I thought I would strangle the next person who answered my questions with “Well, it depends….” Of course, at that time, I didn’t realize that the answers do depend on so many different things!
In trying to get the answer to the first question “How much money can I make?” you will need to be able to provide answers to the following questions:
- Where will you be located?
- How many rooms will you have?
- How much will you charge for your rooms?
- Who will be your guests? How much are they willing to pay?
- Why will people want to come and stay at your bed and breakfast?
Looking at the second question “Can I run a bed and breakfast and still have a life?” you need to know:
- How much time and when do you want to have that personal time?
- If there are certain hobbies or activities you like to do, how much money will they cost?
- Will taking time off interfere with the running of the bed and breakfast?
- If you aren’t available, how will the work of running the B&B get done?
- If you wish to be involved in local groups, how do you feel about leaving strangers alone in your home?
Finally, “How do I get people to come?” depends on some of the answers to the questions above – such as location and why potential guests want to come. In addition, you need to be able to answer:
- What activities and events occur that would make people interested in coming to your area?
- Are those people the type of people who would want to stay in a bed and breakfast?
- Are these the kind of people you want as guests?
- Are there other services available – such as restaurants, shopping and entertainment to fill up the rest of the time they will be staying?
- How will you let people know your bed and breakfast is available?
If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer
My suggestion is that instead of asking the questions at the beginning of this article, you ask yourself the following questions:
• How much money do I need to make?
• What are my personal goals for wanting to own a bed and breakfast?
• What kind of property do I want for my bed and breakfast?
Clarifying your answers to these questions will provide you with a solid foundation so that you can measure a potential bed and breakfast for the potential to generate the type of revenue and personal fulfillment, and type of guest you envision staying.
To learn more about additional questions you need to be asking and other items you need to include in your deliberations, you can download a free mp3 recording “3 Questions that everyone who wants to own a bed and breakfast asks – or should!” from my website.
Susan Poole is the owner of 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast and The B&B Coach and works with people who really love to meet new people, cook and entertain and want to turn those passions into owning a bed and breakfast. Her 4-step system “How to turn your passions into a thriving bed and breakfast business” will help people figure out if owning a B&B will produce the income and personal fulfillment they envision.
Image @Alexander Henning Drachmann on Flickr
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