Resources for people who want to open a bed and breakfast – aspiring innkeepers

So you want to open a bed and breakfast?  As a fellow innkeeper, I have to say it is a great job.

As I was looking to open my B&B I was searching for lots of information about running a bed and breakfast.  There are tons of books out there about running a bed and breakfast.  Most of the books out were published before 2000 which makes the marketing tips they have pretty outdated.  The old model of marketing a bed and breakfast is irrelevant in today’s times when most people who want to stay at a B&B simply look on the internet.

Our purpose is to provide a lot of the information you need to open a bed and breakfast at no cost.  There are lots of seminars you can attend and conferences you can go to where you can meet other bed and breakfast owners.  There is some good information provided, but we think this is a better place to get it because: 1.) A lot of the information we have for you is completely free and 2.) If you do decide you want to purchase the online class we offer you don’t have to pay to stay in a hotel and pay to attend a conference.  You can learn what you need to know in the comfort of your own home on your own time.

Lesson One – No Business Plan Required

To see a complete list of posts for a new or aspiring innkeepers click here.

Get your first guest!  Lots of people start with spending lots of time writing a Business Plan, which is something that takes quite a bit of research and effort.  There is some value in it, but we think the value is mostly in the “doing” vs. “writing about what you will do”.  Lots of people get caught in the trap of analyzing their business too much instead of focusing on the basics – how to get your first guest and then how to build a steady volume of guests.

You can spend a lot of time calculating what your revenues could be and painstaking time estimating your expenses.  Once you actually start operating the business you get a real feel for those numbers and you’ll find that you rarely look back at those forecasts, which are rarely close to reality.  I speak from experience as a total spreadsheet nerd.  I opened with a bang – full my first weekend, of course I opened specifically for a friend’s wedding.  After that weekend I had a long dry spell.  I had spent a lot of time analyzing my revenues and expenses, when I should have focused on getting guests.

The very most important number is guest revenue.  Many states publish what hotels report (under hotel tax reports).  This is a good way to see what other B&Bs in your area bring in.   When it comes right down to it my big expenses like mortgage, utilities, taxes – those don’t change much from month to month.  I do have some costs that change based on how many guests I have like food and supplies, but I don’t have to buy more food unless I have more guests.  The most important thing to focus on from day one is to get enough reservations to cover the big Fixed Costs (costs that you have to pay even if you have no guests).

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To see Lesson 2 click here.