Running a bed and breakfast can be remarkably difficult, but there’s a reason why it remains a major dream for a lot of Americans. The fact is that operating a bed and breakfast offers you a good deal of freedom. Bed and breakfast owners get to run their own businesses, which allows them to have some measure of control over their own success. For that matter, a bed and breakfast is a remarkably personal business.
Many people convert their own homes into bed and breakfast businesses, while others spend years seeking out the right property to renovate and convert into a bed and breakfast. One of the reasons why people seek out bed and breakfasts rather than typical chain hotels is that they find a unique experience there. It’s homier, and each room is different. Rather than getting some stale continental breakfast, they’re served by the owner, someone they’ll be able to get to know and become familiar with.
Travelers have a limited about of vacation time; and it’s probably no surprise that 96% of Americans report that their vacation time is important to them. So it’s really no wonder that a lot of people would like to spend that time at a place as unique as a bed and breakfast if they can. Therefore, there’s a lot of opportunity for you to make your bed and breakfast dream come true.
With that being said, running any small business is challenging. This is perhaps even more true for those who want to run a bed and breakfast. Because as many advantages as there are to running a very personal business, there’s also a chance that the qualities you like will not appeal to other people.
It’s important to evaluate what you can do to make your bed and breakfast succeed. If your small business is struggling, you should try to do whatever is possible to improve it, and when it comes to hospitality-related businesses, there are fortunately a lot of options. Let’s look into what you can do to make operating a bed and breakfast easier, and to create a business that will both attract customers and fulfill you personally.
1. Create A Maintenance Schedule
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun, or theoretical fun, of operating a bed and breakfast. However, if you fall behind on the practical aspects of maintaining a bed and breakfast, it will stop being fun very quickly. Maintaining a bed and breakfast is a lot like maintaining a house, as at their most basic levels most bed and breakfasts are based within large houses. However, due to the fact that they’re constantly being visited by new guests, these buildings can undergo more stress and damage than the average home.
For that matter, while you can personally put up with certain quirks in your home, guests will be a lot less tolerant of issues within a bed and breakfast. They paid for the stay, and they’ll be sure to reflect it their dissatisfaction through online reviews if you’ve neglected your leaky roof. Therefore, you should set up a structured maintenance schedule in order to make sure that you don’t neglect any of the wear and tear your bed and breakfast might sustain over time.
A great thing about structuring your maintenance in this sense is that it can make it easier for you to build professional relationships with local maintenance companies. For example, it will be a lot easier for you to avoid your roof developing a leak if you work with a reliable roofing contractor who can not only provide the regular roofing services that you need, but also advise you when it comes time to replace your roof. Often, small businesses are able to get better rates on services than residential homeowners would precisely because their service providers understand the value that comes with repeat business.
If your service providers understand that you’re going to need certain inspections on a regular basis, you’ll probably be able to save money in the long term. Of course, it’s not enough to simply structure a schedule. You also need to immediately address any issues that crop up, without delay. When operating a bed and breakfast, it’s your responsibility to not only take care of yourself, but others.
2. Improve The Exterior
The first thing anyone is going to notice about your bed and breakfast is its exterior: that is, the appearance of the building itself as well as the appearance of the surrounding landscape. The same can be said when potential guests look at your bed and breakfast online. It’s important when operating a bed and breakfast, to present a clean, positive, and inviting aesthetic to potential guests. Of course, your bed and breakfast’s exterior needs to connect with the interior as well.
This way, guests can have an immersive experience that will allow them to not only relax but enjoy the bed and breakfast to its fullest extent. There is a lot of effort that goes into maintaining the exterior of your business, and you should treat it just as seriously as you decorating the interior. You’ll want to work closely with a commercial landscaping company, and take their advice regarding how you can best maintain your lawn and garden.
The first thing to ensure is that your exterior looks clean and professional; make sure that the paint job is consistently refreshed and that the exterior itself is power-washed on a regular basis. It would be easy for your gutters to become cluttered over time, and therefore gutter repairs should become a part of exterior maintenance.
Your windows will need to be regularly wiped and washed, and you may also need to replace them more frequently than you perhaps would for your own personal home. Some windows are more energy-efficient than others, and as your energy bills, as a bed and breakfast owner will be relatively high, you’ll want to cut down on them wherever you can.
You should consult with window manufacturers about how best to ensure that hot or cool air doesn’t escape the building any more than it absolutely has to. This will also equal less strain being placed upon the building’s heating and cooling systems. Ultimately, you’ll both be boosting your home’s curb appeal and making it more manageable overall.
3. Create A Relaxing Backyard
It can make the interior of the bed and breakfast somewhat busy and overwhelming at times. This means that you should use your resources in order to create a relaxing space outside. This will of course factor somewhat into the curb appeal of your bed and breakfast.
But it’s a good idea to put some of that work into the backyard specifically, which may be somewhat less visible depending on how your bed and breakfast is set up on the road, but will also be important to your guests. You’ll still want to consult with a landscaper, and invest in regular garden maintenance like shrub trimming and appealing plants. Yet more goes into creating a relaxing backyard space for guests.
For one thing, you should think about the different kinds of features that you can add to the backyard. You’ll of course want furniture wherein guests can sit back and enjoy the scenery. This could come in the form of a deck or patio. Why not add in candles, or perhaps a water feature to creating a more calming atmosphere?
Nobody has ever disliked a serene pond or waterfall. With that being said, water features, as well as pools and hot tubs, may come with specific regulations depending on where you live. You’ll want to make sure that appropriate barriers are available, and that guests visiting with children are advised.
Another popular addition to a bed and breakfast’s backyard is a pergola. A pergola is both aesthetically appealing and allows some respite from the shade and heat. You may want to get in touch with a professional contractor in order to seek out options in terms of custom pergolas.
This can offer a route through which you’re able to make your pergola match the overall aesthetic of your bed and breakfast and its interior. There aren’t any specific ways in which you have to customize your bed and breakfast’s exterior, and specifically its backyard. It’s more about creating the type of sense that you really enjoy personally.
4. Remodel The Interior
If you already are operating a bed and breakfast, you should keep an eye on the online reviews, or any personal reviews you receive. It may be difficult to process critiques in a positive way, but there are a lot of things that you can gain from constructive criticism. One thing you should pay particular attention to are the comments regarding your home’s interior and its appearance, as well as its functionality. Your guests can have a lot to say about what could be improved through renovations and remodeling.
Remodeling is something that usually will need to be done eventually for residential homes, and the need for a bed and breakfast to be aesthetically appealing is even stronger. Your guests will want to see photos of your bed and breakfast’s interior online before they book a stay there. If your photos are misleading, they will likely complain; and if your photos show a less than ideal interior, they probably won’t book. With that being said, if you’re having issues when operating a bed and breakfast, you should consider whether or not a remodel is necessary.
It’s important to consider the bathrooms first, as they will be used by a number of different people and therefore will likely develop wear and tear more rapidly than, say, the kitchen which will not be operated by guests in all likelihood. People will want to be able to take a relaxing bath or shower, functionality aside.
Although many bed and breakfasts are not necessarily able to offer an en suite bathroom for all bedrooms, every bathroom should offer least a comfortable shower, if not a bathtub as well. You may want to consider a glass shower, as this will contain steam and provide a spa-like experience.
Should your bed and breakfast have a vintage feeling, a clawfoot tub may also be a possible option. Moving on from the bathrooms, you should move on to each bedroom, and make the most of the space available. Lots of bed and breakfasts have themed bedrooms.
Depending on the overall style of your business, this could be a good idea or it could be incredibly kitschy. But this is one place in which you can implement your own personal tastes. It’s one of those calls that’s a part of the fun of operating a bed and breakfast, which of course you shouldn’t lose sight of.
There are so many benefits that come from operating a bed and breakfast. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about your business, through your own website and by advertising on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. What matters is creating a good impression, something that will appeal to people searching online. And that starts on the ground, at your business’s most basic level.
With that being said, operating a bed and breakfast can definitely be strenuous, and can require a good amount of mental and physical effort. If you don’t have a partner and are struggling, it’s something that you might want to consider. But if you’d rather run your business independently, it can be done. Just make a list of what types of improvements you need to make, and get started!
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