Traveling and peace of mind go hand in hand. In fact, in the United States, roughly 96% of Americans say vacation time is important to them. This is for good reason! It takes a lot of hard work and accumulated hours to be able to save up for a vacation. When people go on vacation, chances are they want to stay in only the best hotels, inns, getaways, and most importantly bed and breakfasts!
What is a BnB?
The acronym BnB might sound familiar to you, as it is part of the name of the now popular Air BnB service. Air BnB accommodates travelling visitors by allowing them to stay in a host’s home and set up accommodations cheaper than traditional hotels. But a traditional bnb, or bed and breakfast, is just as good, cheap, and can create a great experience for tourists if ran by a good owner. If you’re thinking about opening a bnb, don’t be discouraged by new air bnb’s, as these are less popular with certain crowds and also carry risks of their own. For one, an air bnb might be prone to strangers that are utilizing the app to lure people in. Air bnb’s might also lead people to stay in less than desirable areas and housing that can be dangerous. A traditional bnb is a viable business that you can open up, and can last you for decades to come. Opening a bnb requires dedication, passion, hard work, income, and most importantly the desire to offer only the best customer service. If you’re thinking of opening a bnb, these are 15 tips to help get your passion fired up.
1. Location Location Location
The most important aspect of opening a bnb is the location of your future business. Without a great location, you can be sure you will have no tourism, no visitors, and therefore make very little to no money. It’s highly essential that you are familiar with the customer service industry before opening a bnb, and also be familiar with the location you are opening up a bnb in. Does it have visitors year-round? Will it be visible to others? Is it in a desirable area or tucked away? Your location will make or break your business.
2. Do Market Research
Tied into your location is the market research that goes behind opening a bnb. If you don’t already know, marketing research is the gathering of information on visitors, current products or services and their competitors, and the overall success of the market in the current time. For example, due to COVID-19, the market behind hotels and other travel luxury businesses are suffering. But once travelling and tourism opens up again, so will the market for bnb’s, hotels and other travel goods. It’s important to do extensive market research to find out the average rate customers are charged, what makes a bnb in your particular area successful, and if there’s a need in the market for a change. For instance, to customers want custom pools? Bigger or cozier rooms? All these questions can be answered through customer surveys, internet research, and one on one conversations with other bnb owners.
3. Get a Business Loan
After you’re sure you know the location of where you want your BnB, have done extensive research and know you’re in the right business, it’s time to consider business loan options. Business loans and mortgages for commercial businesses are vastly different than personal loans or home mortgages. Luckily, talking to a professional banker, real estate agent, and other professionals in the business financing fields can help you understand your options for a business loan. In addition, you must also sit down with an accountant to go over finances and learn how much is a good amount to take out in a loan.
4. Research Zoning
Before you make any big decisions on how to build your bnb (if you’re building it from the ground up), or move any further into opening a bnb, it’s important you understand zoning. Zoning varies from county to county, and includes the amount of rooms you’re allows to open, how big or small your bnb can be, and various other factors. Research zoning laws withing your local county before opening a bnb. Failure to do so can result in fines, and worst of all complete closure and loss of your business.
5. Design your Look with Furniture
Once you have the technical aspects out of the way, you can begin to start considering what look you want your bnb to have. Do you want rustic window shutters, or sleek modern class window panes? Should your lobby look like a grand ballroom or have a modern air? The look, design, and furniture choices of your bnb should all take into account your previous marketing research as well. Consider what people you want to attract to your bnb, and how your look can help with that.
6. Hire the Best Staff
The customer service business is nothing without great, friendly staff. Hiring the best staff is essential when opening a bnb, and failure to do so can cause your visitors to never want to come back. Do a thorough interview and vetting process, along with accurate backgrounds to ensure you have only the best concierge, wait staff, and other employees at your bnb.
7. Conduct Thorough Maintenance/Inspections
Opening a bnb can be exciting and fun, but it’s important to not overlook even the most boring, but important, parts of the business. For example, conducting maintenance such as roofing services and plumbing services before opening can save you, and your guests, a headache of problems later on. In addition, proper maintenance must be done on all fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, exists, and alarms.
Failing to do proper inspections and maintenance on these items can cause your business to be open to liability and lawsuits if a guest were to be injured! You might want to rely on the help of industrial roofing contractors to ensure your roofing is in line with industry standards.
8. Get all Proper Licensing
Like the maintenance of air conditioners, rewiring, and other less luxurious aspects of opening a bnb, proper licensing is also vital. If you’re operating as a bnb, chances are you also have food being served in your bnb. Talk to your local state, county, and city officials to ensure you have all appropriate licenses before opening a bnb, and make sure you keep these licenses up to date. If you let a license lapse, it could mean an immediate shut down.
9. Set Up Policies
Once you’ve successfully established your bnb, it’s important to start setting up policies for guests that include contracts, deposits, rates, rules and regulations while staying at your bnb. For example, that ac installation took a lot of money to do, what if a guests damages the ac unit? Is there visitors allowed in a guest’s room? How many days before cancellations are non-refundable? It’s important to draw up all these policies and ensure you are legally covered before even thinking about inviting your first guest into your bnb.
10. Factor in Food and other Expenses
As you might have guests from the name, a bed and breakfast usually offers food along with their guest’s stay. A popular option for hotels is the continental breakfast, which usually consists of simple finger foods, pre-made bakery goods, fruits, and an assortment of hot items and beverages. But, will you also be offering lunch and dinner? Will there be a full restaurant or room service allowed? If you decide to make food a bigger aspect of your bnb, consider what the costs of this new food might be, and how you will go about paying for it. Also, make sure you hire the best cooks that practice good safety techniques, as the taste and quality of your dishes will have a huge impact on your business (for better or worse).
11. Set-Up a Website
It’s important to stay current with the times, and keep up with technological trends of the travel industry. For this reason, having a website is the bare minimum you should do when opening a bnb. For one, a website can allow guests to easily view pictures of your bnb, look at reviews, and even book a room and price their stay. You can also consider using a third-party outlet, such as Expedia or Travelocity to have your guests book a suite. Whatever you decide, it’s important that your website be trendy as well. A good design, color scheme, and layout will make it easier for guests to navigate through all your services and accommodation packages, as well as encourage them to book a stay with you without any fuss.
12. Advertise Heavily
It’s important when opening a bnb to advertise your bnb heavily through billboards, your website, flyers, and more importantly social media. All these outlets have the potential to garner attention, but social media is much more interactive and popular with guests today. It’s always a good idea to hire a professional social media promoter, have an in-house photographer to take stunning pictures of your bnb, and seek the help of graphic designers to help advertise your bnb. Ask yourself, what image of the bnb do I want my guests to see? What brand should the bnb have, and how can social media be used to my advantage? Social media, when used correctly, has the power to make customers relate to a business or brand, follow-up on it, and encourage them to visit and re-visit your business. Billboards, flyers, and advertisements through TV or radio can also be helpful. Consider hiring a PR person to help you in your marketing endeavors as well.
13. Consider Hosting Events
It might not be enough to have stellar food, great customer service, and a good location when opening a bnb. Sometimes, hosting events can add a significant amount of revenue to your business, so consider hosting events throughout the year. Weddings, parties, dance-halls, and even prom nights are all good events to consider. Once you decide on hosting events, consider the costs for these as well. For instance, will you need to pay for https://2yb.org/sleep-klonopin/ in order to give a bride their dream outdoor wedding? Will your venue provide a DJ, seating and food? Event planning is an entire different field of its own, but with a little research and dedication, hosting events at your bnb might just be the turning point for your business.
14. Allow for Customer Feedback
When opening a bnb, you’ll want to hear as much customer feedback as possible. With new sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, even Youtube, customers are gaining more and more power with their voice. Giving customers the option to give you feedback can help you in understanding what your business might need improvements on. For example, did they love the jet ski activities you offered, or were they too dangerous? Was there a bed bug problem you didn’t know about? Rude customer service? On the other hand, great customer feedback will make your business all the more stronger and desirable to future guests.
15. Consider Selling/Buying other Properties
Opening a bnb has some setbacks initially. Overhead costs, getting your business known to customers, and finding a steady stream of visitors or events can be frustrating, and cause you to lose hope quickly. Understand that opening a bnb and having it be profitable takes time. Selling your bnb, on the other hand, or buying more than one bnb property can make it easier for you to make money overtime, however. When selling your property or buying new property, talk to a trusted real estate agent for all the details on prices, the market, and other valuable insight. Consider possible remodeling you might have to do, such as bathroom remodeling service or furniture replacement.
Bnb is a Lifestyle
Putting work into a business is never easy, especially a hospitality business dealing with loads of customers who can be angry and rude. However, having the passion to give the best customer service, have your bnb be the greatest in town, and ensuring you give your customers a vacation to remember can help you get through the tough times. Being in the hospitality business is a lifestyle, but can be well worth it and lead to you being the proud owner of the oldest, most successful bnb in town.
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