How to Run a Successful Beachside Bed and Breakfast in Alaska

Are you ready to run your own bed and breakfast? If you love staying home away from home, running your B&B might be perfect for you. This article shares tips on how to run a successful beachside bed B&B in Alaska.

A bed and breakfast facility is an accommodation where guests stay in private rooms rather than at a large hotel. It is often applied to properties offering overnight lodging and meals, although some establishments offer simple breakfasts. According to www.hospitalitynet.org, there are over 17,000 B&Bs in America. This figure keeps increasing as more mid-level professionals enter the hospitality industry.

Alaska is known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor adventure activities. If you want to live a life of luxury in a remote location, then Alaska might be the place to go. The state offers many opportunities for those who love nature and wildlife, with plenty of hiking trails, sand dredging, fishing spots, and national parks. Here’s how to run a successful B&B in Alaska.


To run a beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska, it is essential to research the business thoroughly. Find out whether your company will require a physical location. Determine whether you’ll lease, buy, or build a place for your business. If you plan to run your business from home, find out about local zoning laws and neighborhood rules. You should know how many rooms you will need, what food services to provide, and how much money you can expect to spend. These questions will help you define your business according to the Alaska small business development center (SBDC) guidelines. Besides, researching these issues will help determine how the state regulates your business. Also, you may want to explore the cost of starting a business. The SBDC has a tool to help with this task.

Get a Licence

After doing your homework, acquire an appropriate license and code from the state to run a successful beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska. Besides, you’ll need an additional local business license, such as a borough municipality if you’re providing extra services within the facility, such as transportation and selling items. A single-state license lets you operate any business within the assigned area. For example, you can run an owner-occupied private residence with fewer rentals. Also, you can manage public accommodations with over five rentals and aren’t owner-occupied. Besides, you can have public accommodation with a complimentary breakfast.

Regulations and Requirements

State laws and regulations governing beachside bed and breakfasts in Alaska differ from those applicable to hotels. However, if one operates such an establishment, one must comply with the local building codes. Additionally, the building inspector may require a plan before any work begins. The plan contains information about the location, height, number, and occupancy of buildings on the property. Also included are all exits, wood flooring repair, CCTV systems, kitchens, bathrooms, and commercial glass door installation. The plan should show where the electrical and gas fixtures are installed and how they’re wired for fire safety. The fire inspector will also ask about the energy installations, such as commercial heating fuel, and the means of controlling them. Any elevator modernization or general elevator installation should also be shown.

Building Permits and Fire Safety

Once you comply with the state regulations, apply for the building permit. The building permit application should include a plan review application and construction documentation. After receiving the application, the fire marshal’s office will calculate and review the plan review fee, which can take several weeks. State law requires a fire alarm system to be installed in every sleeping area. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors must be installed in each sleeping room, including the basement and kitchen. In addition, all bedrooms must have escape windows. Other regulations cover the installation of emergency lighting, exit signs, and heating and air conditioning units. Bed and breakfast operators who are not considered public accommodations must follow the same rules as residential property owners.

Department of Environmental Conservation

To run a successful beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska, you must follow sanitary procedures set by the environmental health department. This agency conducts regular inspections of all facilities that prepare and serve food and offers training. Its public accommodations guidelines include standards for architecture, landscaping, and hygienic conditions. Suppose your beachside facility has less than twelve bedrooms. In that case, you can only host about 20 visitors per night if you provide a complimentary continental breakfast or cook for your customers.

Local Government Requirements

When running a beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska, check if any local laws apply to your type of business. In many states, like Alaska, certain businesses require licenses, permits, or local building codes before operating. If your business falls under these categories, you might need extra steps to get approval to operate. Some jurisdictions may require you to comply with zoning laws to run a successful beachside business. You should also ensure that your business complies with federal law. Some cities may need you to register a business as a corporation instead of filing as a sole proprietor.

Buy Insurance

To operate a bed and breakfast successfully, you must purchase general liability insurance, worker’s compensation, and property insurance. General liability insurance covers damages to people or their property caused by your business operations. Workman’s comp insurance covers injured workers while working at your location, and property insurance protects your buildings and equipment. If you’re operating the facility from your house, check if the homeowner policy can protect your visitors. Remember, a facility with multiple businesses will need extra insurance coverage. If you have employees, you must also have workers’ compensation insurance, besides homeowners and general liability insurance. Workers’ comp insurance pays for medical treatment and disability payments to employees whenever injuries occur. Ensure you know what kind of work you’re doing and who you’re hiring to meet all state regulations.


To successfully operate a beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska, register for taxes, especially if your business has employees. However, an employer identification number (EIN) is not required if your business doesn’t have employees. Instead, you can utilize your social security number. These requirements will enable you to open bank accounts for tax reporting and employee hiring.

Operational Set-Up

Now that you have all the necessary licenses and tax requirements to run a beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska, you must set up your business. That means establishing financial avenues, including opening bank accounts and business credit cards. The Alaska SBDC can offer guidance for getting loans for your business. Also, you will need to choose your niche market to start your marketing and branding. When selecting design decor and fixtures for your business to create a consistent image, consider employing a professional to make your logo and branding kit for print or online use. Hire a branding professional in your area, or look into sites like Fiverr or design crowd if that isn’t possible. Create a Facebook and Instagram account and begin posting after completing your logo and brand kit. If you’re uncomfortable with social media, consider hiring an expert to manage your social media marketing accounts. Also, ask your business adviser for a recommendation list to identify a qualified provider to develop a website for you. You can outsource this task if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Branding and Marketing

A lot goes into branding and marketing your business B&B business. A successful beachside bed and breakfast must have a unique look, feel, and experience. Your guests will want to stay at your place instead of a hotel and tell their friends how special it is. They’ll discuss the good food and bring back pictures of the rooms. In that case, you must ensure that when someone thinks about your property, they always remember the positive aspects. They’ll mention the cleanliness, food, the entertainment from a used piano, and how friendly everyone was. If you operate a yacht service on your property, ensure a yacht surveyor properly inspects it. Thus, when people think about your place, they remember a fantastic experience.

Cash Flow

When running a bed and breakfast, it’s essential to clearly understand cash flows into the business and the breakeven point. These vital accounting concepts will make you price services and determine where to reduce expenses. Besides, you’ll know where money is most effectively spent by thoroughly understanding their operational costs and market prices. You can start by inspecting your current expenses. What does the average cost per person per night look like? Is there anything else you can cut down? Can you cut down on catering services? Could you do away with housekeeping? These answers to these questions can lead to a significant boost in profit.

Manage Your Maintenance Housekeeping

Your bed and breakfast establishment needs to be adequately maintained to provide a pleasant experience for your visitors. Cleaning should happen daily to ensure it’s ready for the next guest. To keep everything in order, you will have to do certain things. They include preparing breakfast, sorting out guests’ issues, shopping for items needed for the hotel, handling repairs, and maintaining inventory. Be sure to create a practical housekeeping checklist to stay organized.

One of the easiest methods to simplify your B&B upkeep is to get a house warranty package. Using this plan, you can repair or replace any key device or system in your house with less money. If something breaks, you only need to call your provider. Then, your home warranty service contacts a reliable professional to undertake the required maintenance and repairs. Thus, your facilities and devices will operate as soon as possible.

Provide Top-Notch Facilities and Amenities

A great bed and breakfast in Alaska should be welcoming and appealing to everyone who visits. To achieve this, ensure that the rooms are arranged well, and each room contains all the necessities for living comfortably, including custom window coverings. Besides offering guests a place to sleep, ensure they enjoy the comforts of home, such as a computer and free Wi-Fi. Since technology plays a significant role during traveling, having internet access will enable your guests to check their emails. They will also read news online, book flights, order food, and pay bills.

Moreover, investing in a small library filled with books, a cozy TV room with comfortable furniture, and an outside patio where guests can relax and enjoy after a busy day is advisable. Besides, rooms especially made for disabled guests are worth investing in to accommodate people with special needs.

Resources and Links

There’s nothing worse than starting a business only to realize that you don’t have the right tools. As a business owner, you probably already have many resources around you. Don’t just rely on yourself. For example, get advice from others who’ve been in similar situations before. Ask family members, neighbors, and co-workers to share their experiences. You can even ask local businesses in Alaska for help. There are plenty of places online that offer valuable information. Check out small business development center (SBDC) websites and small business help. These sites provide everything you could ever want to learn about running a successful bed and breakfast business in America.

How the Alaska SBDC Can Help

The SBDC works with small businesses throughout the state of Alaska and helps them to thrive. They offer free business counseling services to entrepreneurs and help develop business plans. The SBDC helps companies to improve their marketing strategies, market research techniques, customer service skills, human resource management skills, and financial planning skills. There are many ways they can help you succeed in your beachside bed and breakfast in Alaska. However, the most significant way they can help is by providing information about the steps to start a business.

To run a successful bed and breakfast business, you must understand what type of environment you’re working with. You’ll need to meet some financial requirements first, as well as be able to provide guests with quality service.

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