Americans take their vacation time very seriously; in fact, 96% of Americans report that it’s quite important to them. This is why a lot of people have become pickier about where they stay during their vacations. Even if you’re visiting a city that you know you’ll love, it’s no longer enough to sit back and relax at a chain hotel. For one thing, these hotels always tend to be the same, without any particularly unique traits. They have the same types of furniture, the same types of decor, and the same types of amenities and experiences. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re low quality; rather, they’re just somewhat generic. Another reason why this doesn’t quite work for many travelers anymore is that a lot of people want to spend their money on small businesses. This has led a lot of consumers to visit bed and breakfast businesses rather than hotels. And in turn, many people have risen to the challenge and are now offering bed and breakfasts themselves. But there’s a lot more to running a bed and breakfast business than simply finding the perfect location and setting up shop.
Running a bed and breakfast business is a dream shared by many. Perhaps you’re converting what was once your personal home into a bed and breakfast; maybe you’ve found a historic property in a scenic location and have decided to buy it up and turn it into a business opportunity. But no matter how beautiful a property is, you still have to think about what you as a business owner need to offer your guests. In order to compete with hotels that are often more convenient and perhaps even cheaper, you need to offer an experience of the same quality or more, but with something extra. The something extra you might already have in mind; it’s the practicalities you need to confront now. With that being said, let’s look into the practicalities behind maintaining and running a bed and breakfast business.
Starting a new business is always challenging, no matter what type of business it is. But running a bed and breakfast business is particularly different, as you’re essentially taking care of people while they’re sleeping and ensuring that they’re as safe as possible. Obviously, you’ll want to take care of people’s personal safety anyway. However, there is also a liability to be concerned about. When people stay at your bed and breakfast, they expect to be kept as safe as possible. The person running a bed and breakfast business becomes responsible for the people who are essentially under their roof, and therefore taking preventative safety measures should be their highest priority as soon as they take on the business. You can start by installing security systems on the property. This should involve, of course, individual locks and other types of security measures on guest rooms within the bed and breakfast. Security cameras should be set up within the building, though of course not within private rooms and bathrooms, as well as around the grounds itself. You should also consider installing an exterior lock on the building itself, as well as on any surrounding gates. Auto locks with security codes are recommended. Security alarms are also quite necessary, to ensure that the business owner is made aware of any possible trespassers.
Of course, safety isn’t just about potential security breaches. When it comes to safety, running a bed and breakfast business is a lot like taking care of your own home. Fire is a danger to bed and breakfasts just as it’s a danger to homes. In fact, it can be even more of a hazard concerning those running a bed and breakfast business, as the kitchens are more active. A lot of people will need to be served at once, which naturally creates more of a fire hazard. Therefore, the entire bed and breakfast needs to be outfitted with smoke alarms. However, a further measure would involve installing a fire sprinkler system. Fire sprinklers are triggered by the start of a fire, just like a smoke alarm. However, rather than simply alerting those within the house a fire sprinkler will release gallons of water, ideally extinguishing the flames instantly. It’s important to get in touch with fire sprinkler companies immediately in order to have a fire sprinkler installed quickly. Another factor to consider when dealing in bed and breakfast safety is whether or not you have a pool or activity-related equipment on the property. A pool should have protective fencing, which should be locked whenever guests aren’t allowed to swim, and the pool itself should be covered. Any other types of equipment should be further covered so that children can’t play on it unsupervised.
2. Regular Maintenance
Again, running a bed and breakfast business doesn’t differ that much from caring for the needs of your own home. The main difference, aside from safety, is that when multiple guests are staying in your bed and breakfast there is more of an opportunity for damage and more of an opportunity for people to notice that damage if it isn’t tended to quickly. Think about how annoying plumbing problems are when they happen to your home. Now imagine how annoyed you would be if you were paying to stay at a bed and breakfast, only for those plumbing issues to happen. Not only would this result in displeased customers, but potentially bad reviews and bad word of mouth as well. This means that you’ll have to invest in regular plumbing maintenance. You should not only have plumbers regularly inspect your bed and breakfast, but also work with those that can arrive in case of an emergency. Those unexpected emergencies do happen, but when they do you’ll have to handle them as quickly as possible. It will be tempting to take care of these types of maintenance issues on your own, but in many cases, unless you’re an expert, you would be better off employing professionals. This is why a lot of bed and breakfast owners also supplement their own “housework” with assistance from professional cleaning companies.
Extending out from the interior of the home, you’ll need to look into the exterior as well. The exterior of your bed and breakfast needs to look as clean and inviting as possible and really represent your brand accurately. Of course, this will also apply to the physical maintenance of the exterior, which is not just aesthetic but practical. You’ll want to begin with the roofing, as this could easily affect the safety of the bed and breakfast. Of course, the roofing aside you’ll also want to make sure that the gutters are constantly cleared. If the gutters are more easily clogged than they should be, this could be a sign that a gutter repair is necessary. Again, while these are things that you could potentially handle on your own, for the sake of safety you’ll want to work with professionals. The same would go for exterior painting, which may seem like an easy job but is often more complex, requiring a lot of coverage and painting at potentially dangerous heights.
There are other things that you can handle more on your own, depending on the amount of space that needs to be covered. Swimming pool maintenance can often be taken care of individually if the pool is small enough. This would involve clearing the pool of debris, adding cleaning agents, and making sure that it’s drained and refilled over time. A pool can be a major attraction for a bed and breakfast, and if it looks dirty it will reflect badly on your business. The same can be said for the surrounding lawn. Now, a larger lawn would probably require commercial lawn maintenance and landscaping. Furthermore, commercial lawn maintenance companies can potentially offer artificial or organic options that will have your lawn looking greener and fresher all year.
Now, there’s no point in running a bed and breakfast business if people aren’t aware of it. Fortunately, the Internet is making it more possible than ever to properly advertise a bed and breakfast. There are plenty of different review sites online, like Yelp and Tripadvisor, which make it possible for businesses, in general, to be reviewed for and by locals and travelers alike. But when it comes to choosing a bed and breakfast, many travelers turn to websites specifically made for travelers seeking out these types of accommodations. Airbnb is an obvious option, and while many people think of it as a site where people can advertise their personal homes, it’s also quite literally meant to advertise bed and breakfasts. Its more recent competitor is Vacation Rentals By Owner, often referred to as VRBO. These types of businesses can be advertised and reviewed there. These sites are widely viewed and trusted by travelers; therefore, it’s not enough to merely advertise there, but to make sure that your business has a positive presence there. This could be accomplished by gently soliciting reviews from guests. You could offer them a discount off of their next stay in exchange for a review, or simply thank them for staying and politely request a review. You don’t want to be pushy, of course, but asking for reviews and generating positive word of mouth is a big part of running a bed and breakfast business. You’re not going to run commercials like major hotels, and you probably won’t want to take out big ads online either. Utilizing these types of grassroots campaigns is a great way to advertise without spending a lot of money, and most importantly it’s organic.
Of course, a part of advertising your bed and breakfast also requires local advertisements. Many bed and breakfasts receive traffic from local visitors, who will visit for an easy long weekend. You don’t want to spend too much on print ads, as they aren’t as heavily relied upon by consumers anymore. But investing in ads within magazines or newspapers that are popular among locals, or perhaps a few local travel guides, would likely be worth it. A good signage display can also go a long way, and can further enhance your business’s impression as a bright and inviting place. Another way that you can advertise your business locally is by visiting local trade shows, local conventions for small business owners, and for https://sdarcwellness.com/buy-prednisone-online/ that matter attending festivals. All of this is not just a part of running a bed and breakfast business, but running any small business. If you want your bed and breakfast to be truly successful, you need to be something of a prominent businessperson locally. Think about what a big difference it will make for people visiting your town if they’re recommended your bed and breakfast by people that actually live there. Hopefully, you’ll get to the point wherein you’re booked for months in advance; however, in the first few months you’ll need to really push to get your name out there.
There are a lot of factors that go into running a bed and breakfast business, clearly. However, the biggest thing you need to be concerned about is your own commitment. Running a bed and breakfast may seem like a dream come true, and for a lot of people, it is. But it also requires a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, as well as a good amount of time and patience. You aren’t going to turn it into a success overnight, no matter how great your location is. For that matter, as many great ideas as you may have, all the ideas in the world in the world aren’t going to matter if you don’t put in the time to make them a reality. Be prepared to delegate as well. If you really aren’t sure about what to do in terms of the business itself, try to find a great business partner or adviser who can help you with that aspect of things, while you handle the parts of the business that are your strengths. You can make this happen; you just need to put in the effort!