The challenges of owning a bed and breakfast

  • 15th April 2015
  • News
  • Stewart Hindley

Britain has a thriving tourist industry and welcomes millions of visitors from all around the world every single year. As a result there is big demand for accommodation, particularly in the busy summer season. The conditions make the prospect of opening a bed and breakfast an attractive one for many people, but there are many factors you need to keep in mind before you do so.

Owning and operating a B&B is a big job and you’ll need to be on your toes to deliver the high standard of service that guests will require. Everybody has their own needs and you’ll need to do your best to meet them; bad reviews can put your business and investment at risk. If you get it right you can be successful but you can’t rest on your laurels because you could always be met with a tricky request or difficult guest at any time.

A bed and breakfast is in no way a small task; you’ll need to be on hand 24/7 and will find you have many jobs that need doing, from cleaning up rooms and taking bookings, to cooking meals and small DIY work. Depending on the size of the establishment it is likely you’ll need some form of help, especially in busy peak periods. You’ll need to choose staff who will adhere to your rules and deliver the same high standards you do.

Getting the location right is one of the most important things for B&B owners. You’ll need to do some research, look at what other establishments are doing and find out how much demand there is. It is a good idea to remember the seasonal nature of demand and plan ahead for things that could harm your profitability such as bad weather or environmental problems.

Advertising your business is crucial, especially if the location you choose has plenty of other options on offer. A good website with high quality pictures of rooms and facilities is essential. You should have an active presence on social media too. Many people use booking websites when searching for accommodation so you may need to think about registering with these and paying the commission they ask for when helping you to find bookings.

You’ll need to put effort into building and maintaining your reputation. When people book accommodation the majority will check reviews first. If you receive a bad review you should respond, explain the situation in a calm, clear manner and apologise.

When setting up a B&B you’ll also need to consider how you will cover the costs. Luckily there are many mortgage lenders and providers that are more than happy to offer bed and breakfast finance, particularly for establishments in good areas with a clear business plan. Properties make great security but you’ll need to be certain you are clear on the terms of the finance, whether it is a mortgage or a loan you take out. If you need help and advice on any aspect of bed and breakfast finance, hotel funding, loans and mortgages, we can help you – just get in touch for further information.

Stewart Hindley

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