Retiring to Start a B&B

Many people dream of running away from the daily grind and starting a bed and breakfast with their partner or a friend. While there are many advantages to doing this, and plenty of people have created very successful B&B operations later in life, there are a number of things that everyone should be aware of before they decide to chuck it all in, move to the countryside and start taking paying guests inside their new home.

Getting Ready for Opening Day

It’s important for any new B&B owner to ensure they have plenty of time and money in a contingency fund in the run up to the opening. This is because unexpected expenses are almost certain to crop up in the final days before a B&B opens. Undoubtedly, this can happen for any number of reasons ranging from expected furniture not arriving to last minute snags with builders or catering facilities. By being able to dip into a contingency fund to pay for these types of unexpected issues will make the process of opening a B&B far less stressful and could even save owners from running into financial difficulties if they have to put significant amounts of expenditure onto credit cards or other types of short-term finance.

Get the Word Out

There are many places where B&B owners can advertise their venue. These range from some of the biggest travel websites such as TripAdvisor and to smaller operators like Special Places to Stay and independent guidebooks. B&B owners should do what they can to get in touch with these organisations and providing them with plenty of information about their property. Having high-quality photos is a must. Badly shot or poorly lit photos will create a very poor impression with potential guests. In many cases, it is advisable to hire a professional photography service to prepare these shots.

Hire Staff When Practical

Far from marking a slowing down in their pace of life, many people who retire to start a B&B find that they are working harder than ever. This is because they are the only members of staff at their new tourist accommodation and guests require round the clock service and assistant. Once the B&B is off the ground and cash flows have become regular and manageable, it may be a good idea to hire staff to take care of some jobs. This will allow the owners to enjoy a little bit of rest and relaxation as well as serving guests.

Planning in advance will make the process of opening a new B&B much less stressful for everyone involved. With a little bit of advanced knowledge, everyone can know what to expect and ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Deciding Where to Open a B&B

Anyone who has decided to retire or give up their job in order to open a bed and breakfast should spend plenty of time considering the best place to open it. Different parts of the world have very different tourist seasons and levels of demand for B&B accommodation. It’s also essential to consider the competition that exists in the same area. This doesn’t just come in the form of other B&Bs. It is also very important to think about hotels, campsites and anywhere else that offers visitors a place to stay overnight. All of them are alternative options for people who may consider your B&B.

In general, most (although definitely not all) B&Bs are located in small towns, villages and the countryside. This is because tourist accommodation in big cities tends to be larger and therefore less suited to the B&B format. One of the biggest draws to a B&B is the individual charm of the property and its location, and this can be harder to achieve in a city.

Once you have chosen a location, do whatever you can to find out what other B&Bs and hotels in the area offer their customers. This will enable you to match or ideally exceed the levels of service that are available in the area. If you fail to live up to these standards, it won’t take long for bad reviews to spread. It can take a very long time for a B&B to recover from this type of repetitional damage, particularly if the owners are new to the area.

The final thing to keep in mind when choosing a location is how well connected it is to other places. Sites with easy access by train or plane are increasingly popular among visitors who may not want to drive all the way to their destination. If possible, let your visitors know how they can get to your B&B from the nearest station. It’s easy to use a service like Google Maps to offer this type of advice. It’s the type of thing that can make a real difference to visitors and will likely lead to much more positive reviews and repeat visitors. It’s the little things that count at a B&B!