Bed and Breakfast Inns Buying Tips
A few things are important to running a successful bed and breakfast -- the location and the number of rooms. Profitability is tied to occupancy and the average daily rate. The more desirable the tourism is in the are area for vacationers and / or the closer the inn is to an urban area which draws regular business travelers the greater the opportunity for making a profit. A bed and breakfast with four or fewer rooms is unlikely to be profitable.
Friendliness to guests of all types and responding appropriately to their needs - even the demanding ones - is essential. Home-cooked meals and a neat, fresh and orderly Inn are prerequisites for repeat customers.
Word of mouth advertising is important in a service business like an inn, so, providing extra touches, like turned down beds down and fresh flowers in the rooms, should be part of the marketing stratagy. Find a unique way of makeing a guest's stay memorable! Memory points like these encourage word of mouth advertising.
Packages with local attractions will create a reason for guests to visit. If your visitors are familiar with the general area, you may should create progams to highlight the unique features of the local.
Owning a Bed and Breakfast Inn
Bed and Breakfast inns are an exciting new entrupaneural kind of business springing up among homeowners all across the country. If being domestic is to your liking, a bed and breakfast business might be right for you. All it takes is a few spare bedrooms, a interest in cooking, an engaging personality and an enjoyment of tending to others -- and you could be successful with a bed and breakfast inn business.
The number of bed and breakfast inns in the US is increasing. In 1975, there were about 400 bed and breakfast inns. The number is over 15,000 now. The Professional Association of Innkeepers International foresees a doubling of bed and breakfast inns in the next century.
A bed and breakfast inn offers customers a homelike, cozy atmosphere at about the same or slightly lower cost as a hotel. Prices per night range from a low of $25 to $200 or more. The appeal of a Bed and Breakfast Inn to travelers and tourists is a quiet "home-like" place to stay.
Bed and breakfast inn owners can live in a desirable location and spend much of their time in the home that they work hard to decorate and maintain. Tose with children at home and have the children involved in the business. Inn owners have the opportunity to meet interesting people from around the United States and possibly the world. And the expenses of running a home can be tax deductible, i.e., cleaning supplies, car expenses, insurance, eating out, magazines, travel.
Bear in mind you will need to be at home all day seven days a week, and near a tlephone at all times. Any time away, like a day off or a vacation, needs to be well planned with a reliable replacement hired.
The investment for a bed and breakfast inn will vary substantially depending on if you already own the home or not, and the renovating costs in the area in which you business is located. Expect to pay from as low as $10,000 per room to as high as $40,000 per room in renovation costs of your existing home. If you're buying a home to convert into a bed and breakfast inn, the costs may be as high as $70,000 per room, again depending on where in the country your business is located.
Room rates will also vary due to geographic location. According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the standard rate ranges from $100 to $120 per night in the northeast and west. In the Midwest and south, rates are in the low $90's. Corporate rates are typically about 20-25% of the standard rate.
Average occupancy rates nationally for bed and breakfast inns are at about 38%, with as high as 66% in the west, 51% in the northeast, and 45% in the south. Rural areas tend to be about 45% and urban areas about 65%.
The Professional Association of Innkeepers International suggests 3 possible income scenarios for bed and breakfast inn owners to consider; 1-4 rooms at a 44 percent occupancy rate will generate a gross income of about $42,000 throwing off a net loss of $8,000; 5-8 rooms at a 46 percent occupancy rate will generate a gross income of approximately $111,000 for a net profit of $12,000; 9-12 rooms at a 51 percent occupancy rate will generate a gross income of about $245,000 for a net profit of $63,000.
When you start get listed on as many travel and guide websites as possible. Contact all of the local website owners, local travel and reservation agents and become a part of their regular referrals. For their services, they will expect to be paid between a 10 and 35 percent commissionte.
You should have a small sign in front of your house. It should say BED AND BREAKFAST - Inquire Within or Call 555.123.1231 (your local number) and should include your website.
For newspaper advertising, a similar listing in the personal column of your local paper, particularly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, will be all you'll need. In yellow pages of the local telephone and business directories, go with a small display ad that describes in greater detail the comforts and pleasures of your Inn.
Be sure to list your inn with all the travel agencies in your tourist region. A brochure about the inn will give travel agents reasons for sending visitors your way. At the same time, listing your services in a number of national travel websites including those that cater to women - will bring customers in for you.
Listing your inn with a broker usually does not cost anything up front, but Brokers will expect a certain percentage - usually about 25% of the total bill. This arrangement applies with travel agents who usually charge 10%.
Advertising in travel magazines and special sections of newspapers and other periodicals regularly will also support your goal of a steady stream of customers. And look for public relations opportunities as well, like feature stories on television and in print geared for a vacationing audience or some related topic. Get in the habit of sending our press releases to your local media. It may lead to valuable and inexpensive visibility.
Finally, with word of mouth advertising being so important to a hospitality business such as this, the more you do to delight your customer while they are within the walls of your inn, the bigger your marketing army. If your customers have a special experience, you can bet they'll tell everyone at work as well as all their friends and families about it. And keep in touch with them. You can solicit their repeat business through regular mailings offering special discounts and promoting special events in your community that they will want to attend.
If you are giving this business serious consideration, be a guest of several bed and breakfast inns. Read tourist and travel oriented books for reviews and recommendations. Notice what's considered "good" and what's not.