Business Overview

A bed and breakfast business offers travelers an alternative to hotels and motels, by combining sleeping quarters with a full breakfast. Most bed and breakfasts also promise more unique, intimate settings than other lodging options.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who enjoys hosting others may be well-suited for owning a bed and breakfast business, because guests come to B&Bs for a level of hospitality that hotels and motels don’t provide. Business owners should like talking with people, cooking meals, and making guests feel comfortable.

Business owners should have a flexible schedule, so they can meet guests during the day, and take care of any issues that arise at night. Additionally, they should plan on working anytime the bed and breakfast is open, which for a typical B&B is every day. They don’t usually close down for holidays because these are busy travel times, but some bed and breakfast owners take several weeks, sometimes even a month or more, off during the slow season.

What happens during a typical day at a bed and breakfast?

Much of the work involved in running a bed and breakfast business revolves around looking after guests. Daily duties include welcoming incoming guests, cooking breakfast in the morning, checking guests out, and cleaning rooms after guests leave. While someone should always be on call and available, midday and late-night hours usually require little work.

What is the target market?

An ideal customer is someone who travels a lot, usually for pleasure, and has discretionary income. Vacationers are more likely to spring for the intimate setting of a bed and breakfast than business travelers are. People need a decent amount of discretionary income in order to afford the rates of a bed and breakfast, which are often higher than a comparable hotel or motel.

How does a bed and breakfast make money?

A bed and breakfast makes money by charging guests for their lodging, which includes breakfast. Guests may be charged by the night, week or month.

What is the growth potential for a bed and breakfast?

A bed and breakfast business usually has one location. Thus, a bed and breakfast’s growth potential is typically limited by the number of rooms in the building. Most have at least four or five rooms for guests, and some have a dozen or more.

A few successful bed and breakfasts expand by purchasing a second, nearby property for guests to stay in. This is relatively uncommon, though. It’s also difficult to plan for, because you have no control over when nearby buildings come up for sale.