Bed and Breakfast (B&B) is a lucrative hospitality business model. However, considering the rising competition, it’s hard for most of the B&Bs to stay profitable.
That’s a bitter truth.
I have seen accommodations pulling out and shutting down. So, you can take it from me. Initially, it might not seem to be a problem, but with time, it is certain to face obstacles.
If you’re a B&B owner or someone who has been thinking of starting a bed and breakfast, you might want to learn a thing or two.
In this blog, I am going to be your personal hospitality mentor and share some legitimate tips for bed and breakfast owners to run a successful B&B business.
What Exactly is a B&B Accommodation?
A bed and breakfast (typically abbreviated as B&B or BnB) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast.
Bed and breakfasts are often private homes owned and managed by couples or families with less manpower.
Unlike hotels, a B&B usually hosts guests for short periods, typically overnight, with an average of six beds as their offering.
Equipped with all the amenities any guest may need, they are known for being designed as a “home away from home”.
Checklist: Things to Keep in Mind While Starting a B&B
Establishing any business and excelling in it is not something that happens overnight. And, a B&B is no exception, especially if you are new to this industry.
So look before you leap and answer yourself the below questions;
- Very Important: Do you have a business plan and enough capital to invest?
- Would you require any manpower or guidance?
- Are you a people person and enjoy mundane tasks, such as cooking and cleaning?
- How many rooms are you willing to offer? – One, Two, or the Entire Place?
- Should you opt for technology to streamline operations?
- Have any thoughts on how to market your BnB?
Loving what you do is generally the recipe needed for a favorable outcome. And, that’s exactly how you’ll make your guests feel valued and your property stand apart.
What Are the Challenges of Owning a Bed and Breakfast?
The hospitality industry has evolved over the last decade. What’s more, guests’ expectations are constantly changing with time.
Much of this is due to the internet revolution and social media. One bad review and you are sure to lose a good amount of business and vice versa.
Besides, with every plus, there are minuses, and below are some of those for you as a bed and breakfast business owner:
- Dealing with Seasonality: Not just for BnBs, but hospitality as a whole experiences the difficulty to achieve occupancy during low seasons. One way out is to offer attractive packages and showcase potential guests that there are still great things to do.
- Remaining Competitive: With the emerging competition, it becomes tough for B&B owners to offer everything and match guest expectations. So to stay abreast, monitor your competitors, offer something exceptional and curate the best pricing strategies possible.
- Gaining Repeat Business: Guests often want to try something new, and staying at a B&B can be a one-time experience for many. However, by creating a personalized stay for each guest, you’re well on your way to leaving a lasting impression and fetching a good business within their connections.
- Setting Right Prices: You might go above and beyond to host your guests. And, it will certainly gain you positive reviews, but if it starts eating away your profits it’ll be hard for you to sustain. So, double-check the price of properties in your area. Are you competitive? If not, you must try finding ways to set your pricing better.
To help you overcome such challenges and stay ahead of the curve, below I am sharing;
The Strategies to Make Your B&B Profitable
Of course, the ideal goal for any business is to become successful. This can be achieved either by delivering the perfect guest experience or by being a well-known brand.
However, before achieving that, you need to have clear strategies for a steady revenue source.
Here are some of the fail-safe tips for bed and breakfast owners to make better profits and scale.
1. Better Guest Experience
Curating a personalized stay experience for guests is a direct way to make them feel comfortable and homely.
And, data stands the king here. Unlike followers on social media, you always have access to your email lists so keep in touch with your guests time and again.
Set automated (personalized) emails and roll out exclusive offers to encourage them to choose your property over others.
Besides, during their stay try interacting with your guests and know about their likes/dislikes. This will help you to customize the stay as per their preferences.
2. Upsell Services
Upselling is a great business opportunity that helps you fetch some added income with the ideal package.
This can be done either by tying up with a few vendors or offering them additional services at your property.
Basically by promoting facilities such as a spa, breakfast buffet, room upgrades, local sightseeing packages, sports activities, and more.
You can do this at any point in time during your guest journey – search for the property, while purchasing, post-booking, or even while they stay at your property.
3. Offer Discounts
Who doesn’t like discounts? It’s like guests might be willing to pay a little extra if you are offering a good deal. And, that’s exactly how you can make some added revenue.
Discounts, as it seems – to offer something at a lower price; however, that’s not always the case. You can consider several parameters, before showcasing the best deal for your property.
These can be last-minute deals, advanced bookings, low/peak season bookings, OTA deals, package-based discounts, and much more.
It solely depends on the demand for your property and the ideal number of guests visiting your location. Ensure you do not quote a price that affects your BnB’s bottom line.
Besides, we have a blog on discount strategies for hotels. You can check it out and see if there’s anything you can incorporate into your B&B.
4. SWOT Analysis
Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats – is exactly what SWOT refers to. It is an old-school method to assess certain business parameters.
So, why should you take SWOT analysis seriously? As it gives you a clear picture of how your business is performing and what is the scope of improvement.
For you, as a B&B owner, you can point down to factors such as current revenue and forecasting report
understanding market share, competitor analysis, and positive/negative reviews.
Once you determine these aspects, it will assist you to make necessary changes, focus on your goals, and be your guests’ best choice.
5. Create Online Presence
What is the first thing your guests do when they plan to make a booking? Google it! And, if they can’t find you there, I am sure they would look for some more options. (At least I would do that!)
Indeed, the world has become digital. And, if you are not online you’re definitely losing out on higher business opportunities.
So how do you do this? Create your property’s website, list your business on Google and let your target audience know via social channels.
Acting as the first point of contact between you and your guests, it helps you create a bigger brand identity to engage, acquire, and attract more guests online.
6. Marketing Your Property
Online presence and marketing go hand-in-hand. Once you are online, you’d naturally want to market your property amongst potential guests.
This can be done through various ways like listing your B&B on online travel agencies, staying active on social media, asking for reviews, or tying up with local agents and influencers.
Besides, marketing is constantly evolving. You never know what becomes a trend. (Can be when you least expect it).
So be very specific and careful while choosing the right marketing strategy to promote your business and welcome higher guests.
7. Revenue Management
Revenue management, though an old concept, lately, has become a need of the hour in this highly competitive and ever-evolving industry.
You might be of the opinion that this is a new-gen strategy. But, believe it or not, demand-based variable pricing can do wonders for your business.
Also known as dynamic pricing, this strategy is based not just on-demand, but also on competitor pricing, seasonality, current occupancy, and several other factors.
And a revenue management system or a service or a dedicated in-house revenue manager enables you to optimize your property’s pricing and inventory.
As a B&B owner, you might not have a massive budget. So, it is important to double-check before taking any steps ahead.
8. Bet on Technology
Technology – an ideal way to simplify and streamline your day-to-day operations. The way it has emerged in the hospitality industry has transformed how properties operate.
Be it an online booking, housekeeping, or any check-in procedure; it’s just a matter of a click and you are all set.
To make your work easy, I am listing below some of the must-have technologies for a BnB:
- B&B Management Software: A bed and breakfast management system enables you to automate all the essential tasks of sales/bookings, front desk operations, room reservations, and more, thereby serving your guests better.
- Channel Manager Solution: This helps you to streamline online distribution processes and easily manage property rates and inventory on various channels or travel websites. Within a matter of seconds, you can minimize the hassles of overbookings.
- Online Booking Engine: Offer your guests a quick and smooth reservation experience on any device by seamlessly integrating with the property’s website. It is a system that assists you to accelerate direct bookings and save OTA commissions.
B&B’s are no longer a simple family getaway option; rather they play a good role in contributing to the hospitality industry.
To stand apart from the competition, you must understand what makes a bed and breakfast successful. Meaning, you need the right direction and strategies in place. Research and planning are also a plus to avoid some of the common mistakes that can break your bed and breakfast business.
Besides, if BnB owners are able to manage these strategies efficiently, I am sure this segment can be a strong competitor for other hospitality options in the near future.
So, try the above-mentioned tips for bed and breakfast owners and witness the results yourselves.
Happy B&B-ing! 😉