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Starting A Bed And Breakfast

Starting Up
Starting up and operating a bed and breakfast can be a very demanding, but rewarding,
experience. It can bring a great financial reward, while at the same time giving you the
opportunity to meet some wonderful people who might become long-term friends or
business associates. However, a pretty home or inn will not become a thriving B&B by
itself. It takes time and dedication. You must work at it by incorporating some business
organization or managerial experience in how to accommodate the public, otherwise,
discouragement can set from the beginning.
The primary requirements for a prospective bed and breakfast owner is to be well
informed about what makes a successful bed and breakfast. A great way to find this
out is by actually contacting, and visiting other B&B homes and inns for an overnight
stay. Talk with the owners and innkeepers. Ask questions that pertain to the operation
of the business. Be aware of the time these people put into the business each day. Ask
about the number of additional people they employ to help keep the business running
smoothly. Think, do I really want to devote 12-15 hours a day (which, in the beginning,
is often the case) to this type of work? Your present job might be boring, but it also
might be only 9 to 5. Operating a B&B will take most of your day, with little time, when
first starting up, to think of anything else. The success of your business is strictly up to
you and how much time and thought you are willing to put into it.
 
Required Insurances
For many years, bed and breakfast insurance was difficult to obtain. Today, however, it is
relatively easy to find. Contact your own homeowners insurance company first then, inquire
from other local B&B owners as to what companies they use. Make a list and check out those
companies that have policies that take advantage of the B&B business. If they do not have a
bed & breakfast policy, maybe they could assist you in finding a company that does.
Shopping on-line can also save some time and footwork locating other companies and prices.
 
Location-Location-Location
Be sure you are completely sold on the location you have selected for your bed and breakfast.
Is the location in an area where there are events (historical or otherwise) to bring in interested
travelers? Is it a vacation destination or business center? Is it on en route to a large city?
Although guests of people in the local area will occupy some of your rooms, most of your
clientele will come from people traveling en route to some other place.
Have you made sure the location of your B&B is zoned for such a business? Do not
presume that because there are other B&Bs in the area, the entire area is zoned for bed &
breakfasts. This is not always the case. To be on the safe side before finalizing any
property sale, make a visit to your local city or town hall and check the zoning regulations.
 
Keeping Your Records

Keeping a record of all your expenditures in detail is most important. Any improvements made
on the bed & breakfast home or inn, as well as a new addition to the business, should be
recorded accurately. Make sure you have a good accountant to help you in this regard.
Over a period of time, you will get to know when to expect busy and less busy periods.
Accordingly, once you have this information documented, you might want to review your
room rates, perhaps lowering the rates during the down time or offer some kind of special
incentive to increase business during those times. If you have a local tax that is applicable,
be sure and keep that record separately.
 
Advertising

Advertising can sometimes BE necessary and expensive. The web is a great way to
advertise and tends to reach the most amounts of customers. Use as many of the
freebies as possible, but a professional might be the way to go. Look around your city
or town first. Contact the Chamber of Commerce and Travel Bureau. Let them know that
you are open for business. You might want to make up a brochure and leave it with the
chamber of commerce and Travel Bureau. Send a letter of introduction, along with a
brochure, to hospitals, businesses, schools, universities, bridal shops, restaurants etc.,
letting them know you are open for business. Invite the local newspaper's travel editors
to come and see your B&B. Chances are, he or she will go away impressed and write an
article about you and your B&B. Contact the other B&B establishments in the town let them

know that you would be willing to take their over-flow. Send brochures and information about
yourself and your bed breakfast to the Statewide B&B association as well as the State Travel
Bureau.
Contact a local bed and breakfast reservation service (RSO) and list with them (They usually
are listed in the Yellow Pages). You will have to pay a fee or a percentage of a night's lodging
to the RSO but it can be a good way to get started. Each one is run differently and the fees and
percentages will vary so you might want to look into a few of them to see which one meets your
needs.
We hope that this information will be helpful to you when starting your Bed and Breakfast, but
remember always contact a professional business advisor before starting your own business.

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The Lon Walters Team
1835 W. Hwy 89A, Suite 2
Sedona, AZ. 86336
(928) 282-7740 Local Line
(800) 955-2231 Toll Free
(928) 282-4658 Fax

Email: lon@sedona.net
Home Page: www.sedonahomes.net

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