Running a bed and breakfast is both rewarding and exhausting. One couple of Victoria innkeepers in our B&B association (above) leave today for a cruise on the Amazon. It has been a long summer and we are weary; ready for rest, recuperation, refreshment, relaxation, even some restoration.
Many of our guests on their B&B vacations ask us about life running a bed and breakfast. They are intrigued by the idea of having people staying in our home and wonder about all the hours we seem to work. So it would be interesting to answer some of those spoken and unspoken questions. Those considering operating a bed and breakfast may find this helpful.
1. The house.
Firstly, the house obviously needs sufficient rooms for B&B accommodations, not just bedrooms but also a communal sitting room/area and a dining room. An adequate kitchen, behind the scenes, is necessary too.
2. The property.
The setting of the house within a garden adds so much to the pleasures of staying at a B&B rather than a somewhat institutional hotel. We do not try to compete with the Butchart Gardens but aim to offer a setting for relaxation. This should be in a pleasant residential area where peace reigns.
3. The quality of the home.
Good quality decor and furnishings are rightly expected for comfort and ambience. Electronic amenities for today’s world are necessary too.
Add together the costs of 1, 2 & 3 and the investment costs are obvious. The number of bed and breakfasts is declining as new B&Bs are not opening due to the total financial commitment in today’s property market.
The other great resource. Different methods of operations can reduce time commitments but generally B&B innkeepers are: hosts (at any hour of the day), front desk, concierge, chef, server, housekeeper, gardener, maintenance staff, administrator and book-keeper all in one!
That’s the down-side, a heavy commitment to money and time. However:
6. Free smiles ☺
Giving and receiving smiles is part of life in a B&B.
The hosts may have little opportunity for this but guests are relaxed, once recovered from travelling, and this relaxed attitude spreads from guests to hosts. Sometimes I wonder if a happy relaxed businessman staying with us is really that pleasant back at home, but quickly dismiss this negative thought and we enjoy sharing our lives for these brief days.
Few things make life better than appreciative comments. “We wish we were staying longer” is a common comment, referring both to Victoria and to their accommodation.
Financial benefits are not strong on an hourly basis but a reasonable income can be achieved, especially if you have four rooms or more. There are also tax benefits, depending on location, such as business use of home, write offs and charging some expenses.
10. A summary.
At the end of the day, running a bed and breakfast is about people. They provide the work, the occasional problems and the frequent rewards.