5 Tips for Starting a Bed and Breakfast | Fora Financial Blog
5 Tips for Starting a Bed and Breakfast
October 12, 2018

5 Tips for Starting a Bed and Breakfast

Bed and breakfasts are small home-like properties where guests can stay overnight and enjoy a home cooked breakfast. Research from Dun and Bradstreet found that there are approximately 17,000 bed and breakfast establishments in the U.S. and 3,000 of them have paid employees on staff. The industry is worth an estimated $3.4 billion globally and is continuing to grow.

Since opening a bed and breakfast can be a lucrative business venture, it’s worth considering if you’re interested in entering the hospitality industry. In this post, we’ll list five tips for starting a bed and breakfast so that you can start off your entrepreneurial endeavor on the right foot.

How to Open a Bed and Breakfast

1. Research Locations

Finding a great location should be a top priority when you’re ready to open a bed and breakfast. Even if you’re a marketing expert, you won’t get many bookings if you’re not in a high-traffic area or destination. Look for a location that attracts tourists who need lodging, is a popular area for business travelers, or is near a college or University. If none of those are options, you could market it as a romantic getaway. According to an article in Entrepreneur, 31 percent of recently surveyed adults treated themselves to a romantic weekend, so making it a romantic destination could be a good marketing strategy.

In addition, you should ensure that you’re properly zoned for a commercial property. Some properties are in residential areas and the city that you’re in likely won’t allow them to become registered businesses. Due to this, it’s important to check your local city ordinances before purchasing a property.

2. Consider Financial Options

Most likely, you’ll need to acquire financing to purchase your venue and supplies. To start, you should consider different types of business loans, and determine if the available interest rates and loan terms are the right fit for your business. Additionally, if you believe that your business will yield fast returns, you also may consider purchasing the property outright with funds from your retirement or investment accounts. Still, it’s important to be cautious if you choose this route.

3. Write a Marketing Plan

As you probably know, you’ll need a marketing plan to target customers and determine how to reach them. Your marketing plan should include your overall marketing strategy, pricing, and target audience, just to name a few items. If you don’t know where to start, Mplans.com has a free marketing plan template for potential bed and breakfast owners.

Beyond the marketing plan, you’ll want to get ideas from other bed and breakfast owners. Each year the Professional Association of Innkeeper’s International (PAII) holds a conference for aspiring and current Innkeepers and bed and breakfast owners. This is a great way to network with other owners and gain new marketing ideas to grow your business.

4. Order Supplies and Décor

While all bed and breakfast establishments will have their own look and feel, they should generally feel homey and inviting. First, you should pick a color scheme and ensure all the corresponding furniture and décor matches.

Bedandbreakfast.com suggests adding electric fireplaces, different lighting options, and contrasting textures to the guest rooms. If you want to go the extra mile, providing luxury cotton bathrobes for guests is an easy, low-budget way to make your guests feel comfortable.

In addition to décor, you’ll need to figure out your menu and purchase the kitchen equipment needed to cook breakfast for your guests. Your plates and cups should also match your overall décor theme.

5. Hire Staff

Running a bed and breakfast is a huge undertaking, so you should hire at least a few staff members to help. You’ll need someone to clean guest rooms, do laundry, cook breakfast, and take reservations, just to name a few tasks. You may also benefit from hiring someone to handle marketing your new business. All staffed should be fully trained before the establishment opens and enjoy working with people.


Running a bed and breakfast is no easy task, but it can be fun and rewarding. If you’re genuinely interested in the hospitality industry and want to connect with your guests, this could be a great small business for you.

If you run a bed and breakfast business already, share your tips with us in the comment section below!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].