Do You Have What It Takes to be a Great Innkeeper?

Are you thinking of running your own bed and breakfast? To many people this can seem like a dream life. Owning a beautiful home and making a living out of welcoming guests to stay can seem like a very attractive life style for many people. However, do you have what it takes to be a great inn keeper? Or is it just a dream that will never turn into reality? Here are some things that you must ask yourself before you take the first steps to running your own bed and breakfast.

Do You Have the Personality to Run an Inn?

A lot of the success of running a bed and breakfast comes from the location and the building itself. However, the personality of the inn keeper is a crucial element of the success of any bed and breakfast. Even a famous talk show host had trouble running her inn.  You can have the perfect location and a beautiful home, but if the owner isn’t suited to running a bed and breakfast it is unlikely that the business will work.

If you look at reviews of bed and breakfasts you will often see that guests comment on the personality of the owner. This can be both positive and negative!

You must have a genuinely enjoy meeting people. People book a bed and breakfast instead of a hotel as they are looking for a unique experience with personal attention. A good inn keeper will be able to talk easily to people and put them at their ease.

You must also know when to simply leave people alone. A friendly host is a great host. An overly familiar one is not. You must be able to recognize that people want their own time and space as they are on vacation, but know when to step in because they need some assistance.

Will you be able to deal effectively with difficult customers? You will be providing a service and the thing about the vacation industry is that a lot of people complain. You need to ask yourself whether you would be able to deal with this. Not every guest is going to think that your bed and breakfast is a wonderful place to stay and you must consider if you are the kind of person that can deal with this properly.

Do You Know How to Run a Business?

A lot of people want to own a bed and breakfast, but have no idea of how to run a business. This is a recipe for disaster. You can have the most idyllic place to stay and be the perfect host. However, if you do not have any customers you will not make any money. If you have plenty of people to stay, but you do not know how to make it profitable, this is also a big problem.

Make sure that you explore everything from the business side before you set up your bed and breakfast. Many businesses fail. You may be putting a lot of your personal money into the bed and breakfast, or getting into debt to set it up. Either way, if it doesn’t succeed as a business you could lose a great deal of money. Be sure that you get proper advice and know exactly what you are getting into before you open your doors as an inn keeper.


Photo by Chris.,

Do You Really Want to Own a Bed and Breakfast?

Many people dream of owning a bed and breakfast. The idea that you can run a wonderful guest house welcoming paying customers into your home is very appealing. However, is this the real picture of what running a bed and breakfast is like?  One of your first steps should be to check out the Professional Association of Innkeepers International to get qualified, serious inn-running information.

It can be a great lifestyle for some people, but for others the dream does not turn out the way they expected. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself to see if you are cut out to be a bed and breakfast owner. You should be as honest as possible so that you get an idea if this is a good business decision for you.

What is Your Motivation?

What is it that makes you think that owning a bed and breakfast is a great idea? Many people have different ideas of what they think running a bed and breakfast will be about. Some people do it because they enjoy meeting new people and look forward to hosting them in a beautiful setting. Others love cooking and want to share their expertise and make that the focus of the experience for the guests.

If you can’t think of great reasons why you want to run a bed and breakfast you should be questioning your motives. If you just see it as a way you can live in a great house and live off the proceeds of taking in paying guests, you probably need to think again. The work of an inn keeper is very difficult and can be spectacularly time consuming. It is not an easy way to make money.

Do You Have the Commitment?

Most people underestimate the time and commitment that it takes to run a bed and breakfast. Have you considered how many hours you may need to work to make it a successful business venture?

You may be going into this venture because you love cooking. The idea of preparing a tasty breakfast for your guests appeals to you. However, have you thought about how you will feel when you must get up early every single morning to prepare pretty much the same meal repeatedly? Or how you will deal with the picky customers who complain that their eggs aren’t perfect? You must make sure that you think that you will be happy to still perform your inn keeper duties far into the future.

If your business is profitable you will be able to hire extra help. However, it might be that you must take on a lot of the tasks yourself, particularly when you are just starting out.

You may not mind certain tasks, but do you want to clean multiple toilets every single day? You may not like doing laundry for your family, but imagine washing and changing linen on multiple beds each week. Of course, you may be able to take on employees to help you with all of this, but just be realistic in what you must do for yourself.


Photo by Iain Farrell

Is Innkeeping Right For You and Your Family?

Are You Prepared to Work Very Hard?

It may sound idyllic that you simply accept people into your beautiful home and they pay you for the privilege! Paying house guests – what more could you want? Stop to think about how much work family and friends are as house guests. Then realize that running a bed and breakfast to keep paying customers happy is going to be a whole lot more work than that.

Unless you have a great deal of money to pay staff you are going to have to do a lot of the jobs yourself. Do you want to spend a lot of the day cleaning? Or get up very early every morning to prepare a cooked breakfast for lots of different people all potentially wanting very different things? Imagine how much laundry there will be every day.

Then once you have finished all the domestic tasks you will still have to deal with the running of the business. You will constantly have to answer the phone and reply to email and internet enquiries. The day to day tasks of running the business will be up to you, unless you can afford to pay someone else to do this.

It is very hard work every day when you run a bed and breakfast. It may be that you are open 365 days a year, so it would be very difficult ever to take a break. You may live in a bed and breakfast, but you may find it impossible to ever take a break so that you can visit someone else’s bed and breakfast! It most likely will be very difficult to ever get any vacation time. If this something that you want to sign up for? You must be very clear about the huge time commitment that you are going to have to make to run a bed and breakfast.


innkeeping photo
Photo by InAweofGod’sCreation

Will Your Family Support You’re in Running the Business?

If you have children and other relatives living with you, then you must think about the impact that running a bed and breakfast will have on them too. The children may get to live in an idyllic location and a beautiful house, but will they get to spend much time with you? Running an inn is a very big commitment and it is very important that every member of the household is on board with the idea.

They may not necessarily want to help you in a practical way, but you will need to know that at least they understand what is involved and will make things as easy as possible for you.

Running a bed and breakfast can be a very personally rewarding and sometimes financially rewarding thing to do. Just make sure that you have thought about what it involves before you make the decision.