New England B&B feedback

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03/01/2013

My fiance and I are investigating Bed & Breakfasts and thinking about where do we want to do this in the future? We've talked about the New England area because I am a skier and I have friends in NH and to be honest we've got the romanticized image of the hunting log cabin (complete with smoke billowing from the chimney) in our heads. It also seems like a nice idea because you have the ski industry to draw upon.

However the reality minded side of our brains remind us that perhaps a New England B&B is too seasonal. Or perhaps there is a glutton of B&Bs already that make the market too competitve, etc.

So would any current New England B&Bers mind offering advice? Is the market seasonal? Do you get more guests in the fall (leaf turning watchers) and winter (skiers)? Or is the summer a big push as well due to weddings (we admit we're looking at two B&Bs for our elopement - Hartness House in VT and Inn by the Sea in ME)? Is the market too competitive because there are a lot of B&Bs or not really?

As I said we're still in the research phase ... we still have classes to take and a lot of soul searching too.

Thanks,

Hokie N' Koala

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

The market can be seasonal and that is entirely, completely dependent on where you buy. Inn by the Sea is a ginormous 'inn' not a B&B so don't judge by them!

In NH or VT if you are near skiing you pretty much have 2 months with no guests- March or April (mud season) and November (no leaves and no snow). Otherwise, in the proper location you are busy the other 10 months. Location is everything.

Having a lot of B&B's around is helpful, not harmful. It means there is a reason to be there in the fist place. No one decides to site 10+ B&B's in a place where no one goes.

You should make up a list of what you want. What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want that to be? Are you going to be having kids? (Not being nosy, it's an important consideration!) You want a location that is suitable to the life you want to live.

Don't want to throw this on you, but you like to ski. Your guests come to ski. When the heck do you think YOU'RE going to ski??? This is your prime money-making time. You'll need to hire people to do the cleaning so you can go skiing.

BTW, it looks like your VT choice for your elopement is for sale. You could look at it while you're scouting wedding locations. See if it's what you see yourself running.

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03/01/2013

Madeleine, thank you for the reply and advice. You raise some good points. I also hadn't thought about a large selection of B&Bs being a good thing instead of a bad thing. (And thanks for the advice on the elopement spots - good to know these things).

Thanks again,

Hokie n' Koala

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05/30/2008

A little more advice - Also consider the broader lodging market when you look at possible locations.  My city had 3 B&Bs/inns and now has only one, which has been for sale for ages and is being sold off bit by bit.  The CVB has not done a good job of promoting B&Bs and they are totally about the hotel market.  We have had a plethora of new hotel lodging properties pop up over the last 3 years - suite type arrangements that suit the market demand here and consistently beat the B&B price point.  It's what most of our travelers are looking for, unfortunately.

So, as you consider where and what type of location in which you want to live, work, and play also take a look at the broader market demand.

PS...There are a few innkeepers here on the forum that have their inns for sale and they are all fantastic!

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

BTW, Inn by the Sea is a gorgeous location and they do a really fine job with events. I was just pointing out that it is not a small B&B setting.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

There are more ski areas than in New England. West Virginia has Canaan, Timberline, Snowshoe, Winterplace, and Oglebay and all are 4-season with lots of other things around them. (And the prices of houses will be nowhere near as high as New England.) We have a great Ski Association here also. Broaden your horizons. (Our leaf season is fantastic!)

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03/01/2013

Gillumhouse, Actually I have skied Canaan, been hiking near Paw Paw and gone white water rafting in Oak Hill (ACE Adventures). We are familiar with WV and haven't discounted it all. Their will be a lot to factor into things (Madeleine's comment above about kids should be known within the next couple of years and if that is in the cards then it will affect our decisions too).

Later neighbor,

Hokie n' Koala

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

The folks who started this B&B had kids. What you need to think about in terms of kids is how you will handle 'kid stuff'-

  • crying babies
  • tired parents from crying babies
  • cranky guests from crying babies
  • adorable toddlers who pull the tablecloth and spill coffee
  • preschoolers who get sick and can't go to school
  • snow days
  • summer vacations when you can't go anywhere
  • spring vacations when all the other kids are going to Disney and you can't go anywhere
  • birthday sleepovers with 6 giggling girls (see crying babies above)
  • parent-teacher conferences during breakfast or check-in times
  • there is always the homeschooling option, do you have time for that
  • and, all of this assumes you have a regular old kid and not one that needs extra attention

Not to say it can't be done! The kids who grew up here turned out fine. But, they added on an entire 'house' to the inn so they could have privacy both for themselves and for the guests. It's just an extra layer to think about. Doable, but it needs a bit of thought.

If a kid is born into this it's a bit different than taking a teenager and thrusting them into it.

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