Question on innkeeping

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Hi,  Has anyone have an B&B and not live there? Or hire a Innkeeper?

I also have heard of running a B&B ( non-host).   Do people prefer to have the owners there?

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Wanda

 

seashanty's picture
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Wanda, you have to understand there are lots of different ways of running a b&b ... lots of different opinions and preferences and different regulations about onsite staff depending on how many guest rooms you have. But yes, a b&b is a lot of work. I don't think anyone who owns/runs an inn would tell you otherwise.

The more rooms you have, the more work there is to do. But more rooms also often means you hire staff to help.

Smiling

 

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We hired in innkeeper. She does the cooking and cleaning and lives onsite.  We handle reservations and checking in guests. One of us (we have partners) goes over to the house and hangs out at breakfast. It works for us.

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There are many B&Bs and Inns where the innkeeper lives next door that are very successful.  We are completing a little house just behind our B&B that we're moving into and turning our bedroom into another guest room - we get privacy and make more money, win/win.  We will be here as we typically are for breakfast and guest checkins.  We will, however, "go home" about 9pm each night.  There will be an emergency phone for guests to call over to our house - literally, I can be in the B&B in less than one minute if something comes up.  We know several very successful innkeepers who recommended this because you need your own space and need to maximize the income potential from the B&B building.  I'm not sure about living in another town however.  I wouldn't do it unless I had a live-in assistant who slept over.  Good luck.

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Thank you! Smiling.

 

seashanty's picture
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I wouldn't say people expect the owner to be onsite, but a lot of people expect an innkeeper to be onsite. That can be an assistant innkeeper or whatever title you want to give it. I travel alone a lot and don't want to stay at a place with no staff onsite at night. That's my preference. Regulations are in place about overnight staffing depending on your location and number of guest rooms. 

As an innkeeper ... during the busy season ... booked solid every night ... there would be at least one issue come up with a guest in the middle of the night each week. Sometimes more. Examples that all happened between midnight and 6 a.m.: sick guest needed complete change of bed linens; toilet backed up and overflowing and guest did not know how to shut off the water supply; bathtub overflowing and leaking down from ceiling into room below; sick guest required an ambulance; guest decided to sit outside in the middle of the night and locked himself out of the place; a fight between one couple left one guest locked out, the other inside refusing to acknowledge the yelling and pounding, third guest thought there was an attempted breakin going on (got no sleep that night); NAKED guest stepped out onto the third floor deck / emergency stair and was locked out. That guy was hiding in the parking lot, hunkered down between the cars throwing rocks at the inn windows until he got my attention. Prize winner, that one! 

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Oh boy! lol..  I hear what your saying Smiling.  My husband and I would have someone stay for overnights and I would be there for breakfast..  This is something I always wanted to do, but my husband and I realize it's going to be hard..  So it's kinda disappointing.  I guess we'll see.. thanks ladies Smiling

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We all have our own reasons for being in this sort of business, but for me one of the major benefits is that we live on the property, no getting up in the morning and having to drive to work, if I get tired well stop for a glass of tea or take a nap and finish my work later in the day, it is a good life.

If I had to drive from the next town to get here it would take away most of the fun, well for me anyway.  Living here and enjoying the guests is what makes this special, if that doesn't have an appeal owning some long term rentals might be a simpler venture.

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Jim & Maxine

 

Halfmoonbay's picture
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A traditional BnB means owners live on site. being further away might complicate things. You can do so if you hire an onsite innkeeper to be there most of the time.

muirford's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

What about when their plane gets in after midnight?   Or they stop for dinner on the way?    Check ins are often late and sometimes very late.  Living the next town over would be difficult to manage.  

Again, not every innkeeper, even those who live on site, stays up or is always on property to check in every guest.  Lots of us use self check-ins - some do that as a matter of course for all their guests. 

There are lots of ways to run a B&B remotely - I think it is safe to say that they are more challenging to staff and establish.

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Jeanne

There are no rules, just follow your heart. ~ Robin Williams

 

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muirford wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

What about when their plane gets in after midnight?   Or they stop for dinner on the way?    Check ins are often late and sometimes very late.  Living the next town over would be difficult to manage.  

Again, not every innkeeper, even those who live on site, stays up or is always on property to check in every guest.  Lots of us use self check-ins - some do that as a matter of course for all their guests. 

There are lots of ways to run a B&B remotely - I think it is safe to say that they are more challenging to staff and establish.

 

We use self check ins too, but what if there is a problem?  I can see living in the back yard, or two doors down, but the next town over?    I guess it could work, but I wouldn't call it a B&B, maybe cottages or studios.   It may just be perception, but in my experience, people choose a B&B for the hospitality.   They choose an apartment for the autonomy.

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TBH

 

muirford's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We use self check ins too, but what if there is a problem?     I guess it could work, but I wouldn't call it a B&B, maybe cottages or studios

I don't want to mix the two issues up - no matter what, if there are people on site, I assume there is an emergency contact number that goes to someone who can help, and quickly.  Maybe it's the owner, maybe it's the night manager. 

TheBeachHouse wrote:

.   It may just be perception, but in my experience, people choose a B&B for the hospitality.   They choose an apartment for the autonomy.

I think that is your perception.  You've seen that many B&B owners here aren't really interested in the chitchat when they travel personally - maybe they choose a VRBO or hotel, but maybe they choose a bigger B&B with staff, or one that has cottages or very private units that also provide autonomy.  I love a B&B in an historic building but I can be very satisfied in that aspect and still have privacy and only the interaction that I choose with other guests or staff.  

We go around and around on here on what's a B&B and what's not - there are some industry definitions out there, but what you will find is that B&Bs are as pretty individual.  You are operating with a very narrow definition of a B&B, and your mileage may vary from others.  

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muirford wrote:

I think that is your perception.  You've seen that many B&B owners here aren't really interested in the chitchat when they travel personally - maybe they choose a VRBO or hotel, but maybe they choose a bigger B&B with staff, or one that has cottages or very private units that also provide autonomy.  I love a B&B in an historic building but I can be very satisfied in that aspect and still have privacy and only the interaction that I choose with other guests or staff.  

Do not think I agree - I think far and away, more people going to a B&B expect to have the owners around.  Per Wikipedia: "Typically, bed and breakfasts are family homes or private homes offering acommodations."

Just because a % of people might prefer privacy or have a different idea, it is the "typical" people who are going to be booking and being confused or put off by something being misrepresented or mislabeled.  If not owner occupied or next door, I do not think it should be labeled a B&B, but the proper other term (cottages, apartment, etc.).

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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People absolutely prefer to have the owners there.   It's part of the experience.

muirford's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

People absolutely prefer to have the owners there.   It's part of the experience.

I would not agree with that absolute statement.  Some people could care less if the owners are onsite as long as the staff is competent and helpful.  I used to go to a 3-room B&B in Key West for years and never once met the owners. It's still one of my favorite places and I was unhappy when it sold as a private residence.   Other B&Bs, especially larger ones, you will only meet the staff - if they are competent and personable, I'm okay with that.  

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muirford wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

People absolutely prefer to have the owners there.   It's part of the experience.

I would not agree with that absolute statement.  Some people could care less if the owners are onsite as long as the staff is competent and helpful.  I used to go to a 3-room B&B in Key West for years and never once met the owners. It's still one of my favorite places and I was unhappy when it sold as a private residence.   Other B&Bs, especially larger ones, you will only meet the staff - if they are competent and personable, I'm okay with that.  

i should have said manager or greeter.    Owner, staff.   Point is someone needs to be there.   

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It all depends on your location and zoning regulations. In our town for example, zoning code states owner must live in the residence. There are many who don't live on site. I personally like someone being there...afterall the interaction with guests is the big part of why people choose a B & B stay. 

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I Have a home that I would like to turn it into a Inn or B&B, but I own another home that I live in, in the next town over.  I can be there for Breakfast and great guest, and probably could stay there when quest arrive. My town zoning states you don't have to live there, but to hire a innkeeper.

 

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Fed requirements for ADA (disabilities act).  5 or fewer guest rooms, owner occupied and I think single building not subject to ADA.  Otherwise, you need full accessibility.  Such as ADA bathrooms, perhaps elevator, handicap ramps and other things.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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What about when their plane gets in after midnight?   Or they stop for dinner on the way?    Check ins are often late and sometimes very late.  Living the next town over would be difficult to manage.   

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The problems I had with a rental property 45 minutes away.  And that was just occasional issues. I sometimes sat for hours waiting to collect rent, prospects not show up, maintenance issues but they changed the lock... Cannot fathom trying to do something that needs as much effort as a B&B from a distance, unless as said elsewhere, you have good staff in place.

muirford's picture
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undersea wrote:

 Cannot fathom trying to do something that needs as much effort as a B&B from a distance, unless as said elsewhere, you have good staff in place.

It would not be the way I personally would choose to run a B&B, but I can name at least a half a dozen that I have personal experience with the owner not being onsite, ranging from 3 room B&Bs to 8 room B&Bs to some bigger, almost boutique hotels. All of them get unfailingly good reviews on the staff and customer service from guests. It can be done - it takes more skill at hiring and managing staff.  

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Thanks everyone Smiling.  It would be a 3 bedroom, 3 bath.. ..It's in a historic village, in a great spot, but I guess it wouldn't work out.

 

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Wanda805 wrote:

Thanks everyone Smiling.  It would be a 3 bedroom, 3 bath.. ..It's in a historic village, in a great spot, but I guess it wouldn't work out.

I have worked at a B&B (for about six months) where the owner was not on-site but there was a resident innkeeper (me & DH). It can work out, but you might be hard pressed to make it work with only 3 rooms. You would need a private room for the innkeeper, too. If zoning allows, an unhosted vacation rental might work, but you should make sure the rules are already in place. We've had two places shut down in our town for unhosted rentals.

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