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Paisley

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I was reading through the postings this morning - quite informative on the whole! imagine that when you are an owner, this would be a great place to just unload, share and support ...
My hub and I are considering the purchase of a B & B in our small community. Because the community is small and we wouldn't have the sort of guest numbers that many of you do, we are thinking about what sort of "add-ons" we might look at. These would be things that would open it up to the community. For instance, we've talked about Sunday afternoon "tea", live music events (indoor and/or outdoor, small group dinners, etc.)
Now, before everyone jumps in to question why we would consider buying a place with low guest numbers, let me say that we currently own two profitable businesses (10 and 5 years) and we would be really be looking at the numbers closely before purchasing. There are other reasons as well that I won't go into right now.
So, my question to all of you folks out there is, do you - or anyone you've heard of - offer additional events, activities, etc. to bring in extra funds? I would love to hear about you r ideas and experiences in this area.
Thanks kindly - looking forward to your responses!
 

gillumhouse

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There are many that do all sorts of events - mystery weekends, one in Wisconsin does Madrigals over the holidays, weddings, teas.
Most of us on the Forum have all we want with our B & Bs. I, myself, am a glutton for punishment but not a mascocist (I know the spelling is wrong but I am tired) so I do not do events other than packages with dinners and offer special Thanksgivings and New Years.
If someone can think of it, someone is doing it.
 

Morticia

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Whatever additional events you plan make sure you are zoned for it. Many communities have no zoning restrictions whatsoever so you may be able to host whatever you want. Others restrict sound, parking, food service, alcohol, etc.
 

swirt

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Hi Paisley and welcome to Innspiring.com

I think a lot of aspiring innkeepers come up with the plan of doing MORE and additional stuff before they open then realize that it is too much once they are up an running. If the add ons are as big a draw as they need to be to bring guests in, then they take on a life of their own.
Examples from around my area.
  • 5 bedroom B&B opened and offered the add-on of horseback riding. To support the extra endeavor they started taking additional people as riders. Horseback riding took off....no time to run the B&B. Sold the B&B within 2 years of opening it. Horseback riding alone couldn't pay the riding property bills. So the land was sold a year later.
  • 3 bedroom B&B spa offering massages, pedicures etc opened. Not big enough to hire staff, owner couldn't handle spa and B&B together (burned out). Shut the B&B down within 3 years.
  • 6 bedroom inn started in grand old house completely refurbished. Not enough money coming in despite being relatively full in season so expanded to offer wedding services. Now specializing completely in weddings. Enough money coming in to hire limited help. After 3 years the Innkeeper completely swamped lists the place for sale but has to keep numbers up to pay bills and stay afloat. Still for sale after 2 years of being on the market. My guess is that the numbers simply don't add up, or interested buyers see how completely overwhelmed the owner is.
It is not all doom and gloom though. There are several B&B's that make a go of restaurants and tea rooms and murder mysteries or working farm kind of thing. It can be done, but it is not easy.
B&B's by themselves can be pretty risky making it difficult to get financing and with avg innkeeper duration being somewhere around 7 years is an indication of the difficulty. Adding an extra business on top of that increases both the risk and the stress. Make sure the numbers work for the B&B on its own, then you can dabble with extras until you see what works and what is comfortable. But if your success hinges on the extras, proceed with caution.
 

YellowSocks

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Check your zoning and state regulations.
Some B&B's cannot offer dinners, some can. Or they can if they get a license. it all depends...
Dinners, teas, gift shops, cookbooks, wine tours, horseback riding, catering, cooking classes, mystery weekends, scrapbook retreats, religious retreats, local tours, ghost tours, seances... whatever you can come up with that you think people will give you money for!
Even if your town is small, there may be ways to get your numbers up. How far are you from a major metropolitan area? I know of a B&B in a dinky town that stays quite busy because 1) they are the only lodging around so they get business travelers during the week, 2) they are not far from two major cities and have a large romantic getaway market they appeal to for weekends. That is, can you be sufficiently wonderful in and of yourself to attract people in spite of their being nothing else around? Classic case in point is a five star restaurant in a dinky town in Virginia called "The Inn at Little Washington." People drive out there in their limos for the world renown food and service... and the locals sit on their porches and watch them drive by as there's absolutely nothing else to do in town. (Or at least, that's how it was when I lived in Maryland.)
Good luck!
=)
Kk.
 

Proud Texan

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We just opened in August, but business is doing well. Our primary source of income is our pension, so we don't rely on our B&B to survive. It helps us pay our property taxes, insurance etc, which comes as a relief on a fixed income.
That being said, GO LOCAL. We've become like a mini-chamber-of-commerce in that we are utilizing places and people in the surrounding area to help draw people to our B&B. Use other businesses to attract people to your B&B by combining outside services to increase the attractiveness of your B&B. It becomes a case of scratching each others back when they start sending people your way too!
For starters, we have an area vineyard that hosts once-a-month dinners and regular "jazz" evenings. We're working with them to create packages. So you can get a weekend at our B&B and dinner at the vineyard for a discounted price. We also found a local massage therapist that will give full body massages in the individual rooms. We make no money directly from this, but it is a draw.
We are considering stabling horses for local rodeo events and creating an area for "scrapbooking", which seems to be very popular in this area.
 

Paisley

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You folks are crazy nice!
Thanks for all the valuable input. We will certainly take it all into serious consideration. We are not rushing into this idea and so I may be "lurking" on here for some time to come! If and when we ever do make the move, I'll certainly let you know here. Then you'll hearing from me a little more I'm sure!
I'm glad that I found all of you and again, thank for responding!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Welcome!
We live in a town under 3000 people. Your guests come from OUTSIDE your area, not inside. Here come my breakfast guests - I would like to share more info on this subject.
ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR PLANS!
 

EmptyNest

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Check your zoning and state regulations.
Some B&B's cannot offer dinners, some can. Or they can if they get a license. it all depends...
Dinners, teas, gift shops, cookbooks, wine tours, horseback riding, catering, cooking classes, mystery weekends, scrapbook retreats, religious retreats, local tours, ghost tours, seances... whatever you can come up with that you think people will give you money for!
Even if your town is small, there may be ways to get your numbers up. How far are you from a major metropolitan area? I know of a B&B in a dinky town that stays quite busy because 1) they are the only lodging around so they get business travelers during the week, 2) they are not far from two major cities and have a large romantic getaway market they appeal to for weekends. That is, can you be sufficiently wonderful in and of yourself to attract people in spite of their being nothing else around? Classic case in point is a five star restaurant in a dinky town in Virginia called "The Inn at Little Washington." People drive out there in their limos for the world renown food and service... and the locals sit on their porches and watch them drive by as there's absolutely nothing else to do in town. (Or at least, that's how it was when I lived in Maryland.)
Good luck!
=)
Kk..
Yes people go to the Inn at Little Washington.. but as you say..they are world renowned!!! You need the big bucks to pull that off.
That is the ONLY reason the other inns in town have any business too:) Otherwise...it is just another small town.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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We had wedding photos taken in our gardens yesterday. The photog said this Marine and his bride were getting married at a little country church with no garden or real photo spots. She wanted to pay a fee and I asked her to recipricate links (so I can get the wedding NIGHTS and she can get the couples for photos) and to allow us to use a few of her photos. She is excellent and loved the idea.
We have calls every week for small weddings, luncheons, all sorts of events. It competes with the B&B business in our situation, so one room night is equal to greater than the $$ I can make on a luncheon for the GRITS or Red Hats etc. We did it in the beginning to let everyone know who we were and for them to refer people to us. I will add again that locals are not our niche, far from it. Very very few local referrals, and when we have them they usually end up a mess.
Example - local college booked two nights LAST sun and mon and the couple cancelled right at check in time. College assumed we would just say "Oh no biggee, we won't charge you." WRONG!
What ii there in the area to draw out of the area guests? Are you near an interstate for weary travelers? Are you near wineries or mountains or recreational areas or historical sites?
 

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