What type of B&B did you envision?

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One Day

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What I am asking is.......did you envision for specifics.....romantic, outdoor activity, retreat, events facility, culture, etc.... ?
Upscale, economical, middle of the road?
Did you go into a specific type of venue with that idea in mind?...........or did you change the venue ? (romantic to outdoors, or the other way for example)
What was the vision you had a year before opening your doors?.........and what has been the result, that 2,3 and more years has passed?
Did you find that you had to change direction ?
 

JBloggs

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What a brilliant question One Day! My kind of thinking.

Here is something, when you buy "so-called" turn-key you are often lied to about the figures and guest info and more. So for the next owners here I have the statz reports all ready for them, key words, referrals, why guests stayed with us etc. I make notes on every booking. Not to mention recalling the reasons guests stay with us.
When we asked the PO's this question they said "oh we get mostly business guests" I know I know red flag and all that, but there was no tourism in this area at that time (which is why I cracked up when that NY State innkeepers called us a tourist location! Still getting a kick out of that).
Here is something to ponder...typically a romantic getaway for an anniversary is a one nighter, two if you absolutely push the envelope. So for us, although we have quite a few anniv and bdays (esp more so in the off season when folks aren't out to recreate but more to procreate) we needed to stretch the lenght of stay! We want them to stay longer.
So for us it was business and anniversaries, to start out. From there we have attacked marketing on every angle possible down to my first every photography weekend last April to a possible Mother-Daughter Book Club overnight event with afternoon tea this winter. :)
Things we changed like adding cable tv's, wifi, website, online reservations, improved rooms, amenities, so we were able to raise the rate, get rid of the silly 24 hour cancellation period. So our rates are higher now, and a nicer place. We are not in an area with many B&B's so it is hard to compare apples and oranges on rates. But we are middle of the road I would say.
 

wendydk

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We knew we wanted small and casual, that our location would be a tourist draw in itself, and that all rooms having cable TV, VCR's, fireplaces, a/c, bathrobes and a full breakfast would make us stand out from the established Inns in town.
I didn't realize just how many outdoorsy-active folks and very young couples we would get. I think the draw to first-timers and young couples was that we were so laid back, non-threatening and casual...so I played that up along with our location in terms of nature areas, hiking, biking, skiing, cross country, snowshoeing and the like.
I also didn't realize that the popular small city 35 miles away would be such a draw...but took advantage of the fact as soon as I recognized it....in terms of joining their CVB, optimizing for keyword searches and buying directory listings in that city. That was the big thing, in my estimation.
 

egoodell

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SInce our interest was in wine and history I picked a location that had both. We didn't have any extra money so needed to be in an area that already was drawing tourists. Here we have the university, three presidents' homes, and wineries. I did not realize that in ten years the wines would leap up in quality as it has which is resulting in a lot of press.
We could not afford to buy our property today. Lucky in our timing.
We are drawing the crowd we wanted - wineos come in all ages. Mostly middle price to upscale. Lots of anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
What surprised me was the number of people coming during the week for the one day wine tour stay. But there are lots in nearby DC in government jobs who ca adjust their 40 hour work week to take a day off.
So we get romantic, and getaway from the kids, and older.
RIki
 

Alibi Ike

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I envisioned a much more upscale B&B than I own. However, I'm much more comfortable with what I have vs what I thought I wanted. So, yes, changed the course I was headed on and made my life a lot simpler!
 

gillumhouse

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Before we found our house, I had envisioned a library/music room with a spinet piano and a few other instruments (guitar/banjo.my saxophones) and comfy chairs for reading. Thre is no room big enough for that in this house. I discovered this house really is right for us. People come in and immediately seem to feel comfortable. I am comfortable with it. I would not be comfortable in a mansion - it just would not be me.
I expected to have a lot of rail-trail traffic - and did for the first few years. Then I discovered the covered bridges and winery were a bigger draw. And then I found the horse traffic and the motorcycle riders. I am constantly looking to re-invent us. Horses are a big repeat business for us because of location, service, and quality of both the stable and the B & B. We are day 1 for the Canada going south (SC seems to be the day 2) and are halfway between the east coast horse farms and Kentucky. I had no clue that horses would be part of my business.
 

HighMountainLodge

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We envisioned a certain type of guest: middle of the road, easy, physically active, and we designed our marketing campaign for that sort of person. We bought a place near a world-class ski area, but we priced and marketed our place for families and young couples. We accept dogs and children in all our rooms.
We surprise people with our breakfasts. During ski season, we also feed them simple suppers. Our marketing strategy is to attract people to our lodge who don't have preconceived B&B expectations, then surprise them.
Because we're not, and will never be, a high-end B&B, we actually decline reservations that involve weddings. Tom was a church organist for many years, and he's dealt with far too many psychotic brides and their insane mothers. We cater to people we can welcome into our home, make them feel welcome, feed them good stuff, have good conversation, and send them to a meticulously-clean room with a comfortable bed.
Our marketing strategy is pretty simple, really. We know the kind of people we want to attract to our lodge, we market to that segment of the population, and when they show up, we treat them and feed them better than they expect. They get delirious and tell all their friends how cool we are, and pretty soon, they're sending all their friends up.
Most of our guests have never stayed in a B&B before.Those who have are surprised at how "un-B&B" we are.
Our marketing is all about crafting people's expectations before they show up, so they aren't disappointed once we give them the key to their room.
And the secret is really us.Tom and Julie. We're what make our B&B a success. We are the secret. We interact with our guests. We make them feel like guests in our home, and not patrons of a hotel.
Also, our website acts as a filter. People looking at it aren't going to think that we're a high-end romantic place. We don't want to attract everyone, no matter how much money they have. We want to attract people who look at our website and say, "Wow! That's so cool!" while discouraging people who wonder if the hot tub's up to temp.
 

Joey Camb

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We bought a turnkey for its location which is 8 meters from a really busy conference centre also for the car park which here is like gold bars. (here it costs you $20 thousand for a parking space not even a garage!) the condition was not shocking but definately in need of a makeover and we have been gradually doing it up as we have the money. So our 3 markets are 65% conference trade (monday to friday) 30% weekend break people or people here for evening events and 5% local business which is quite small. To this end we have free wi-fi which is very popular and can be charged up to $30 a day in the big hotels. We also do breakfast from 7.30am as conference people generally need an early start and if enough people want it we even serve from 7AM. These people are also easy to market to as they are all companies who list themselves with the conference web site so can easily be emailed and they usually want 3 or more nights which saves on changes.
 

Alibi Ike

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake.
 

egoodell

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake..
Alibi Ike said:
Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake.
We have had immense relief with our innsitters. We are blessed in that we have a wonderful couple only 45 minutes away that are just as customer-service orientated as we are and lovely. They love to come and flip rooms and check in the guests for us while we are touring, and have innsat just the inn and the dog the first time (I wanted them to use the kitchen themselves first before throwing them to guests)
Now we have them booked for January while we are gone and I hope we can book at least one room so they have someone to take care of and get their feet wet.
Gives us a chance to breathe.
RIki
 

bbinnsitters

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake..
Alibi Ike said:
Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake.
We have had immense relief with our innsitters. We are blessed in that we have a wonderful couple only 45 minutes away that are just as customer-service orientated as we are and lovely. They love to come and flip rooms and check in the guests for us while we are touring, and have innsat just the inn and the dog the first time (I wanted them to use the kitchen themselves first before throwing them to guests)
Now we have them booked for January while we are gone and I hope we can book at least one room so they have someone to take care of and get their feet wet.
Gives us a chance to breathe.
RIki
.
Yeah Riki - good plug for Inn-sitters - I really hope you can stop by at the conference during my workshop and put your 2 cents in!
 

bbinnsitters

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake..
Alibi, you know you can make your business anything you want - if you only want to do seasonal that is your choice. I know of several places that used to be year round and they are shutting their doors for a month or two during the slow season. Now, as an Inn-sitter I should really be telling you to stay open and hire someone to help you out as egoodell suggests. But it is good to have options and make it work for you! Finding a good Inn-sitter is hard, but I can point you in the right direction if you are interested.
 

Alibi Ike

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake..
Alibi, you know you can make your business anything you want - if you only want to do seasonal that is your choice. I know of several places that used to be year round and they are shutting their doors for a month or two during the slow season. Now, as an Inn-sitter I should really be telling you to stay open and hire someone to help you out as egoodell suggests. But it is good to have options and make it work for you! Finding a good Inn-sitter is hard, but I can point you in the right direction if you are interested.
.
The obvious problem with closing seasonally is loss of income, meager as it may be. What I meant was that we wish we had bought in a place that is ultra high occupancy for 8-9 months and then everyone closes for 3-4 months. Staying open all year is fine here as we do have seasonally slow periods so we can just close for a few days and put our feet up.
 

bbinnsitters

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Utra high for 8-9 months? Is there a place like that out there? Just curious. You also have to consider if it is worth keeping your doors open and heat on for the few stragglers that may come in.
 

Alibi Ike

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Utra high for 8-9 months? Is there a place like that out there? Just curious. You also have to consider if it is worth keeping your doors open and heat on for the few stragglers that may come in..
A few places come to mind. Stowe, VT being one of them. Slammed from May to Oct, time off in Nov until it snows. Slammed from Christmas until March or so, provided it is cold enough to make snow or for natural snow. March & April pretty quiet.
 

bbinnsitters

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Utra high for 8-9 months? Is there a place like that out there? Just curious. You also have to consider if it is worth keeping your doors open and heat on for the few stragglers that may come in..
A few places come to mind. Stowe, VT being one of them. Slammed from May to Oct, time off in Nov until it snows. Slammed from Christmas until March or so, provided it is cold enough to make snow or for natural snow. March & April pretty quiet.
.
Ahhh...the New England states - they are off my radar. I know I was there when I was a kid, but have never returned - maybe it is time!
 

One Day

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We envisioned a certain type of guest: middle of the road, easy, physically active, and we designed our marketing campaign for that sort of person. We bought a place near a world-class ski area, but we priced and marketed our place for families and young couples. We accept dogs and children in all our rooms.
We surprise people with our breakfasts. During ski season, we also feed them simple suppers. Our marketing strategy is to attract people to our lodge who don't have preconceived B&B expectations, then surprise them.
Because we're not, and will never be, a high-end B&B, we actually decline reservations that involve weddings. Tom was a church organist for many years, and he's dealt with far too many psychotic brides and their insane mothers. We cater to people we can welcome into our home, make them feel welcome, feed them good stuff, have good conversation, and send them to a meticulously-clean room with a comfortable bed.
Our marketing strategy is pretty simple, really. We know the kind of people we want to attract to our lodge, we market to that segment of the population, and when they show up, we treat them and feed them better than they expect. They get delirious and tell all their friends how cool we are, and pretty soon, they're sending all their friends up.
Most of our guests have never stayed in a B&B before.Those who have are surprised at how "un-B&B" we are.
Our marketing is all about crafting people's expectations before they show up, so they aren't disappointed once we give them the key to their room.
And the secret is really us.Tom and Julie. We're what make our B&B a success. We are the secret. We interact with our guests. We make them feel like guests in our home, and not patrons of a hotel.
Also, our website acts as a filter. People looking at it aren't going to think that we're a high-end romantic place. We don't want to attract everyone, no matter how much money they have. We want to attract people who look at our website and say, "Wow! That's so cool!" while discouraging people who wonder if the hot tub's up to temp..
Do you feel the middle of the road guests easier to please?.......the less demanding type?
Target marketing is what has worked for me.....
I almost feel that to accomodate the uber high end clientel.....You'd have to have come from the background, just to begin to understand them.
I do however vision an establishment that satisfies the discriminating taste. Caters to those that are not
 

One Day

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Before we found our house, I had envisioned a library/music room with a spinet piano and a few other instruments (guitar/banjo.my saxophones) and comfy chairs for reading. Thre is no room big enough for that in this house. I discovered this house really is right for us. People come in and immediately seem to feel comfortable. I am comfortable with it. I would not be comfortable in a mansion - it just would not be me.
I expected to have a lot of rail-trail traffic - and did for the first few years. Then I discovered the covered bridges and winery were a bigger draw. And then I found the horse traffic and the motorcycle riders. I am constantly looking to re-invent us. Horses are a big repeat business for us because of location, service, and quality of both the stable and the B & B. We are day 1 for the Canada going south (SC seems to be the day 2) and are halfway between the east coast horse farms and Kentucky. I had no clue that horses would be part of my business..
I do appreciate your ability and willingness to be flexible. Identify what is available and works for you.......rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
 

One Day

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We bought a turnkey for its location which is 8 meters from a really busy conference centre also for the car park which here is like gold bars. (here it costs you $20 thousand for a parking space not even a garage!) the condition was not shocking but definately in need of a makeover and we have been gradually doing it up as we have the money. So our 3 markets are 65% conference trade (monday to friday) 30% weekend break people or people here for evening events and 5% local business which is quite small. To this end we have free wi-fi which is very popular and can be charged up to $30 a day in the big hotels. We also do breakfast from 7.30am as conference people generally need an early start and if enough people want it we even serve from 7AM. These people are also easy to market to as they are all companies who list themselves with the conference web site so can easily be emailed and they usually want 3 or more nights which saves on changes..
Sounds like you realy hit the ground running with your turnkey purchase
 

One Day

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Will also add that we thought we wanted to be a year-round business, so bought in a year-round location. The year-round location turned out to be not so much a really year-round venue so now we're wistful we didn't buy in a 3-season location so we could close for a few months each year and just relax.
That is probably the one thing we did not think clearly about- working 365 days/year. I don't know how we missed that wee, small fact of never having a day off, ever, unless we planned it to death, but we did. Now that our town is not really year-round any longer, we realize how much those slow months are needed for sanity's sake..
Yeah.......24/7/365 sounds great.....with employees
Doing what I have been doing 30+ years......I get the down time during the winter......winter gets a little long. It's a great time for doing things around the house..inside ofcourse.
I was actualy thinking of flipping my down season......summer slow and busy winter.....this I'm not sure where or how this is possible.
Down time........days off here and there are a must
 

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