What is a Bed and Breakfast?

Bed and breakfasts are a type of lodging but are different from others in that they’re typically located in historic homes, from Craftsman bungalows to Queen Anne mansions to Revolution-era townhouses. However, some can also be found in nontraditional buildings such as Victorian lighthouses, Roaring 20’s banks, Gay 90’s schoolhouses, and colonial taverns. There are also B&Bs on cattle ranches, dairy farms, and in even perched beside the sea, a lake, or the river.

Essentially, a B&B is a combination of a private abode and a luxury hotel. The size is typically small with the number of guest rooms being somewhere between four and 10, as opposed to the up to 100 found at the majority of hotels. The owners of a B&B live onsite where they engage in social communication with the travellers, treating them like guests as opposed to random customers. Further, visitors receive treats, such as chocolates on their pillows, and bath and beauty products laid out on the jacuzzi tubs.

Food and drink, hot and cold

A B&B, of course, includes breakfast, in the form of a home-cooked meal that is either served in the guest’s private room or in a shared dining space. They also often include iced tea or lemonade during hot summers, coca during the winter, and wine and cheese on dusky evenings. It’s easy to see why bed and breakfast accommodation has grown to be so popular and is becoming even more so. Data from the Santa Barbara, California-based Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) reveals that, in 1980, there were 1,000 B&Bs that had hosted one million guests. In the year 2000, however, that number had increased to 28,000 properties that had hosted 50.5 million guests.

Rising occupancy

PAI asserts that the average occupancy has risen along with the number of B&Bs, climbing from 45 per cent to 50 per cent over four years. Room costs have also risen, rising from $103 to $121 within the same period. The model has proven so commonplace that it’s become one of the more popular routes to starting a business. Whether looking for a second income or to make a full-time living, a desire start a business from an historic building, or just for the sheer passion of hosting or hostessing, there are plenty of reasons why someone would want to start a B&B business.

Profit potential

There’s definitely profit potential in it, too. It does depend on a number of factors, however, such as how much effort the owner is willing to invest into the business, how much creativity they use in their marketing activity, how much time they’ve been running the business, along with the season and the number of rooms. Running a B&B isn’t an industry that produces a high level of income, however. Owners can earn a profit, as well as semi-cover many of their personal expenses but it’s more of a lifestyle business. The profit comes when the owner decides to sell the business.