Bed and Breakfast, Spa & Cabana in Dallas Texas is Alla's Cozy Place.

Organic European breakfast made from scratch, affordable vacational rentals in Dallas, free parking, WI - FI internet,free glass of wine, downtown Dallas is only 15 min.away & downtown Fort Worth close by. Take this vacation rental for your romantic trip

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Posted on July 15, 2009 at 1:53 AM

Alla's B&B


Posted by Lobeseat 11:27 PM

 Jon and I wanted to make the most of our brief trip back to Dallas, so we made plans to find a quiet and secluded B&B to relax and catchup. Alla's Historical Bed & Breakfast immediately caught our eye.

 Upon hearing our car in the drive-way, Alla, the B&B owner, comes running out the door and immediately greets us with big hugs. She refers to us as her"cute babies" for the entirety of our stay.

 She takes uson the grand tour of the property which she owns with herhusband, Rick.This house is the oldest all-brick house in the city of Duncanville, built by the Chief Mason, John C. Pelt, in 1927. The place is completely furnished with antiques that both Alla and Rick have collected in Europe- a hobby & passion that they both indulge in twice a year. Almost everything in the house is over a century old, including the toilet that they salvaged.





 We enjoyed their Redwood Cabana & Spa romantically-lit with oil-lanterns and strolled through the backyard garden.





 In the morning, Alla rang her breakfast bell and we were welcomed to the most fantastic European breakfast spread. We stuffed ourselves with homemade strawberry jam, french crepes, cheesy eggs, and imported coffee from Germany. Her family joined us for breakfast and even then we couldn't finish all the food that she served. All the while, we happily listened to stories of her life in Ukraine and of all Eastern European specialties that she promised to serve the next time we visit.




 After overexerting ourselves from all the eating, Alla was kind enough to let us napthrough the afternoon and past our check-out time. Now, that's great hospitality!  We're in love!

 


Posted on January 15, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Food Service in the Bed & Breakfast

Food Service Requirements

One of the features that often attracts guests to a Bed and Breakfast is the special breakfasts served. The goal of the host is to serve attractive as well as nutritious meals to guests. The rules and regulations for food service operations will vary from state to state. Check with your local health department.

Breakfasts run from a  continental breakfast usually includes hot tea or coffee, fruit juice and sweet rolls, muffins or biscuits. Hot beverages should be freshly brewed, fruit juices freshly squeezed or of top quality to a full breakfast with juices,entree,breads and beverages. No matter what type meal you server,everything should also be of highest quality.

Keep in mind both the rules and regulations of food service operations as well as meal planning. These are both essential to the B & B business.


Meal Planning

To provide an outstanding meal, time and thought must be put into the planning of it. And, despite of all of your planning, there is no guarantee that everyone will enjoy the meals you serve. You may prefer to serve and eat foods that do not appeal to your guests. You need to consider that people have a wide variety of food preferences, flavors and combinations that appeal to them as well as specific nutritional and dietary needs. Plan to serve foods that compliment one another and are appropriate to the season as well as those that are easiest for you to prepare and serve.

  • Consider the number of people you will be serving
  • Type of place settings to be used and
  • The method you choose for serving
You must start with high quality foods. A meal can be no more appetizing than the individual foods used. Meals that are the most appetizing typically include a variety of temperatures, textures, shapes, colors, and sizes. Flavor combinations such as sweet, spicy, and bland are other considerations.

Table Settings

The current trend in table fashions is, just about anything goes. Use of colors or florals is a personal choice. There are no fixed rules about what to use and when to use it.

As you prepare foods just keep in mind that the foods should always look attractive and appealing against the table cover and place settings used. Table settings can range from the informal to the very formal. The choice is yours and is determined by the mood of your bed and breakfast and the feelings you want to convey to your guests at the meal. It is not necessary to always cover a table completely. However, there are very few occasions when there is not at least a place mat, doily or cloth between the dish and the table.

Serve Healthy Foods

It is important to consider the nutritional needs of your guests. You may want to inquire ahead of time if a guest has any specific dietary needs. This is just an added special touch that will show your guest that you want to provide for their needs. Some general guidelines to consider in serving healthy meals are:

1. You may want to use low fat products to control the calories count.

2. Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your meals. Bran or oats can be included in muffins, quick breads and served as cereal. These foods provide extra fiber need by most people in their diet.

3. Limit the use of fats and products with cholesterol and other saturated fats. Choose vegetable oils and liquid margarines rather than butter and other animal fats.

4. Limit the use of salt. Sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Try substituting herbs, spices and other seasonings for salt in foods. Omit or reduce the amount of salt called for in recipes;and avoid using processed or fast foods that are high in sodium.

5. Limit the amount of sugar. Even though sugar itself is not harmful, it is a source of empty calories and provides very little nutritional value. Many people are weight conscious today, so serving too many sweets may not be appreciated.

Food Safety

Making sure that the foods you serve are safe and wholesome is a very important task. We are fortunate to have proper storage and adequate cooking methods today. However, it is amazing how many unsafe food practices people still use. Government inspections and strict standards in the food industry usually assure us of high quality,wholesome and safe foods. It is your responsibility as the cook to make sure that the standard is maintained in your bed and breakfast.

The danger zone for bacterial growth in food is between 40 degrees F. and 140 degrees F. Most food poisoning bacteria grow in room temperatures around 60-70 degrees F. When bacteria grow, it divides and multiplies in number. Two very basic important rules to follow are:

  • KEEP HOT FOODS HOT AND COLD FOODS COLD
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!
Make sure that all leftovers are stored promptly. Never thaw frozen foods on a countertop at room temperature.

For more rules and regulations in regards to food safety, contact your local health department.


Sanitation

 "Sanitization" means effective bactericidal treatment by a process that provides enough accumulative heat or concentration of chemicals for enough time to reduce the bacterial count, including pathogens, to a safe level on utensils and equipment.

For example, bleach is an effective all-purpose sanitizer that even kills bacteria that may cause food poisoning. This sanitizer is authorized by use under USDA meat, poultry, rabbit and egg products inspection programs.

If using other types of sanitizers such as tablets, then they must be registered with the US EPA and the product label must claim it will sanitize food contact surfaces without needing a final clear water rinse.

You will need to check with your local health department for rules and regulations in your area. You may have to undergo some type of health inspection.


 

The first impression formed about a bed and breakfast home happens the minute your guest sees your home and walks up to your front door. The next impression occurs in the first thirty seconds when they are greeted. Each  owner has his or her own unique strengths and assets that can serve as a strong marketing feature. You must determine what these are and how you can best use them. Since your home is the first attraction for most guests, make sure that it gives a good impression in all areas.

Entrance

Imagine you are a guest coming to your B & B for the first time. Carefully look at the guest entrance.

  • What mood does it set?
  • Is it inviting?
  • Is there a sign?
  • Is the walkway clear and safe?
  • Is there a porch light?
  • Is it clear that you should ring the bell or just walk in?
  • Is the yard well kept and nicely landscaped?
The entrance provides the first gracious welcome to guests. If not, things get started the wrong way and it may be difficult to change your guest's opinion.

Bedrooms
 

Take a look at your potential guest bedrooms objectively. Put yourself in the guest's shoes.

  • Is this a room a guest will enjoy?
  • Is the paint and/or wallpaper in good condition?
  • Is the mattress comfortable?
  • Will it provide good support?
  • Is there adequate closet space?
  • Is there a chair for reading and relaxing? It will save wear and tear on the mattress.
  • Is there a desk or a place to write letters?
  • Is there proper lighting for reading and writing?
  • Is there a full length mirror available for dressing?
  • Have you provided a night light and smoke detector in each room as a safety feature?


Think about the bed linens. Be sure that you have an adequate supply. Double or triple sets of everything for each room;.sheets, towels,blankets etc comes in very handy to help you manage your time in changing the room for the next guest.Or, in case damage occurs to a bedspread, rather than having to replace the whole set, you have a spare to save you;.temporarily.

  • Are sheets of high quality fabric?
  • Are they fresh or worn?
  • Do you have adequate blankets?
  • Are pillows fresh and fluffy?
  • Can you provide a selection of pillows to suit guests' needs?
A guest room doesn't have to look or cost as much as if it came from the pages of home magazine, but it should be comfortable, and well kept. Expensive furnishings or special redecorating is not always  needed. A new coat of paint, and a few new linens may be all that is required. The room should reflect individual creativity.

Cleanliness

Probably the most important thing to impress your guests is the cleanliness of your home; their bedroom and bathroom.

  • Are there cobwebs in the corners or behind the furniture?
  • Is dust collecting under the bed?
  • Furniture should be polished and dust-free.
  • Drawers should be free for guests belongings.
    • A scented lining in drawers adds a nice touch as well. Do be aware however, that some guests may have allergies or breathing disorders. If you fill your rooms with potpourri, candles and other types of scents, you may cause more problems; have very sick and unhappy guests.
  • Some type of towel rack in each room may also be appreciated especially if guests are sharing a bathroom.
  • Clean curtains or draperies framing shining windows are also a main requirement.
The initial outlay for opening a B & B need not be high. A spotlessly cleaned room and a bit of refurbishing may be all that is needed. If redecorating is called, it can be done in stages as time and money permit. If you plan on redecorating, consider keeping a filing system with ideas,swatches of fabric,carpeting, paper and paint chips that can help you make selections in the future. Redecorating and refurbishing is an on-going task in all good bed and breakfast homes. It is also considered a tax deduction; so keep meticulous records.

Ingenuity is often key to guestroom comfort. To expand limited closed space, a chest of drawers can be added, or attractive shelving with hooks can be mounted on a wall.

  • A inexpensive round wooden table can become a nightstand or writing area.
  • Coordinated curtains,draperies,bed covers, pillows and tablecloths and shower curtains can be easily made from decorator sheets.
  • Live plants, flowers--real or silk--add a nice touch.
  • You should be able to provide extra hangers,blankets or pillows for your guests.
  • A luggage rack is also another item that will save wear and tear on your bed coverings and mattress.
  • Consider providing a bed tray for guests.
  • A pitcher of water and glasses on a tray is often appreciated.
  • Some hosts provide a small decanter of liqueur for a nightcap. ( Be sure to check your state's dram laws in regards to providing alcoholic beverages, or you can be held liable.)
Bathroom

Today, guests expect a private bathroom. There are some though, who won't mind sharing a bathroom, although it is getting rare. Carefully look over any bathroom that guests will use from their viewpoint.

  • The sink, shower, toilet should all be impeccable.
  • There should be no unsightly mold or mildew on tiles, grout, around faucets or on the shower curtain.
  • Mirrors should shine.
  • Floors should be spotlessly clean.
  • Be sure to include a wastebasket. Use a throw-away liner for more sanitary clean up.
  • Paper towels and paper cups are more sanitary for guests.
  • Extra towels, soap, tissues and toilet paper should be easily accessible.
  • Adequate lighting and high quality mirrors in the bathroom are a must for both men and women!
Safety is also critical in the bathroom.
  • A non-skid floor surface or rugs with a non-skid backing should be used.
  • A non-skid surface or mat in the tub or shower is also needed.
  • Check the temperature of your hot water to assure that no one will be scalded.
  • Make sure that there is ample hot water for all your guests needs.
  • Are faucets dripping? This can be a most irritating sound for a guest trying to get a good night's sleep.
  • Another safety feature you may want to consider at some point is the use of GFI circuits in the bathroom to prevent shock.
After looking over your bathroom situation, a quick fix up with some fresh paint or paper and a few new linens may be all you will need to start up your bed and breakfast. However, if there are many of the basics lacking, you will probably want to do some remodeling immediately.Use your imagination to come up with some solutions to common bathroom problems.
  • If there is too little storage space, consider hanging shower caddies or corner shelving.
  • Shelving with pegs will add extra hanging space for towels.
  • Wicker plant stands can also hold towels.
  • You may want to box in plumbing features under the sink and use louvered doors for a decorative effect.
  • An old dry sink or a chest of drawers can be made into a sink as well by cutting out a hole in the top and placing the sink bowl and fixtures in place. If you are handy and can do it yourself, you may be able to save quite a bit of money in the remodeling and redecorating process.
If the bathroom is shared you will want to encourage guests and/or family members to leave the bathroom in good condition for the next user.  You may want to leave a nice wicker basket or some other attractive holder with cleaning supplies in sight. This hopefully will inspire guests to take a moment and clean up after themselves. If that isn't a strong enough hint, some type of clever sign can be used to get the idea across to everyone.
We could spend hours and hours discussing marketing and it's strategies however, our main purpose here today is to share some basic marketing information to get you started thinking in terms of what you will need to do to market your bed and breakfast. Just because you think you want to open a bed and breakfast, or may already have done so, doesn't necessarily mean it will be successful. I hope you will give much thought and research BEFORE you actually decide whether or not to open a bed and breakfast. It should not be a decision you take lightly.

What is Marketing?

If I were to ask you "what is marketing?" What would you say? ( Take some time to jot down a few of your ideas.)

Yes, marketing is probably all the things you have mentioned.  But if we get right down to the very basics of marketing hospitality and tourism------

Marketing is satisfying your customers (guests) needs and wants.

Needs: Gaps between what the customer (guest) have and what they would like to have.

Wants: Needs of which your customer (guest) are aware.


The inability to understand your customer's (guests) needs and wants can be a serious threat to your business. As B & B operators, we are here to serve the customer (guest). Their needs are priority #1! Now, none of us was born with a marketing degree, so this is something we need to learn and then polish through practice. Remember also, the marketing of hospitality and tourism is viewed a little differently than the marketing of a specific product. Let's take a brief look at the differences.

Why Market a B & B?

  • Change occurs rapidly in the hospitality and tourism industry and marketing plays a key role in a business's ability to cope with the changes. The "build it and they will come" philosophy just doesn't apply here. You have to have a reason and a plan in order for guests to buy your service (stay at your bed and breakfast.)
  • Competition is also greater today. Now that can depend on your location and the number of other lodging choices available where you are and if they are needed. Competition is not all bad. Many B & B owners form associations and work very cooperatively together locally as well as state and nationally. Pooling resources is economical for everyone as far as advertising etc. Referrals are also shared.
  • Next consider to whom you will target your marketing efforts. The economy, social, cultural and lifestyle issues all play a role in market segmentation. You cannot cater to everyone. You must aim for a specific group for the majority of your marketing efforts.
  • Travelers are much more sophisticated these days. They have a lot of travel experience and expect much more than in years gone bye. A lot more than a room with a bed is expected.To get these kinds of people requires you provide better quality service which requires more sophisticated marketing

The Seven Principles of Marketing

1. Marketing Concept: The means you are acting on the belief that customer (guest) satisfaction is your top priority. You continually want to put your resources and efforts towards satisfying your customers (guests).

2. Customer Orientation: You accept and act according to the marketing concept. The customer (guest) is always #1!
(For example: Mr. Marriott took time to read evaluations from all of his hotel guests daily and personally took interest in them.)

3. Satisfy the Customer: Is the only way to ensure your long-term survival. Success comes from knowing what your customer (guests) want and giving it to them. Never just make assumptions.

4. Target Market: All customers (guests) are not alike. You need to pick out and focus on those you want to attract. This is sometimes known as the "rifle vs shotgun approach.) Single bullet hits target rather than shot spreading all over.

5. Value/Exchange: Customers (guests) want value for their money. This is often hard for many to actually define. Some people equate value with the price of something while others do not. We must provide the experiences which guests find valuable in return for that they pay us money, make reservations and hopefully will return again.

6. Product Life Cycle: All products and services go through a life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. If we deal in services, we don't want to end up in decline, but do whatever it takes to continue to grow.

7. Marketing mix: Will be discussed next, but they are the controllable factors which are used to satisfy customer needs.

Marketing Mix

Whole courses are built upon just these principles of the marketing mix but for our purposes, we will just highlight each and you can relate what they might mean to you in the bed and breakfast business. The traditional 4 "P's" of marketing are:

1. Product: What it is that you have to offer or sell or service to provide.

2. Place: Your location, where the product or service will be sold. Considering distribution channels to help you sell. Who else can you work with?

3. Promotion: the different techniques you will use to sell your service. ie: ads,coupons,special events

4. Price: How much will you charge? You must consider what your costs are and if your pricing will cover them. You may not make a living from the income from a small four bedroom B & B, but you certainly don't want to go in the hole.

Now you must also consider the other 4 "P's" of the hospitality industry.

5. People: The hospitality/travel/lodging industry is a people industry.People are the reason why they exist--to satisfy their needs and wants. Your customer( guest) is part of the experienced purchase.

6. Packaging: Being customer oriented. find out what the customer wants and needs and then supply it satisfactorily.

7. Programming: Also is customer oriented. These are the special things you can provide for guest to give extra added appeal to their stay. May also use to induce extra spending. ( Cook books, craft articles, special weekend packages) All of these things can help alter the demand for your product/service.

8. Partnership: Cooperative efforts among other B& B's or other hospitality/tourism organizations. There is a great value in cooperation. Since we are all in the same boat, if we row together, we'll get the customer (guest) where he wants to be. Resulting in a satisfied customer (guest ) and will more likely a return one.

Think of place you've been that you want to keep going back to....why is that? You want your customers ( guests) to come away with those same feelings and thoughts of you as well.

Marketing Plans

Marketing takes a lot of effort. It cannot be done in a hurry because by making assumptions without knowing the real facts can be catastrophic. Plans range from the short term ( easily met ) to the long term. Just as with many other things the old saying " the best laid plans may go astray." Plans are meant to change they cannot stay static. Lets take a look at the basic steps in marketing to get you thinking as you start your planning process or make changes to ones you already have made.

Planning

Here we want to ask: Where are we now? and where would we like to be? If you are to succeed you must be realistic and look at both your strengths and weaknesses. Some of the previous information sheets will help you to do that.

Carrying Out

In this stage we ask ourselves How do we get there? A market plan is key. It will act as our blueprint for action.  You will have to know the answers to these kinds of questions if you are going to seek a loan. These items will also be part of your business plan. Or, you can think of it as your roadmap. If you don't know where you are going any road will get you there! Use the map to make sure you get to the place you want to be.

Controlling

Here we ask How do we make sure we get there? Just because you have a plan doesn't always mean you follow it or that it will succeed. There must be some checks and controls along the way. Allow time and ways to do evaluation of your plans then if a change is needed, you can plan for it and then get on with where you want to be.

Measuring/Evaluating

We spend a lot of time putting our plans together but often fail to plan for any evaluation of it to measure the results we are getting. We learn from both or successes and mistakes. Evaluation/ yours and your guests will help you answer the question, How do we know if we got there? From there, the cycle can begin again until we are satisfied with our planning and the results obtained.


Target Market Analysis

Before you even start planning a bed and breakfast, there a few hard facts you need to really think about and the main one is who out there will really want to stay at your bed and breakfast ? You need to do a target market analysis to see if there is even a demand for your bed and breakfast. Just exactly what is the potential? Many people can kid themselves about the potential, but if you are investing a large amount of capital into starting your bed and breakfast, you'd better be very sure about the potential. More about this when figuring your potential room nights etc.

Honestly, a small four bedroom B & B is not going to generate enough income for you to live off of, unless every room is filled every night!! And then, you'll be in for a case of burnout!!

When identifying the potential target markets, we must also know what it is we can provide for them specifically. Will enough of them buy our service? In doing a target market analysis we need to ask several key questions"
 

1. Who is/are the market/s we want to reach with our product?

2. What are the needs they are trying to satisfy?

3. Where do they live? Where do they buy? Where do they travel?

4. When do they buy?

5. How will they buy the product? Cash, credit etc.

6. How many of them can we attract with our product?

This may take a lot of time and research on your part. Are there others sources of secondary research you can go to ? Where or who would they be? ( Chamber of Commerce?, Local Businesses?, University? other? B & B Associations?)
Situational Analysis

This is more often done on an existing business do determine "where are we now" But a new business can benefit from this just as well. Try to think of it as the SWOT theory--Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

It will help you with your long term planning and in developing marketing plans. Start with the big picture and work your way down. When you know the answers to all of these points, you are better able to "position" yourself within your own "niche." Let's just take a brief look at each item.
 

  • Environment: Usually uncontrollable on your part-- what is the picture right now? legislatively, economically, socially, culturally that will make your operation feasible?
  • Location/Community: Are there any events, business openings/closings, expansion/development etc that could impact positively or negatively on your opening of a B & B?
  • Competitors: Do you have any? What kinds of services do they provide? Can you match or better? How do they promote? Often times, B& B owners don't see it as competition, but as cooperators--but this is not always the case.
  • Market Potential: Is there even a need for another B & B in your town? or one at all?
  • Services: What can you provide that will make you stand out above others? Are you willing to do it?
Once you know these answers, you are in a better position to develop your strategies for marketing.

The Buying Process

Maybe you've never really given much thought to the way you make decisions about buying certain products or services but there is a definite pattern in making these decisions.  You and your guests make all types of decisons--some are routine and require very little thought while others are extensive because they involve a great deal of money. These days guests will usually do a lot of research before choosing a place to stay especially if it is for a pleasure trip and if it will mean a great deal of money.
Of course, this process also depends on the person--how many of you can just take off on a minutes notice for a trip and be perfectly happen whereever you end up staying???? Or are you like me and have to spend months in advance planning out every step of the trip? These are the basic steps:

1) a need exists
2) search for information
3) Evaluate the alternatives that are available
4) Making the actual reservation/purchase/stay
5) Post evaluation.
As the B& B owner, we want to do all we can to help reduce any "perceived risks" the guests may have about a stay with us. Your service will be evaluated based on what the customers perceptions are--not yours!

Market Potential

As you think about who will stay with you in your B & B--these are some questions you will need to ask yourself. YOU must determine what your target market or niche will be. Realize, you will not be able to serve and satisfy everyone's needs. Can you answer these questions discussed above? If not, then you need to do some more planning and research BEFORE you open a Bed & Breakfast.

What is a Bed and Breakfast?
A bed and breakfast, is generally known as a private home where a guest is provided a place to stay for the night. In some cases, the bathroom provided for the guest is shared with the family or another guest. Although now, guests expect a private bathroom. Breakfast is usually included with the price of the room.

A bed & breakfast provided in a private home has been referred to as a "homestay" in the past.

Besides private residences, there are some establishments called Bed & Breakfast Inns. The same concept of room and breakfast apply. However, the major difference is the inn has more rooms available than the usual one to four bedrooms found in a private home. Inns usually provide meals in addition to breakfast, as well as other services not provided in a private home.

These two terms are used in the industry to distinguish the difference between a stay in a private home and an inn. But remember, no two home or inns are alike. They vary within the same geographic area of the county and even more so across the United States. These differences are what attract people to stay at a B & B home or inn and why they have become so popular. Each one has it's own personality.

Generally, a B & B is not the reason for a guest to visit an area, but due to the increase in publicity of B & B's this too has changed. People read articles in a variety of publications and are attracted by the B & B and plan visit the area specifically to stay at the B & B.

In general travelers are attracted by recreational, cultural, historic sights or business in an area. Business travelers, especially women, seek out bed and breakfast accomodations as an alternative to the typical lodge, motel or hotel facility available in an area. B & B's provide the traveler with a different lodging experience as well what many consider a safer environment.

History of  Bed & Breakfasts

The bed and breakfast concept has existed in one form or another since the beginning of man. Monastaries served as a bed and breakfast for travelers.

Bed and breakfasts have been very popular with the traveling public in Europe for years. It was in England, Scotland and Ireland that the term B & B first came into use. Tourists will see a B & B sign in many windows there. The term B & B is not used in many other countries. Terms such as paradors, pensions, gasthaus, minskukus, shukukos, pousados are used to describe a bed and breakfast.

The United States also has a history of bed and breakfast dating back to the time of early settlers. As the pioneers traveled the trails and roads across this county, they sought a safe refuge in homes, inns and taverns.

During the "Great Depression" many people opened their homes to travelers to bring in some additional money for the family. The term "boarding house"  were used at this time. After the depression, this type of lodging declined and many people had the idea they were just for the low income or drifters. In the early fifties, people may remember "tourist home" being used. This too was essentially a form of bed and breakfast. Once the motels were built on the new highways, they were soon forgotten.

Because of the number of Americans traveling to Europe in recent years and rediscovering the B & B's, there has been an increase in interest in the United States.  Today, the B & B is not viewed as a low cost lodging facility but as an alternative to the typical standard chain hotel or motel room.

Who Own a Bed & Breakfast ?

It's almost impossible to describe the typical person who operates a bed and breakfast. They come from all walks of life; from professionals to laborers. Artists, craftsman, farmers, insurance agents, teachers and anyone else you can think of have opened and run successful B & B businesses. Singles, couples and families have also been involved.

Their reasons for opening a bed and breakfast? They are just as varied. Perhaps the children have grown and moved away and there are empty rooms in a large home. Some people just have more rooms than they need. Widowed or divorced people have been involved with B & B's. While they are run for a source of income, most people do not depend on them soley for their livelihood. People retired from other professions such as professionals or farmers who have a primary source of income typically operate a B & B.

All successful B & B's have one thing in common.Owners who like people!

They also like to entertain people in their homes. Many of these owners also have skills they want to use such as cooking in order to please their guests. Others may have historically significant homes they want to share with others.

Anyone seriously thinking about opening a bed and breakfast must like people and be able to deal with all types of people. This is a people business! You must also be willing to sacrifice a big part of your personal life since guests will be living with you.

If you are still interested,before you make your final decision, it is suggested  you do a lot of reading and studying.You should also attend special workshops, which are offered all around the country.

People operating a bed and breakfast should enjoy their guest. It is not uncommon for lasting friendships to form between hosts and guests. These guests are usually frequent repeat visitors and also serve as a major source of referrals for other guests. People who stay at bed and breakfasts aren't the ordinary traveler. They are looking for quality lodging and service as well as the uniqueness of each host. They are not looking for a bargain. In fact, they are usually quite willing to pay more for something different and out of the ordinary.

As you plan for the start-up of your bed and breakfast, there are some decisions you will need to make in order for the experience to be both profitable for you and enjoyable for your guests. Do not take these decisions lightly. Taking care of these items before a situation occurs can save you money,worry and grief in the long run.

House Rules

House rules are the rules you want your guests to follow. You will want to establish these ground rules before receiving your first guests. Guests will need to be made aware of your decisions before staying at your bed and breakfast in order to avoid possible conflicts.

1. Will smoking be permitted? You may want to keep smoking limited to certain areas in or around your home or simply say "no smoking is permitted."

2. Will you allow social drinking? Some people enjoy a cocktail before dinner and may bring a bottle with them. Some hosts offer wine or other liquor to their guests. You may not sell alcoholic drinks in your bed and breakfast. This would require a special liquor license. You must also consider the fact that if by chance an accident did occur and the guest says your served him the liquor, you can be held liable. Check on your state's dram laws.If you prefer that no alcoholic drinks be consumed in your home, say so to your guests.

3. Will you accept children? Will you only allow certain ages? More bed and breakfasts are accepting children, but that decision is up to you. You may enjoy children, but will your other guests. Who will your guests be? Will you target groups that want to be around children or not? Make sure that this rule is made clear to potential guests in your brochure and advertising.

4. How do you feel about guests bringing other people into your home? May guests take others to their room? Is there a public area that can be used? You may want to set a specific time after which only guests may be in your home.

5. Will you allow guests to bring their pets? Do you have pets of your own? Be sure to inform all concerned parties about your policy. Non-pet owners may object, or you may have a guest who is highly allergic to certain animals. If you do allow animals, where will they stay? Inside? Outside? Restricted areas of the house? Remember, if you have a dog that protects your home by nipping at strangers, it could mean a lawsuit someday.

6. Will you permit guests to use your phone? Perhaps you will allow only local calls. You may suggest that all long distance calls be done with a phone calling card or charge an extra fee for any long distance calls. Will you provide a phone in each guest room? This may be an asset if you are trying to attract business travelers. Let your guests know the policy in advance to avoid problems.

7. Will you allow guests to use your kitchen or laundry facilities? Do you want strangers roaming around in your kitchen or laundry when you are not there? Will you allow limited access when it is convenient for other family members? Do you want others cooking on the premises? Perhaps you can provide a separate small refrigerator or ice maker in a public area where guests may store items and be able to help themselves to ice and beverages at their convenience.

It is important to make your rules and expectations very clear to your guests. This can be done verbally when booking a guest or upon their arrival. The use of written "house rules" posted tastefully in each guest room in another method some hosts use. Any limitations set should be used on all publicity and advertising materials.


Guest Rooms / Beds

Try to look at your home objectively. Are your furnishings in good condition? What type of beds do your rooms have? Twin, double, queen, king, waterbed etc.? Is there enough closet space? Before you open your home to guests, try spending a night in each room as if your were a guest. As a homeowner, one often becomes immune to the street noises or a bright security light in the back yard. Perhaps the hourly chimes of your grandfather clock in the hallway will keep some guests awake at night.

Find out if the beds sag? It may be time to purchase a new mattress and box springs. Are pillows in good condition? What type of pillows are there? Some guests are very allergic to down ones. Is there adequate light in the bedroom both for dressing and reading? Is the floor cold when one gets out of the bed? Do you need to get out the oil can for some of the squeaky doors? You get the idea. All of these things can mean the difference between a satisfied and dissatisfied guest.

 


Sharing a Bath

The definite trend in more and more bed and breakfast homes is to provide a private bath with each room. Guest now expect them. You may not be able to provide a private bath for each room. In many cases a guest will not object to this providing you have made adequate arrangements for sharing of a bathroom. But, how will you and your family feel about sharing a bathroom with strangers? You will be losing some privacy in your own home and may even have to wait in line at some time.

Are you willing to do this? When a bath is shared, you must be concerned about keeping clean and presentable for guests. How will you make it easier for everyone to cooperate in keeping the bathroom clean for the next person?

Special care must be taken to assure that bathrooms are scrupulously clean before, during and after a guest's stay. A small basket of cleaning supplies in a convenient location may help others realize that they need to keep the bathroom in good condition for others. A "clever" sign can be hung in the bathroom as a reminder to the slow pokes. Make sure that any reading material is kept in other rooms.

 


Security and Keys

How will you deal with security in your bed and breakfast? Some hosts will give guests a key at no cost. Others will charge a "key fee" of $5 or $10 which is refunded when the guest returns the key.

For your own security, you may give the guest a key for their room and a regular front door lock and not to the dead bolt security lock. Other hosts give guests a key to their room and then set specific hours that the front door is kept locked.

A bed and breakfast traditionally provides a comfortable night's lodging and a good breakfast in a private home. Guests choose this type of accommodations because they enjoy the personal contact that a bed and breakfast host gives to their guests. Hosting a bed and breakfast often brings many new friendships and guest who will return again and again. However, before you start your business, take a long hard look at yourself and your lifestyle. It may seem like a glamorous and interesting opportunity, but it is also one which will require many long hours and lots of hard work.

Many people dream of owning a bed and breakfast. However, it takes more than just a desire to run your own business. Many skills are needed to run a successful bed and breakfast. Do you have what it takes? Before spending a lot of time and money, use this personal assessment survey to determine if you and your partner, if you have one, really have the skills needed. Answer each question honestly by placing a check mark in the box. Complete the survey for yourself and also complete one on your partner. Have your partner do the same. Compare your answers. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Did you find any of your answers surprising? Consider ways to compensate for your weaknesses. You should now be better prepared to make some realistic decisions about starting a bed and breakfast.

A well thought out thorough plan will assure an enjoyable and hopefully profitable bed and breakfast business. Since everyone in the family will have to live with the decisions, everyone should be involved in making them. The planning process should be done carefully and should take a lot of searching and study. Be realistic in what you have to offer potential guests. What do potential guests want? How can you bring your wants and their wants together?

B & B Plan Outline

Planning is a process to help you and your family consider and reconsider a variety of ideas. Think about each of the following points thoroughly as they apply to your situation. You should first prove to yourself that your ideas for a bed and breakfast will be a worthwhile venture for you and your family. Some of the elements of the plan will also be useful if you need to borrow money for the business in the future.

What are Your Resources?

1. Your bed and breakfast home and grounds; its character, period and/or style, location, facilities and activities on the premises and within the community seasonal or year round.

2. The amount of free time you have available to manage and operate a bed and breakfast. Is it adequate?

3. Family members, bed and breakfast related skills, dispositions, and interests.

4. Available capital for bed and breakfast start up and on-going costs.

Setting Your Goals:

1. What are your reasons for considering a bed and breakfast operation? Are they just financial needs?

2. What is your desired income over a "pre-determined" number of years (net profit).

3.Do your bed and breakfast goals mesh with family goals, long and short term?

4. Modifying and prioritizing goals after making first decisions

Bed & Breakfast Requirements Study:

1. Check out what is needed in the way of licenses and permits: zoning, building and housing codes, health regulations, vendor's license, within your location.

2. Can you obtain and what is the cost to you for liability and other insurance: hazards to eliminate, liability insurance for a public place?

3. What are the tax requirements: local, state, federal, sales you will need to meet?

4. What sort of  business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation if any, will work best for you?

Market Analysis:

1. Socio-economic characteristics of your targeted guests. Consider what you prefer and/or you will most likely attract.

2. Number and location of potential clientele.

3. Distances and routes to specific targeted areas close to your bed and breakfast.

4. Anticipated growth in socio-economic status.

5. Trends in bed and breakfast preferences.

 

Competition/Comparisons:

1. Quantity and quality of similar B & B's and attractions in your location.

2. Profitability of competitors' bed and breakfast and trends.

3. Competitors' locations to target guests.

 

Management System:

1. Type of records for tax purposes

2. Start up and maintenance costs (facilities, equipment, supplies and services).

3. Pricing bed and breakfast facilities and services.

4. Inventory and depreciation record keeping.

5. Bed & Breakfast Standard Operating Procedures ( with family members assignments).

 

Marketing Strategy to Targeted Guests:

1. Image building: logo,stationary, signs etc.

2. Sales strategy: uniqueness, quality, price, location, etc.

3. Promotion strategy: type of advertising and media; agencies and organizations.

Action Plan:

1. Prioritized bed and breakfast goals (most desired results within six months to one year)

2. Tasks to accomplish goals. Set deadlines.

3. Needed resources: money, time, labor, etc.

4. Large action calendar (with task start dates and completion deadlines.)

Evaluate your progress periodically and update your plan. No plan is static. Things will happen that will cause you to make changes in your plans. Call on professionals for assistance; an attorney, accountant, insurance agent, a bed and breakfast organization director,  and others you may know.

Resources Available:

1. Check out other books on the subject from your state government.

2. Talk to local chamber of commerce, visitors bureau, etc.

3. Contact Small Business Association in your location for assistance

Although it is possible to start a bed and breakfast without a big capital investment, there are some important start-up costs one must consider. A major factor is whether or not you already own a building suitable for a bed and breakfast. The projections here assume that a building is completely paid for. Otherwise, you will need to include a house payment in these projections.
People have many reasons for wanting to start a home based business--the need for additional income, a way of making a hobby produce some income, the desire to stay at home with children, the need to be with the family more, or just plain tired of an hour long commute twice a day.Whatever the reason, the facts remain. Home based businesses are growing and are expected to maintain continued growth in the future.

The bed and breakfast industry has also grown significantly and many believe there is still room for more growth. Bed and breakfast operations seem to have found their niche in the hospitality industry.

If you are one of those people considering the idea of opening your own bed and breakfast, the first people you will want to discuss it with is your family. Some people may consider this the ideal way of having the best of both worlds--family and work--but think again. If your family members aren't willing to give up or share some of their space with potential guests--you have a problem.

Working in a home based business becomes a delicate balancing act between work and family. The pressures of business could get the best of you and cause some conflicts in the family. You must put a lot of thought into how your family and the business can function together. Consider these points and discuss as a family before reaching your final decision.

1. Time Schedules

As a business, bed and breakfasts are dependent on their guests' schedule and families must manage around them.

  • How will this type of scheduling affect you and your family?
  • Do you have young children that need your care and attention?
  • Do you and family members have commitments or obligations which will interfere or conflict with guests' needs?

2. Period of Operation

Some businesses can pick and choose their hours of operation. Bed and breakfasts have some flexibility in this area, but if you want to build up your business, you have to be open. Can you schedule some time off in order to be with the family? Will it hurt the business? Will it coincide with the time they have available?


3. Amount of Energy Required

Will you be able to handle the tasks required by both your business and family? In a bed and breakfast, you will need to get up early, probably go to bed late and in the beginning, do all of the housework, prepare meals, as well as manage the business. Do you have the energy level needed? Are others will and able to help?


4. Use of Space

Your home will be your place of business. Are family members willing to give up some of their space for guests? Have family members take some time to fill out the worksheet below and then discuss it with them.


5. Friends and Neighbors

How will your business affect your neighborhood? Will neighbors accept and support a bed and breakfast? Zoning is another concern for some bed and breakfast locations.

Bed and Breakfast Family Use of Space Worksheet

Use this worksheet to find how each family member feels about sharing rooms in your home with guests.
In the left column, list each area and room of your home. Across the top list each family member. Using the codes listed below, have each family member indicate how comfortable they are with guest's use of these rooms.

After everyone has finished, determine what space appears acceptable and on what kind of schedule. Now it's time to talk! Does everyone agree? Are there ways you might be able to negotiate a compromise? If not, you may need to rethink your plans for opening a bed and breakfast in your home. 

Running a bed and breakfast takes a lot of work. It may sound like a glamorous business, but it will mean some long hard hours for the hosts. One person cannot do it alone. You will need help. If family members are present, can you persuade them to pitch in? Unless you are independently wealthy, you probably will not be able to hire outside help when you begin your business.
Many people say the financial benefits are one of the reaons they want to open a bed and breakfast in their home.

It is probably not realistic to expect to earn your entire living from the operation of a small (4 rooms) bed and breakfast. However, if you are looking for a way to supplement a retirement income, or just add to your present income; a bed and breakfast in your home can provide you with a number of other financial benefits.

The Internal Revenue Service allows bed and breakfast operators to deduct some costs of maintaining the portion of your home which is used exclusively and regularly for the business. Business expenses may also be deducted as a percentage of the house you use directly for the bed and breakfast business. Since IRS rules are always changing it is best to seek out professional advice on tax matters.

Ask any innkeeper or hotel manager and they will tell you, the chances of being booked every night of the year are pretty slim. The same will be true of your bed and breakfast no matter where you are located or what you do.

So, what would be a success for your bed and breakfast? Many people would think that filling rooms 100 nights out of the year would be good, while for others it would be a disaster. According to a survey of bed and breakfast operations, the average number of room nights booked is 362. And, that is after several years of operation. If you figure that number at the average rate of $60 a night, that is an income of almost $20,000. Again, before any of your expenses are paid.

Realistically, you should not expect too much from your first year of business unless you are located in a very popular tourist area, or in an area of high demand with little accomodations available. This is not a "get-rich-quick" scheme. If you want to make more money in the hospitality business, running a full-service inn would be another alternative.

It takes much hard work and effort to run a bed and breakfast. Think of it as a way to supplement your income and the chance to meet many new and interesting people. That way, you won't be disappointed.


Determining Your Rates

How much will you charge for a room at your bed and breakfast? There are no set rules for determining the rate. There are some general suggestions you might want to follow. It does surprise many people today to find out  many bed and breakfasts are not necessarily cheaper than a hotel or motel. This used to be the case several years ago, but no longer. Guests who stay at a bed and breakfast are looking for something special and are usually willing to pay for it. Remember, you don't want to charge too much or too little.

The rate should be a function of your indirect and direct costs plus an amount for your profit. A little bit or research is in order to see what others are charging their guests. Also consider these points in trying to determine your rates:

  • The type of room available.
  • The type and size of bed in the room.
  • If there is a private or shared bath
  • Special services or amenities provided
  • The average rate charged by local hotels.
The more you have to offer a guest, the more you should be able to charge. Don't charge so much that you keep guests away, but don't charge so little that you are literally giving away your time. Afterall, you are running a business. If you need t

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