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Bed and Breakfast: 2 Location, Location, Location

Updated on April 18, 2013

Big Tip: When thinking about starting a Bed and Breakfast

Before we get into the location side of things here's another little question for you; well something for you to think about rather than a question.
While serving breakfast one morning a guest said to me, in a dream like state.
“I'd love to do bed and breakfast”
I asked her;
“Do you mean as a business or just playing at it”.
A little harsh you may think; or a reality check.

Check out the links to see if you want to play at it or create a real business that will at least pay your monthly mortgage payments.

If you hope to provide accommodation in the property you already own, all well and good, that's your location. If your buying a property to turn into a guest house or buying an existing one you need to get the location right.

Locations fall into a number of categories:

  • A place by the sea with a few rooms to pay the bills and soak up the sun and fresh air. Definitely a goal!
  • An historic town.
  • A resort or lake, a destination location.

  • The back of beyond offering peace and tranquillity.

  • In a city.

  • A City Suburb

You could probable add a few more to the list but this are the main ones.

Before I go any further I must make a confession, our goal is the first option but lets be realistic were talking retirement mode and I'm not any wear near that yet.

From a business point of view, were would you open your Bed and Breakfast?

Give each location a mark out of 10; be honest with your self, its from a business point of view, not sat in a deck chair doing nothing all day, good idea but you need to make some money to get to that point.

1) Which of the above has the best location?

2) Which is not governed buy seasonal fluctuations?

3) Which is not governed buy just one market?

4) Which has the least competition for the volume of people?

5) Which would have the largest amount of traffic all year round?

Ok let's see where to open your B & B.

Classic White Bedding with a Few Coloured Scatter Cushions

Is This the Place
Is This the Place | Source

A place by the sea.

It will have great transport links, but very seasonal, most seaside's are deserted in winter, unless you have a winter attraction. You'll also come up against the largest amount of competition, all seaside resorts are bursting with competition and that competition will govan your prices.
Still if you're a good host and you run a clean well maintained establishment, guests will stay for a week maybe two and in some cases keep coming back year after year.

An Historic Town.

Full of tourist, full of competition, can be governed by seasonal fluctuations but not as bad as the first option.
Buying a peace of property in a Historic town or city can be quite costly, you can come up against listed property constrains and over the top building and planning regulations that will cost money. Transport links are usually very good and the infrastructure for getting around in most historic locations is usually over seen by a keen council that love independent bed and breakfast establishments that entice tourists into the area.
Both historic cities and towns will always attract visitors and business can last all the year round.

As in most of these cities and towns to meet the tourist demand there are usually two or three large international hotels on the outskirts who drive up the prices in the city in the week for the business man and are quite cut throat at the weekend when the businessman gone home and the bulk of the tourists arrive, that's when the fight's on to attract custom which is when the independents can suffer.

A resort or lake, a destination location.

Can be a stunning place to live; but again can be very seasonal, will suffer in bad weather. However the competition can be sparse but one outweighs the other.

I bet I know where the loo is
I bet I know where the loo is | Source

Back and beyond

If the property is in the middle of the country you may fine the seasonal difference in trade alarming. If you live in the middle of the country next two a rare bird sanctuary or a great fishing spot it's a different ball game. You may have to drop your prices in low season. There needs to be a compelling reason for staying in this type of location.
You'll have to provide dinner here and make sure you don't have to go to the corner shop for milk, there's no corners. Consequently you may need one room just for storing stock
You'll find it difficult getting staff.
Passing trade, where! Some people think this is an ideal location, no one within 30 miles, no shops, pubs, just scenery; their called Monks.
As my mother-in-law said when asked would she like to go back to Ireland (Glengad, Donegal, rocks in misted.)
"You can't eat scenery" Was the reply.

In a city

It will be a year round operation but buying a property will be expensive. You'll be up against the big boys who are cut throat at the weekend to fill their rooms. Business rates will be high so you may have to charge a higher prices. The main problem will be the cost of the property which again will drive up your price to service your loan, make sure your business plan is as good as it gets. If your starting from scratch watch your cash flow you may have to charge a price that will price you out of the market.


A City Suburb

Just out side the city, in a nice area with good road and rail links into the city, football grounds, county cricket grounds, local metro station.
Every city has these areas, with property that's not over priced or needs some T.L.C, all the better, you will want to put your own mark on the place anyway.
Locating close to a metro system is an added bonus and believe it or not the least amount of competition in the suburbs, and you can even park in the street.
You'll be open all the year round to every market business and social with people trying to land the mother-in-law on you at Christmas.

"O please let her stay; you don't have to feed her"

Was a plea I received when I told an inquiry we were closed over Christmas.

All the amenities you can ask for Cinemas, theatres, and night life, just hop on the metro ten minutes from the city. Your guests, will consists of business men, workmen, people attending course, Visitors, Sports fans, Theatre goer's and people on holiday.

There's something to be said for every location and really at the end of the day it's down to individual selection. A well decorated clean establishment will always do well.
However if your not just playing look at the city suburb option.


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