You may be planning on giving up your existing career, moving to a picturesque location and starting your B&B. If this is the case you’ll have a choice when it comes to location. You can research the tourism trade in that industry and find out what leisure and business travel demand is like. However, it may be the case that you simply want to rent out a few rooms in your existing home. Even so, it’s still just as important to consider all the factors mentioned above. Except instead of helping you decide where to locate your B&B, this research will tell you if there is even a demand for such a service where your home is. If there isn’t, you have to face facts, you’ll either need to move somewhere where this type of business is sustainable, or give up the dream.
“Just because you fall in love with a location it doesn’t mean there’s demand there,” warns David Weston of the Bed and Breakfast Association. “If it’s extremely rural or remote you need to be careful. If you go somewhere with lots of B&Bs like Bath or Bournemouth, you could argue there’s tonnes of competition, but that also means there’s huge demand. It’s about getting the balance right.”
Weston says it’s also important to evaluate what kind of amenities are within range and warns against locating your B&B somewhere that doesn’t have a few places to eat within walking distance as not everyone wants to drive.
Don’t automatically rule out an area just because it’s not popular with tourists however. Christine Williams, who runs the Drifters Lodge, says that although her B&B isn’t located in a tourist hotspot, she gets a lot of business during the week from people on business trips, and at the weekends from people visiting nearby family.
Talk to other B&B owners in the area and find out what kind of occupancy levels they have. If others in the area are struggling, warning bells should be going off in your head.
The type of B&B you start should also fit the location. You need to think long and hard from the outset about whether you want your offering to be a luxury retreat, with high quality décor, facilities and design, or a more basic value proposition. Bear in mind that business travellers will have different requirements, almost certainly demanding internet access and often in need of a desk or quiet place to work within the residence.
Consider too the size of the property you’ll need. Think about this when deciding how much income you need to generate from the number of rooms you let out, but you also have to remember your own space.
Weston advises keeping a living area or lounge that’s just for you and separate form the one the guests use. “People often overlook the fact that other people will be in their home. You need to consider if this is something you’ll be happy with.”