Putting up a bed and breakfast is the ideal business for those who want to venture into the hospitality industry, but wanting to keep it on a small scale. Also known as a B & B, this business has been around for generations to provide visitors with comfortable lodging, memorable meal, and different experience than staying at a chain hotel.
Like all other businesses, you need to have a business plan when it comes to starting your own bed and breakfast. This shouldn’t be written just for formality. This document will serve as a roadmap giving you a clear direction where your business is heading. It is also a helpful plan when you’re looking for investors for your bed and breakfast. Though there are successful businesses that got started without writing a business plan, it’s better to err on the safe side and improve your chances of profitability by going through this process.
So how do you make a bed and breakfast business plan? This guide will help you in getting started as well as provide you with a downloadable bed and breakfast business plan template and a sample PDF of what a finished plan looks like. You can navigate to each section of the business plan below:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Mission statement
- Market analysis
- Management structure
- Product line and services
- Sales and marketing
- Financial plan
- Download templates
All business plans start with an executive summary. This is a brief description of what your bed and breakfast is all about so that when one reads it, they’ll be able to get a gist of the whole business. Different sections such as an introduction, a company description, the services you offer, and your target customers are all placed here.
Do note that every section doesn’t have to be lengthy. Just a paragraph per section should suffice provided that it gives one enough information to know what your B & B is.
It is best to start your B & B business plan with a simple introduction. Include the place where your business is located and the amenities you provide. You may also include other important details that set your B & B apart from others. Will it be a themed bed and breakfast? How many rooms will it include? Remember to keep this section brief. You’ll be providing the details in the later part of your business plan.
Here’s a sample of a brief introduction:
Happy Mornings is a 6-bedroom bed and breakfast located at Saint Augustine, Florida overlooking Matanzas Bay. The house is a modern-style home with simple basic amenities including Wi-Fi and cable. We provide comfortable and clean beds along with a variety of delicious breakfast choices. Happy Mornings is also located near tourist spots in St. Augustine that is convenient for travelers.
Keep it short and easy to understand but as you can see, you’ve already given away what your business is all about without providing too much for now.
Now that you’ve gone past the introductions, you can put in more details regarding the bed and breakfast’s background. For instance, you can include who runs Happy Mornings and the job description they hold. Most bed and breakfast businesses are run by couples who live on the premises while some are run by a single owner. Don’t forget to state the roles of the owners briefly for the reader to discern what the operations look like.
Bed and breakfast businesses are expected to cater to two things which are simply comfortable rooms and breakfast. But through the years, B & Bs have also provided other services to their guests which include basic tour packages and massage packages. Your B & B doesn’t necessarily have to provide this in-house. You can just partner up with a travel agency and a spa to offer special rates for the guests who booked a stay with you.
If your bed and breakfast has a large garden out back, you can also provide the space up for rentals such as for wedding receptions and birthdays.
Mention all the services you plan to provide but keep this section brief as well. You’ll have the chance to explain all this in detail in the Product Line and Services section provided for it in the business plan.
Did you know that not all bed and breakfast establishments are for everyone? B & Bs mostly cater to honeymooners, couples, and solo travelers. A detailed demographic can be provided at the Market Analysis portion of your business plan but briefly stating your target market in a bullet form list should give the reader an idea of how intimate and cozy you’d like your bed and breakfast to be.
For instance, we stated that Happy Mornings is located in Florida. Though this state is known for its theme parks, the bed and breakfast is specifically located in St. Augustine which is well-known for its historical sites and old town sceneries ideal for couples rather than big families with kids of young ages.
Mission statements work as a vision for your business. Think of it as the core foundation of your bed and breakfast. This helps steer you in the right direction when it comes to making work decisions for your inn.
Let your mission statement answer the following questions:
- What does your bed and breakfast aim to provide?
- Will your business cater to more than just the usual breakfast meals?
- What does your bed and breakfast have that will stand out among the rest?
By having a mission statement on the ready, not only will you as the owner be able to know what your business is aiming for but will also allow your future investors and even your staffs know the standards you are upholding.
You may now get a little deeper in describing what your bed and breakfast is all about in this section of your business plan. If there were details you wanted to write down in your Executive Summary but couldn’t expound further, now is the chance.
Let us take Happy Mornings, for example. We have mentioned earlier that Happy Mornings is overlooking Matanzas Bay so this inn would have a beautiful view of a pier with boats docked along the front. Here you can describe why your bed and breakfast is different than the others because of the view, the fresh breeze, and the easy access to boat rentals. Have fun with this section as much as possible by bringing everything your bed and breakfast has to offer.
Here are additional points you can cover in this section:
- What kind of breakfast will you be serving?
- Will you be offering a social night hour for your guests every weekend?
- Do all rooms have en suite bathrooms? Does your inn have showers or bathtubs?
- What are the rates of your rooms?
The Market Analysis section of a business plan may get into the technicalities of your bed and breakfast but this is for a good purpose. Here, you’ll be able to tackle your target market, analyze the bed and breakfast industry in your area, and check out the competition. This will all help you plan out better for your business, see the weak spots early on, and what other things you can do to improve.
We mentioned your customer focus briefly back in our Executive Summary. This time, you can write it down here in detail.
According to this article, there are four types of guests that book their stays with B & Bs:
- Leisure Travelers – These may be couples on their honeymoon or people from out of state who wish to take a short break.
- Business Travelers – These are people who are in the area for a meeting or to attend a conference.
- Solo Travelers – Backpackers commonly search for bed and breakfast inns because of how convenient and affordable it is.
- Group Travelers – These include families that are on vacation or visiting to attend a reunion.
Remember to take into consideration the concept of your bed and breakfast. If you’re into giving a more intimate feel for your inn, then it’s best to mainly focus on leisure travelers, business travelers, and solo travelers.
Before putting up your business, you must study the trend for bed and breakfasts and hostel accommodations in your area. Is there a growth in the industry over recent years? If so, where is this growth coming from? This could also help with your target market so you’ll know the age group you should be focusing on when you’re marketing your business.
Let’s be real here. Bed and breakfasts have been around for so long that the competition has been tough. Aside from hotels, Airbnb is one of your main competitors. Not only are they the next affordable thing to the usual bed and breakfasts but their reach is quite large due to their brand name.
But that doesn’t mean the classic bed and breakfasts are going downhill. If studied, managed, and marketed well, your business will also be a success. For instance, Airbnbs focus on renting out their spaces wherein the hosts don’t even meet the guests, while bed and breakfasts allow hosts to interact with the guests and can even arrange for social night hours so guests can mingle with one another.
Writing down a clear and detailed Management Structure helps in running your bed and breakfast smoothly. This section will include who is running the business and the employees you plan to have. Include the stakeholders as well and everyone else who has roles in running your bed and breakfast even though the tasks that are required of them is not done daily.
This section is important because it defines the duties each person will be performing. This eliminates misunderstandings and hard feelings in the future. This will also serve as a job description guide when you’re hiring for employees.
You can divide this section into two subcategories:
- Management Team – Owners and their roles such as who is in charge of hiring and training the staff, who is doing the purchasing for supplies, who is in charge of marketing, legal duties, bookkeeping, and other administrative roles.
- Hiring Plan – The employees you plan to hire such as housekeeping, chef, and maintenance.
Product line and services
We mentioned earlier that a bed and breakfast is expected to cater to accommodations and breakfast meals. In this section, indicate specifically the rooms you are offering up. How many square meters is the space? How many rooms will have single beds, double beds, or queen-sized beds? Are the bathrooms shared? How much is the room per night on regular, off, and peak seasons? Present this in a tabular form so it’s easier to read and go through the data.
You also need to include the type of breakfast you’re serving. Will it be buffet style or will you provide a set menu? What are the options, continental or American breakfast? Will you be serving snacks in the afternoons and cocktails at night? Be as specific as possible because chances are your guests are going to want to know all of these before choosing your B & B. You’ll also need these details for marketing.
Remember to also indicate in detail what you’re offering up other than accommodations and food. Can you recall the tour package and massage package we mentioned? You can include that and many others you have planned for your business.
Sales and marketing
How can you get your bed and breakfast out there for everyone to see? When it comes to bed and breakfasts, getting your business a website first usually helps. This is where guests can come to check out all the details they need to know. Be sure to include directions on how to get to your location, photos of every room along with its amenities, the services you offer, a booking and reservation page, and contact details for when the guests would like to ask for more information.
It’s also best if you apply your bed and breakfast for a listing on online lodging reservation sites like Airbnb. These sites are where travelers usually go to first since it’s easier to compare prices and locations. But take note that this means you’ll also be competing with several other bed and breakfast places. This is why your concept, location, and room rates are of utmost importance.
You’ll also have to keep up with the times and start marketing your business on all social media platforms but also remember that even ads on newspapers and radio stations still get much coverage so include them in your marketing plans as well.
This is the part of the business plan that’s going to include a lot of numbers that are going to hit you in the gut. But don’t worry because this section is what you need in order to push through with your business. Knowing your financial plan will make things easier for you during the beginning stage of putting up your bed and breakfast and will also be helpful for you to compute costs and expenses in the long run.
In this section, discuss how you’re going to acquire the funds to start your business. There is a lot of work to be done when it comes to running a bed and breakfast. For instance, will you be renovating your old home or will you be buying an old house and fix it up? Having fewer rooms will get you to spend less in renovating them but there’s also following the local laws that require you to update some fixtures.
An article from Entrepreneur states that the estimated renovation costs for a guest room in a large property can reach $35,000 to $50,000 while rooms in smaller properties range from $20,000 to $40,000. So where are you going to get all that capital?
Loaning from the bank is one option. So be sure to list down everything you could be spending on. That includes fixing the lights, renovating floorboards, and the roof for any leaks. Include the new mattresses and bed frames you’re going to purchase and the silverware and plates for your dining area. Remember, the bank will want to see your financial plan before they approve you for a loan.
Other options for funding may come from retirement savings and investments from your partners.
It is extremely helpful to have a financial forecast for your business. Analyze your break-even point for your bed and breakfast to know your monthly target so you’re aware if your business is getting enough profit or is suffering from any loss.
This part of the business plan is simply to put down the timeline of how your bed and breakfast is going to come about. Here’s an example:
|[Insert Date Here]||Wrap up all requirements to finalize the processing of land rights.|
|[Insert Date Here]||Construction and designing of bed and breakfast.|
|[Insert Date Here]||Hiring of staff and training them.|
|[Insert Date Here]||Start operations for bed and breakfast.|
|[Insert Date Here]||Reach break-even.|
This doesn’t have to be very complex. This timeline of your operational plan will keep you moving to reach your goals which are to eventually reach break-even.
This is the place to put all your documentation such as legal documents, permits, payroll plans, logo designs and photos of your bed and breakfast.
- Bed and breakfasts require the use of social and managerial skills so keep in mind that if you’re the owner and if you plan on getting hands on with this kind of business, then you must be a people person since you’ll be managing your staff and dealing with your guests a lot whether that may be their concerns or just checking up on their comfort.
- Getting a lot of details down matter. Don’t skip out on any of the possible expenses. It’s better to overestimate your expenses than be too far under and have to come up with cash unexpectedly.
Remember that business plans are a way to help you forecast how your bed and breakfast is going to look like. It’s going to tell you whether or not you can push through with the business and how much you’ll be able to profit from it.
Download the templates
Some people feel a little disheartened when they find out that after doing a business plan, they’ll see some failing results. But what they don’t realize is that the business plan already saved them from investing in something that wasn’t going to work in the first place or give them a chance to spot some variables that they need to work on.
So are you ready to write your business plan? Download our bed and breakfast business plan template and this sample PDF to get started.