Thinking About Starting a Guest House Business?
Much like bed and breakfasts, guest houses are a type of accommodation that is often in a private residence. Many provide breakfast and amenities such as tea and coffee, making them semi-catered. Unlike fully catered accommodation such as hotels, and completely self-catered accommodation such as villas, apartments and aparthotels, guest houses provide a bit of home comfort, while still offering some degree of privacy. Many property owners who think about starting a guest house business have adequate space on their property – often a separate, self-contained suite or cottage that is away from the main house but still accessible.
You live in South Africa. You are trying to improve your life and the lives of your family. Owning and running your own guest house would be a way to work towards a better life and would also empower you to be free of having to do a low-paying job for someone else. You could learn and grow your life while building something that you could be proud of. And you know you would really love to host wonderful guests from South Africa and from around the world!
These are two scenarios taken from years of visiting guest houses around the world, helping owners, speaking with guests, and through this web site, communicating with over 100 different people interested in running a guest house, or already doing so. This web resource is the result of my research. As a marketing professor for 25 years, I was fascinated by how successful hospitality businesses market themselves. I wrote and published case studies of some interesting ones. And rather than leaving my findings on how to run a successful guest house gathering dust, I am sharing them here in the hope that it will help others interested in starting their own guest house or those wanting to do so in a more profitable manner. Can you add your own thoughts and wisdom?
Is owning a bed and breakfast accommodation right for you?
Firstly, you might want to think about if it’s actually something you want to commit to. It’s a huge undertaking that will require your devoted attention day in and day out. Many people may find the concept outweighs the practice.
So you can look before you leap you should be able to answer these questions (among others) affirmatively:
- Are you good at dealing with pressure?
- Do you love people and enjoy being around them on a daily basis?
- Do you enjoy what are considered mundane tasks, such as cooking and cleaning?
- Are you an expert on your destination?
- Do you like the idea of being self-employed?
- Do you have a strong support base around you?
- Can you learn from your mistakes?
- Are you a multitasker?
- Do you enjoy routine?
- Are you willing to try new strategies and technologies to achieve success?
It’s extremely important you know what to expect from the job. This is not simply so you know if you’re a good fit, but so that you can do the job well and give yourself the best chance at success. It’s incredibly difficult endeavour to undertake alone or with a partner.
Another consideration is why you are opening a bed and breakfast. Are you embarking on this journey because the lifestyle appeals to you and you love customer service, or because you see it simply as an opportunity to make money? Loving what you do is generally the recipe needed for favourable results. What you define as success is up to you. Maybe as long as you are receiving strong reviews and keeping your head above water you’re happy, or perhaps you want to be an award winning property.