Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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Getting Started With a Bed & Breakfast

How to start a B&B

When starting a bed and breakfast, there are many things you have to consider. Though it’s an exciting and profitable business, it constantly needs care and must operate as a traditional business. To help reduce the chance of headaches you may have when beginning this exciting venture, we’ve compiled our best tips for getting started on the right foot.

Seven Helpful Tips for Starting an Inn Business:

1. Safety Comes First

Certain properties can be subject to inspection. The inspection of your property’s interior and exterior is designed to evaluate how safe your inn is and identify potential areas of concern. You may be required to address certain safety risks immediately. Get a head start with these safety enhancements.

Bed and breakfast owners who install and maintain walkways, porch railings, handrails, working smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety features have demonstrated their commitment to reducing risks to their guests.

2. Have Your Bed & Breakfast Tell a Story

Is your property known for its beautiful garden or extensive antique collection? Did you purchase the property because of the charm, or has it been passed down for generations? Define your niche and play into the idea of what your travelers expect when staying at your inn.

Make sure guests feel at home the instant they walk through the door of the property. Taking time to anticipate their needs and having small extra touches will go a long way. Guests will feel cared for and relaxed thanks to your thoughtfulness, making them more likely to leave a positive review and return in the future.

3. Good Security Is Worth the Investment

Security should be a top priority when operating a bed and breakfast. Not only is it important for your guests to feel safe, but it’s also a vital factor when it comes to protecting your business. Smart technology makes it easier to have strong security on the property at all times. A great way to save time, money, and the worry of your guests losing a key or even making a duplicate is using a smart lock. If your guests appear later in the evening and have lost their key, having smart locks installed makes things so much easier.

4. Create Your Rates

Setting your rates is one of the most difficult and crucial pieces of your business plan. Spend plenty of time researching to ensure your property is priced correctly for the location, amenities, and services you include. Your rates should be competitive amongst the other listings, and they should cover your expenses.

5. Make Your Inn Stand Out From the Crowd

Images of your bed and breakfast should be compelling, inviting, and supportive of your well-crafted description. This in turn invites your guests’ eyes to explore your property before they even set foot in the door. Consider your property’s photos a visual tourism pamphlet highlighting its best features. 

Practice full-disclosure marketing when constructing your property listing; be straightforward and transparent. Remember, building trust is the key to turning a traveler into a confirmed, booked guest. Keep in mind if you are not straightforward in your listing, your guests will comment on it. Having an up-to-date description can also help protect you in the event a claim is made. 

6. Paperwork Is Needed

When you are operating an inn, it has to be run like a business. Contracts, booking forms, waivers, payment procedure documents, and detailed notes are all needed to keep your business moving in the right direction. You’ll also need to address these important issues before you can get started:

  • How will you handle repairs and updates at the property?
  • Will you hire a cleaning crew, do it yourself, or will your employees be in charge?
  • Do you have a financial plan and a contingency plan?


7. Be Protected with the Correct Coverage to Mitigate Potential Risks

With any major investment in life, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Once you list your property on a website, you become a business owner.

Having the correct coverage can help resolve many worries that accompany owning a bed and breakfast. To learn more about protecting your business through CBIZ Innkeeper Insurance, request a consultation!

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of innkeeper businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a specific policy coverage to meet the needs for inns and bed & breakfasts, and the amenities offered by these businesses. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

The CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to beds & breakfasts. We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" — our representatives will explain your coverage in simple terms. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication. As specialists in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your inn are protected.





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