Key traits of a successful bed and breakfast owner

It is the type of person that you are that will make or break your success as a b and b owner.

Many potential bed and breakfast owners are worried that their cooking skills won’t be good enough, that their home might not be fancy enough or that they can’t afford the most expensive mattresses on the market.

Believe it or not, it is the type of person you are, and the traits that you bring to your job that are what will make or break your success as a b and b owner rather than the physical premises.

So, do you possess the following 3 traits?


  1.  Like to learn new things

As a bed and breakfast owner, I had to learn so many things in the years I was in business – who had heard of content management or SEO back in 2006 when I started?  However, in addition to marketing skills I had to learn, there was also been…

  • Technology – from WIFI connections and iPads to coffee pots that do (almost) everything for you
  • Recipes – especially for people with dietary restrictions, or those that will hold if people are late coming down for breakfast, to quick and easy dishes to deal with last minute requests
  • Cultural preferences – from the size of servings for certain foods to the way of making beds
  • Local community – from the need to network so that people know you have a B&B right through to keeping tabs on what’s happening and when, so that you can help your guests to have a good time
  • Basic home repairs – I can fix most parts of a toilet, do basic electrical work and know how to turn off the water, gas and power to the house in case of emergency.


2.  Are very tolerant and patient…

  • Can you deal with strangers in your home?  Especially if you can’t be there?
  • Can you enforce policies with guests and handle conflict without alienating people?  From people who “forgot” to tell you about the extra people they were bringing to the ones that truly didn’t know that they wouldn’t be able to use your kitchen to cook their own food, it happens all the time.
  • Can you deal with multiple interruptions?  Some guests check in, and other than at breakfast, you never see them.  Then, there are the other people who feel you are part of their entertainment package and just don’t understand personal boundaries the way that other people do.
  • Are you flexible with your plans?  Every time I got up in the morning with a plan of everything I was going to get done that day, it was guaranteed that it never happened. Right from the start when you can tell someone at the breakfast table is debating which of the menu choices is the lesser of two evils to the appliance that decides to stop functioning (generally mid-cycle) to the last- minute cancellation which I then must scramble to try to fill….


3.  Do you work well under pressure?

Besides the long hours and deadlines imposed by check-in and check-out times, bed and breakfast owners need to be:

  • Highly organized and self-motivated
  • Creative problem solvers
  • Able to multi-task, and
  • Can stay cool, calm and collected in the face of emergencies

So what do you think?  Have you got what it takes to be a bed and breakfast owner? If so, drop me a line and let me know which trait will be the hardest one for you!

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To begin your journey of discovery to see if owning a bed and breakfast is right for you, download “3 Questions Everyone Who Wants to Own a Bed and Breakfast Asks – or Should!”

And check out more on-line video training on Susan Poole, The B&B Coach’s YouTube Channel – and don’t forget to subscribe!

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