Editor’s Note: The facts and figures quoted are based on a 2014 research report by Bed and Breakfast Europe.
If you want to start a bed and breakfast in Europe, then success stands or falls by the preparations. While most European countries have opened up their borders and have the euro as their currency, they still have their own language, mentality and culture. The legislation also differs per country. It is crucial that you are well aware of things before opening a B&B in for example France, Germany or Spain. A few key figures and tips.
Let’s start with a few facts from a research report by Bed & Breakfast Europe. The outcomes are based on a research held among 3,704 B&B owners in all of Europe in 2014:
- An overnight stay with breakfast in a European bed & breakfast costs an average € 77.81,- for two persons.
- The average turnover of a European B&B-accommodation amounts to about € 16,700,- per year.
- At least half of the European B&B’s has a turnover of less than € 10,000,- per year.
- A European bed & breakfast has an average 5.2 guest rooms and 7.6 places to sleep.
- The B&B-room rates are the highest in Belgium (an average € 92,-) and Great Britain (€ 88,-) and the lowest in Germany (€ 64,-).and Italy (€ 66,-).
- Shared sanitary provisions are relatively less common: 83% of the guest rooms have a private bathroom.
Check the financial feasibility
Most likely, a B&B in Europe will not make you rich, so check the financial and organisational feasibility of your B&B plans before executing them. If you want to make a living out of your bed & breakfast for two people, you will soon need about six guest rooms. If one of the two partners has a job on the side, then you should think of three to four rooms. Especially northern Europeans attach great value to a beautiful bathroom with decent sanitary, so large investments in the accommodation might be needed.
Think carefully about where you will be establishing your B&B
Those picturesque French, Spanish and Italian villages: who hasn’t fallen in love with them? Before you go head over heels and buy a house, remember that these villages can get pretty deserted when the high season is over. The youngsters move out and especially during winter times, there isn’t much to do. Facilities such as hospitals and schools are often far away. Visit the location that you have in mind during wintertime as well and decide whether you will also be happy there during that season. A bed and breakfast in a popular location has more chance of success. In Rome or Barcelona you can expect more visitors than in a village in the German Ruhr area or the Flemish countryside.
Get to know everything about the national law and regulations in advance
Every European country has its own rules for starting a bed & breakfast. Besides, these rules can differ per region and municipality. Get to know the rules regarding construction permits, fire safety, hygiene, offering meals, serving alcohol, taxes, financing and so on, well in advance. Check with the municipality you wish to move to, as well as with the Chamber of Commerce. Registering with the embassy is an option as well.
Starting a bed and breakfast in Europe: golden tips
- Make sure you have a multilingual website with information about your bed & breakfast. For example: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. That way you appeal to guests from all of Europe. By the way, in France, a B&B is called ‘chambre d’hôtes’, in Spain ‘casa rural’, in Italy ‘agriturismo’ and the Germans speak of a ‘Gästezimmer’.
- Mention which languages you speak on your website.
- Collaborate with the locals. Refer guests to local restaurants for example, and purchase products from local suppliers. Do you have a chore or work to be done, outsource it to a local company. Being a newcomer this will result into a lot of goodwill.
- Talk to the locals a lot, and make sure they get to know you. The locals will sooner turn to your B&B when they have family members coming over.
- Guests highly appreciate an extensive (organic) breakfast with local and homemade products. A good bed of course goes without saying.
Bed & Breakfast for Sale
On B&B For Sale you can find a selection of European houses for sale, for example, in Portugal, Spain, Italy and France. All properties for sale on the website are already operational as bed & breakfast, or suitable to start a B&B in.
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This is a guest post by Bedandbreakfast.eu, the largest Bed and Breakfast site worldwide with as much as 2.2 million rooms and apartments worldwide. It fulfills a promotional role for bed & breakfast owners worldwide by maintaining ties with governments, bed & breakfast organizations, strategic market partners, the international media and thousands of B&B owners.