How to start bed and breakfast

How to Start Your Bed and Breakfast Business on Airbnb

While browsing through Airbnb, you will find multiple types of listings locally. One of the most trending subcategories is called “bed and breakfast”, and it has already become the favorite option for thousands of guests. Visitors enjoy the personalized service and comfortable conditions of such listings.

From the perspective of an investor or a potential business owner, it is a great opportunity for making profits. However, it requires a lot of dedication and effort to become successful. Today, we will analyze the bed and breakfast business from all perspectives, share some crucial tips on starting it, and highlight some important details about the operation.

Bed and Breakfast Overview

Running an Airbnb rental business is tricky, but with regular listings, you have a lot of room for automation. You may either pass the control to a professional management company or automatize the process yourself by setting up some external software. In both cases, you can turn the enterprise into a passive income for yourself. In contrast, a bed and breakfast business requires a lot more dedication, leaving you fewer options for shortcuts.

As its name implies, such listings include a place for staying overnight and a home-cooked breakfast. There are no strict rules regarding the type of property, but in most cases, these are homes with up to ten guest rooms. The owner usually lives on the site, granting the visitors the personal approach they need. Your daily routine as a business owner will include the following responsibilities:

As you can see, there are many responsibilities that you don’t have to perform or can outsource with a regular Airbnb business. But this is exactly what makes B&B different from any other type of vacation rental offer, as some customers prefer a personalized approach. As a B&B host, you will need to let your guests feel like they are invited over by a friend who is ready to support a conversation or provide them with some guidance about local attractions.

Ups and Downs of Bed and Breakfast Business

The first and the most significant advantage of the B&B model is the opportunity it grants for your business. There are not so many listings of that kind yet, and the competition is lower than with regular vacation rentals. As bed and breakfast involves a personal approach, it will be also easier to stand out of the crowd by showing the unique qualities of your own hospitality.

Another major advantage of B&B relates to the connection you develop with your guests. Guests who have enjoyed their time at your premises will more likely re-visit than with any other type of listing on Airbnb. Moreover, you will be present on the site to handle every issue and ensure the visitors have a positive experience with you.

As you could have guessed, the hardest downside of B&B is the amount of personal dedication you will have to put into it. It will be necessary to be present on-site and spend most of your time with your guests. For some people, it might feel natural and easy, but for others, it might turn out to be exhausting and tiring. It takes a certain personality to run a successful bed and breakfast business.

Another drawback of B&B is its high entry cost. With regular Airbnb listings, you will be able to start from a small apartment, while with bed and breakfast, you’ll need a house with multiple guest rooms. The initial investment is higher, but that is the price of the opportunity a B&B business grants.

Starting a B&B

How to Put it Together?

The process of starting a bed and breakfast business is very similar to setting up a regular vacation rental enterprise. In this section, we will review each step of the process with some tips that will help you avoid the mistakes of many beginners.

Make the Decision

Now that you know all the downsides of running a B&B, it is important to thoughtfully process them. Before taking further steps, make sure you will be fine with all the responsibilities you’ll have to take over as the owner. Will you be capable of being around your guests all the time? Will you manage to stay friendly and welcoming after months of such work? Take your time to fully project this experience on yourself.

Research the Market

The first actual step on the road to creating a thriving bed and breakfast business is researching the market properly. The best way to start gathering information is to check up with other local Airbnb offers. First of all, check how many bed and breakfast offers are there in your area. Secondly, take a deeper look at them by discovering the prices and conditions of these listings. If the market in your area is not oversaturated by perfect listings with unbeatable hosts, you can feel free to proceed with finding more information.

More about buying a vacation rental property read here.

On the Internet, you’ll be able to find lots of other great sources of data. As with any enterprise, the more information you manage to find beforehand, the more prepared you will be and the more precise the results of your estimations will be. You can look up dozens of important parameters like the annual number of tourists visiting your area, the average price level of hotels and Airbnb listings, the types of staying the tourists prefer in your city, the attractions they enjoy visiting, and so on.

Make Some More Decisions

At this point, it will be better to make some other crucial decisions. First of all, determining your target audience may significantly narrow down the scope of the analysis you’ll have to perform. Moreover, it will help you develop the vision of your future business. Knowing who your guests will be is essential for creating perfect conditions for them.

The second major decision you’ll need to start working on relates to the choice of property. In case you already own some premises, make sure they will fit for bed and breakfast. Otherwise, start looking for offers in your area, taking into account the information you have obtained from performing the previous steps. At this point, you don’t have to make the final call on this matter, but minding the price levels and available options may be extremely helpful further on.

Learn the Legislation

The legal aspect of the vacation rental business is also vital. You will need to discover all the laws and regulations applicable to your bed and breakfast rentals beforehand. The laws may vary a lot between different countries and even cities, but there should be detailed overviews available for your legislation on the Internet. Here, you will also need to figure out the whole process of taxation for your business, as it will be necessary for the following step.

Plan the Financials

Now that you have obtained all the necessary information, you can start using it to estimate the results of your future enterprise. Rent is your only source of income in a bed and breakfast business, so you will need to analyze it properly. Essentially, it breaks down to the price level you set and the occupancy level you will have. The former parameter is hard to estimate, so we recommend making calculations for several scenarios here. You will be able to adjust the price levels in the process as well, but this business won’t grant you complete flexibility.

As for the expenditures, the list may turn out to be pretty long. Let us start with the initial investment you’ll have to make. Of course, the largest portion of this investment will go to the property. You will need to purchase premises and renovate them, which can be a costly process on its own. You will also need to create a budget for initial marketing and a reserve for running costs for the time you will be having many blanks in the booking calendar.

The list of your short-term costs should include everything you’ll be paying for on a regular basis. Here, you’ll need to take into account the utility bills, cable and Wi-Fi payments, loan payments for the property, the fee of Airbnb, and many others. We would also recommend adding hired staff to the equation, as it is extremely hard to run bed and breakfast without some aid.

Altogether, this information will allow you to project the future results of your enterprise. We suggest calculating the payback period of your investment for different scenarios. Planning that everything will go perfectly from day one is a common mistake of aspiring entrepreneurs.

How to Add Your Bed and Breakfast Business on Airbnb

Creating a bed and breakfast listing on Airbnb is probably the simplest part of the job. The platform is very user-friendly, so you can just follow the instructions there. Start by setting up an account and hitting the New Listing button. There, create a description of your premises and services you offer, backing it up with a good pack of photos.

The next step requires you to configure your listing according to your needs. First of all, set up the booking configurations by adding the filters you prefer. Secondly, make sure to create the proper settings for your calendar. It will include the regularity of bookings, the timeframe of notice, and other parameters. Last but not least, it is necessary to set the price.

At this point, it is important to figure out the Smart Pricing feature of Airbnb that automatically adjusts the prices according to your occupancy rates. You will be able to set the lower and higher limits for the price of the booking, as well as a base price you’re most comfortable with.

Once you’ve entered and double-checked all the information, you’re ready to publish your listing on the platform. Note that Airbnb may need some time to approve it, so don’t worry if you can’t find it via the search tool for the first couple of days.


Summing up, the B&B business makes up for a great opportunity for aspiring hosts. The B&B market has relatively low competition, higher prices, and a lot of other perks for the owner. However, all these benefits come at a certain cost. It is obvious that not every person will be capable of running such a business, as it requires a lot of effort, time, and dedication. In today’s guide, we have provided you with all the essential details about the business, and we hope it makes the start easier for you.