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How to Run a Bed and Breakfast

Every day of running a B&B will be different!

Running a B&B is the perfect option for a lot of people who are wanting to get out of the rat race and focus on their lifestyle and creating a business of their own.

Although there can be a lot more to running a B&B than most people realise, if you keep a few things in mind there is no reason why it can’t be a success.

Industry Overview

Tourists continue to flock to South Africa and one of the ways to take advantage of their spending is to buy a B&B.

Guests choose to stay in B&Bs rather than in hotels for different reasons but one of these is that they are looking for somewhere to stay that offers a bit more of a personal touch.

Staying in a B&B might let visitors stay in places that are further off the beaten track than where many hotels are located. B&Bs that are hoping to use marketing to attract more guests should think about promoting these aspects of their business.

The hospitality sector has managed to keep being profitable and, if you are able to keep up to date with new technologies and trends, you should be able to be one of the many B&B success stories.


If you want your B&B to be profitable, the lifestyle is not usually one that is relaxing. You may dream of a life that doesn’t stick to the nine to five routine, but this can also mean that you are busy from early in the morning to late at night.

Keeping things maintained, managing staff, marketing, administration and making sure the guests are happy is going to keep you very busy.

As long as you are aware of what will come with running B&B, though, this can be a very rewarding position to be in where nothing is routine and every day can be different.

The hospitality industry can be very seasonal and so you should plan for times when your rooms are not filled. Make sure that you have thought about how you will be affected financially.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself, especially if you live in the same place as the guests. This will help you to keep balance in your life and business.

You should also keep in mind that, if you open a B&B, you will now also be competing with Airbnb which has made the market much more competitive. You should think about marketing online through sites that will share the cost of your marketing.

A lot of B&Bs have remained competitive by moving into the luxury market and upping their game in terms of rooms and breakfasts. This way they have kept relevant despite Airbnb.

Things to Consider

If you are going to run a successful B&B, you are going to have to have a clear idea of what you want your business to look like.

Think about the kind of breakfast that you are going to serve and how you are going to serve it. Will it be hot or cold? Traditionally South African or more international? Are you a good cook or should you employ someone who is?

The way that you brand your business is also something that you should be quite strategic about because this is what will draw customers to you. Try and find something that is unique to your establishment that people won’t be able to find at the place down the road.

The unique selling point that you choose for your B&B will also be the thing that helps you figure out who your target audience is.

Opening a B&B takes a lot of hard work but there are so many rewards. You will operate outside of the ordinary hours and you will be able to interact with people throughout the day.

Even though you will be busy and it will take a lot of hard work, you will be your own boss and your days will never be dull!

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.