5 of the Best Tips for Prospective Innkeepers

Flowers on a table

Have you ever stayed at a charming inn or bed and breakfast and dreamt of running one of your own? How hard could it be, right? Well, the truth is that it takes a lot more than a cookbook and a collection of antiques. Whether you’ve been hoping to open an inn for years or just recently felt the spark of inspiration, these five tips for prospective innkeepers will help you turn your daydream into a reality.

We hope you find the following information useful as you pursue your passion. Another fantastic resource is our free Guide to Buying an Inn! This complimentary resource contains even more recommendations and insider tips to help you find your ideal inn and navigate the purchase process with ease.

Enjoy Our Free Guide

Here Are the Best Tips for Prospective Innkeepers

1. It’s Not About the Muffins

While your grandmother’s blueberry muffin recipe could be a hit among guests, running a successful inn or B&B is about more than what’s on the breakfast menu. According to Leslie Mulcahy of the Rabbit Hill Inn, when she talks to people about why they want to open an inn, “No one ever mentions that they want to care for people, which is what innkeeping is all about.” As any experienced innkeeper can tell you, this business is truly all about the people. Care for your guests, and you‘ll be on the road to success with your new inn or bed and breakfast.

Tip: Would you like to hear more from Leslie Mulcahy about the ins and outs of innkeepingListen to our podcast with her!

2. Know Your Strengths

Do work that makes your heart sing! Especially if you plan to run the business with your spouse, assign duties early, and communicate about which tasks each of you love. If you have an eye for finances, handle the banking. If chatting with people is your thing, manage the staff. Just be sure that neither of you is stuck with a duty that you dislike.

3. Think About the Family Factor

Do you have children? Most innkeepers live in or near their properties, which means the kids grow up surrounded by guests. While this often comes with its own set of challenges, inn ownership can provide a very positive lifestyle for innkeepers and their families. Think of it as an opportunity to teach your children about the importance of hard work and running a small business!

4. Learn How to Manage People

When we said innkeeping was all about the people, we weren’t only referring to the guests. Managing your bed and breakfast staff is an inevitable part of the process as your business growsDon’t shy away from putting on your boss hat every now and then. Keeping an orderly and efficient staff is one of the keys to making sure operations run smoothly.

5. Gain More Knowledge

People at a seminar

The hospitality industry is always evolving, and it’s important to keep up with those changes! Don’t worry, though. We have plenty of resources for bed and breakfasts and innkeeper training sessions to help. In addition to reading our Guide to Buying an Inn, consider attending one of our Seminars for Future Innkeepers or Current Innkeeping Workshops. We have over 40 years of experience and have sold over 400 inns, and we’d love to share our expertise to lead you on your path to success.

6 thoughts on “5 of the Best Tips for Prospective Innkeepers

  1. The family factor is misrepresented here. Children being raised in an Inn is a benefit to everyone. The kids see a true small business at work. The interaction between mom and the guests is very enriching. The children learn skills that are priceless, they can actually see that money does not grow on trees. Innkeeping is the best stay at Home mother job! My kids grew up in the Inn and now work at the Inn. Their knowledge and respect of the property can not be matched. Promote family business.

    1. Kristen, thank you for your comments. We could not agree with you more! We have worked with many successful innkeepers who have raised children at their inn and would not have had it any other way. In fact, we ran our inn with our children (and grandchildren) and recognize the joys and challenges that arise when running a family business.

      This will actually be the subject of a future episode of the Inside Innkeeping podcast, which will offer an in depth look at this important aspect of innkeeping.

      Stay in touch,

      Heide Bredfeldt

  2. Hi
    I have been following you on this and I am great full for the 5 tips to consider before opening an inn which I dream of daily planning to start one next year


    1. Carol,

      We are very glad you found the article helpful. We would welcome a call from you over the next year, if you have any questions or thoughts to share in advance of purchasing your dream property!

      Kind Regards,
      Inn Partners

  3. Hi Heide – we went to your seminar about three years ago in Durham and enjoyed it immensely. We have owned our bed and breakfast for almost two years and we love it. Caring for people really does summarize it all and that is the main reason why folks choose bed and breakfasts over other accommodation choices. Thank you for your helpful information.

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