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How To Turn My House Into A Bed And Breakfast


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Susanna Condon



Welcome to the world of bed and breakfasts, where you have the opportunity to turn your house into a charming and inviting accommodation for weary travelers. With the rise of the sharing economy and the increasing desire for unique and personalized experiences, bed and breakfasts have become a popular choice for travelers seeking a more intimate and authentic stay.


Transforming your house into a bed and breakfast can be a rewarding endeavor. It allows you to share your home with travelers from around the world, provide a memorable and comfortable experience, and generate additional income. However, successfully running a bed and breakfast requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to providing exceptional customer service.


In this article, we will guide you through the process of turning your house into a bed and breakfast, from researching local regulations and creating a welcoming atmosphere to marketing your establishment and managing bookings. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful and memorable bed and breakfast experience for your guests.


Step 1: Research local regulations and requirements

Before embarking on the journey of turning your house into a bed and breakfast, it is crucial to understand and comply with the local regulations and requirements for operating a hospitality establishment in your area. These regulations may vary depending on your location, so it’s essential to do thorough research.


Start by contacting your local municipality or city government to inquire about the specific permits and licenses you may need to operate a bed and breakfast. They can provide you with information on zoning ordinances, health and safety regulations, and fire codes that you must adhere to.


Some areas may require you to obtain a bed and breakfast license or permit. To acquire this, you may need to undergo inspections of your property to ensure it meets certain standards in terms of safety, cleanliness, and amenities. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these requirements to avoid any legal issues in the future.


Additionally, you should also check if there are any specific regulations regarding parking, signage, noise restrictions, or restrictions on the number of guests you can accommodate. Some areas may have restrictions on hosting events or serving alcohol, so make sure to research and comply with these guidelines as well.


Furthermore, you may need to consider obtaining liability insurance to protect yourself and your guests in case of accidents or damages. Speak with an insurance agent who specializes in bed and breakfast coverage to understand your options and ensure you have adequate insurance coverage.


By taking the time to thoroughly research and comply with the local regulations and requirements, you can establish your bed and breakfast on a solid legal foundation. It demonstrates your commitment to operating a legitimate and responsible business while providing peace of mind for both you and your guests.


Step 2: Create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere

Now that you’ve taken care of the legalities, it’s time to focus on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for your guests. The ambiance and decor of your bed and breakfast play a vital role in providing a memorable experience.


Start by considering the overall theme or style you want to incorporate into your bed and breakfast. Are you aiming for a cozy cottage-like feel or a more modern and contemporary design? Choose a color scheme and furnishings that reflect the atmosphere you want to create.


Paying attention to the small details is essential in creating a comfortable and welcoming space. Invest in high-quality bedding and pillows to ensure a restful night’s sleep for your guests. Include amenities such as fresh towels, toiletries, and complimentary refreshments in each room.


Consider adding special touches that set your bed and breakfast apart from traditional hotels. This could include personalized welcome notes, fresh flowers, or unique artwork. These small gestures go a long way in making your guests feel valued and cared for.


Another important aspect of creating a welcoming atmosphere is to establish common areas where guests can socialize or relax. Create a comfortable lounge area where guests can unwind after a long day of exploring. Provide books, board games, or a selection of local magazines that showcase the surrounding area.


Furthermore, ensuring a clean and well-maintained environment is crucial. Regularly clean all guest rooms, common areas, and bathrooms to maintain a high level of hygiene. Attention to detail in cleanliness is essential in order to provide a comfortable and pleasant stay.


Lastly, remember that your demeanor and hospitality contribute to the overall atmosphere. Greet your guests with a warm smile and be attentive to their needs. Offer recommendations on local attractions, restaurants, and activities to enhance their stay. Building a personal connection with your guests will leave a lasting impression and encourage them to return in the future.


By creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, you’ll provide your guests with an unforgettable experience that sets your bed and breakfast apart from the rest.


Step 3: Set up guest rooms

One of the key elements of a successful bed and breakfast is providing comfortable and inviting guest rooms. Each room should be designed with the guest’s comfort and convenience in mind. Here’s how you can set up your guest rooms to ensure a pleasant stay:


1. Choose the right furniture: Select furniture that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The bed should be the centerpiece of the room, so invest in a high-quality mattress and comfortable bedding. Provide a bedside table with a lamp and alarm clock, as well as a wardrobe or dresser for guests to store their belongings.


2. Pay attention to lighting: Ensure that each room has adequate lighting options. Provide both overhead lighting and bedside lamps to accommodate different preferences. Consider installing blackout curtains or blinds to create a cozy and restful atmosphere for your guests.


3. Provide essential amenities: Make sure each guest room is equipped with essential amenities such as a television, Wi-Fi access, and a charging station for electronic devices. Additionally, include a small refrigerator or minibar stocked with water, snacks, and beverages for convenience.


4. Create a welcoming ambiance: Decorate the rooms with tasteful artwork, plants, or decorative accents that complement the overall style of your bed and breakfast. Use soothing colors and textiles to create a serene and relaxing atmosphere.


5. Ensure privacy and security: Install lockable doors and secure windows in each guest room to provide a sense of privacy and security. Provide a safe or lockable storage option for guests to store their valuables during their stay.


6. Keep cleanliness a priority: Regularly clean and maintain the guest rooms to ensure they are spotless and fresh for each new guest. Pay close attention to changing bedding, cleaning bathrooms, and dusting surfaces. Providing a clean and hygienic environment is essential for guest satisfaction.


7. Pay attention to the little details: Add thoughtful touches such as extra pillows and blankets, a selection of books or magazines, and a welcome basket with local goodies. These small details can make a big difference in creating a comfortable and memorable experience for your guests.


By setting up your guest rooms with attention to comfort, amenities, and aesthetics, you’ll create a welcoming and enjoyable environment that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.


Step 4: Establish pricing and policies

Setting clear pricing and policies for your bed and breakfast is essential for effectively managing your business and ensuring a positive experience for both you and your guests. Here are the key considerations when establishing pricing and policies:


1. Determine your pricing strategy: Research the local market and compare the rates of other bed and breakfast establishments in your area. Consider factors such as location, amenities, and the level of service you provide. Price your rooms competitively to attract guests while still ensuring profitability.


2. Consider different pricing options: Explore different pricing options such as seasonal rates, weekend rates, or discounted rates for longer stays. Offering package deals or special promotions can also attract guests and encourage longer bookings.


3. Establish cancellation and refund policies: Clearly communicate your cancellation and refund policies to guests. Decide on a reasonable timeframe for cancellations and determine whether you will charge a cancellation fee. It’s important to strike a balance between protecting your business and accommodating your guests’ needs.


4. Specify check-in and check-out times: Define your bed and breakfast’s check-in and check-out times to ensure smooth operations. Communicate these times to guests during the booking process and provide clear instructions on how to check-in outside of regular hours if applicable.


5. Clearly outline your amenities and services: Make sure to clearly communicate the amenities and services included in the room rate, such as breakfast, parking, Wi-Fi, and access to common areas. Also, specify any additional services available at an extra cost, such as laundry or airport transfers.


6. Address dietary restrictions and preferences: Inquire about any dietary restrictions, allergies, or special preferences your guests may have prior to their arrival. Accommodate their needs by offering alternative breakfast options or providing recommendations for nearby dining establishments that can cater to their requirements.


7. Set guidelines for behavior and house rules: Establish clear rules for noise levels, smoking policy, and any other guidelines regarding behavior within your bed and breakfast. These rules should be communicated to guests before their arrival to avoid any misunderstandings.


8. Enforce payment policies: Determine your payment policies, including whether you require a deposit at the time of booking and the accepted methods of payment. Clearly outline the payment terms and any additional charges that may apply, such as taxes or service fees.


By establishing transparent pricing and policies, you’ll create a sense of trust and clarity for your guests, ensuring a smooth and pleasant experience for both you and them.


Step 5: Market your bed and breakfast

Once your bed and breakfast is set up and ready to welcome guests, it’s time to start spreading the word and attracting bookings. Effective marketing is crucial to ensure a steady flow of guests and maximize occupancy. Here are some strategies to effectively market your bed and breakfast:


1. Create a compelling website: Invest in a well-designed, user-friendly website that showcases the unique features and charm of your bed and breakfast. Include high-quality photos of the rooms, common areas, and any special amenities. Provide detailed information about the location, nearby attractions, and the overall experience guests can expect.


2. Optimize for search engines: Implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. Research and incorporate relevant keywords throughout your website content, meta tags, and headings. Additionally, ensure your website is mobile-friendly for users browsing on smartphones or tablets.


3. Utilize online booking platforms: List your bed and breakfast on popular online travel platforms and booking websites, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, or Expedia. These platforms provide exposure to a wider audience and offer convenient booking options for potential guests.


4. Leverage social media: Create a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Share engaging content, such as photos, guest testimonials, and updates about special offers or events. Engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages promptly.


5. Collect and showcase guest reviews: Encourage your guests to leave reviews and testimonials about their experience at your bed and breakfast. Positive reviews can significantly influence the decision-making process for potential guests. Display these reviews on your website and social media platforms to build trust and credibility.


6. Partner with local businesses and tourism organizations: Collaborate with local businesses, such as restaurants, tour operators, or event venues, to offer special packages or cross-promotions. Also, establish relationships with local tourism organizations and visitor centers to gain exposure to travelers seeking accommodations in your area.


7. Offer incentives for referrals: Implement a referral program that rewards guests who refer their friends, family, or colleagues to your bed and breakfast. This can be in the form of discounts, complimentary upgrades, or additional amenities.


8. Utilize email marketing: Build an email list of past and potential guests and send out regular newsletters or promotional emails. Share updates about upcoming events, special offers, or seasonal packages to stay top of mind with your target audience.


Remember, consistency and ongoing marketing efforts are key to maintaining a steady flow of bookings and attracting new guests to your bed and breakfast. Continuously evaluate and refine your marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your occupancy rates.


Step 6: Manage bookings and reservations

Efficiently managing bookings and reservations is crucial for the smooth operation of your bed and breakfast. You want to provide a seamless and hassle-free experience for your guests while ensuring maximum occupancy. Here are some strategies to effectively manage bookings and reservations:


1. Implement a booking system: Invest in a reliable booking system or property management software that allows guests to make reservations online. This will streamline the booking process and provide real-time availability updates.


2. Maintain an organized calendar: Keep a well-maintained calendar to track bookings, reservations, and availability. Update it regularly to avoid any double bookings or conflicts.


3. Communicate promptly: Respond to inquiries and booking requests in a timely manner. Provide prompt and courteous responses to potential guests, addressing any questions or concerns they may have.


4. Set clear policies: Establish and communicate your booking policies to guests, including cancellation and refund policies, check-in and check-out times, and any special requirements or restrictions. Make sure guests are aware of these policies before confirming their reservation.


5. Confirm reservations: Send confirmation emails to guests once their reservation is confirmed. Include all relevant details, such as check-in instructions, contact information, and any additional information they may need to know prior to their arrival.


6. Collect guest information: Request essential information from guests at the time of booking, such as their names, contact details, and any specific preferences or requirements they may have. This will help you personalize their stay and provide a more tailored experience.


7. Manage payments: Set up a secure payment system to collect payments from guests. Clearly communicate your payment policies and ensure that guests are aware of any deposit requirements or accepted payment methods.


8. Handle changes and cancellations: Be prepared to handle changes or cancellations from guests. Establish clear guidelines for modifications and cancellations, including any applicable fees or penalties. Handle these requests promptly and professionally to maintain good guest relations.


9. Follow up with guests: After the guest’s stay, send a follow-up email to thank them for choosing your bed and breakfast. Encourage them to leave a review and provide feedback on their experience. This not only shows your appreciation but also helps build your reputation and attracts future guests.


By efficiently managing bookings and reservations, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for your guests, helping to build a positive reputation and increase the likelihood of repeat bookings and referrals.


Step 7: Provide exceptional customer service

Delivering exceptional customer service is the key to creating a memorable and positive experience for your guests. As a bed and breakfast owner, you have the opportunity to provide personalized and attentive service that sets you apart from larger hotels. Here are some strategies to provide exceptional customer service:


1. Prioritize guest satisfaction: Make guest satisfaction your top priority. Anticipate their needs, be responsive to their requests, and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations.


2. Warm and welcoming greeting: Greet your guests with a warm smile and a friendly demeanor. Make them feel welcome from the moment they arrive and throughout their stay.


3. Personalized attention: Pay attention to the little details and personalize the experience for each guest. Remember their preferences, offer recommendations based on their interests, and provide a personalized touch that makes them feel special.


4. Prompt and efficient communication: Respond to guest inquiries, requests, and concerns promptly and professionally. Ensure that communication channels are open and accessible, and strive to exceed their expectations in terms of response time.


5. Be knowledgeable about the area: Familiarize yourself with the local attractions, restaurants, and activities in your area. Be prepared to offer recommendations and assist guests in planning their itineraries.


6. Flexibility and adaptability: Be flexible and accommodating when possible. If guests have special requests or needs, make every effort to accommodate them and find suitable solutions.


7. Provide quality amenities and services: Ensure that the amenities and services you provide are of high quality. This includes comfortable bedding, cleanliness, delicious breakfast options, and any additional services you offer.


8. Address and resolve issues promptly: If a guest encounters any issues or problems during their stay, address and resolve them promptly and efficiently. Take ownership of the situation and make every effort to rectify the problem to the guest’s satisfaction.


9. Seek feedback and act upon it: Encourage guests to provide feedback on their experience. Regularly evaluate guest feedback and make necessary improvements based on their suggestions. This shows that you value their opinions and are committed to continuously improving your services.


10. Farewell and follow-up: Bid farewell to your guests with a sincere thank you and well wishes. Follow up with a thank-you email or card after their stay to express your appreciation and invite them to return in the future.


Your dedication to providing exceptional customer service will leave a lasting impression on your guests and can lead to positive reviews, returning guests, and word-of-mouth recommendations. It is the key to building a loyal customer base and ensuring the success of your bed and breakfast.


Step 8: Maintain cleanliness and upkeep

Maintaining cleanliness and upkeep is essential to ensure a comfortable and inviting environment for your bed and breakfast guests. A clean and well-maintained establishment not only enhances the guest experience but also contributes to the overall reputation and success of your business. Follow these guidelines to maintain cleanliness and upkeep:


1. Regular cleaning schedule: Establish a regular cleaning schedule for all areas of your bed and breakfast. This includes guest rooms, bathrooms, common areas, and outdoor spaces. Assign specific tasks to staff members or yourself to ensure comprehensive cleaning.


2. Attention to detail: Pay attention to the smallest details when cleaning. Dust surfaces, vacuum carpets, sweep and mop floors, and clean windows and mirrors. Remove any signs of wear and tear or damage promptly.


3. Clean and crisp linens: Provide clean and fresh linens for each guest. Regularly change and launder bedding, towels, and other linens to maintain a high standard of hygiene.


4. Sanitize high-touch areas: Pay special attention to sanitizing high-touch areas such as doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, and bathroom fixtures. Use appropriate disinfectants to ensure a germ-free environment.


5. Well-maintained bathrooms: Clean and disinfect bathrooms thoroughly. Ensure that toilets, sinks, showers, and other fixtures are in good working order. Stock them with essential toiletries and provide clean towels and hand soap.


6. Regular maintenance checks: Conduct regular maintenance checks to identify and address any issues promptly. This includes checking for plumbing leaks, faulty electrical connections, or any other maintenance concerns that may affect the comfort and safety of your guests.


7. Outdoor maintenance: Keep the exterior of your bed and breakfast clean and well-maintained. Regularly tend to landscaping, remove litter or debris, and ensure that outdoor areas are safe and inviting for guests.


8. Pest control: Implement effective pest control measures to prevent and address any potential pest issues. This includes regular inspections, proper waste management, and collaboration with professional pest control services if necessary.


9. Train staff on cleanliness standards: If you have employees, ensure they understand and follow the cleanliness standards you have established. Provide training on proper cleaning techniques, hygiene practices, and attention to detail.


10. Seek guest feedback: Encourage guests to provide feedback on the cleanliness and upkeep of your bed and breakfast. Act upon any suggestions or concerns raised by guests to continuously improve your cleaning and maintenance practices.


By prioritizing cleanliness and maintenance, you create a welcoming and comfortable environment for your guests, leaving a positive impression that encourages return visits and favorable reviews. It demonstrates your commitment to providing a high standard of service and ensures the long-term success of your bed and breakfast.


Step 9: Offer additional amenities and services

Providing additional amenities and services at your bed and breakfast can enhance the guest experience and set you apart from the competition. These extra offerings add value to the stay and often lead to positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. Consider incorporating the following amenities and services:


1. Complimentary breakfast: Start the day off right by offering a delicious and varied breakfast. Provide a range of options, including hot and cold items, baked goods, fresh fruits, and beverages. Accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences whenever possible.


2. Refreshments throughout the day: Offer complimentary refreshments such as coffee, tea, water, and snacks for guests to enjoy during their stay. This provides a personal touch and ensures they feel welcomed and cared for.


3. High-speed internet access: In today’s digital age, reliable and fast internet access is an important amenity for guests. Ensure a strong Wi-Fi connection throughout your bed and breakfast to accommodate guests’ online needs.


4. Common areas and entertainment options: Create inviting common areas where guests can relax and socialize. Provide comfortable seating, books, board games, or a television for their entertainment.


5. Personalized recommendations: Offer personalized recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and activities based on guests’ interests and preferences. This can include insider tips, hidden gems, and highly-rated establishments in the area.


6. Special packages and experiences: Create unique packages or experiences for guests to enhance their stay. This could include guided tours, spa treatments, cooking classes, or wine tastings. Collaborate with local businesses to offer exclusive experiences and partnerships.


7. Concierge services: Provide concierge services to assist guests with bookings, transportation arrangements, and ticket purchases for local events or attractions. Offering this convenience can make their stay more enjoyable and stress-free.


8. Facilities for special occasions: If feasible, consider offering facilities for small events or special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, or family reunions. This can be an added revenue stream and attract guests looking for a unique and intimate venue.


9. Pet-friendly accommodations: If your bed and breakfast allows pets, ensure you have designated pet-friendly rooms and amenities such as food and water bowls, a designated area for walking pets, and pet-friendly local recommendations.


10. Eco-friendly initiatives: Incorporate eco-friendly practices such as recycling programs, energy-efficient appliances, and environmentally friendly toiletries. This appeals to environmentally conscious guests and showcases your commitment to sustainability.


By offering additional amenities and services, you create a memorable and enriching experience for your guests. These extra touches demonstrate your dedication to their comfort and satisfaction, increasing the likelihood of repeat bookings and positive recommendations.


Step 10: Continuously improve and adapt to feedback

As a bed and breakfast owner, it is essential to consistently seek feedback from your guests and use it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. By actively listening and responding to guest feedback, you can enhance the guest experience and ensure the long-term success of your business. Here’s how to continuously improve and adapt based on feedback:


1. Encourage guest feedback: Create a feedback system that encourages guests to provide their thoughts and suggestions. This can be in the form of post-stay surveys, online reviews, or feedback cards placed in guest rooms. Make it easy for guests to provide feedback and let them know that their opinions are valued.


2. Analyze feedback trends: Regularly review guest feedback and look for common trends or recurring issues. This will help you identify areas that require improvement or areas where you can excel further.


3. Address concerns promptly: If a guest expresses a concern or complaint, take immediate action to address and resolve the issue. Reach out to the guest personally to show that you value their feedback and are committed to making it right.


4. Learn from positive feedback: Pay attention to positive feedback as well. Identify aspects of your bed and breakfast that guests particularly enjoyed and try to replicate those experiences for future guests.


5. Empower your staff: Provide training and resources to your staff to ensure they are equipped to handle guest feedback and resolve any issues that may arise. Encourage open communication and empower them to take ownership of guest satisfaction.


6. Implement necessary changes: Use guest feedback as a catalyst for change. Whether it’s updating amenities, improving cleanliness standards, or revamping certain processes, be open to making necessary changes that will enhance the overall guest experience.


7. Stay updated on industry trends: Keep yourself informed about the latest trends and innovations in the bed and breakfast industry. Attend conferences, join industry associations, and network with other owners to learn best practices and stay ahead of the curve.


8. Collaborate with other businesses: Build relationships with local businesses, tourism organizations, and other bed and breakfast owners. Share insights and experiences, collaborate on marketing efforts, and learn from each other’s successes and challenges.


9. Celebrate and promote positive feedback: Showcase positive guest reviews and testimonials on your website, social media platforms, and marketing materials. Highlighting positive feedback reinforces your commitment to exceptional service and can attract new guests.


10. Regularly evaluate progress: Set goals and regularly assess your progress in implementing changes based on guest feedback. Track improvements in guest satisfaction, occupancy rates, and revenue to ensure that your efforts are yielding positive results.


By continuously improving and adapting to guest feedback, you demonstrate a commitment to providing the best possible experience for your guests. This fosters a positive reputation, encourages guest loyalty, and positions your bed and breakfast for continued success.



Transforming your house into a successful bed and breakfast can be a fulfilling and rewarding journey. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, market your bed and breakfast effectively, and provide exceptional customer service.


From researching local regulations and requirements to continuously improving based on guest feedback, each step is crucial in establishing and running a thriving bed and breakfast. By prioritizing cleanliness and maintaining high standards, offering additional amenities and services, and adapting to guest needs and preferences, you can create a memorable experience that keeps guests coming back.


Remember that running a bed and breakfast requires dedication, attention to detail, and a passion for hospitality. It’s about creating a home away from home where guests feel cared for and valued. By incorporating these steps into your bed and breakfast management, you can build a successful and profitable business while providing an unforgettable experience for your guests.


So, take the leap and transform your house into a charming bed and breakfast that not only offers comfortable accommodation but also creates lasting memories for those who stay with you. Embrace the journey and be prepared to adapt and evolve as you welcome guests from around the world into your home.