Advice for New Innkeepers Looking to Buy an Inn or B&B in Vermont
Innkeeping.org, a site run by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), has monthly and weekly newsletters available to paying members of their site. These newsletters are full of industry tips, advice, stories, news and link innkeepers (or those interested in innkeeping) with a world-wide community. In this month’s issue, advice is offered to those thinking of joining the industry. Here is an excerpt from this article regarding how to choose what size and type of lodging property you would like .
During your search there are several things to keep in mind:
- Be truthful with yourself about the aspects of innkeeping that are most important to you
- What are your owners’ quarters requirements/personal space?
- Is there an option for other revenue streams? For example: restaurant, retail, catering, yoga, massage, etc.
- Location affects business; is the property located in a destination or in pass-through town? Does it get weekend only traffic, does it get any business travelers?
- Season; 6 months or year round (seasonal may offer substantial time off but sometimes finding seasonal employees is more difficult than year round help). I associate a seasonal 6 month business in a busy destination location as a light switch without a dimmer – it’s either on or off. You work hard for 6 months and relax for the other 6, providing the business is strong enough.
- Village or rural setting; coastal or inland; lot size affects use
- Do the current rates allow room for increase?
- Is this your hobby, primary source of income or lifestyle choice?
- And very importantly, enjoyment. Ask yourself, “will I enjoy being here?”
Often the following can be used as a rule of thumb:
Higher priced properties:
- higher income
- higher potential income
- more than 8-10 rooms
- affords housekeeping and sometimes an assistant innkeeper
- location, location, location
- amenities such as water or mountain views, spa tubs, body jet or steam showers, fireplaces, etc.
- can support owner’s living expenses
Lower priced properties:
- lower income
- often priced based on residential value if business value is not there
- fewer than 6 rooms
- often there is room for potential, but it might be limited because the property is already year round
- lower advertising budget, though it takes advertising to grow the business
- until the income grows, innkeepers are the housekeepers
- might require a second income source
Remember, as former innkeepers, John and Christine have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you and are more than happy to guide you through the process of starting a new business. Contact them today with any questions you may have.