How are you building your bed and breakfast business?

bed and breakfast signLast week’s post on the blog about Trip Advisor received the most comments ever.  If you joined the conversation, thank you.  Ken commented on how he had weighed up the costs of Trip Connect and OTA commissions compared to how much time (money) spent yourself on SEO and keywords etc, and that he found that Trip Advisor’s option was pretty good.  You can read my reply here

But before you go do that, let me explain what I believe to be the fundamental, universal principles of business (and life) that I put into practice to build a 6 figure B&B  with just 4 rooms.  See if you can spot the missing parts 😉

I decided that my B&B would be the centre of the universe in my village, and that I would focus on reaching potential guests and inviting them to find out more.  My B&B is my contribution to the local economy.  The more successful I am, the more successful the village becomes, and that feels good, because it’s not about keeping it all for me, that would make me feel isolated and alone.  You’ve heard of the millionaires, right?  Where they are so afraid of losing their money, that they lock themselves away and hide from people.  Money is a universal flow of energy, the more we open up to the flow, the more we have, and the more we can give.

I then decided I would focus on a particular group of people to whom we could personally add value.  Gone were the days when we just took anybody who knocked on the door.  I decided I would find out what that particular group of people wanted and would value, by asking them.

I then set up my website and entire business to serve those people and serve them better than anyone else.   I became the “go to” B&B for them.  There was no other choice for them and their friends, and they kept on coming back and kept on referring their friends and family.

Next, I asked them what else they would like, and they told me, so we developed those products and services that they said they wanted to buy.  And they did buy.  And so there was more wealth for me and for my village, and an even more amazing experience for my guests.

Then I asked them to help me create a product which would benefit them, and they invested in my product creation, so another product was born, especially for my guests.

Then I ramped the whole thing up into an amazing automated system, which served me, my guests and everyone involved with me.

It was hard work in the beginning but became an amazing experience for us all.

So have you noticed the missing parts?  Did I mention anything about keywords or SEO, or Facebook ads, or messing around for hours on social media trying to get someone to buy?  Did I mention Trip Advisor or or any other online directories or booking agents?

Yes I did do some keyword research to find my ideal guests, and yes I did use Trip Advisor for reviews only.  I have never used OTAs.  My Facebook fan page is deserted, I rarely use Twitter except to publicise a blog post, and as for Google+, well……

I built my whole 6 figure B&B business with just 4 rooms, on good old fashioned connections  and relationships with people.  How are you building your B&B business?  Leave me a comment below, I’d love to know 🙂

Yvonne x






Yvonne Halling helps small hospitality businesses worldwide to get more guests, make more money and have more fun.  CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation to get clear on how to move your business forward.

18 Responses to “How are you building your bed and breakfast business?”

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  1. I love your philosophy, Yvonne. It’s back to basics to what we know works….and mostly I find the social media “hype” just that – and we are all left wondering what we are doing wrong that we are not gaining huge amounts of business through it. I have cancelled all my OTA listings, too. I post something on my FB page if I find a great recipe or something that might be of interest to others. I won’t pay for boosts or other ads. Been there, done that, wasted money.
    As ALL my guests are business people coming into the city, I just need to reach more of them!
    I hope that you are loving your new venture!

  2. My thoughts entirely, waste of money advertising on Google, or paying Trip Advisor, no idea how facebook works and whats a Twitter when its at home? What a stupid name. However and the like have been a useful tool to have up my sleeve over the years. I don’t mind paying a bit of money over to OTA who have actually brought me bookings, its the other b……s who want huge money up front to advertise in their books/web sites, promise the earth and deliver exactly nothing.

  3. hi Yvonne
    very interesting, I agree, im working on this


  4. Peter Keynes says:

    Whilst I completely agree with your approach to building your business, Yvonne, I don’t necessarily accept it as universally right for everyone. Our business is an 8 (soon to be 9) room Lodge/B and B 200 km south of Perth city in Western Australia. Our particular city (Busselton in the Margaret River Wine Region) has over 13,000 accommodation rooms available. To generate our 75%+ occupancy in an area with a just over 50% average, we have leveraged every available resource, including Tripadvisor, a number of “Alligators” (Aggregators – like and Facebook, to name a few. Facebook has been a great benefit to us in broadcasting to our “friends” a little about ourselves and a lot about what’s going on in this amazing region. It is a quick, effective and practical way to get this message out and keep reminding a growing number of readers why they should keep coming back to this great region and to Inn the Tuarts in particular. Love your work – many thanks for all the good things you keep on putting out there. Pete

  5. My niche is accommodating special diets. I advertise on my website that I accommodate vegan, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant and gluten-free. Other B&B’s in town will refer special diet people to me – not realizing that they are losing out on a growing demographic.

  6. Hi Yvonne.

    We’re actually building our B&B business in a very similar way to how you’ve been doing it. And only 15 months in and I’d say we’re doing really well (considering we’re far off the beaten path and we’re having to introduce not just our place, but the whole region to people who are looking for something new). Our guestbook is chock full of amazing feedback, which is very encouraging. We always ask our guests how we can improve, what can we do to make their experience even better. And we listen! We take it all in and adjust accordingly. We’re also incredibly lucky… so far, we’ve only had extremely nice and happy guests. I’ve also written an ebook about our adventure and I’m really struggling with marketing. I’ve let everyone know on Facebook and now I’ve joined Twitter (because apparently that’s the way to promote). I don’t get Twitter, I don’t care about it, 140 character limit cramps my style. It’s just not me. However, B&B business seems quite different than the publishing business. Not sure the same marketing tactic applies. If you have any tips, I’m all ears. Thanks!

    My book, Following my tug… all the way to Costa Rica!, can be found at this link:


    • Hi Anne, I can see why Twitter wouldn’t work for you 🙂 You need a lead generation system with your guide to your area. Email me if you want some help putting it together.

  7. Hi Yvonne

    Greetings from sunny Isle of Man.

    We’ve been operating for 9 years now. In the early years we got ahead by having a good website and one that worked. We really do look after our guests, prior to arrival, whilst they’re here and after they leave.

    We keep in touch with guests and friends two ways. One the old fashioned Christmas card and yearly newsletter and the other on Facebook, which I don’t think brings in business, it just reminds people we’re here and they keep in touch and hopefully they’ll book to come back again. The Christmas cards are timed to arrive a few days before Christmas. It’s amazing how many people over Christmas and the New Year get in touch and re book for the following year.

    I have been selective in what advertising I pay for and I do check where my bookings are coming from. Most new ones come via Tripadvisor. I have been tempted to not pay for the listing but this week I’ve been hunting for a B&B in Nice for a girls week away in July only to find it annoying not having the B&B website link on Tripadvisor . So for me it’s that research which had confirmed I’m happy to pay for the website link.

    Thanks for your blog posting, it’s nice to think about these things and get everyone’s feedback. You hear some much about Social Media and do wonder does it really bring in loads more bookings.


  8. Natalie says:


    very interesting article. A year ago, your advice to me was to open and pay for a business account with TripAdvisor, so I am a bit confused with your above comments. I understand that with all the changes it may not be the way to go, but you say you never used it…

    I hope that all the work I have been doing with social media, blogging and research via these avenues has not been in vain, as I have recently put in place a new strategy suggested to me by a B&B coach I have been working closely with. Why do you feel that none of these tools are useless?

    I have recently limited my OTA and am working on reducing/ending my relationship with them once the strategy implemented starts to show me results.

    Thanks for the insight, hope it isn’t so black and white…

    • Yes, a year ago, I was recommending a business listing with Trip Advisor, which was when they were merely a review site. Trip Advisor played a large part in the success of my business. They are now a price comparison site, trying to squeeze money from us, left, right and centre, and I have cancelled my business listing. The strategies I have given you for raising your profile are sound. Build and nurture relationships.

  9. duboc says:

    bonjour, je prends toujours plaisir a découvrir les gens qui ont des idées, pour avancer et se démarquer. j’essaie moi aussi dans la mesure du possible. mais je me suis “du moins c’est comme ça que je le ressent” fait pièger cette année,en prenant une page sur trip, qui ne m’apporte absoluement rien, mon constat, de l’argent jeté par la fenêtre. je le déconseil fortement.
    Seul mon site m’apporte des réservations. mais vu le nombre de créations dans ma région, il me faut me démarquer encore.