How to Become a B&B Inn in New York State

dreamstime_4225512Purchasing a Bed and Breakfast, or starting a new Bed and Breakfast Inn is exciting! Experienced Innkeepers often stress the importance of joining an organization like ESSBA as a method of learning from others, supporting the industry, enhancing quality standings, staying current, marketing and much more. It is also equally important to study and embrace local and state laws focused on this industry.

Getting Started – Places that can help with your questions about how to start a B&B

  • IRS – www.irs.gov
  • Building Codes for your state/town/city
  • Code Enforcement Officers
  • County Health Departments
  • State and Local bnb associations
  • Real Estate agents specializing in B&B sales

Definitions & Distinctions – always check with your local & state laws, codes and regulations

Homestay – A lodging option that involves staying in a private home, usually as the paying guests of the owners. This option is frequently offered when the purpose of travel is to learn a foreign language.

Bed and Breakfast – a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals. Typically, bed and breakfasts are private homes with fewer than 10 bedrooms available for commercial use.

Bed and Breakfast Inn – Like a B&B except may host events such as weddings, small business meetings, etc. Room numbers range from 4-30. The distinction between a “bed and breakfast” and a “bed and breakfast inn” is not readily apparent, except with regard to building usage.

Bed and Breakfast Cottage – A detached building affording privacy and seclusion to guests, with owner providing minimal services. Breakfast is either delivered to the room, taken with others in a central dining room or placed prior to arrival (or upon daily cleaning) in the cottage kitchen facilities. Owner is usually available for questions. The light personal touch and memorable B&B decor further distinguish this genre from the vacation rental/condo.

Bed and Breakfast Hotel – These are 30+-room historic properties offering breakfast that can only be considered hotels. Only the historic structure, and perhaps some decorating components and breakfast provide the B&B feel.

Country Inn: Limited service. Guest rooms are decorated with an at-home feeling, and specialized décor may include antiques. May lack some modern amenities such as TVs or phones. Offers a dining room which reflects the ambience of the inn. At a minimum, breakfast and dinner are served.

Guest House – among the features which distinguish a guest house from a hotel, bed and breakfast, or Inn is the lack of a full-time staff. Because of limited staff presence, check in at a guest house is often by appointment. In some locations, tenants in a guest house need to pay a substantial damage deposit, and a cleaning fee.

Apartment House – a building, or portion of, which is occupied as the home or residence of multi family living units, independent of each other and doing their own cooking. Typically viewed as permanent or semipermanent place of residence.

“Most bed and breakfasts and inns in New York state typically fit into three basic categories: private home B&Bs, B&B inns, and country inns. Private home B&Bstypically operate in a private residence, have one to four guest rooms that may accept up to nine guests, and serve breakfast to guests only. B&B Inns operate either in a private residence or lodging facility, have 5 to 24 guest rooms, and serve breakfast to guests only. Country Inns typically operate in a lodging facility with 5 to 24 rooms and have full-service dining for both guests and the public. B&Bs and inns that do not fit into one of these three categories (e.g., a B&B with four rooms and dining facilities for both guests and the public) are categorized as “other B&Bs and Inns” in this report.” (New York Bed And Breakfast And Inn Industry Study, 1993)

Books written about B&B ownership and marketing. Here are a couple to start with.

So..You Want To Be An Innkeeper  by Davies, Hardy, Bell and Brown – A management guide for innkeeping written by four innkeepers.  Includes bibliographical references and index.  ISBN 0-8118-1226-X (pbk.)

Innkeeping Unlimited by Ellen Ryan – Written by a professional reviewer who traveled to hundreds of B&B/inns to get a guest’s perspective. Provides practical, low-cost ways to improve your B&B and win repeat business. ISBN 0-9667466-0-0

Sharing is a great way to Expand & Grow

Join a local or state B&B association and participate in B&B exchange programs. Look for aspiring innkeeper training or other innkeeper training.

Join or contact ESBBA. We can help you on of your journey!