Does the Owner Have to Live in Their B&B?
The traditional B&B tends to have a live-in landlord or landlady, sometimes a couple, who have opened up their house to paying guests. Typically it is a private home with fewer than ten bedrooms available for commercial use. The owner does everything from preparing the breakfast to cleaning the rooms.
But the B&B is changing. Flowery wallpaper is being stripped down and contemporary décor installed instead. Continental breakfasts are served side by side with the full English, sometimes as a replacement. So, in these modern times, do you have to live in your B&B?
What Do Your Visitors Want?Visitors choose to stay in a B&B because they don't like the impersonal feel of a hotel. A hotel has staff that rotate shifts and don't get to know their customers as a B&B owner does. Guests like the contact with a live-in owner, someone who is there for them at all hours of the day and who is always ready to answer questions or help with problems. Guests know they can rely on someone who owns and looks after their own property and are reassured when they see the owner going about his daily tasks.
Some seasoned B&B visitors like the traditional aspect of their choice of holiday accommodation. It depends who you are marketing yourself to. If you want to appeal to the older generation then they will expect you to live in your B&B and give the attentive service that they are used to. They will feel reassured by your presence.
Look at the AdvantagesThere are advantages for the owner too. There is no daily commute and you are on site to make sure everything is to your liking. If a problem occurs, you are there to solve it. The owner knows his own house and if a guest has a quibble about the establishment, he knows how to deal with it. You don't risk a late night call out from a guest with an emergency; if anything urgent crops up, you are there immediately.
Consider AlternativesBut there is no actual law stating you have to live in your B&B. You can own and run one and live off the premises. You can even hire staff. It all comes down to personal preference.
As B&Bs move with the times, younger guests tend to be more independent and enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of a B&B with all the mod-cons of a hotel. Many B&B owners make sure that visitors don't spend the day on the premises so as long as you are there in the morning and the evening, there is no reason to stay on the premises at night or throughout the day.
Downsides of Living On-SiteYou might not like having to transform your living space when you live in your B&B. Depending on how big your house is and how many rooms you have turned into guest bedrooms, your own living area may be small. You might even share your breakfast space or dining space with your customers. You will certainly have to keep all communal areas spick and span at all times.
When you don't live in your B&B, your space is obviously your own. You or your staff have to keep the B&B spotlessly clean, but you can live how you like. You might find this an easier option if you have a family or pets.
Some owners have more than one B&B and run them much more as businesses with staff or managers in their place. You have to decide whether you can afford to hire staff and if you can, you need to be sure they will do just as good a job in your place.