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Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    Not just for dummies: Excellent resource for both innkeepers and aspiring innkeepers

    We bought our B&B about four years ago. In preparation for that step we read several books on owning and operating, purchasing, or converting a home to, a bed and breakfast. Most of these books were minimally adequate, but not really outstanding, with not enough detail on the financial and marketing aspects of the business. One was very good, but somewhat out of date.

    Mary White's book is a welcome addition to this field, providing a thorough description of everything from considering whether owning a b&b is appropriate for you, to growing the successful business.

    In the familiar "Dummies" manner, the book uses cartoons (some very cute!) to introduce the parts of the book, and uses icons to flag tips, important information and warnings of danger. The book is organized into six parts:

    1. Inn the Beginning: an outline of what a bed and breakfast is (and is not), potential marketing challenges, necessary social skills, and commitment, and a bit about the lifestyle change that a b&b brings.

    2. Transitioning from Inn Goer to Inn Owner: a discussion of professionals who can help, from inn consultants to accountants, and lawyers, creating a business plan and financial forecasts, along with a discussion of buying an existing inn versus starting a new inn from scratch.

    3. Getting Ready for Guests: setting up your record-keeping systems, choosing a property management system, setting rates and establishing policies, getting basic marketing in place, furnishing and decorating the inn, and even a few recipes to get things started.

    4. Up and Running: Day-to-Day Operations: this section covers guest communications and taking reservations, basic hospitality (taking care of guests), handling problem guests, chores and maintenance, and getting help you need when you need it.

    5. Taking It Beyond Breakfast and the Basics: how to analyze your results and make future projections, concrete marketing steps to help you move forward, and keeping yourself fine-tuned.

    6. The Part of Tens: collections of tips for cleaning economies of time and money, and ideas for getting guests to return.

    From even this brief outline of Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies you can see that Mary's book is a "soup to nuts" presentation. Not everyone (whether considering becoming an owner of a b&b, or already running a b&b) will find a need for every chapter, but nearly everyone will find value within its pages.

    When considering a new venture, such as the purchase of a bed & breakfast, most will do some research, looking for books on the topic, and seeking help from knowledgeable sources. Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies should be one of those sources. The treatment is thorough and professional. Mary White provides the benefit of her years of experience working with the bed & breakfast industry to provide information that can be put to work immediately. Where she lacks personal experience, Mary has obtained advice from multiple sources in the industry and presents the best practices which she has gathered from them.

    For the experienced innkeeper Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies provides a way of validating operational decisions, and the opportunity to re-evaluate choices, to see if changes can be made to improve the level of service, grow the business, and prepare for the future.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    Excellent tool for aspiring Innkeepers!

    What a great resource for the Bed & Breakfast industry! I have been an Innkeeper for 14 years and have had the position of Administrator for the past nine years for our State Association. All the information in Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies is right on target for aspiring Innkeepers as well as seasoned Innkeepers. Mary has spelled everything out in plain language that everyone can understand. I will definatly recommend Mary's book to people inquiring about starting a Bed & Breakfast.
    Sandy Timmermann/Timmermann House Bed & Breakfast
    Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association Administrator

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    Bed & Breakfast for Dummies - A compelling read!

    Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies

    As a former innkeeper of 12 years and a professional Inn Broker since 1992, I was impressed with Mary White's insight into our industry. Her writing style is wonderful and inspiring and will certainly intrigue the aspiring innkeeper.
    I purposefully did not pay attention to the Table of Contents, as I did not want to skip ahead to the sections that held the most interest to me. The section on Verifying zoning, permits, and codes and the section Evaluating the added value of goodwill were particularly relevant. After completing the read I realized what an important reference book this will be for ALL innkeepers.

    Pete Holladay
    TMG, Inc. ~ Real Estate Consultants
    B&B and Country Inn Consultants

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009


    Running A Bed and Breakfast for Dummies was a very thorough book that touched on more aspects about setting up and running an inn than I had ever imagined! The book had a great flow and provided many valuable resources. You can tell the author has dedicated a lot of time to make sure the reader is well aware of what is required and where to seek help if necessary. Very resourceful!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2009

    Great Book for Aspiring Innkeepers

    This is a FABULOUS resource for aspiring innkeepers. Although, I am not an innkeeper, I do work in the industry and have a good relationship with thousands of innkeepers. I have looked at many how-to books and this is one of the best! It really covers all that "you need to know". from finding a property, funding, running the inn and so much more. It is also a terrific book for experienced innkeepers who want a refresher course on innkeeping. Mary does not hold back when enlightening an aspiring innkeeper in what is ahead on purchasing and running an inn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Love the B&B for Dummies

    I am generally a big fan of the Dummies' series and I can say that, 'Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies,' is no exception. The author doesn't just touch on breakfast and guest etiquette, but creates a whole business plan and model that first time business owners can follow. No matter how many other books you've read on opening a bed & breakfast, I recommend that you add this one to your list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

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