5 things you need to know about setting up a B&B

If you’re lucky enough to have some spare rooms, you might be thinking about how you could generate some income by running your own B&B business. Here are a few things you need to know before you take the plunge and open your doors to paying guests.

1. It’s vital to know your target audience

If you’ve ever watched The Hotel Inspector, you’ll know that many B&B businesses suffer because they’re not clear about the type of traveller they’re trying to appeal to. Before you do anything else, think about who your typical guests will be. If you’re in a National Park, it might be walkers or other outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re in a city break destination like Bath, perhaps romantic couples will be your primary audience? In a seaside town, maybe you’ll be targeting families? Near an airport? Business travellers could be a lucrative market to appeal to.

2. You may need planning permission

You may well need to apply for ‘change of use’ if you’re planning to use your own home as a B&B. You may also need building regulations approval if you’re doing things like installing extra bathrooms, so it’s best to check with your local council before your plans go any further.

3. Health and safety matters

Before you can open your B&B to paying guests, you’ll need to make sure all aspects of health and safety are taken care of. This includes having a fire risk assessment carried out and complying with regulations on fire safety, such as ensuring there are fire action and fire exit signs clearly displayed and fire extinguishers throughout the building. Read the official Government guidance on this important subject here.

On another health and safety note, you’ll need to arrange for an Environmental Health official to inspect your premises from a food hygiene perspective. There’s lots more about your obligations here.

4. You’ll need to work hard at your marketing

It’s important to think about how you’ll market your B&B, as bookings won’t just magically come in by themselves simply because you’ve opened for business. Brainstorm ways you’ll bring in bookings, such as:


  • List your B&B on third-party sites such as Airbnb or Booking.com
  • Set up a website of your own
  • Get listed on local tourism websites and brochures
  • Partner with other local businesses to promote each other
  • Set up social media accounts to promote your business
  • Make sure you’re listed on Google Maps and Bing Maps


You’ll also want to make sure you have a presence on big review sites such as TripAdvisor, and constantly monitor what guests are saying about your B&B so that you can respond and take on board any feedback.

5. Insurance is a must

Finally, as with any business, having the right insurance in place is essential. If you’d like find out more about B&B insurance, why not give one of our business insurance teams a call and tell us about your B&B to receive a tailored quote?