Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Whether rural or city, there are different genres, or types of B&Bs.

Here in the Greater Asheville area, we have the full range, from large to small, and from rustic to contemporary. After spending some time with you, and understanding your choices, a Real Estate professional who specializes in the B&B market, as I do, can introduce you to a B&B that is likely to appeal to you.

Here are the different types of B&Bs we have in the Greater Asheville area.

The B&B Homestay. Many B&B proprietors start out in a small, residential business. This B&B Homestay is in a private, owner-occupied residence. The frequency and volume of visitors depends upon the primary use of the real property as your private residence. You could have from one to five bedrooms available, and expect additional income as a result. Some “Homestays” we know call themselves “ B & Fix Your Own Bs” but most do offer a full breakfast.

Please note, this business is not necessarily salable to a new owner.

A second type of B&B is the B&B/Inn. This is a commercially licensed business operated in a building that primarily provides overnight accommodations to the public even though you as the owner may live on the premises. In the Greater Asheville area, our surveys show that guest rooms for a B&B Inn range from four to 20 rooms averaging in nightly price ranges of from $150, per night to $320 or more. Breakfast is the only meal served and is included in the room charge. The business IS salable to a new owner, and is subject to all local, state, and federal regulations.

A third type of B&B business is the Country Inn. As the category title implies, this commercially licensed establishment is found at some distance from commercial areas. Visitors simply plan to drive to it as a destination. Such establishments may be known for their “romance factor” or for their superb cuisine.

The Country Inn not only offers overnight accommodations but a full-service restaurant that provides breakfast and dinner to overnight guests and/or the public. Still this can be a rather small facility with a minimum of four to a maximum of 20, although a number of Country Inns do have more than 20 guest rooms.

The business is salable to a new owner, and is subject to all local, state, and federal regulations.

Also recognized within the group of B&B accommodations are Small or Historic Hotels, establishments with twenty or more rooms that provide the “service and privacy of a hotel in the setting of an inn with some individual attention from a host.” Historic hotels typically are "at least fifty years old and associated with events or persons of significance in contributing to the broad patterns of history." Many of these small hotels have the advantage of distinctive characteristics of an architectural type, or a particular period in history. In order to be considered a true B&B, they must serve breakfast, of course!


If you are attracted to the B&B business not only as an alternative lifestyle, but as a business venture you choose to operate for profit, you will need to take into consideration many variables. Needless to say, there are the financial facts of monthly overhead and debt payment, and the annual occupancy rate to take into account.Other variables will include number of rooms, seasonal highs and lows in the Greater Asheville area, start-up and improvement costs, advertising and PR expenses, your own income level, and your own profit goals.

A CAVEAT?: In a study by The Professional Association of International Innkeepers research showed that “most B&B inns needed at least five to six rooms to reach the break-even point before debt service and at least six to seven guest rooms to reach the break-even point after debt service.” The study also revealed “that average B&B owners devoted more than 74 hours a week to the daily running of a five to ten room inn.”

My own experience differs from this. I ran a 4 bedroom establishment, organized my staff from the college kids and grandparents in my area, worked less than I did when I owned an Executive Search Firm, and made a fine living in the process. My accountant warned me that a four bedroom B&B completely free of debt with no hourly wage taken out by me might generate a profit with 20 percent occupancy. But I did much better than this.

For more on B&Bs and B&Bs for sale in the Greater Asheville area please see:

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