Other Income Ideas
Innkeeping may be your primary purpose of business but allowing for additional sources of income — as long as they don’t take your focus from your primary purpose — is smart business. Gift shops are my favorite additional source of income because guests like taking part of you home with them — if they’ve had a good time. Additional income ideas are abundant. Let me share some of the numerous ideas I have seen and heard of from other inns. [Be careful to not lose sight of your rooms being your primary profit center as you work on creating additional income sources. Having several income streams is an excellent idea, helping you maximize your peak season income as well as your off season income — as long as you don’t forget your main reason for business.]
You should be able to have 4-6% of sales be from the sale of goods (gifts, food products, books). I know one innkeeper who created the equivalent income of one more guestroom from her gift shop. I call that easy money!
- afternoon/high tea
- art/fashion shows
- bicycle/ski/boat rentals
- cooking school/dance lessons
- dinner club/wine tasting
- Elder Hostel (located in Boston)
- gift certificates
- gift shop
- backpack/waist-pack/water bottle
- dried herbs, potpourri
- glasses (coffee, wine, water) and mugs (travel or coffee)
- Inn products
- recipes, cookbooks
- toiletries (suntan lotion, razors, toothbrush/paste, soap)
- Leisure Learning (located in Houston)
- luncheons or picnics
- meetings, conferences, workshops, retreats, encounter weekends
- member Services getaways
- murder mystery weekends
- reading/Music series
- weddings and receptions
Be sure to track income by “department” so you have a clear picture of each business aspect. Analysis is easier and more precise if income is separated (room sales, gift sales, events, rentals). When you are ready to sell your B&B Inn, having your income separated by “department” greatly helps not only your Inn Broker establish a price for you but it also helps a buyer evaluate your inn more carefully.
One point I do want to address here is the concept of spreading yourself too thin and of not focusing on your market niche. You want to manage the business, not have it mange you. [This concept is addressed more fully and from different angles in two other e-books — Marketing — Standing Out From The Competition and Daily Operations — The 8-Ring Circus.] What is your primary reason for business? My first thought is it’s offering a comfortable overnight stay to your guests. If you are doing too many things, especially if they are labor intensive and not supporting the guest experience, you will exhaust yourself and probably not tend to your guests as well as you “should” — should in the sense of satisfying their needs so they will return and send their friends and associates. If you don’t stay focused on your market niche then you will be sending varied messages, maybe even mixed messages, that will dilute the image of who you are and what guest experience you are offering. [I address this in more detail in my e-book Building A Good Foundation — So You Don’t Find Yourself In A Hole.] A diluted image translates to diluted income, and that’s contrary to what you are trying to accomplish here.
This is a sample from the eBook “Show Me The Money! (Great Expectations)”. Click here to order this eBook and others in the Series.