A guest house is a private house offering paid accommodation. A bed and breakfast is generally a private house offering accommodation and breakfast in a package deal.

These are very general definitions, and could relate to any size of accommodation, and any standard of facility or service.

In Britain, guest houses have become most commonly equated with seaside accommodation. In South Africa guest houses are generally found in tourist areas. In Australia, guesthouses are often larger facilities, and bed and breakfast operations are smaller.

This course is relevant to any form of house or home type accommodation provided primarily for tourists. This is distinctly different to hotel accommodation which is not in a "home style" setting.

Guesthouses and B & B's do not have the hustle & bustle of hotels. They are able to provide a simpler form of accommodation, catering to smaller numbers of guests, and providing a more informal or even personal interaction between guests and staff/owners.

Before You Begin
Before deciding whether to embark on operating a guesthouse, thorough research should be undertaken. A concise and well formulated feasibility analysis serves a dual purpose.
 
1. It gathers together the thoughts and ideals of the prospective owner.
  • Does the prospective owner have the right temperament to run the business?
  • Were all organisations approached for relevant information?
  • Did the prospective owner carefully consider the cost and other implications of admitting paying guests into their home?
  • Are calculations of expenditure versus foreseen income available?
  • Are skilled staff readily available?
  • Will additional tasks become burdensome to the owner?
 
2. It is a document to help convince others of the viability of the project:
  • to obtain financing. 
  • to convince suppliers (maybe).
  • to convince a partner, if necessary.
  • to convince the family who the venture may effect.
 
The following should be included in a feasibility analysis:
 
Competitive Analysis
  • Do similar facilities exist in the vicinity?
  • If so where are they found?
  • At which markets are they targeted?
  • Could there be a market overlap with the proposed venture?
  • Is there a need in the market for the proposed venture?
  • What percentage of the overall market would the new venture be expected to draw?
 
Market Analysis
  • What markets should be targeted?
  • What are the occupancy levels of other establishments in the area?
 
After researching all aspects concerning the business, a working plan should be drawn up to include the following:
  • The daily operations of the business
  • Financing
  • Legal matters
 
Financial Analysis
Clearly determine the objective of the new business.
*Project income and expenditure scenarios for a reasonable period.
*Investigate the availability and cost of skilled staff.