What are the 3 Most Important Tips to Sell a Bed and Breakfast?

Lynda Hayes
Operations expert, Linda Hayes, knows a thing or two about selling a business – particularly in the hospitality arena. Having owned a luxury inn as well as a successful restaurant, Linda graciously spent her time today going over her top 3 considerations for selling an inn business.

Mental Preparation for Selling a Bed and Breakfast

First and foremost, you have to be mentally ready, says Hayes. This is the most important step in the selling process. All too often she encounters two partners not aligned in their exit strategy goals. You have to be in agreement with your partner in order to successfully transfer your bed and breakfast to the new owners. You are about to embark on more than a transactional quest; this emotional journey includes knowing the price you will accept, your ideal timing, your new location and any sentimental items you are taking with you. Your entire lifestyle is about to change and serious consideration must be given to account for the time and energy needed to get ready to list.

Embracing a Role to Sell a Bed and Breakfast

Second, you need to fully embrace the role you, as the owner, plays in the selling process after you have decided to put your inn on the market. It’s quite different from a residential real estate transaction; especially in recent years, when homes were sold almost on the sidewalk with multiple bidders. You will be intimately involved in the selling process. Put on your sales hat and be prepared to sell not only the physical assets but the entire lifestyle to the new owners. Find out all you can from your broker about the interests of any qualified buyers they send. Do they love hiking? Plan a day of adventure! Are they foodies? Take them to the best restaurant in town. Help them fall in love with the same dream that captured your heart so many years ago. If they see your passion, you just may ignite theirs! Share your love of the town, the attractions, and your location in general – playing up those strengths to the potential buyer.

Lynda Hayes - Tips to Selling a Bed and Breakfast

Prepare Operationally to Sell a B&B

Third, you need to be prepared operationally. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. In fact, you may need to enlist the help of a professional operations consultant, such as Linda Hayes, to strategically organize all the day to day operations and systems of the inn. You are selling a business that must be explained in minutia to any new buyer. When you list your business property for sale, you are responsible to accurately and easily disseminate the inner workings of the inn. The most successful transfers often involve a digital handbook chronicling all the day to day operations. Items such as your procedures, images, recipes, marketing logins and access codes need to be in one place. The new owners need to understand your booking engine, website, rate management system and a host of other daily operations necessary to the successful running of a lodging property. To miss a beat could easily compromise the reputation of the bed and breakfast for the new owners as they take over. Make it seamless for them! You should be able to easily walk away after a brief training period. This one task alone will set you head and shoulders above any of your competitors who might also be on the market. You will need that competitive advantage! The transition period will be so much easier if you share all of this information prior to the final day, helping the new owners fully understand what they are purchasing and how to successfully assume ownership.

Get Started

If you are thinking of selling a bed and breakfast contact White Stone Brokers today for a free consultation. You can also join our exclusive Inner Circle to receive access to custom curated content by industry experts that are not available to the public. Content, webinars, articles and more that help buyers and sellers achieve more than they thought possible. The Inner Circle is the only organization offering this type of community and educational opportunities in the industry.

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Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly is a business broker and seasoned marketing strategist, leveraging over 15 years of experience with White Stone Marketing. With roots in direct sales and account management at Google, Chris pivoted to digital marketing, successfully growing revenues for hundreds of lodging properties. His expertise spans from consulting on operations to running in-depth marketing campaigns for bed and breakfasts, inns, resorts, boutique hotels, and event venues. Chris is passionate about helping properties reach their peak potential and ultimate sale price.