The old adage- location, location, location- applies to B&B's just like any other form of real estate. This means the broad location, like the town, county or region, as well as the specific location. Is the B&B the destination or is the area the destination? Does the location have a seasonal business? Is it on a Main Street? Is it situated next to something undesirable?
Location is important because it is one element that you cannot change after you purchase your B&B. You can improve your marketing campaign and increase your revenue. You can paint and update the features of the inn. You can take a casual home and make it elegant. But you can't move a gorgeous home in the middle of nowhere to a booming tourism destination. You are stuck in the middle of nowhere, with few travelers willing to venture to your inn if it is not supported by a location offering other activities, sights and things to do.
Lancaster County does have a seasonal tourism business. However, visitors come to Lancaster year-round for various reasons. The busiest time of year has customarily been the fall, especially October. The summer months are also very busy, with some variation from year to year as to which summer month is the busiest. January is the quietest month, but never completely quiet. There are many attractions open during the Christmas season, bringing visitors into the area for theaters, outlet shopping and Christmas tours.
We take tourism seriously in Lancaster. It is roughly a third of the local economy and we like having so much to do within a short drive. Discover Lancaster is the visitors bureau for Lancaster County. Their annual budget for 2015 was 3.7 Million. Here is their annual report - don't' worry, it is presented like a power point with great visuals and not a snooze: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/Uploads/files/AnnualMeeting2015DL.pdf
This is the kind of marketing and monitoring of the marketplace that you will want to see for the area where you purchase your inn. A place that has a lot to offer travelers and one that successfully markets what they have to bring the visitors to town. That's where you step in and join the visitors bureau so you can benefit from their marketing campaign. Of course there are many other marketing avenues, but this one is so easy and so financially beneficial for you and "your" inn.
Lisa Naples, Realtor
I'm enjoying my 17th year of selling residential real estate in Lancaster County. In my past career I was an innkeeper for a 9 room local B&B. Now I enjoy the best of both worlds - finding new owners for Lancaster County bed & breakfasts. Please leave comments, I'd love to have your feedback!