“Running a B&B is a lifestyle choice,” Panuccio stresses. “B&Bs should be a place where people can meet a real Australian person who cooks pretty well, is helpful and friendly, and where guests feel they’re not just a number.”
Liz Pryor heads Hosted Accommodation Australia, the peak industry organisation for the B&B, farmstay, guesthouse and self-catering accommodation industry, maintains more and more young people, including internationals, were keen to own a B&B.
“It can be a daunting idea at first,” she said. “But if you’re the right sort of person and have considered the type of business you want to run and how it will fit into your life, B&Bs offer a good supplementary income.”
“Above all, remember that B&Bs should offer a ‘real’ experience for guests, with plenty of interaction between the guests and the host.”
Potential B&Bers must be prepared to be a ‘jack of all trades’, especially in the housekeeping area as this is where they stand head and shoulders above any five-star hotel with small but highly-appreciated niceties like real, fresh flowers in the room, top-of-the-range amenities and bed-time chockies and port. Breakfasts are the star attraction, with most focusing on fresh localised, in-season flavours delivered with a personal flair.
Above all, operators must be totally committed to flexible, personalised, generous hospitality; graciously given, at all times for any reason.
Marketing a B&B can be far easier than for larger accommodation businesses as they usually have unrivalled locations, unique character structures and that idiosyncratic human connection offering incredibly flexible, personalised service plus a locally-fresh breakfast orgy experience far beyond anything a branded five-star can offer.
And the results of the social media review sites confirm the present B&B popularity. Booking.com, which has looked over the 110 million reviews posted on the site during 2016, finds B&Bs have consistently impressed visitors.
Of the 12 properties around Australia that received a perfect 10 score, not one is a traditional hotel. Seven are B&Bs, two are holiday homes, and the remaining three are an apartment, a guesthouse and a homestay.
Booking.com says the results come as no surprise given recent research found that 70 percent of holiday-makers say they have the best time when they can make themselves at home, and 59 percent saying they like to feel a personal connection with their host or accommodation staff.
Baudins of Busselton, run by husband-and-wife team Linda and Greg Leuzzi on the southwestern tip of Western Australia, has been rated by travellers as the best place to stay in Australia, according to hotel search website Trivago.
There are only four rooms, all modern and fully equipped. Linda and Greg also live on the premises and cook their guests a full and hearty meal each morning.
It’s thoughtful touches like this that may help explain the humble B&B’s incredible appeal, Linda explains. “One really good formula we have is the communal breakfast: I can be quite the conversationalist and I’ll get people talking, and sometimes we’ll have people all over the world eating together — sometimes four continents on one table.”
B&Bs have a niche following among the travelling public and one only has to look at the impressive number of these businesses to realise how successful they are.
Ownership, once the preserve of retirement couples supplementing their incomes by sharing their homes, now features a new, younger set that embrace a wonderful lifestyle with a healthy return in a growing and most appealing accommodation sector.