This afternoon I was interviewed by Melana Yanos, a writer for NuWire Investor, an online newsletter and website with information about investing in everything from real estate and precious metals to green investing and bed and breakfast inns. She already penned one article about B&Bs and wanted to follow it up with some insight into wedding venues and inns. She asked some great questions, which are worth talking about.
Most innkeepers have, at a minimum, been approached by someone wanting to get married at their B&B. Many have tried it, at least once, sometimes with the conclusion, "Never again!" Others have found that weddings can be very profitable. With the right site, facilities, location, marketing, strategic partners, and temperament, weddings can be an unusually profitable way to use an inn. Not only do you derive room revenue (generally with a full house), but there are site and facility fees, perhaps catering or other income from services provided, commissions for other services contracted for, and even event planning fees. Of course, a weekend wedding is much more work than a weekend full of guests, beginning with the preparation. And there’s also the stress.
Not everyone is cut out for weddings. Did I mention stress? New brides-to-be and their mothers are famously difficult and fickle, and successful wedding hosts know how to deal with them. They also know people: florists, caterers, tent and chair/table providers, musicians, photographers, electricians and carpenters, and limousine services, just to name a few. They also know where else wedding attendees can stay, as most inns aren’t incapable of sleeping 100-200 people!
If you’re considering a "marriage proposal," be sure to do your due diligence regarding zoning, event permits, ABC licenses, parking, etc. If you can’t do more than one event a month, you won’t become a real wedding venue.
But key to the decision to host weddings, if you have an operating bed & breakfast now, is whether you’re prepared to divorce your current stable of guests. Because if most of your business is in leisure travel and on weekends, you will sacrifice those travelers in favor of weddings, which are also on weekends, shutting out your leisure guests. But if you’ve got the temperament, location, and skills, weddings can be very profitable. Do you host weddings? Tell us about it here!