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What Do I Need to Open a B&B in South Africa

Do you want to earn an income by providing accommodation to tourists, giving them the best possible stay during their visit to your area? Well, opening your own B&B is the way to go. Whether you are plannning to run it yourself or employ a manager to run it for you, it is fulfilling. 


a fancy bedroom in a bed and breakfast


Bed and breakfast (B&B) establishments are one of the most rewarding ways to become a business owner within the tourism industry. Here is all you need to know about starting your own B&B.


What is a B&B?

According to the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, B&Bs provide more informal accommodation with limited service that is provided in a private home. In this article, I will not dwell too much on the number of rooms. I will just classify the B&B industry under a small accommodation property from 3 rooms upwards; it can be a bed & breakfast, guest house, boutique hotel or lodge. 


Each room must have exclusive use of bathroom facilities, and breakfast must be included in the accommodation rates. In addition, servicing of the room needs to take place every day of your guest’s stay.

bed and btreakfast management course


What processes do you need to follow to start your own B&B?

The first step you need to take is to approach your local municipality to apply for zoning permission to use your property as an accommodation establishment. You may need to gain permission from neighbouring property owners, and to display notifications to inform the public, should they want to lodge objections.


When you do get approval from the municipality, you will be required to meet certain legal requirements.


Please make ke that you do this step first, before everything, otherwise you may end up not realising your dreams. 


Important things to consider



The location of your bed and breakfast is extremely important. If you live in an area that doesn’t attract tourists, then it will be difficult to make a success of your business. Do your homework. Target areas that are appealing to both the international and local tourists. 



Firstm make sure that you have enough resources to build your B&B from scratch or to convert an existing residential property into a B&B. Als consider that tourism can be highly seasonal, so you will need to have sufficient savings to carry you through quiet periods of the year.


My advise is that your business must be multi-faceted. Focus on bot the international and local market. Design rates for high season (targeting your international guests) and for low season (targeting the local market. Over the recent years, South Africans have grown to like exploring South Africa. 


A new lifestyle

If you are planning to run the B&B yourself, your lifestyle will change dramatically when you become the involved owner. You will often need to wake up early and go to bed late, and you will have to adapt to guests sharing your home.


You will also need to pay attention to maintenance and keeping your guests satisfied at all times. Most B&B owners employ a manager to run the establishment while they focus on the bigger things. You will realise that when you employ someone, you may end up being able to open even more B&Bs, depending on how well the current one is run.  


As the B&B owner, you will also have to be active on tourism & hospitality associations in your area. This will help you to be well ahead in terms of the industry news and you will be able to grab opportunities as they come. If you are a woman, look for a women in tourisn & hospitality association in your area. There are many other organizations, including GHASA, FEDHASA, etc that help B&B owners with a lot of resources.


Marketing your B&B 

The accommodation industry is highly competitive, so you will need to invest some time and money into marketing your B&B. A well marketed B&B makes money. Do not wait for guests to come to you, find them. Make sure that your existing customers become ambassadors of your B&B.


We have amazing marketing packages for B&Bs. We will help you put your establishment out there, in fortn of your customers and help get busier than before. Our B&B marketing package includes, web development, SEO, social media marketing, google marketing, influencer marketing, etc. We charge a reasonable monthly fee based on your requirements and size.




For more information, email us on training@hospitalitycourses.co.za or call Samkeliso Nkwanyane on 082 765 9238



Whether you are planning to run the business yourself or not, you will need staff to help you. Housekeeping is one of the most important staff you will need. Depending on the size of your establishment, plan to have at least 2 housekeeping staff. One can be permanent and the other will be on standby. Remember a B&B operates 7 days a week, so you will need someone when your staff member is off. 


Also you may need a receptionist, who will take bookings, respond to emails, check in guests and show guests your property. If you will be offering breakfast, you may need a staff member who will multitask e.g. be a receptionist and prepare breakfast, or do housekeeping and prepare breakfast. 


You also may need a gardener/ groundsman to take care of your garden and maintenance. The number of staff will be informed by the size of your establishment and the facilities/ services you provide. Some B&Bs provide extra facilities like conference, spa, bar, etc.

image of B&B and guest house marketing workshop in Johannesbur

I hope this article helps. Freel free to contact us should you require any further information. Are you planning to open your own B&B? Please leave a comment.


Kindest Regards,


Sam Nkwanyane

Hospitality Coach • Speaker • Consultant