In March of 2016, I travelled to Victoria BC to start a 4 day, one-on-one course with Dieter Gerhard, owner and operator of Birds of a Feather Bed and Breakfast. Originally, I was there to learn how to be an innkeeper’s helper, as having been in the hospitality industry years prior, I thought that this could be a stepping stone for me to someday own and operate my own B & B.
Within the first day of my time with Dieter, there was no doubt that not only were my anxieties around my abilities to succeed put to rest but a confidence that I could open my own B & B was awoken in me. By the end of that day the path was changed from being an innkeeper’s helper to becoming an Innkeeper myself.
By day two Dieter started to mentor me on what steps I would take going forward. Decision such as setting up a corporation versus proprietorship, coming up with brand that would include a catchy name, and how to register my company both federally and provincially to protect that name. By the end of that day The Fisherman’s Bed and Breakfast was born, registered and my email and domain was secured.
Day three was spent on how we were going to market my brand, choosing with online travel companies I should use, what affiliations I should partner with and setting me up on a new reservation system. The end of the day included a meeting Dieter set up with his company North Studio to start to build my website.
By day four I owned my own company and flew home to start interviewing builders to convert my walk out basement into two luxury suites. Over the course of the following months Dieter took me under his wings and walked me through all the details that would help make my B & B successful. Dieter put me in touch with all the right people to take care of my insurance, my photography, and even offered advice on which bank would offer my business the lowest rates.
Fast forward to July 20, 2016 when my both my website and the travel affiliates put me online. The reservations started pouring in and my suites were booked solid. It was so exciting to see my dream come to fruition and I have to give a lot of the credit to Dieter. The ins and outs that Dieter guided me through would probably have taken me three years of trial and air to learn myself. I would defiantly recommend this course to anyone wishing to start up a B & B. I can honestly say that it was my first business decision and the best business decision I ever made.
The Fisherman’s Wife B&B
After many years of working and living in northern Alberta my husband, Garry and I moved to the Shuswap to build our dream home. When the home was in the planning stage we realized the home was going to be way to large for just the two of us and we began to explore the idea of opening a Bed and Breakfast Resort! The location and view from our new home would be perfect BUT we knew nothing about running a B&B
I searched on line and found a web site that seemed to be the answer; it was a course taught by a gentleman whom had run a B&B in Victoria since 1997. We knew he would not only have all the answers to our questions but would have years of experience.
I contacted Dieter Gerhard by phone and immediately felt at ease with discussing what steps we needed to take before opening our doors.
Dieter booked us into his first course – “How to start a Bed & Breakfast - for Aspiring Inn Keepers.” We attended the course in February of 2013 while staying in the comfort of his B&B called the” Birds of a Feather”. We were the only ones taking the course so the setting was very informal and we felt privileged to receive “one on one” training. Within eight hours Dieter covered all aspects of running a B&B from current legislation, financial aspects of running your own business, setting up your home, and marketing your business.
Dieter told us at the start of the day that by the end of the day we would know whether this business was for us, or if he had stopped us from making the biggest mistake of our lives. He was right! Before the day was over we knew we wanted to make this dream a reality. There was a lot to think about and do but with Dieter’s assistance, we laid out a plan of what were the necessary first steps to take and how to move forward.
We realized that Marketing was a major obstacle for us and when Dieter offered to develop a Web site for us we knew that this would be money well spent! Not only did Dieter have many years of experience of running a B&B first hand, but also he had a company called North Studio that developed web sites.
Within six weeks and a few e-mails going back and forth our web site was ready. Garry and I travelled back to Victoria to spend two days of training on how to manage the new Web site.
Garry and I worked with several staff members of North Studio over the next two days. Jon who had created our web site worked extensively with us on how to maintain the web site. He was very knowledgeable and even though we are not that computer savvy, he let us learn at our own pace. We had several other staff members work with us to introduce us to Google +, Facebook and Pinterest. Each member walking us through these different sites and explained to us the added benefits of using these sites to market our new business.
I am not going to lie to you, after two days of training we were a little overwhelmed with the scope of information we had taken in. But we came away with detailed notes and a team of experts who told us to call any time.
Well we are home now and have registering our B&B with Tourism B.C. and joining the local Chamber of Commerce. We have been using social media to increase our exposure and drawing attention to potential new clients. The web site has only been up and running for two weeks and already we have started seeing hundreds of hits to our web site and have booked in several guests!
Thanks to Dieter and his team we feel better equipped to succeed in this business!
Garry and Nora Jackel
Shuswap Bed and Breakfast
Blind Bay B.C.
- Starting a bed and breakfast
- Operating a more Profitable Business
- Marketing your B&B
- Innsitters Interim Innkeeping for B&B's
- Student Testimonial