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airBnB , Bed and Breakfast opinions

Old 05-17-23, 11:11 PM
  #1  
rossiny
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airBnB , Bed and Breakfast opinions

Any opinions or tips on where would be a good place to buy , or set up a place for cycle tourists to stop in for a touring vaction or stopping point for rest , etc.?
Im trying to think of a place to buy or manage, as a B and B for cyclists. What area of the country, or how to go about researching? Thanks in advance , as I know theres a wealth of knowledge here.. PS I am in the SE Wisconsin area.
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Old 05-18-23, 02:17 AM
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What comes to mind is... along one of the ACA routes. I'd probably select a location in a sizeable city - tourers will either camp a few miles away or search for a cycling-friendly alternative. And you'll get other customers as well.

FWIW - I try to book youth hostels whenever I can.
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Old 05-18-23, 02:40 AM
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Jeffrey City, Wyoming

I have seen a rise in Airbnb in some traditional resort/vacation areas. For example, I've noticed it along the coast of Oregon, in mountains of New Mexico. What used to be the vacation cabin in the woods now being supplemented with Airbnb. I suspect where you are that northern Wisconsin or along the shores of the Great Lakes might be similar.

I'm not sure there is enough business most focused on bicycle tourists but you can pick places that might have higher numbers. Places that are more difficult/expensive to get a car perhaps. Islands like Mackinac Island, Nantucket or the San Juan Islands come to mind. Still destination tourists but more likely to ride a bike.

Alternately, find spots that already have more cyclists and situate close to there. Jeffrey City above was half in jest as a spot along a cycling corridor (Transamerica route), without much competition and not as focused on destination tourists.

Perhaps less in jest is along a more popular rail trail that would otherwise attract cyclists.

Overall, I expect wherever you pick, cyclists would be a subset of your overall visitors and more a question if you can have that subset be larger.

I also see Airbnb and B&B as being somewhat different in terms of the commitment required. I also see a backlash in some resort areas against vacation rentals. Some like them for extra income, others are not excited about their neighbors bringing in many short term rentals.

​​​
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Old 05-18-23, 05:11 AM
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Actually, I believe Jeffrey City now has both a motel and a cyclist hostel.

One possibility is along a long(ish) bike trail. A few years ago, the four building B&B in West Newton, PA, along the very popular GAP trail was listed for sale for $900,000. Iíve seen it a couple times. Looks like someone snapped up and renovated older houses. From what I have heard, itís pretty popular. Also, someone recently purchased Buffalo Billís house from The Silence of the Lambs and turned it into a stay experience place. Itís located just off the trail.

I think a B&B would take more of an effort than something like a hostel because of the latterís food aspect. Might even be subject to more regulations.

Last edited by indyfabz; 05-18-23 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 05-18-23, 06:35 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful way to make a small fortune, assuming one starts off with a large one. Is this a viable business.

What is it 140 miles from Lander to Rawlins and 186 miles to Saratoga from Lander with just Muddy in between? Jeffrey City seems logical but it seemed bombed out and boarded up to me.

I'd probably look at areas with multiple use like Fontana Dam area where lodgings are scarce. You have the Smokies, Appalachian trail, that famous motorcycle twisty route called the corkscrew, good cycling roads, boating, winter skiing, etc.
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Old 05-18-23, 06:44 AM
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Not exactly on-point but along the rail trails I ride in NY there are 3 health food/coffee type places that opened with the rail trail business in mind.

All three have survived that critical first year of business. They're all in suburban town centers (and nowhere near each other).
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Old 05-18-23, 07:38 AM
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I would recommend talking with these people: https://www.shadysprucehostel.com/

They run a biking hostel in Missoula, MT, home to the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) and a town on three ACA routes. They might be able to give you more information on what works, what the challenges are, and ideas for location, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 05-18-23, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I think a B&B would take more of an effort than something like a hostel because of the latterís food aspect. Might even be subject to more regulations.
Airbnb can be even less effort because the owner doesn't need to be there. To make a practical and current example:

I am currently riding between Concord, NH and Montpelier, VT on my state capitols tour. Yesterday I started the Northern Rail Trail, 56 gravel miles from Boscawen NH and Lebanon NH. That was a little further than I wanted to ride so I was hoping for 42 mile ride to a B&B in Canaan NH. Unfortunately, they didn't respond to either phone message or text messages. So I started the morning riding and let things figure out - either camping or ride all the way or find something in Canaan.

It was windy and cold yesterday. My bag is rated 35F and it turned out to be 24F last night. I stopped for lunch after 30 of 60 miles and assessed the situation. I could do it but it would be a tough slog to White River Junction (4-5 miles past Lebanon). The trail had a lot more soft stuff and head winds were a factor on the road.

I looked up Airbnb and turns out there was a cabin seven miles from me. I put in for a reservation and asked if it was too much to check in an hour later. That worked, I paid and was given directions and instructions. There was a lock on the door with a combo. The entire transaction was done without either of us seeing each other.

I see these sorts of remote combo vacation spots in a condo complex I have in New Mexico. A number of owners have done this, enough so the complex is putting in a cap - and most resort communities I'm aware of in NM have regulations (some to collect state lodging taxes but also to give a control point to shut some down).

Even the cleaning can be done by service companies in these resort communities - as well as responding to service requests.

Now a hostel or B&B have a bigger touch because presumably you are there. My sister-in-law had a motel in West Glacier, MT for a decade and that can get intense in a place that has a definite peak season. You pretty much get tied to the place for several months unless you can find competent help which is its own struggle.

So a tip of the helmet to someone setting up a business like this. I know I could do the Airbnb type but don't have the patience to do a B&B or hostel for long enough to make it successful.
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Old 05-18-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Sounds like a wonderful way to make a small fortune, assuming one starts off with a large one. Is this a viable business.

What is it 140 miles from Lander to Rawlins and 186 miles to Saratoga from Lander with just Muddy in between? Jeffrey City seems logical but it seemed bombed out and boarded up to me.

I'd probably look at areas with multiple use like Fontana Dam area where lodgings are scarce. You have the Smokies, Appalachian trail, that famous motorcycle twisty route called the corkscrew, good cycling roads, boating, winter skiing, etc.
Rawlins is between Saratoga and Lander. Stayed in all three going west to east.

Jeffrey City looks the way it does because it was established in the 1950s as a base for workers in the uranium mining industry. When I stayed there in 2000 some of the barracks-style housing units were still standing. One was marked ďSINGLE MEN.Ē When the uranium business collapsed in the early 80s, the town started too as well. I met a one-legged woman at the bar in town who told me she and her husband had moved there because they had been promised jobs for life. We also talked about antelope meat.
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Old 05-18-23, 11:06 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for some locations and business ideas.
I do have quite a bit of experience in rentals , and remodeling back ground. I guess can do some touring and see whats out there. Good point on the Airbnb vs B&B differences. ..
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Old 05-19-23, 03:35 AM
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It would be interesting to pick a route with some obvious gaps and fill it with a string of airbnbs and lesve info in each airbnb about the next consecutive spot. This way you get same customer more thsn once and contribute to make a tour route better
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Old 05-19-23, 09:17 AM
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A friend recently made me aware of something called hipcamp - sort of an airbnb type site for camping. I've never used it and for the first time, just now, poked around on it a bit. Looked like it might be worth checking out for ideas if nothing else.
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Old 05-19-23, 12:46 PM
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Some routes have quite variable weather, the types of places were cyclists might get behind or ahead of their initial planned itinerary. Those are hard to schedule if you are depending on reservations made weeks in advance.

Some places like northern California can have very consistent weather, a cyclist is more likely to be on schedule. I took a photo of my phone several years ago when I saw an entire forecast with ideal temperatures and zero percent chance of rain. That said, such places these days start to have rampant forest fires.



Bike touring often has a seasonality factor. Some places, spring and fall is when the weather is best for touring. Some places are summer only, other places mostly winter. If you can figure out how to cater to cycle touring during some seasons and in other seasons cater to other sports, that may be a factor to consider.

I think you are looking for the credit card touring crowd, the people that do not own camping gear and never will. I have no clue where they go, I am not one of them.
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Old 05-19-23, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rossiny
What area of the country, or how to go about researching?
Never worked in hospitality but I definitely think it would be good to be thoughtful about exactly who the target demographic is and what their specific needs are, then make sure that aligns with the time, money, and personal involvement you're able to put into the business. If it's the credit card tourists, I think you would want to pick one of the most popular and well-traveled routes. I don't know what the numbers are on yearly and seasonal users but I would think C&O-GAP, Katy Trail, and Pacific Coast Highway would be the big ones. Maybe the Erie Canal Trail might be a dark horse now that they've completed the Empire State Trail extension? Then I would look for where there are gaps in existing service, or where you might be able to outcompete the existing service with a better or different product. I just came home from a C&O-GAP ride and even on such a popular route there were certainly plenty of locations where one might offer a better product that would do well.
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Old 05-20-23, 01:14 AM
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I would consider the great divide mountain bike route. There are vast expanses without accommodations and dozens if not hundreds of abandoned farm houses
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Old 05-20-23, 04:20 AM
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I'll reiterate what some have touched on and that is, along a very popular rail to trail like the GAP or Katy Trail. I'm sure far more people ride the GAP than any cross country route or some off the beaten trail route. You might contact various Cycle Touring Outfitters and find out where they have difficulty locating a place for their clients to spend an evening.
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Old 05-20-23, 04:37 AM
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If you rely solely on touring cyclists for business pretty much any route is going to be quite seasonal and business likely to be spotty even within that season. Add to that the fact that a fairly large percentage of the touring community camp and or are cheapskates and it might be tough for you to be financially successful in your proposed venture.

I'd suggest looking for one of the few routes with a lot of touring traffic. The Pacific Coast comes to mind as does the GAP/C&O.

In the best case I have a hard time imagining sucess without attracting other business in addition to cyclists. Maybe consider a broader market that includes cyclists as a subset.
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Old 05-20-23, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by L134
A friend recently made me aware of something called hipcamp - sort of an airbnb type site for camping. I've never used it and for the first time, just now, poked around on it a bit. Looked like it might be worth checking out for ideas if nothing else.
Reminds me of this place along the GAP in W. Newton. You have to book on line, but doing so is easy.

Amazing facilities. And you can walk or take a short ride to plenty of places for food and groceries. There is even a bike shop underneath a restaurant/bar. Pricey, but worth it, especially if the weather turns bad.


https://gaptrailcampground.com/
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Old 05-20-23, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
If you rely solely on touring cyclists for business pretty much any route is going to be quite seasonal and business likely to be spotty even within that season. Add to that the fact that a fairly large percentage of the touring community camp and or are cheapskates
I agree, it's quite a marketing challenge. The extreme sport and survivalist crowd have plenty of money but spend it on lightweight survival gear instead of accommodations. The recent college graduates who are questing for meaning have no money. To my mind that pretty much leaves retirees and foreign tourists, who are usually only attracted to the bucket-list trails offering safety, amenities, and bail-outs if needed.

As far as non-cyclist consumers, could the space work as a business or wellness retreat? A cross-country skiing or hunting lodge? An outdoor EDM party space where people can drop a tab and wander through the woods? All of those types would obviously have very different needs than touring cyclists.
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Old 05-29-23, 09:28 PM
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I would suggest buying in Tucson, right on The Loop (a 55 mile bike path with spurs totaling to ~130 miles). There are snowbirds abound, with their well padded pocketbooks, who enjoy cycling all winter long. I can see the loop out my front window. I've been directly solicited several times to rent my house so others could take a cycling vacation. The airbnb set up you mention is common in this area, as are people who rent them long term.
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Old 05-30-23, 04:18 AM
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Not something I have given a lot of thought to. Having said that, and having read people's thoughtful comments here, my plan, if I were in your situation, would be to look at existing ones, and evaluate what makes a successful one, and an unsuccessful one. Perhaps buying one that is already doing well would be a viable solution.
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Old 06-01-23, 10:41 AM
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AirBnB works better for longer stays. There's often a "cleaning fee" that makes 1-2 day stays too expensive.
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