A guest house is a private house offering paid accommodation. A bed and breakfast is generally a private house offering accommodation and breakfast in a package deal.

These are very general definitions, and could relate to any size of accommodation, and any standard of facility or service.


In Britain, guest houses have become most commonly equated with seaside accommodation. In South Africa guest houses are generally found in tourist areas. In Australia, guesthouses are often larger facilities, and bed and breakfast operations are smaller.


This course is relevant to any form of house or home type accommodation provided primarily for tourists. This is distinctly different to hotel accommodation which is not in a "home style" setting.


Guesthouses and B & B's do not have the hustle & bustle of hotels. They are able to provide a simpler form of accommodation, catering to smaller numbers of guests, and providing a more informal or even personal interaction between guests and staff/owners.
A larger guesthouse sometimes divides the work up amongst a number of different staff; but for the small scale operator; it may only be one or two people in a family run business who are shgaring all of the jobs; including
  • Management
  • Purchasing supplies and bookkeeping
  • Cooking Food
  • Other kitchen and food service duties
  • Cleaning
  • Reception and hostess duties

The size of the establishment determines the number of staff, for example; in a small establishment with perhaps three bedrooms, there may be one part time cook, and a waitress/cleaner. In a larger establishment, more staff may be needed. Remember, if staff are to have days off, you may require a couple of people rostered at different times to do the same job.

When a business is just starting, staff may be likely to do several different jobs. The owner may commonly be responsible for:

  • Purchasing food and beverages
  • Controlling the inventory
  • Managing the staff
  • Dealing with suppliers
  • Developing a marketing strategy
  • Security
  • Overall management

Prepare to Start and Operate a Guesthouse or B & B by studying


 Bed and Breakfast Management Course by Distance Education (click here for details)