I have heard this same story may times.

The idea of starting your own Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast had been on your mind for a long time. Being your own boss sounded appealing and you visualised yourself chit-chatting with customers, sharing stories, being known far and wide as the kindly innkeeper.


It was a delightful and starry-eyed image.


Now that you have taken the leap and you own your own Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast, instead of being the carefree innkeeper you find yourself in your office; taking care of the accounting; replacing staff; trying to put a marketing plan in place.


Time for socialising with guests is becoming less and less. You’re feeling worn-out, but the idea of taking a day off is out of the question. You feel you have to be on your property all the time or everything will fall apart.


The delightful and starry-eyed image you had when you started now feels like an impractical concept.

Feeling delightful and starry-eyed

If you can relate to this narrative, then it is time for you to step back and re-examine your organisational structure.


This may sound a little bizarre, but you may have to adjust your mindset. Not think of yourself as the kindly innkeeper, but instead, think of yourself as the proprietor of a franchise.


You might be saying to yourself, “That sounds insane, I have no intention of ever of ever becoming a franchise owner”.


Hear me out.


Consider of some of the most successful franchises in the world; let’s use McDonald’s for a case study.


You can travel to the four corners of the planet and find a McDonald’s. You know when you order a Big Mac or cheeseburger in Halifax, Canada; Scranton, Pennsylvania; or Düsseldorf, Germany food is going to be the same.


Why is this?


Because the checks and balances in place are consistent in every McDonald’s thus creating a Functional Organizational Structure.

McDonald’s as a franchise

This is not done by accident.


Much time and research went into determining how the pickles should be placed on the burger so they would not slide off or the optimum length of time needed to cook their fries.


Now, think of your own property.


You want to make sure all aspects of your property is operating effectively and that you have the right checks and balances in place.


  • You need to know that the rooms are consistently cleaned every day.


  • The customer registration and follow up systems are dependable.


  • Your marketing programs are reliable


To do this you need to think like a franchisor and have an Effective Organizational Structure and the have an Effective Organizational Structure you need to need to assign responsibilities for your operation.


Those assigned will be responsible for all duties that fall under their title and know who they report too.


Look at the following for examples:

Organizational Structure Chart

  • You need a President (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) who is accountable for the overall success of your properties objective and reporting to the shareholders.


  • Vice-President/Marketing, accountable for discovering customers and new ways to provide customers with the magnificent experience.

They report to the COO.

  • Vice-President/Operations, accountable for keeping customers by delivering to them what is promised by Marketing. They are to do this with great efficiency so as to provide the customer with better service. They also report to the COO.


  • Vice-President/Finance, responsible for supporting both Marketing and Operations in the fulfilment of their accountabilities by reaching the company’s profitability goals, and by securing capital whenever it’s called for. They report to the COO.


  • A Sales Manager and Advertising/Research Manager who reports to the Vice President/Marketing.


  • Production Manager, Service Manager, and Facilities Manager who reports to the Vice-President/Operations.


  • Accounts Receivable Manager and Accounts Payable Manager who reports to the Vice-President/Finance.


You might be saying to yourself Are you insane, I only have a small property and I don’t want to or can’t afford to hire these many people.”


Well, you don’t have to.


Take a look at your property and determine the positions you would like to have and what their responsibilities would entail. You assign positions to current staff and to yourself.


One person may have more than one responsibility, but at least you will know the correct chain of command.

Operations Manual

Each of these roles is going to require their own operations manual and it will be the responsibility of those in charge of each role to create and document on a checklist, what is required to do each job.


The checklists will be used as guides for anyone who later steps into that specific role. Over time these Operation Manuals will help your organisation to run like a well-oiled machine.


This might sound like a lot of work and it is, but you have to start somewhere. To help we have included Organizational Structure Chart you can download.


In this article, I am just scratching the surface when it comes to setting up an Organizational Structure and I know there’s more to talk about, so we look at this further in future posts.


I did mention earlier that the president and COO are responsible to the shareholders. You might be asking yourself, “Who are the shareholders?”


Well, you are.


If you have any stories about being a kindly innkeeper, your properties organisational structure or owning a franchise and would like to share, or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section.




Let’s work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.


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“Customer Service for Independent Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts” Studies


All images are creative commons