To Share or not to Share

My husband, Dave, and I have had a few different careers in our lives. Just prior to taking on the Storm Bay Bed and Breakfast in White Beach Tasmania, we owned a motel in Dubbo NSW.

That was our first foray into the hospitality/tourism industry and was an eye opener to dealing with a wide variety of guests. 

Dubbo is an epicentre for the Central West NSW, servicing lots of smaller outlying communities and travellers traversing the country from North to South, or East to West or vice versa. 

A motel gave us our own private residence with seventeen rooms attached to be rented to incoming guests, arriving from a booking made in advance or straight off the street. It offered a degree of separation and privacy for us from the guests.

When we sold the motel, our intention was to buy another one, freehold. We had scouted various areas of the East coast of Australia and Tasmania looking at different business propositions, and one in Port Arthur had caught our attention. However, as luck would have it, it had sold before our motel had settled so we had to rethink our plans. We were heading towards Queensland to look at another motel and contemplating our next adventure when we unanimously agreed we didn’t want to do another motel. Hmmmmmm………. what next? We were too young to retire and access our superannuation, so we had to come up with another plan. 

Whilst enjoying a well-earned holiday in New Zealand, staying in a variety of lodgings including Bed and Breakfasts, Dave noticed a property for sale on realestate.com in downtown White Beach Tasmania. The property was listed as a residential property with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, which piqued his interest. Upon further investigation he discovered it was an operating bed and breakfast property, formerly known as Storm Bay Guesthouse at White Beach. 

So, the question was asked of me, “What about a Bed and Breakfast?” Well, I can honestly say the concept had not been on my radar, it meant letting people into “my space”. So, the question raised was “to share or not to share?” Looking at the images displayed online, the property looked fabulous, and the views were to die for.

 After checking the reviews online and reading lots of positive comments we decided this was worth a look. If we liked it, then maybe it was worth trying our hand at a Tasmanian bed and breakfast. As this was close by to Port Arthur and the Three Capes Track, we already had a fairly good idea of the Tasman Peninsula and what drove business to the area, as well as the local services and where to get supplies. 

We took the opportunity to chat with some of the hosts of the bed and breakfast properties we were staying in throughout New Zealand to gain some insight into running such a business; the pros and the cons, and mostly it was glowing and positive. Okay, so that means we really should go and look at this place, right? Well, we booked flights to Tasmania before we had even left New Zealand and arranged a meeting with the agent to have a look at the property. 

We were greeted at the front door by the Real Estate Agent who showed us through the guest rooms, followed by the kitchen, dining and lounge before revealing the expansive deck with outstanding ocean views. Our jaws dropped and our hearts skipped a beat as we tried to contain our excitement from the agent. We reacted nonchalantly saying “this could possibly work, if we can just get our heads around sharing our space”.

When we left the accommodation property, we couldn’t stop thinking about it. How could we make it work, let’s crunch the numbers, and look at the negatives. Apart from some cosmetic changes and a need to renovate the kitchen and change the beds, the rest was definitely workable, and we put in an offer. The rest is history.

It was the end of March 2017 when we went to look at the property, and by June 26th, 2017, we took hold of the keys with some trepidation and concern as to how we would handle sharing our space. 

The experience so far, nearly five years later, has been fabulous. We love meeting people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. The concerns of sharing our space, well there is the odd day here and there where we wish we didn’t have to, but they are few and far between. We think we have made the best decision ever!

In addition, we have joined with several other quality B & Bs to form Tasmania’s Best Bed and Breakfast Trail, an opportunity to network with other like-minded business owners. 

Our work-life balance has never been better; we get to enjoy the company of many different people and occasionally take some well-deserved breaks to explore our own backyard. Bed and Breakfast, White Beach, Tasman Peninsula– this is the life!