Dreaming of opening a Bed & Breakfast / Inn in Boquete, Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier and Manzar Lari

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Has this been a lifelong dream of yours? Do you want to reinvent yourself? Do you enjoy being around people? Are you open to taking some risks in your life? Do you like to travel and appreciate different cultures? Do you have some financial means to make your dream a reality? Well, it sounds like your time has come to take that leap and own an international B&B!

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, we started out by spending a few years researching what it takes to start and open a bed and breakfast. During that time we were getting our business plan solidified and our finances in order. After all the preparations, building our home, learning the government requirements, jumping through hoops and finding the financial support, seminars on running a bed & breakfast and developing a marketing plan, we opened Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast on Friday, January 10th, 2014. We are truly blessed that our business has been well-received by our guests and the Boquete community alike. Our biggest challenge has been to learn all aspects of operating a business in a different culture than we had been used to. With all kinds of challenges we face we have to dig in and research and find the answers as well find support that will work best for us.

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Within the past several months, we have been approached by people who are looking into the possibility of opening their own bed and breakfast or even a restaurant or two.  We have chosen to share our experiences and knowledge with these folks. We have sat down with these folks for a chat. It generally starts with an informal conversation and answering any questions that they might have. We generally continue through emails back and forth. Questions from Marketing to Hours of Operation to the choice of builders and architect, all are fair game.

Recently we completed a three month training for a lady whom we equipped with all she needs to get her own bed and breakfast underway. She is a friend of ours who has had the dream for many years to be a bed and breakfast owner/operator. It was a good opportunity for us to sit down and write up all the processes. In addition, we created a checklist that contained each aspect of the business so that we didn’t miss training her on anything. The process worked out really well. She was eager to learn and took her role of a “trainee” very seriously! One minute she was helping out with the recipes in the kitchen, a bit later she was working in the office learning our business machines, and later in the evening she was hobnobbing with the guests at the upstairs bar for the Social Hour! This gave her some solid experience in seeing for herself what day-to-day life looks like at a bed and breakfast. It worked out for us too since we learned some things also as we looked at all aspects of our operations. We were able to update and fine-tune some processes that needed to be changed. We also appreciated the extra help we received from her as much as she appreciated learning new skills.

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So come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and ask us all the questions you want about opening a business or bed and breakfast in Panama or even in your own hometown. We will honestly tell you all we know, or at least our experiences and perspectives, and encourage you to follow your dreams, whatever they may be!

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