Running a Quality Clothing Optional B&B Network
When my wife and I started our first Clothing Optional B&B in 2011, we had no expectation of making it a larger business. We simply wanted to take advantage of having a large home with beautiful grounds that was now just shared by two of us since we were now empty-nesters. With our backgrounds and experience in the naturist world, customer service, hospitality and food & beverage…we knew we wanted to offer an “experience” for our guests and not just another bed and a breakfast. We were gratified and pleased with the response we received.
Establishing a Nudist Business
From the beginning, our guests were so complimentary and shared that they wanted more places where they could have a similar naturist experience. The concept of building a network of similar naturist bed and breakfast destinations with a low key, quality experience began to form. The dilemma was how to have more locations, but still have some influence on the guest experience. So, in formulating the plan we knew that screening & vetting of hosts, training, inspection and follow-up was the only way we could assure the level of quality at each location.
Certainly the “home-sharing” business model is big right now. However we also knew in that mass-market model there was NO screening, NO training, NO site inspection and NO follow-up on the guest experience other than guest reviews (which are sometimes less than reliable). We also felt that the large home sharing business model is the Wild, Wild West of the hospitality industry.
Although we were the first such network of Naturist Bed and Breakfasts in the world, since we started building the network there have been other sites pop up offering nudist B&B stays that have a similar model to the typical “home-sharing” model. No screening, no training, no site inspection and no follow-up. Some of those sites have built up to 200+ locations in less than a year, while we have stayed in the 8-10 location range.
In the past 7 years we have had nearly 900 people contact us wanting to open their home to host. At the moment, we have 9 active locations. We could have easily added the 900 without host or property screening and had a huge network, but we would not be comfortable that we were sending guests into a good environment. We have also had a few locations that, in spite of our screening, weren’t staying up to our standards and have separated from us.
In the screening process, we have prospective hosts provide information to us on their background & experience, their home and the amenities they have to offer, their area and what things there are to do, as well as local dining and recreation opportunities. They send us photos of their home and complete a detailed questionnaire.
If they pass the first hurdles, we will then schedule a site inspection where we go visit the home to make sure it is private, secure, clean and comfortable for prospective guests. During the site visit we are also getting to know the hosts so that we are comfortable that they share our vision of providing a quality naturist stay and NOT just wanting “naked people to party on the weekends” (believe me, we’ve had more than our share of the latter). If their goals don’t meet ours, we’ll not move forward with the hosts.
If they are on-board with our mission we will let them know if there are deficiencies with the home and give them suggestions on improvements and ideas on making their home more comfortable for guests. This can include adding vegetation or barriers to improve privacy, comfort amenity items, improved towels & linens, parking, access control, security on the home or a myriad of other items. If we feel the home doesn’t meet our standards and the prospective hosts cannot or will not bring it up to standard…we don’t bring them onboard. Our inspection process is ongoing with periodic visits to assure the home is being maintained to our standards.
Once we ensure the new location is up to standards, we require the new hosts to come to our main facility in Phoenix to train for 2 days. It’s not just training on how to make a bed and prepare breakfast, it’s mostly training on the atmosphere we want to create for guests and how it is different to host nudists instead of clothed guests…believe me, there is a difference.
Understanding that approximately 40% of our new guests are facing their first clothing optional experience, we have to make sure hosts know how to help make those guests comfortable in a clothing optional environment. We have hosts who had operated traditional B&B’s for years and were offended that we required they come for training. Without exception, those hosts thanked us for having that requirement because they had no idea the subtle differences in hosting nude guests.
In the follow-up, we don’t just ask for the guests for a review to be posted on a website that may or may not be reliable, we ask directly for input and feedback that can be shared with the the hosts to help them grow and provide an even better experience for future guests. We’ve gotten many great ideas from guests that we have shared with our other hosts!
In business you have to make a decision on if you want to be large or quality…doing both isn’t easy. We chose quality and are very happy with where we are and what we do. We hope to have more locations in the future, but will never add a location just to have another “pin on the map”.