Lack of Color: The Booming Bed & Breakfast Industry’s Lost Diversity

Only 1% of 30,000 establishments nationwide are African-American owned

Monique Greenwood of Akwaaba (Image: Akwaaba)

BlackEnterprise.com: How is the bed and breakfast industry faring?

Monique Greenwood: It is the No. 1 most envied profession in the country, being an owner of an inn. You get to live in an amazing property in a great city and meet wonderful guests and there are perks like tax benefits. You can write off a lot of living expenses and you get to work from home because your home is your work. Tremendous upside.

Monica Edwards: I think it’s going very well. Like every industry there are challenges, especially because it is dependent on people’s pocketbooks, we have seen our ups and downs based on the economy. But, depending on location, it affects a lot of places differently.

So what are the challenges for African American B&B owners?

Edwards: Understanding that this is a business, not a hobby. Often times people go into businesses thinking of them as a side trade. I’ve talked to a lot of “aspiring innkeepers” who have the dream of owning a B&B and informed them that they need to do their research. There are probably more than 30,000 bed and breakfasts across the country and only 1% of those are owned by African Americans and or minorities.

Greenwood: It’s definitely less than 1%. One percent would be at about 300. I would place the number of black-owned BB’s at about 35. That’s less than 1%. My thought is that we are looking at about a quarter of a percent.

Find out more about why the B&B industry is lacking diversity on page two …

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