Bed and breakfasts beneficial to city

Published 12:48 am Friday, March 17, 2017

The official Natchez Bed and Breakfast Association (NBBA) was established in 2012 with the purpose of serving our city lodging and hospitality needs and helping our Natchez B&Bs to be the “best in the South.” We formed this association because our members wanted to have a stronger voice in our city’s tourism through supporting opportunities with our city’s tourism partners.

Currently, we have 27 members out of over 50 Natchez B&Bs. The NBBA represents over 160 available rooms located within the city. Joining the NBBA, B&B owners have more opportunities to promote their unique niches hence adding to the tapestry that is a Natchez experience. By joining efforts, we also network to help each other and to keep up with our constantly changing industry.

We serve our citizens, businesses, guests and members alike. We are ambassadors for our city, acting as extensions of our city tourism office and staff teaming up to attract tourists to Natchez. Our association president, Ron Fry owner of the Devereaux Shields House, says the economic impact of our B&B association on tourism can best be understood by identifying the number of tourists visiting our properties, the lodging income gained, taxes collected, jobs provided and sales added to our economy by these tourists. He points to a recent Professional Association of Innkeeping International study that reports a median B&B has six rooms, with an occupancy of 44 percent, creating an average annual revenue of $150,250 and caring for guests that spend an additional $300 at local businesses. Using these figures, the annual economic benefit to our Natchez citizens for 27 “median” NBBA B&Bs amounts to more than 65,000 guests who purchase over $9 million from local businesses, and provide over $4 million in revenue to our B&Bs, which also collect $450,000 in taxes.

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Besides collecting the 7-percent sales tax, our professional member B&Bs in the city limits contribute taxes to the city’s tourism. We also collect a $2 per night tax and a 3-percent occupancy tax from guests. Annually, for the revenue mentioned above, this represents an economic benefit to the city of approximately $50,000 for marketing and $120,000 for other tourism-related expenses. Association member, Gail Guido innkeeper for the River’s Edge B&B, is on the Tourism Marketing Advisory Committee that advises the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission on how this money is used.

Finally, jobs created for Natchez residents range from a few housekeeping positions for small B&Bs to many housekeepers, innkeepers or managers, groundskeepers and marketing positions for larger B&Bs. Clearly, these salaries are very helpful to these families and our city.

As most readers may know, Natchez has a rich history of having B&Bs operating in the city. Every one of our B&Bs has a story that we will spotlight in future blog and social media posts. My early interests in Natchez grew over 15 years visiting, staying in B&Bs and enjoying the pilgrimage. My husband and I moved here with the plan and dream of buying an antebellum home and making it a B&B. While all B&Bs are unique, they often begin with the thought of creating something special for guests to enjoy. I opened the Magnolia Cottage B&B in 2003. This did not just occur overnight. I found and fell in love with the house that I felt would be wonderful for my family and as a B&B. We had the guest suite renovated. I carefully planned the period furnishings and décor colors that would be attractive and soothing to the guests, as if they stepped back in time.

B&Bs are all about service! Hotels are great for some, but staying in a B&B, you are treated to true Southern hospitality with amenities, such as fresh flowers, luxurious linens, special room amenities, complimentary beverages, delicious full-course Southern breakfast, and the list goes on. Most of the B&Bs offer special packages that further enhance guests’ Natchez experience.

Recently, there have been some folks that feel their amateur B&B offerings are in the same category as the B&Bs among the official Natchez B&B Association. They just decide they will rent out one of their extra rooms in their house and they may or may not be city licensed and inspected or state registered to collect taxes. If you want to have a B&B in your home, you need to check with the city planning office and study up on what the role is of an owner/manager overseeing a B&B. Be legal, pay your taxes and support our city and its citizens. Always, always, give the guests the best service you have to offer.

Learn more about our association and members at our website

We welcome your inquiries, if you know anyone wishing to enjoy a truly wonderful guest experience, if you have a business with a helpful product or service, or if you are interested in starting a B&B in Natchez. Send inquiries to You may also contact Ron Fry at 601-304-5378.

Jackie Wild is a member of the Natchez Bed and Breakfast Association.