When I first started my search for a place to live in South Bend, I was amazed at the rental rates. I come from Toronto, where a 1 bedroom appartment costs you about $1500/month. Unless you decide to live in the Foundry (highly priced, but very chique and well located housing), the rates here are very affordable. The second thing I noticed was that the hotel rooms were very expensive during the football season. That got me thinking… So my wife and I rented a 4 bedroom house for $800 a month and started a Bed and Breakfast! We called it Canadian Bacon B&B and went ahead with a website www.ourcanadianbacon.com and a listing on airbnb.com. The football season was a big success, with each gameday covering nearly a months rent. On top of the financial help, my wife and I (especially my wife) loved hosting people. In fact, we hope to own and run a B&B again wherever we end up. We are now trying to figure out how to attract business in the off-season, which is proving difficult. There is abundance of hotel rooms due to the high in-season demand, and a severe lack of customers. The rates have all been cut 75%, so rooms are plentiful and cheap. On gamedays, people searched us out on airbnb, yelp and craigslist, but they no longer need to. We need a new target and a new strategy, just what business school is all about! The most obvious target are incoming students, as they seem to be coming to South Bend in a continual stream and would appreciate the inside info we could provide. Reaching them is another story though, so if you have any ideas, please comment!
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