The first time I visited the Adriatic region, I really did not expect anything. I knew that the city of Venice was on the Adriatic. This was a given. This was part of my travel assumptions to Italy.

I’ve been to Venice and I’ve basically assumed that Venice was pretty much its own world. And historically and politically speaking, I would be correct.

For the longest time, Venice had its own navy. It was quite the local political power in that part of the world. And, to this very day, it’s not a surprise that lot of Venetians consider themselves not exactly Italians.

You see, Venice was actually the last part of Italy that was annexed by the unified regions that later on became United Italy. It did not exactly join willingly.

It basically joined when all its political alliances gave out and it found itself in a very weak political spot. It didn’t jump at the opportunity.

You have to understand that even the very idea of an Italian nationhood or a sense of Italian nationalism is a fairly new phenomenon. I would suggest that it originated in the early 1800s, if not a little bit sooner, but not much earlier than that.

The whole concept of Italy really, as a political reality, is fairly novel. And that was the kind of background that I had when I was going through the Adriatic.

Because I was seeing these different city-states, many looking like they came out of some sort of movie set in the Middle Ages. And this is what was so charming about the place.

Because outside of Venice, the Adriatic really is a mixed bag. You can see Turkish influence, you can see Eastern European or Slavic influences. You can see Western Latin Catholic influences. It really is an amazing place.

There’s a tremendous amount of culture expressed in architecture, art and languages in a fairly compact area. This is why the thought did cross my mind of opening a bed and breakfast in Slovenia or Croatia.

These places are opening up to the world, and foreigners from all over the world are snapping up properties because they’re very cheap. And also, they’re located in very beautiful places. What’s not the love?

Well, the problem is, if you are late to the game, chances are, you’re going to have quite a bit of a tall order in front of you. Seriously.

If you think that it’s just going to be a cakewalk and all those tourist dollars are going to be yours for the taking, you might want to think again. You might want to reconsider your plan because the bed and breakfast game in any part of the Adriatic is now very competitive.

You have to stand apart from the competition. You have to give potential guests a really good reason why they should pick you instead of the tons of other bed and breakfast establishments owned by foreigners.

How do you stand out? How do you distinguish yourself? How do you make a compelling offer to your potential guests?

One of the best ways to do this is to engage in cosmetic touch ups. I know that sounds shallow, I know that sounds a little bit on the petty or superficial side, but hear me out.

You have to understand that you only need to increase your perceived level of value marginally for you to stand out from the crowd.

When you are in a kind of market where everybody else is basically shooting for the bare minimum, every little bit of extra detail can give you the competitive edge that you’re looking for.

When you invest in the best composite decking, you show to people who are thinking of renting from you that you’re offering something extra while charging the same rates as everybody else.

What do you think will happen? What kind of value do you think you will create in the minds of people looking to rent in this part of the world?

That’s the bottom line. It’s all about perceived value. And the best part is that you don’t really have to do all that much to increase your profile a little bit.