Bed and breakfast
A bed and breakfast (typically shortened to B&B or BnB) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house.
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Bed and breakfast is also used to describe the level of catering included in a hotel's room prices, as opposed to room only, half-board or full-board.
Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen.
B&Bs and guest houses may be operated as either a secondary source of income or a primary occupation. Often the owners themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms, but some bed and breakfasts hire staff for cleaning or cooking. Properties with hired professional management are uncommon (unlike inns or hotels) but may exist if the same owner operates multiple B&Bs.
Some B&Bs operate in a niche market. Floating bed and breakfasts are boats or houseboats which offer B&B accommodation; the CCGS Alexander Henry museum ship was one example. In some communities, former lighthouse keeper quarters have been turned into B&B rooms after the light has been automated or decommissioned.
In China expatriates have remodelled traditional structures in quiet picturesque rural areas and opened a few rustic boutique hotels with minimum amenities. Most patrons are foreign tourists but they are growing in popularity among Chinese domestic tourists.
In Cuba, which opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the financial support of the Soviet Union ended, a form of B&B called casa particular ("private home") became the main form of accommodation outside the tourist resorts. Not all casas particulares offer breakfast.
In India, the government is promoting the concept of bed & breakfast. The government is doing this to increase tourism, especially keeping in view of the demand for hotels during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. They have classified B&Bs in 2 categories – Gold B&Bs, and Silver B&Bs. All B&Bs must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism, who will then categorize it as Gold or Silver based upon a list of pre-defined criteria.
Registered Irish B&Bs are star rated by Fáilte Ireland. Generally, B&Bs in Ireland are family owned & run, with a small percentage being leased/managed but still with the personal service expected in this sector. Owners or managers nearly always live on the premises. Breakfast can mean a cooked "Irish Fry" or continental style buffet.
The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer (German for 'room'). All over the country, but especially in northern Israel (Galilee, Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights) the zimmer has developed into an extensive industry. This industry began to develop in the 1990s, when agriculture became less profitable, and many families with farms in moshavim, kibbutzim, farms and even in cities decided to try their luck in the business of hospitality. In the last decade, there has been development of bed and breakfasts also in southern Israel in the Negev.
In Italy, regional law regulates B&Bs. There is a national law "Legge 29 marzo 2001, n. 135" but each region maintains a specific regulation. Each region can adopt different regulations but they must observe the national law on Tourism (Law N° 135 /2001).
Bed & Breakfast in the Netherlands literally means what it says, namely 'bed with breakfast'. In the Netherlands, it is also often referred to as lodgings with breakfast, a guestroom or guesthouse. Bed & Breakfast is a small-scale type of accommodation, which is available to guests for a short stay. Nearly all bed & breakfasts are established in a residential home and are run by the owners of that particular residence. Dutch bed & breakfasts are commonly held in historic monumental houses or farms.
The trend of B&Bs in Pakistan is quite widespread. Popular resorts like Murree, which attract many tourists from different parts of the country, have a number of such resthouses. The expenses can vary, depending on the quality of facilities. Most bed and breakfast facilities tend to expediently cater to families, given the high level of group tourism, and offer suitable overnight lodging.
While exploring Romania's countryside, smaller cities or traditional villages, visitors can stay at a bed and breakfast (usually called "Pensiune"). Bed and Breakfast in Romania are rated with daisies, from one to three, three daisies being the best rating.
Bed and breakfast is a 21st-century phenomenon in Spain. In the past, the equivalent was Habitacion con derecho a cocina which means "room along with use of the kitchen area". In Spain, bed and breakfast offers are provided by hotels, hostels, apartments, houses and Inns. Normally bed and breakfast flats or houses consist of 5-7 rooms but as they are not heavily regulated, people are free to provide their houses as bed and breakfast to pay for some of the bills.
Bed and breakfast was more or less a direct import from the British style B&B. The B&B isn't evenly spread over the country, most are in southern province of Skåne or near one of the three larger cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Some breakfast hotels and other minor hotels trying to profit from the name also call their accommodation B&B.
No laws in Sweden restrict such advertising; the only restriction is from the authority of traffic (Trafikverket), who only give permission to put up the bed and breakfast sign by the local road if the owner lives in the same building as the guests. If the proprietor has less than eight beds, no permissions from the police office is required to run public accommodations, but fire safety and food safety applies to all new facilities, regardless of the number of beds.
In a Swedish B&B there is often a guest kitchen available. Standard is usually acceptable but sometimes with en-suite bathroom or sometimes a shared bathroom in the corridor.
B&Bs are graded by VisitBritain on a star system. 3, 4 and 5-star establishments have a higher standard. A majority of B&Bs in the UK have en-suite facilities.
The custom of opening one's home to travellers dates back the earliest days of Colonial America. Lodging establishments were few and far between in the 18th century and, apart from a limited number of coaching inns, wayfarers relied on the kindness of strangers to provide a bed for the night. Hotels became more common with the advent of the railroad and later the automobile; most towns had at least one prominent hotel.
During the Great Depression, tourist homes provided an economic advantage to both the traveller and the host. Driving through town on US Highways (in a pre-Interstate highway era), travellers stopped at houses with signs reading Tourists or Guests, where one could rent a room for the night for approximately $2. While little more than short-stay boarding houses, the rooms brought needed income for the home owner and saved money for the traveller. A tourist home or guest house represented an intermediate option between inexpensive campgrounds or cabins and costly railway hotels. (The motel fad of the 1950s and 1960s later filled this niche, now occupied by economy limited service hotels.) Non-white travellers could consult The Negro Motorist Green Book, a printed directory, to find lodging at which they would be welcome despite racial segregation and widespread discrimination.
After World War II, middle-class Americans began travelling in Europe in large numbers, many experiencing the European-style B&Bs (Zimmer frei in Germany, chambres d'hotes in France) for the first time. Some were inspired to open B&Bs in the U.S.; tourist home owners updated their properties as B&Bs. The interest in B&Bs coincided with an increasing interest in historic preservation, spurred by the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 and assisted by two crucial pieces of legislation: the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which provided tax incentives for the restoration and reuse of historic structures.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, B&Bs increased rapidly in numbers and evolved from homestay B&Bs with shared baths and a simple furnishings to beautifully renovated historic mansions with luxurious décor and amenities. Printed directories listed options in various cities. By the mid-1990s, the Internet made it more affordable for innkeepers to promote their properties worldwide; it provided online reservation software and allowed travellers to view detailed photos, videos, and reviews.
B&B and Inn owners have been adding amenities such as wireless Internet access, free parking, spa services or nightly wine and cheese hours. To stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.
There are approximately 17,000 B&Bs in the United States. B&Bs are found in all states, in major cities and remote rural areas, occupying everything from modest cottages to opulent mansions, and in restored structures from schools to cabooses, churches, treehouses and yurts.
Regulations and laws vary considerably between jurisdictions both in content and extent and in enforcement.
The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety. They are usually required by local and national ordinances to have fire resistance, a sufficient fire escape plan in place, and smoke detectors in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are also often required to be monitored for hygienic operation, but there are significant national and local differences.
In Hawaii, it is illegal to open a new bed & breakfast on Oahu as of 1989. The reason for the moratorium is to force home owners with extra room to rent out their extra space to low income residents who otherwise cannot afford housing on crowded Oahu.
Professional and trade associations
Many inns and bed and breakfasts are members of professional associations. There are international, national, regional, and local associations, all of which provide services to both their members and the travelling public. Many require their members to meet specific standards of quality, while others simply require a lodging establishment to pay dues. These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable.
While various local governments have regulations and inspect lodging establishments for health and safety issues, membership in a state/provincial/national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members' properties and tend to have additional standards of care.
In the US for example, each state has an innkeeping association (usually non-profit) that exists to promote the industry and tourism. Within those state associations, many city and regional bed and breakfast associations can be found. Many state, city and regional associations, have inspection criteria that often exceed government requirements for safety and cleanliness. The two primary nationwide professional associations are the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), based in Wisconsin and founded in 1987 by two innkeepers, and the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP).
In Australia, the industry is represented by the Bed & Breakfast, Farmstay and Accommodation Australia Ltd (BBFAA).
In the British Isles the national approval boards set up by governments are far more stringent than others and standards are expected to be high. In Ireland there is an association that will only use the national tourist board's approved members.
This section contains too many or overly lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (April 2018)
Tourism Queensland study
In January 2003 Tourism Queensland conducted a review of current research to gain a better understanding of the Bed & Breakfast (B&B) market:
Key needs that must be met for people staying at bed and breakfast style accommodation include: pampering and personalised service in an attractive location in an attractive house, opposed to more 'standard' hotelrooms.
The following attributes are also appealing:
- Homely or wholesome atmosphere (older segments) or luxurious/heritage surrounds
- Home style meals
- Area for conversing with other guests
- Ability to tap into local knowledge of attractions and activities in local area.
Guests at B&Bs were asked to identify the features and factors which motivated them to choose the establishment they were staying at. The friendliness of the host was the most important factor, followed by easy access to other places, the site being the most appealing place in the region. Usually B & B´s are privately owned, therefore very different from standard commercial hotels.
Bed & Breakfasts provide mutual benefits for both the visitor and the operator. Visitors have the opportunity for a relaxing break in a homely environment. Operators have the opportunity to develop a profitable business, make new friends and contacts, understand the cultures and lifestyles of others, and to educate guests about their way of life.
Income and leisure time have changed so that shorter breaks with greater choice of leisure activities are sought by travellers. Changing work patterns have increased the popularity of shorter breaks that minimize the absence from work and the effect of absences on workflow and involvement. Bed & Breakfast holidays tend to be short break holidays and could benefit from the increased popularity of short breaks, sought by people who aim for authenticity and personal service.
Michigan State University study
According to a study by Michigan State University:
The profile of B&B guests confirms widely held impressions that this is a middle-aged, well-educated, (moderately) high income, professional market. On the last reported B&B trip, couples comprised two thirds of the travel parties.
Eighty-two percent of those sampled are married, and about half (44 percent) have children living at home. Average age for a travel party (respondent and spouse/partner ages are merged) is 40 years, with 60 percent under this age. This indicates that many B&B guests are at a mid-point in the traditional family cycle, when raising children is a primary activity. Newlyweds and "empty nesters" account for a smaller proportion. In fact, only 9 percent of the market is attributed to adults over 59 years of age.
Education levels are high, with the largest response category being completion of a college degree (31 percent). In addition, another one third had some graduate school or an advanced degree. It follows that the occupational profile is dominated by professionals and managers. Note that several categories such as business, health, education, and science are large enough for B&B's to consider promotion aimed specifically at these segments.
The unique touches that distinguish a B&B are clearly a primary reason for selecting this lodging option. Words like "charm", ambience", "quaintness" and "atmosphere" were often used by respondents to describe this intangible appeal. The importance of the "getaway" aspect demonstrates that B&B's have been well positioned to take advantage of shorter, more frequent weekend trips preferred by many two-income families. The lure of B&B's as a more personal alternative to the standard hotel/motel experience was reconfirmed by the 10 percent who called this the single most important reason for staying at a B&B, the most frequent response to this open-ended question.
Customers were for the most part satisfied with their most recent B&B experience, with 80 percent giving the experience an ... excellent" rating and another 17 percent calling it "good". Over 90 percent would both consider a return visit and recommend the B&B to friends and family.
According to this study, many bed and breakfast visitors make use of evaluations, given by other guests. This system of independent reviews is one of the fastest growing consumer content oriented sites on the net.
People are willing to pay up to 99 percent more for services after reading positive online reviews about them, according to new research.
The study, conducted in October by comScore and The Kelsey Group, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. The researchers said 24 percent of those who eventually pay for local services -- such as restaurants, bed & breakfasts and automotive shops -- read online reviews before making a choice.
The study showed consumers were so trusting of online reviews, they were willing to pay at least 20 percent, and up to 99 percent, more if a company was rated excellent or five-star than if a business received a good, or four-star, rating. The study was based on 2,078 survey respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews.
Professional critics, and owners of companies that receive less-than-excellent online reviews by laypersons, might question the ability of regular people to adequately judge a service. However, the comScore/Kelsey Group study found that 90 percent of the people who trusted consumer-written reviews found the critiques to be accurate. In fact, noted the researchers, "reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals."
The study included specific bed & breakfasts among others services. At least 75 percent of those using online reviews for nearly every category of business included in the study said the amateur field reports significantly impacted their decision. Eighty-seven percent of those in search of hotels said the reviews played a big part in their choice.
The take-away message for service providers, according to a statement issued by The Kelsey Group's research director, Steve Marshall: "With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it's vital that local service providers have a positive presence on these review sites."
The fact that one-in-four of those contacted said they use reviews should come as good news for those in the online consumer review space, said Brian Jurutka, senior director at comScore Marketing Solutions. "That's a sizeable chunk", he said. "This helps them in having discussions with folks looking to advertise; it says a sizeable portion of the online population is going to be visiting these sites."
Journal of Travel Research study
A study by the Journal of Travel Research stated:
While the hedonic price model has been used to evaluate willingness to pay in a variety of markets, its use in the tourism industry is limited. This research note highlights the usefulness of the hedonic price technique in this industry by evaluating willingness to pay for specific characteristics of bed and breakfast accommodations. Heterogeneity in price and amenities offered by bed and breakfast accommodations enables us to generate estimates of willingness to pay for specific characteristics. Using data on price and amenities collected from bed and breakfast accommodations, the findings show a willingness to pay for specific characteristics such as sunny balconies, a five star Champagne breakfast, and a room furnished with antique treasures...
Prince Edward Island study
A 2007 study on Prince Edward Island
The vast majority of visitors to B & B are pleasure travellers. The most important reasons why travellers choose a B & B are personalised service and hospitality, price and value ratio, physical element, atmosphere, image and location.
According to TIME magazine:
Americans have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B and Bs, as they are nicknamed, scattered throughout the country. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.
What's the appeal? Bed-and-breakfasts, often situated in elegant, historic homes, tap into everyone's fantasy of living another life. Many have been lovingly renovated with period decorations, inviting visitors to step back in time. Others carry a theme throughout the house. Since on average they have only seven or eight rooms, they offer peace and quiet, a rare commodity in the average home.
The hosts, who nearly always live on the premises, provide plenty of coddling. They will recommend local attractions, help with dinner reservations, often provide an afternoon tea or glass of sherry--and, yes, prepare a delicious homemade breakfast.
Prices at bed-and-breakfasts, which average $104 to $133 a night, depending on the region, rival the rates of good hotels. While some 10,000 B and Bs are private homes in which the owners offer a room or two, most are serious businesses, complete with websites and toll-free numbers.
The clientele tends to be couples, most of them affluent and well educated. Most are tourists or people who are in town to visit family or to celebrate a special occasion. Bed-and-breakfasts are popular with many foreign travelers, mostly from Britain, Germany, Canada, France and Australia, who have grown up going to B and Bs in their own countries.
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